Your Ward Room blogger was jogging on Lunt Avenue Sunday afternoon when he ran into a perplexed young man holding an armful of Debra Silverstein literature.
“Excuse me,” the young man asked, “which way is north?”
“Which way is north? Who sent you, anyway?”
“I’m from Northwestern,” he said. “I’m trying to find Greenleaf Avenue.”
Your blogger pointed north, and resolved never again to jog in a ward during the last weekend of an aldermanic runoff. Too many strangers on the sidewalk.
Every self-declared progressive politician on the North Side is invading the 50th Ward to drive the final nail into Ald. Berny Stone’s political career. Even Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel campaigned for Silverstein, meeting her outside Armstrong School for door-to-door canvassing.
Silverstein, the wife of state senator and ward committeeman Ira Silverstein, has been Emanuel’s pet aldermanic candidate. Emanuel made robo-calls for Silverstein before the Feb. 22, and she’s received tens of thousands of dollars both from his own New Chicago Committee and For a Better Chicago, the secret fund set up to support pro-Emanuel candidates.
Silverstein is also getting support from Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, state Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg and County Clerk David Orr. Ald. Joe Moore’s 49th Ward Democrats have been phone banking for Silverstein and reportedly finding support in the 60 to 70 percent range. (An exception: when a phone banker accidentally called Berny himself.)
On Friday, Stone held a press conference to condemn Emanuel for funding fliers that attacked him for allegedly voting against the interests of veterans, and in favor of the parking meter deal.
“Here’s the mayor-elect misleading our public and the constituents of the 50th Ward and telling them to vote for, I guess, someone who he wants to be his puppet in the City Council,” Stone said. “I will be a puppet for nobody, and I will certainly not be a puppet for the mayor-elect once I’m re-elected.”
Will Silverstein be an Emanuel puppet? Well, Emanuel wasn’t out campaigning for anyone else on Sunday, and politicians don’t spend five-figure sums to pay for independence. As the old axiom goes, “You eat my bread, you sing my song.”