Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dolar Lies Continue

One of the things me and my neighbors resent about Ald. Stone is that he lies to us. And not just a little. It's disappointing that one of the candidates running to replace him follows Berny in that way.

In the prior post I wrote about the lies Naisy has told us about living in the ward "for 30 years." These are words that Naisy has used herself, repeatedly. I've heard her say this, more than once.

Her campaign manager attempts to cover up Naisy's fabrication with this:
An early version of her bio did mistakenly list her as a 30 resident and it has been corrected.

Marissa, Campaign Manager

Yet the campaign lit I've received from Naisy and her supporters clearly states that Naisy is a "30-year resident." This whole thing defies logic. Yes, Naisy's website has been corrected, a fact I've previously noted. More to the point, Naisy's supporters got annoyed for me doing this. It appears to be no little thing. For whatever reason, the Dolar campaign wants to hide this by calling the truth "misleading." As another commenter points out, "marketing wins over integrity."

Do we want a female Stone as our alderman? Is Naisy just a nicer Ilana? Why take the risk?

Naisy Dolar Lied about Residency

As many people know, I'm a big fan of Rich Miller's CapitalFaxBlog. Yesterday, Rich started a thread on local elections, and in it, we discover the reason why Naisy changed her website this year.

Naisy's claim about being a 30 year resident of the 50th Ward is false. She went to high school in Panama City, FL. In one comment, Rich confirms this fact himself. Another commenter on a different blog states that Naisy attended Rutherford High School.

I don't know about you, but honesty and integrity are two things I expect from people who want my vote. Especially when it's about little things. The real question is why Naisy lied about this. I agree with NDNeighbor that it doesn't make any sense to lie about something so minor as how long you've lived in the ward. What difference would it make to voters if, instead of 30 years residency, it was only 22 years?

What this tells us is that Naisy is not confident about her own credentials. She feels the need to exaggerate her experience and residency. It's a rookie mistake. It wasn't like she was going to win anyway. But still, her credibility and integrity are now in doubt.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Stone-Brewer Race gets Nasty

As anticipated. Looks like the run-off has already begun for Stone's people. Found this when I looked at the Brewer Blog this morning:

Brewer Yard Signs Stolen

This morning, before noon, our supervolunteer Helen Nagel came into our office. Normally, this wouldn't be surprising, but Helen has recently been undergoing radiation treatments. She looked distraught, so we were immediately concerned.

"They took 'em," she said. This morning, Helen told us, she looked out her window and noticed the Brewer yard sign she had personally placed in her neighbor's yard was missing. As she continued looking down the block, she noticed that all the Brewer signs were gone. Worse, she finally realized that her own yard sign had been stolen.

Helen told us this with a tear in her eye. "Why would they do this?" she asked.

Throughout the day, we continued to get reports of stolen Brewer campaign signs. Ellen Adelman sent us an email about all the stolen signs on "the 6500 N. block of Talman (West side of street)." Alan Aberman reports his lawn signs missing this morning, and Frank and Margarita Klein noticed that the signs they had this morning were missing this afternoon.

It appears that hundreds of dollars of Brewer campaign signs have been appropriated by someone's campaign. Apparently, they don't have enough signs in the ward, and they need ours, as well!

I had previously heard of Brewer signs in front of Jewish homes being taken before the weekend. It's getting serious!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Stone Looms as 2007 Casualty

A month ago, Russ Stewart wasn't a believer. Now he is:


The trend is clear: Voter participation is shrinking, and so is Stone's vote.

In the 2004 Democratic primary, Stone, the ward Democratic committeeman, backed Mike Moses against state Representative Lou Lang (D-16). Lang won with 61.6 percent of the vote, and Moses won the 50th Ward by just 3,531-3,453. In December Stone filed 1,900 petition signatures. Clearly, Stone's organization suffers from atrophy, if not decrepitude. Also, U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-9), is not endorsing Stone and is "neutral," although most of her workers in the ward are backing Brewer.

"This will be a close race," predicts state Senator Ira Silverstein (D-8), a Stone ally. In a ward with many residents living in apartments, the key will be mailings. Stone will do well in the predominantly Jewish Winston Towers precincts. His opponents must spur interest and a get a turnout in excess of 10,000.

