March 21

Board of Elections orders public hearing for Stone attack group

For Immediate Release - March 21, 2011
For More Information: Debra Silverstein 773-465-1216
Chicago, IL - March 21, 2011 -- The Illinois State Board of Elections voted unanimously on Monday that it will hold a public hearing to determine whether or not a campaign group funded by 50th Ward Alderman Bernard Stone violated election laws.

On or about February 18th, attorneys representing candidate for Alderman Debra Silverstein filed a complaint with the Illinois State Board of Elections regarding a front group called the Concerned Citizens of the 50th Ward. The organization sent attack mail pieces and paid for negative robocalls on behalf of Stone.

The group failed to report contributions and contributors as well as expenditures for the ward-wide mailings and robocalls. More recent campaign filings indicate the group was funded by Stone and several in-kind contributions, but Stone now claims the $12,000 in campaign contributions were unauthorized.

Election attorney Jim Nally said the organization demonstrated it could not accomplish the basic responsibilities mandated by election law.

“The organization failed to file their reports and they did not tell the Board of Elections where their money came from and where it went. These new allegations make the situation more confusing. I anticipate this public hearing will clarify some of the questions we have,” Nally said.

Concerned Citizens of the 50th Ward is headed by a 22-year-old resident of the 50th Ward, according to documents filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections. The resident has never voted in an election. The resident attended a closed-door meeting with the Board earlier this month.

Two of Stone’s campaign staffers – including his ward superintendent – went to jail for rigging ballots in the run-up to the 2007 election. A judge said the two had “attempted to steal democracy.”

Silverstein said there is a troubling history of dirty politics in the 50th Ward and it needs to come to an end.

“People are sick of these political games. In this case, the facts just don’t add up: A young man who has never voted starts a shadow political organization and puts out 36,000 pieces of negative mail?” I’ll leave it up to the press and the hearing officers to make sense of it.”

“The real citizens of the 50th Ward made it very clear on election night that they want change in the City Council. I’m confident they will vote for change again on April 5.”

Attachment: Report of Hearing Officer

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February 2

The Chicago Sun-Times backs Silverstein for Alderman

For Immediate Release - February 2, 2011
For More Information: Debra Silverstein 773-465-1216
Chicago Sun-Times Banner




Chicago, IL - February 2, 2011
-- We hear it everywhere we go. We hear it from residents, business owners, and the people who work in the 50th Ward. It’s time for change … And The Chicago Sun-Times agrees.

Earlier this week, The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board endorsed Debra Silverstein for alderman of the 50th Ward.

The Chicago Sun-Times said Debra Silverstein has:
“… a keen understanding of issues such as public safety and the need to revitalize
the commercial streets.”


“We prefer Debra L. Silverstein, an accountant with a record of community involvement and a thoughtful platform.”


Silverstein said the endorsement represents another important step in our campaign.

“We all know the Sun-Times for its commitment to justice and its corruption-busting reporters. It’s an honor to receive its endorsement. We have been backed by the organizations that represent working families like the Chicago Federation of Labor, AFSCME, and SEIU, the people who keep our streets safe and the rank and file members of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Chicago Fire Fighters Union” she said.

“Our challenge is sustaining this momentum and continuing to earn the votes of the great people of our 50th Ward community. If you want new, innovative, responsive leadership in the 50th Ward, I hope I can count on your vote.”

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January 26

Firefighters back Silverstein’s campaign for City Council

For Immediate Release - January 26, 2011
For More Information: Debra Silverstein 773-218-5569
Chicago, IL - January 26, 2011 -- The labor organization that represents Chicago’s firefighters picked Debra Silverstein as their candidate for the City Council in the 50th Ward.

Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 has more than 7,000 members.

“These are the people that you see heading in to a fire or disaster area when everyone else is heading to safety. It’s truly an honor to know that they believe I am the best choice to represent them and the people of the 50th Ward in the City Council. I want to thank them for their support,” Silverstein said.

Last week, Silverstein earned the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents the front line Chicago police officers who keep our streets safe.

“The people who work in the public safety sector are among the very best our city has to offer. I will be a tireless advocate for them and for other hardworking Chicago families,” she said.

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January 25

Silverstein updates endorsement list with FOP and Citizen Action/Illinois

For Immediate Release - January 25, 2011
For More Information: Debra Silverstein 773-218-5569
Chicago, IL - January 25, 2011 -- Debra Silverstein, candidate for alderman in the 50th Ward, formally announced today endorsements by the Fraternal Order of Police and Citizen Action/Illinois.

