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Tuesday, October 17

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Airbags

With the filing deadline for aldermanic candidates fast approaching, we are reminded that Chicagoans have the delight of a municipal election to look forward to in that depressing, holiday-less part of the year in January, February and March. These municipals, which will take place in February, will be the most important since 1991; but the outcome is more or less a foregone conclusion.

With the highly convenient excuse of a new Democratic majority that bestows on them relevance (Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. even compared his new position to when North Side congressman Dan Rostenkowski was chairman of Ways & Means; Jackson sits on Appropriations) Mayor Daley's two most potent potential challengers, Luis Gutierrez and Jackson Jr., both jointly announced they would not be running against Daley. Jackson, eyeing 2011, made clear that he was confident that if he had run he would have won. And, with that eye on 2011, he will look to recruit candidates for alderman and try to lure independent aldermen into a bloc under his political organization's banner.

The movement to bring real democracy to the Chicago City Council will begin with this election — those groups that had talked tough about taking on the Council and the mayor have come to see that perhaps a more measured approach is appropriate; whatever ground they gain this time around can be used to create a new power center in the city government. That power center could then move the policy and message that a slate of reform candidates could use in 2011 to take the Council as well as the Fifth Floor. Undoubtedly, newly elected aldermen not loyal to the Mayor will look to force votes that could compromise the reelection of some of the more endangered Democratic Regulars on the Council.

This week, let's begin the process of looking at the ward races that will likely be competitive.

Starting in the 50th Ward — West Rogers Park — Berny Stone faces a number of challengers for the seat he's held longer than almost anyone else in Chicago's history. That's more impressive when you start to think about the caliber (and style) of incumbents in Chicago.

The 50th Ward is peculiar because although it is considered a "white-majority" ward, it is hardly that. The 50th Ward has high concentrations of "ethnic" Jews, South Americans, Southeast Asians, Assyrians and Arabs. Stone is himself Jewish, one of three Jewish members of the Council. Despite his freakishly long tenure in the Council, Stone has a limited Get-Out-the-Vote operation and his age itself will likely be a factor if he has to campaign vigorously against his opponents. If he is forced into a run-off in April, his age will become a real factor.

Of his opponents — Salman Aftab, Naisy Dolar and Greg Brewer — Dolar has been getting the most buzz, although Brewer also has deep roots in the community and his key issue — over-development — is one that is near and dear to the hearts of most West Rogers residents. Salman Aftab has come after Stone the hardest thus far, calling him a "warlord."

That's a little hard to swallow if you've ever seen Stone doze during a Zoning Committee hearing.

Dolar, who is Filipino, would likely be the biggest beneficiary of the crowded field. The question that faces all three challengers is this: can they avoid nipping at each other so that whoever faces Stone in a run-off can count on the support of their opponents and their followers?

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Comments

Anthony / November 30, 2006 5:50 PM

Without a competitive Mayoral race to lift the turnout rate, I wouldn't put my money on this race going to a run-off. Nor do I put much stock in the fact that many incumbents will be defeated. There may be a few heated races but I see a vast majority of the alderman returning.

Richard F Carnahan / November 30, 2006 7:25 PM

I would tend to agree with you Anthony. However, I think Stone is one of the most threatened aldermen out there due to his age and lack of real on the ground organization; inertia has really carried him these last few go rounds.

Salman Aftab / December 1, 2006 4:41 PM

Mr. Carnahan,

Although your article presents a realistic perspective of the upcoming aldermanic election, I must clarify one point. I did not call Mr. Stone a "warlord," rather my website reads, "I do not believe that any Alderman should be a rubber stamp for Mayor Daley nor should they effectively be warlords." Essentially, this summarizes my position that an Alderman's primary duty is to work for the citizens of the Ward. This requires listening to the people and carrying their message to the City Council regardless of Mayor Daley's stand on the issues. I will not stand in the shadow of Mayor Daley and vote as he does on issues if they are not beneficial for the 50th Ward. Likewise, I will not make decisions that do not have the consensus of the community as do warlords. Mr. Stone is the antithesis of a warlord. He is a Richard Daley rubber stamp who has voted 85% with him on the issues. Mr. Stone is too busy with issues that result in his own personal gain.

Dave Madlener / December 1, 2006 7:22 PM

Why are Gutierrez and Jackson not running ? My guess is that if Peraica could not beat the machine in all of Cook County, than neither of them could beat Daley in the City. On top of that Todd Stroger is / was a very bad candidate for the democrats.

