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Katie Banks/MEDILL

50th Ward resident Leon Bleichman talks politics while getting his hair cut at Devon Hair Design on Devon Avenue.

No Stone will take some getting used to in 50th Ward, on council

by Katie Banks
April 06, 2011

April 5 Runoff Election Results

Source: Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago website

*Winners listed first


6th Ward:

Roderick T. Sawyer: 51%

Freddrenna M. Lyle: 49%


15th Ward:

Toni L. Foulkes: 69%

Raymond A. Lopez: 31%


16th Ward:

Joann Thompson: 56%

Hal E. Baskin: 44%


17th Ward:

Latasha R. Thomas: 53%

David H. Moore: 47%


20th Ward:

Willie B. Cochran: 54%

Che "Rhymefest" Smith: 46%


24th Ward:

Michael D. Chandler: 60%

Sharon Denise Dixon: 40%


25th Ward:

Daniel "Danny" Solis: 54%

Cuahutémoc Morfín: 46%


36th Ward:

Nicholas Sposato: 56%

John A. Rice: 44%


38th Ward:

Timothy M. Cullerton: 60%

Tom Caravette: 40%


41st Ward:

Mary O'Connor: 51%

Maurita E. Gavin: 49%


43rd Ward:

Michele Smith: 51%

Tim Egan: 49%


45th Ward:

John Arena: 50% (50.12%)

John Garrido: 50% (49.88%)


46th Ward:

James Cappleman: 55%

Mary Anne "Molly" Phelan: 45%


50th Ward:

Debra L. Silverstein: 62%

Bernard L. Stone: 38%


For voters in the 50th Ward, Ald. Bernard Stone’s loss to challenger Debra Silverstein was a long time coming.

“I’ve lived here for 47 years and I’ve never voted for an alderman until now,” said Leon Bleichman. “It was time for a change. Stone has been in power too long and now he can take a rest.”

Stone, 83, has served his ward for 38 years and is City Council’s second-longest serving member. In the runoff he received only 38 percent of the vote, compared with 62 percent for Silverstein.

"It would appear that this will be my last term," Stone told reporters Tuesday night. "It's been a good run. I will be satisfied with what I've done to help the people in the 50th Ward and I feel sorry for them from this point on, but I wish 'em well."

Silverstein, of course, is more optimistic.

"I think he should wait and see what happens because I think there are going to be some good things around here,” she said Tuesday.

Joanne Davos, a business owner in the Far North Side ward for the past 40 years, said she is excited and hopeful about the possibility of a more responsive alderman.

“There’s a big pot hole in the street outside my shop that one of my customers fell in,” Davos said. “I called Stone’s office at least 10 times and the hole is still there. I’m hoping Silverstein is more aggressive about stuff like that. Only time will tell.”

So what does Silverstein’s victory mean for the power dynamic on the council?

“Ald. Stone losing the election is partly the passing of an age of the old-style aldermen,” said Dick W. Simpson, professor and head of the political science department at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

And Stone wasn’t the only one who lost.

6th Ward Ald. Freddrenna Lyle lost to Roderick Sawyer, son of former alderman and mayor Eugene Sawyer, and 36th Ward Ald. John Rice lost to Nicholas Sposato. Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel had supported both incumbents.

Emanuel also campaigned for several other candidates in hopes of shaping a council that would advance his agenda. But Simpson warned that a turnover of more than a third of council members would not necessarily translate into smooth sailing for Emanuel.

“Mayor Emanuel will be facing a three-way split in the City Council – his supporters, [Ald. Edward] Burke’s supporters and an enlarged independent bloc,” Simpson said.

But some 50th Ward residents are still skeptical that Emanuel may try to control aldermen to whom he donated money when it’s time to make policy decisions. 

“Silverstein’s win is good because he needs some people around him who he can work with,” Joseph Waters said. “But this may not be good for residents of the city. He could be starting his own political machine.”