The Fraternal Order of Police represents the rank and file Chicago police officers who patrol our streets and serve and protect our city.

Citizen Action/Illinois is the state’s largest public interest organization and a progressive political coalition committed to creating social change both in Illinois and across the nation.

Both endorsements were made following an extensive survey and interview process.

Silverstein said these endorsements represent another major step forward in our campaign to change the direction of the 50th Ward.

“The 50th Ward is among the cities most diverse. It’s going to take a diverse coalition of volunteers, community leaders, and organizations to bring about new leadership and that’s exactly what we’re doing. It is a tremendous honor to receive the endorsement of the organization that represents our Chicago police, the people who keep our streets safe, as well as Citizen Action/Illinois, who work tirelessly in pursuit of a innovative and progressive Democratic agenda,” she said.

The greater 50th Ward community’s leaders have rallied behind Silverstein’s campaign, including U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Illinois State Sen. Ira Silverstein, Illinois State Rep. Lou Lang, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner and State Central Committeewoman Cynthia Santos.

Silverstein has been endorsed by Illinois’ leading Democratic organizations, including AFSCME Council 31, Chicago Federation of Labor, Citizen Action/Illinois, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Indo-American Democratic Organization, SEIU Illinois Council.

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January 18

Silverstein receives AFSCME endorsement

For Immediate Release - January 18, 2011
For More Information: Debra Silverstein 773-218-5569
Chicago, IL - January 18, 2011 --  Debra Silverstein, candidate for alderman in the 50th Ward, formally announced today her endorsement by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31.

AFSCME Council 31 represents more than 75,000 public service employees across Illinois.

Silverstein said she is honored to know that working families support her candidacy.

“It is humbling to know that so many people support my vision for the 50th Ward. I will fight for working families in the City Council and will strive to make the 50th Ward a better place to live,” Silverstein said.

“This endorsement is a major step as we build a coalition toward new leadership in our community.” AFSCME has more than 1.6 million members in the United States. The organization includes nurses, corrections officers, child care providers, emergency medical technicians and sanitation workers.

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January 2

It’s 2011: All Chicago parking meter rates skyrocket.

For Immediate Release - January 2, 2011
For More Information: Debra Silverstein 773-218-5569
Chicago, IL - January 2, 2011 -- 2010 was a tough year for the Chicago parking meter deal’s biggest supporter, Ald. Bernard Stone.

First, Bloomberg news reported that the meter sale may deliver $10 billion in profits to the investment group that paid just $1 billion for the city’s parking meter system, making an already bad deal much worse.

Then, Ald. Stone shuffled meters around the ward; stuck local businesses with new meters without giving them the courtesy of advance notice; and after being asked about it, tried to blame it on the private company that owns the meters.

Then, just last month, Candidate Debra Silverstein investigated and discovered an ordinance signed by Alderman Stone authorizing the meter move.

Now Ald. Stone stands by and does nothing while our wallets take another hit as rates jump locally from $1.25 to $1.50 an hour and to $5 an hour in the Loop. Rates will hit $6.50 an hour in 2013. That is up from $.25 an hour just a couple years ago.

About the only people cheering are the overseas investors who collect a few bucks every time we park on our city streets.

Silverstein said her wish for the new year is that the City Council ends its opposition to a lawsuit that would invalidate the meter deal and that all parties would return to the table and renegotiate the meter deal.

“Let’s make this right. As alderman, I will always put the people of the 50th Ward first. We cannot afford another four years of leadership that puts the interests of a corporate entity driven by profits ahead of constituents,” Silverstein said.

For additional comments, please call: Debra Silverstein, Candidate for Alderman, 50th Ward, (773) 218-5569.

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December 13

50th Ward business owners finally get answers:
Bernie behind relocation of Touhy Avenue parking meters

For Immediate Release - December 13, 2010
For More Information: Debra Silverstein 773-218-5569

Chicago, IL - December 13, 2010
--  Contrary to his public claims, Ald. Bernard Stone was responsible for the relocation of parking meters from the 6400 block of North Rockwell to the 2900 block of West Touhy Avenue.