Jackson and Gutierrez saw the writting on the wall and had a handy excuse and a nice neat way to back out without looking like cowards.

For the 50th Ward, heck it's only 45 precincts and very diverse. Peraica won the ward so the people are ready for change. My guess is that Aftab has the best shot at winning.

Richard F Carnahan / December 2, 2006 9:55 AM

Mr. Aftab-

Thank you for clarifying that point and for engaging us on this site.

anthony / December 2, 2006 11:29 AM

One of the reasons Peraica pulled ahead in the 50th was due to the fact that the ward has a large Croatian populatian combined with the fact that Stroger was a less than stellar candidate.
Many of these voters will stick with Stone and the stability he offers.

wndycty / December 4, 2006 7:54 PM

Mr. Carnahan and for that matter Aftab, please explain more about Mr. Aftab's arrest for assaulting a gay man as mentioned in the NATION. Mr. Aftab this will obviously be an issue how do you respond? I found this by "googling" Mr. Aftab.

wndycty / December 4, 2006 8:09 PM

I did not want to appear to making up a baseless allegation so I posted a link below. The issue I brought up in a previous post should be addressed. I think the sooner Mr. Aftab confronts this issue the better.
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20010521/cockburntext

Sal Aftab / December 4, 2006 9:14 PM

Ms. wndycty the incident that which you referred, represent a snap shot in time over the 20 years that Mr Nasim and I have been close friends. A sign of true friendship is being able to overcome misunderstandings and continue to remain close friends. Mr Nasim was one of the key note speakers at my fundraiser on August 8th, 2006.

Mr Nasim and I continue to be friends and both of us have appologized to one another for that event.

When will Bernie Stone , as a member of the Chicago Ethics Committee, appologize for all the fraud and corruption in City Hall?

www.salmanforalderman.com

wndycty / December 4, 2006 9:29 PM

Thanks for your response Mr. Aftab. But as reported in the NATION your comments were very homophobic and I would think that while you and Mr. Nasim are friends, the larger gay community as well as any person who supports tolerance would have a reason to be concerned. Have you reached out to Equility Illinois and other organizations that represent the LGBT community who no doubt will learn of your incident as well as aspects of your police record. Your peace Mr. Nasim is only part of the story. Once the mainstream press learns of your "rap sheet" as you have been known to call it, how will you respond?

Salman Aftab / December 5, 2006 9:57 PM

wndycty:

You are reading only one part of the story. There are no comments from witnesses, there are no comments from me in that article.

Our argument had nothing to do with the topic of anything relating to sexual orientation. Our arguement had to do with an article written by my friend Mr. Nasim.

Those comments supposedly made by Mr. Nasim in that article are lies. He has appologized to me for the misrepresentation and I have accepted his appology.

If you or anyone else cares about the TRUE FACTS, the transcripts of the investigation can be found at The Cook County States Attorney Office.

If you cared about the facts you would consider the massive over budgeting in the City of Chicago and realize that Mr. Stone sits on the Budget Committe.

If you cared about the facts you would know how corrupt the City of Chicago is and you would know that Mr. Stone sits on the ethics committee.

You would know that Mr. Stone is part of the problem with the City of Chicago.

Instead you care about one issue and one issue only.

Open your eyes........its a big City , a big state, a big nation, and an even bigger global community.


wndycty / December 6, 2006 7:25 AM

Open my eyes? I see a candidate who claims endoresements that don't exist. On Chicago Clout Randall Sherman had to go on record to announce that his organization did not endorse you even though your buddies at Chicago Clout claimed you are approved by "Illinois Committee for Honest Government." Where is your credibility?

Also I have heard that you brag about having a "rap" sheet. Is this true? Of course very few people know about it if it exists, however I'm sure someone wih the Alderman's resources can did this up. Is there a "rap" sheet and our you concerned about it being dug up?

Cinnamon / December 6, 2006 11:46 AM

I would like to know why so many businesses along Devon Avenue in my neighborhood have posters supporting Alderman Stone and Mr. Aftab. It doesn't make sense that a business owner would be supporting two candidates at the same time.

Richard F Carnahan / December 6, 2006 12:11 PM

It kinda makes sense, Cinnamon--they're hedging their bets! Why Mr Aftab has a reasonable chance of winning (also, he shares a common background with many of the storeowners on Devon Street), but then again--Stone controls the ward.

