Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Vote For Debra Silverstein

Note to my fellow Chicago voters.

Today is Election Day in Chicago. This is the day Chicago has a runoff election between the two top vote getters in the general election last February. In Chicago’s heavily Orthodox Jewish 50th ward, the two candidates are long time incumbent Berny Stone and challenger Debra Silverstein.

Unlike many voters who are angry at him, I believe that Berny Stone was a good alderman for our community. Although he does not have a perfect record, he has served his community well over his very long career. But the time has come for change. The neighborhood faces new challenges that Alderman Stone has as of yet been unable to address.

Among the more serious ones: The roads in this ward are in serious need of repair - even repaving in many cases. Streets in the 5Oth ward are among the worst in the city. Businesses have left the area leaving empty stores. The reason for that was in part due to Berny’s vote in the city council for the 75 year lease of its parking meters to LAZ.

LAZ is a private company that has more than quadrupled parking fees and made parking in Chicago streets much more cumbersome. They eliminated parking meters and require the purchase of ‘printout’ at a machine that can be as much as a block away from your car and then returning to your car and placing it on the dashboard. Not fun. Business owners have claimed a severe loss of patronage and income that coincide with the changes in parking rules. People simply do not want to deal with the parking situation and opt going to malls where parking is easy and free.

The time has come for a change. Debra has the support of the major newspapers, the mayor elect, and various other public officials and community leaders. She is young and very capable, having proved herself as a community leader and as a successful certified public accountant, where her experience in this area will serve her well as Chicago struggles with budgetary issues.

Debra is also a Shomer Shabbos Jew who sends her children to Arie Crown Hebrew Day School. While she is committed to serving the entire Rogers Park community (which makes up most of the 50th ward) and all of its varied constituencies with equal vigor, she understands more than anyone the issues facing the day school tuition paying parent. – and the unique needs of a religious Jew.

If she is elected, it will be the first time in Chicago history that a Shomer Shabbos Jew will serve in the city council. It’s about time we had someone who intimately knows her constituency serving in that capacity. It is for all these reasons that I heartily endorse Debra Silverstein for Alderman of the 50th ward. I urge all citizens of the 50th to do their civic duty and vote today. Every vote counts in what promises to be a very close election.