The new meters popped up on Nov. 1 without notification from the city. In response to complaints from business owners, Stone called the storeowners “crybabies.” On Nov. 9, Stone told NBC Channel 5 political reporter Mary Ann Ahern that the private parking meter management company — LAZ Parking — was responsible.

Not so, according to public documents requested by candidate for alderman, Debra Silverstein (included).

“The alderman wasn’t truthful with our businesses. He was playing games. This is just one of the many reasons why we need new leadership in the 50th Ward,” Silverstein said.

Last week, Silverstein received a response to her Freedom of Information Act request regarding the issue. The documents indicate the meters were relocated at the behest of Ald. Stone. His ordinance to relocate the meters was approved by the City Council on Sept. 8, 2010. It specifies the removal of meters in the 6400 block of North Rockwell and the relocation of those meters to the 2900 block of West Touhy Avenue. The meters along Rockwell were adjacent to a property with a controversial parking garage.

“The parking meter issue has been confusing enough. It has hurt business owners and consumers alike, and it cost the city approximately $9 billion in future revenues. I didn’t think it could get worse, but here we have our current alderman spreading misinformation to hide from his voting record.”

“The parking meter deal — and this fiasco involving our local businesses — goes against everything we should expect from government: Transparency, responsible spending, and accountability.”

For additional comments, please call: Debra Silverstein, Candidate for Alderman, 50th Ward, (773) 218-5569.

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November 24

Silverstein backs County Clerk’s calls for TIF reform
Aldermanic candidate in 50th Ward backs legislations to set moratorium, review TIFs

For Immediate Release - November 24, 2010
For More Information: Debra Silverstein 773-465-1216
Chicago, IL - November 24, 2010 -- Debra Silverstein is supporting Cook County Clerk David Orr’s suggestion to put a temporary moratorium on new TIFs pending a review of all City of Chicago TIFs. Orr said on Tuesday that more than $520 million in tax dollars flowed into the city’s 158 TIF funds in 2009, an increase of more than five percent compared to 2008.

“In light of the ongoing economic downturn and the city’s chronic budget problems, this massive revenue stream must be audited and steps should be taken to make the process more transparent,” Silverstein said.

“The city is in the midst of a financial crisis. Too often, these TIF tax dollars — a total of $4 billion over the last 23 years — disappear into what has amounted to a slush fund. Meanwhile economic development projects in our ward cannot get off the ground and our schools and police force are understaffed. In theory, TIFs are a great idea, but the way that it has been implemented in Chicago leaves much room for improvement. A TIF is created to fix a blighted area; all money coming into that TIF should only be used for that purpose. In the past, TIF money has been expended on other things. That must change.”

Silverstein said until the tough questions are answered, the city should be blocked from adding TIFs.

“I would like to see a report that gives the taxpayers a great deal more clarity on TIFs and how they affect our ward, particularly our schools. I would certainly introduce legislation to follow up on Mr. Orr’s findings and, as alderman, I pledge to make sure that our TIF funds stay here so they can be spent on needed economic development projects to fill the vacant store fronts on Devon, Western and Touhy Avenues and help our schools and police.”

TIF districts draw tax dollars away from our schools, parks, and other taxing districts — often for a period of decades — into a fund that is supposed to be dedicated for economic development in blighted areas. The 50th Ward is home to several TIF districts.

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November 10

Parking meter shuffle: It’s time for some answers

For Immediate Release - November 10, 2010
For More Information: Debra Silverstein 773-465-1216

Chicago, IL - November 10, 2010
--  Almost two weeks after new pay parking meters were placed in the middle of a 2900 block of Touhy Avenue commercial district, business owners have not received answers about why their neighborhood was targeted.

Ald. Bernard Stone told media outlets yesterday that the business owners were lucky they didn’t have metered parking previously and their luck had “run out.” After business owners complained to NBC News, he said they were “crying like babies.” He claimed that Chicago Parking Meters LLC and LAZ Parking relocated the meters.

Debra Silverstein, candidate for alderman in the 50th Ward, said it’s time to stop the name-calling and have a serious discussion about the situation facing the community and its business owners.

“There are a lot of unresolved questions. How can the meter company pull meters from one location and put them in another without input from the alderman? Did the company determine Touhy Avenue would be a more profitable location? This sets a dangerous precedent and if the changes happened with his blessing, Ald. Stone needs to ask himself whether he wants to work for Chicago Parking Meters LLC or the people of the 50th Ward,” Silverstein said.