I have a feeling one of those two signs will go down with extreme prejudice sometime soon.

Veronica / December 6, 2006 10:55 PM

Now there are stores with three signs. Stone, Aftab, and Dolar.

The argument used to get all three up is about educating the public about all the candidates.

Salman Aftab / December 7, 2006 2:13 PM

wndycty:

Once again OPEN YOUR EYES ! This is the original post.........

Salman is very well educated and approved by Illinois Committee for Honest Government. The Frank Avila family are endorsing this candidate. Good luck Salman. Photo by Patrick McDonough.

Posted by patrick1 on November 12, 2006 07:22 PM | Permalink

No where does it say I am endorsed by the Committee furthermore, I never claimed to be endorsed by the committee.

If there are any questions concerning The Illinois Committee for Honest Government contact Chairman, Tony Joyce.

Field Organizer / December 7, 2006 2:38 PM

Cinnamon / Richard

Multiple signs:

Politics is a nasty game. I hope the other challengers in the 50th Ward and beyond understand how nasty the incumbent plans to play.

Mr Stone has sent his cronie, Anish, (first name), the streets and sanatation supervisor for the 50th Ward, around to the stores.

When Anish visits the stores, on City time, wearing his uniform, driving a city vechile, he tells the store owners to remove Mr Aftab's signs or face the concequences.

A report has been filed with the City of Chicago Inspector Generals Office concerning the actions of the city employee. The following day Anish, the city worker, personally appologized to Mr Aftab. A precinct captian, Majid, made a personal appology on behalf of Alderman Stone.

What are those consequences of having a challengers sign in your window ? A visit from a city inspector, code violation tickets, harassment from City Hall and phone calls from the Alderman and his enforcers.

Michael Moses is one such enforcer in the 50th Ward. He has made phone calls to building owners and business owners demanding the removal of the signs.

This is a fine example of why Alderman Stone must be defeated.

Mister C / December 7, 2006 4:53 PM

Sorry to get all rah rah here, but this thread is the ultimate example of the usefulness of the internet. Candidates being able to directly address their detractors (and vice-versa), insiders providing
perspectives/information not normally found in media outlets, questions being answered; thanks so much for keeping this column up another week, Andrew. And Richard for writing it, of course!

Richard F Carnahan / December 8, 2006 9:33 AM

"Field Organizer"-

Were you given a case number by the Inspector General's office? Will you comment further on what happened specifically--so that we're not looking at allegations here that may be false?

Field Organizer / December 9, 2006 12:23 PM

Richard:

I do not have a case number for the complaint. What I do have is a name and phone number (for what it's worth).

Aron was the investigator from the inspector generals office and the phone # of his office is 773 478 0409.

Salman tells me of another incident (which I do have a case # to share) which he was assulted by one of Mr. Stones goons.

Salman filed a police report because Billy (first name) said he would break Salman's legs after the election. The Police report # is HM 704520. This incedent occured Nov 6th.

I am wondering which election Billy was refering to. My guess is the Aldermanic election because it was in reference to Salman's window signs.

If Salman's legs are broken, will you sign his casts ?

scorekeeper / December 9, 2006 9:06 PM

Sounds like Billy Sraieb, who does some work for Stone and is associated with the previously mentioned Anish. They both did a bit for the Claypool campaign, which Stone supported.

Strangely enough, Aftab was a big Claypool supporter, too. Not sure if they ever met.

Guppoo / December 10, 2006 8:15 PM

I am long time resident of 50 th ward and have been following this campaign for quite sometime now.

Although your article is interesting and on the mark Mr. Carnahan, but I think you have underestimated Mr. Aftab's bid for candidacy. No one in the race connects with the voters of 50th ward better than Mr. Aftab. He is honest, kind hearted and geniune, kind of qualities we rarely see in politician now a days. I concur with the comment posted earlier that some of the store owners are intimidated to put incumbent's window signs on their store, It's a common knowledge in 50th ward.
May the best man win and I think Mr Aftab may very well be that man!!!

nomorebsn50 / December 11, 2006 10:58 PM

Naisy received excellent coverage today for her petition filing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXKnXB43_TU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_-7BhMUTGI

 

About the Author(s)

Richard F. Carnahan is a true South Side Sox fan who's played a bit part in Chicago politics more than once over the years. Contact him at rfc@gapersblock.com.

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