According to NBC News, the meters were relocated to Touhy Avenue from Devon Avenue. The change took business owners and customers by surprise. The south side of the 2900 block of Touhy Avenue was “meter-free” until Oct. 31. Now this part of the commercial district is lined with pay parking spots. One business owner said he has lost as much as 30 percent of his business since the meters were installed.

Silverstein planned to meet with business owners today to discuss how they would like to see the situation resolved.

“Our ward is fortunate to have many family-owned businesses, and the alderman should support them with all the resources we can deliver. Right now they feel like they’re being punished and that’s unacceptable. I want to bring active and responsive leadership to our community,” she said.

Ald. Stone is an unapologetic supporter of the parking meter deal that sold the city’s parking meters to private interests for a one-time payment of $1 billion. The meters have since been valued at $10 billion. The sale resulted in expanded pay parking hours and skyrocketing costs for hourly parking.

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November 9

Alderman Stone plays games with parking meters, Touhy Avenue business district

For Immediate Release - November 9, 2010
For More Information: Debra Silverstein 773-465-1216

Chicago, IL - November 9, 2010
--  With the types of games being played this election season, you never know where a new set of parking meters is going to pop up in the 50th Ward.

The south side of the 2900 block of Touhy Avenue was “meter-free” until Oct. 31. Now one side of the street along this commercial district is lined with new pay parking spots.

What’s going on? Ald. Bernard Stone is playing games with the fuzzy rules governing the unpopular parking meter lease deal, according to Debra Silverstein, candidate for alderman.

She said the parking meters affect the livelihoods of people in the 50th Ward and should not be shuffled around arbitrarily.

“These parking spaces aren’t game pieces that you move around the ward. They affect the people and the many family-owned businesses that call the 50th Ward home. It’s hard to believe it’s possible, but the alderman took a bad situation and made it worse.”

Ald. Stone is steadfast and unapologetic in his support for the parking meter deal, which sold the city’s parking meters to private interests in exchange for a one-time payment of $1 billion. The meters have since been valued at $10 billion. A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the residents to cancel the deal. The changes have meant expanded pay parking hours and skyrocketing costs for hourly parking in the 50th Ward. Silverstein has said the deal was a bad one on many levels. Stone — who told reporters it was none of their business whether or not he had read the parking meter lease deal before he voted in favor of it — hasn’t explained how or why the meters appeared along the Touhy commercial district.

“Why are the meters here? What did I do wrong? Is this politically motivated? These are the questions that I’m getting. It’s a murky area, but this much is clear: It was done without input from business owners and residents. To me, that’s unconscionable,” Silverstein said.

To the business owners on Touhy, Stone said, “They’ve been lucky until now to have no meters. Now their luck has run out,” according to CBS news.

For additional comments, please call:

Debra Silverstein, Candidate for Alderman, 50th Ward, (773) 465-1216

Michael Ben Ezra
North Shore Bakery
2919 W. Touhy Ave.,
Chicago, IL
(773) 262-0600

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November 5

Silverstein Applauds Court Ruling Regarding City Parking Meters

For Immediate Release - November 5, 2010
For More Information: Debra Silverstein 773-465-1216

Chicago, IL - November 5, 2010
--  A lawsuit challenging the legality of Chicago’s parking meter privatization deal will move forward thanks to a ruling Thursday in the Cook County Circuit Court.

Earlier this week the Chicago City Council tabled a plan to allow the voters to give their opinion about the meter deal in the Municipal Election in February. The proposal to put on the February ballot a question to the effect, “Shall the City of Chicago re-negotiate the Park Meter Privatization Agreement?” will be revisited in the coming weeks.

In response to the court case and the possible public referendum question, Debra Silverstein, candidate for 50th Ward Alderman, issued the following statement:

“The privatization of the parking meters was a bad deal for the City of Chicago and a bad deal for the 50th Ward. Our homeowners and businesses are unanimous in their opposition of the parking meter deal,” Silverstein said.

“It gives me hope to see that the IVI-IPO will not stand by idly while this injustice continues to cost our city and our residents. I applaud the organization and its attorney Clint Krislov for taking up the peoples’ cause in the county courts. It’s promising to see the City Council take action on this issue and it is my hope that additional alderman — including the alderman from the 50th Ward — will join with Alds. Toni Preckwinkle, Ricardo Munoz, Joe Moore and Richard Mell to call for a referendum on the meter deal.”

“The meter deal is a symptom of the disconnect between our current representation and the people who live and work in our community. When I am elected to office, my commitment will be to the fair and equitable representation of the people and businesses of the 50th Ward and I will stand with the residents, not with the private companies who schemed to take away one of our most reliable revenue sources.”

Meter rates in the Loop will increase to $5/hour on Dec. 31. The rates will increase to $3/hour and $1.50/ an hour on Dec. 31 in the city’s central business district and neighborhoods, respectively.

The incumbent alderman voted in favor of the Parking Meter Privatization Agreement. While new revelations indicate that the $1 billion lease of the city’s meters will deliver to private investors as much as $10 billion in profits over the next 75 years, he remains a staunch proponent of the deal.

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September 22

Stone announces reelection bid, WGN interviews Debra


 

September 19

50th Ward Finally has a Choice for Alderman

   
   Dear Friends,

   My name is Debra Silverstein, and I am pleased to announce my candidacy for Alderman of the 50th ward. For those of you whom I know through my work in the ward, I am excited to continue to build our relationships. For those of you whom I have not yet met, I look forward to getting to know you and working with you in the future.

   I have been living in the 50th ward, together with my husband, State Senator Ira Silverstein, for almost 25 years. During this time I have established myself as a Certified Public Accountant and small business woman, but more importantly, I have been able to raise my children here in the loving and nurturing community that is the 50th ward of Chicago. However, over the past several years, the ward has started to change. The streets are deteriorating; crime, drug dealing and prostitution are on the rise; and economic development of our main streets is at a standstill. It is a shame to have these negative influences appearing in our ward. New leadership that will bring innovative ideas and commitment to its constituents is necessary in order to tackle these problems. This new leadership needs to harness the strength of the different communities that make the 50th ward one of the most diverse in the City of Chicago.

   I want to thank those of you from across those communities that expressed their belief that I am the person who will be able to take charge and start turning things around for the betterment of our community. The problems are great, and it will take time, but I am confident that together with your help and support, we will once again be proud and excited to be living in such a vibrant community. If you need more information or would like to volunteer, please contact me at  773-465-1216 or email me at debraforthe50th@gmail.com

Sincerely,

Debra Silverstein

September 19

Debra Silverstein announces candidacy for 50th Ward Alderman

  Chicago, IL - September 19, 2010 -- Urged by numerous community activists and groups, Debra Silverstein announced her candidacy today for 50th ward Alderman. The reason most cited by those urging Debra to run is the need to bring new leadership and direction into the 50th ward. With the city facing its greatest financial crisis in recent history and people in desperate need of jobs, they believe that Debra Silverstein’s background as a Certified Public Accountant and small business woman is exactly what is needed in a public official.

“I was overwhelmed by the number of people who asked me to run for Alderman and their belief that I possess the skills necessary to improve our city and the 50th ward,” Debra said during her announcement.

Debra Silverstein graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in accounting. Debra passed the Certified Public Accountant exam and has worked as an accountant preparing and reviewing business and individual tax returns for the past 20 years. With this experience, she clearly understands how businesses and individuals in the 50th ward are crippled by tax and fee increases.

Outside of her professional life, Debra has been directly involved with 50th ward needs by coordinating constituent services for the past several years and has organized the highly successful “Movies in the Park” and “Winterfest”. Debra Silverstein is also a co-founder of the Libenu Foundation. Libenu is an organization creating supervised housing for adults with developmental disabilities in the 50th ward. Debra Silverstein commented on a pressing need in a key area of the 50th ward.

“One only needs to walk down Touhy, Devon, and Western Avenues to see that there is no economic plan. Instead of attracting businesses and creating jobs, businesses are closing and jobs are being lost. There is so much potential that has not been acted upon. Revitalization of these areas will be a priority.
I have lived in the 50th ward for 25 years. It is one of the most diverse wards in the city and I have enjoyed raising my children here. As Alderman, I will work each day to make our neighborhood a better place to live, work, go to school, and own a business.”

Debra Silverstein has received the overwhelming endorsement of the 50th Ward Democratic Organization, State Senator Ira Silverstein, State Representative Louis Lang, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst, and Salman Aftab.

Debra lives in the 50th ward with her husband Ira and has four children.

Contact: Debra Silverstein
Phone: 773-465-1216
Email: Debraforthe50th@gmail.com

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