"I'm not anti-development, but I'm convinced that zoning changes are a tradeoff and that developers are making donations to Stone," Brewer said. "That's wrong." Brewer also squawks the liberal line that "continuing apartment conversions to condominiums mean a loss of affordable housing." Added Brewer: "We must rewrite to zoning code."

My prediction: Stone admits that if he wins outright on Feb. 27, he won't get much over 50 percent of the vote. Brewer predicts he'll win a majority, which is absurd. But all this activity in the ward will spur turnout to about 10,000. Stone will come in with about 4,200 votes, Brewer with 3,500, Dolar with 1,800, and Aftab with 500. That means an April runoff, a low turnout, and a flood of outsiders descending on the ward. Stone could lose.

What is interesting about Stewart's analysis is that in December he was predicting just the opposite:

Berny Stone's West Rogers Park ward is melting pot of cultures and demographics. But Stone, age 79, is a much-beloved icon, winning with 76 percent of the vote in 2003 and running unopposed in 1999. He could be vulnerable to a well funded liberal or an ethnic candidate who could unite the ward's large Indian, Pakistani, Chinese and Vietnamese population. But none of his 2007 foes, Naisy Dolar, Salmon Aftab or Greg Brewer, has that capability. Stone will win his 10th term easily.

People are noticing. As one commenter repeats, the battle is joined! It's a dogfight. You already know how I feel: May the best man (Brewer) win!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Brewer Gets AFSCME Endorsement

The Brewer blog reports that Greg Brewer has received the endorsement of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. [PDF] This is probably the endorsement hinted at in earlier comments.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

SEIU Sits Out 50th

Rich Miller's blog and Clout City (The Chicago Reader blog) both report that "SEIU won’t be endorsing anyone" in the 50th. Everyone recognizes that this is one of the city's hottest races. I've mentioned before that Naisy expected this endorsement, but it seemed unlikely after the CFL endorsed Brewer. However, Naisy held out hope when she said "the [SEIU] endorsement process is not over, so let's wait and see."

Looks like it's over.

Dolar Wins FOP Endorsement

As posted on her MySpace page:

Endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7!!

"New comer Naisy Dolar, the wife of a Chicago Police Officer is endorsed in the Fiftieth Ward, and it is worth noting that she, among the unseated candidates, best articulated the concerns of Chicago Police Families."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Brewer Yard Signs Appear

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Signs that Stone Runs Scared

Seven months ago, Ald. Stone wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Chicago Reader. In his normally arrogant tone, he invited Greg Brewer into the race for Alderman: "Come on in—the water is fine." Seems he wished he could rescind that invitation.

Friday I drove past the Brewer headquarters at Lunt and Western. There are Stone signs plastered all over that building. One empty storefront screams, "I'm scared, Mr. Brewer! Go away!"

But I'm betting the message is aimed more at Brewer's supporters (and the voters in the 50th) than anything else. That's our Berny. If you don't love him, he wants you to fear him. Very scared is even better. It's an old mob thing. He's all about intimidation. Thus his blatant attempt at public humiliation. Or so they think.

For comparison, this morning I drove by Salman's and Naisy's headquarters. No real sign of Stone activity. The empty storefront near Naisy's has a "For Rent" sign, but no Standing with Stone, no signs that express Stone's need to intimidate Naisy's supporters. They pose no threat to him.

Stone is clearly scared of Greg Brewer. So buck up, Brewer supporters! The recent additions around your campaign office should be viewed as an indicator that you've gotten under Berny's skin. He's scared. He's feeling cornered. He knows that Brewer is his only real competition, and he continues to show that month after month.

If you haven't seen the "I'm scared" Stone signs, you should take a look. It's a hoot. Everyone will laugh by how scared Stone and his supporters are acting. Then we should do everything we can do make Berny's fears of losing real.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

SEIU Asks Naisy Dolar to Quit Race

In a bombshell, the Pioneer Press News-Star reports that SEIU has asked Naisy Dolar, who once claimed that SEIU was supporting her, to quit the race for 50th Ward Alderman. Naisy herself is the source of this information.

This story is now online. I'd suggest you pick up a copy of the News-Star and read Lorraine Swanson's story. I've included it, in part:

Dolar: 'I was asked to step down'
Candidate in the 50th Ward claims SEIU wants her out

While the jury is still out on whether the 50th ward aldermanic race will be a dog fight or a cake walk, one organization apparently feels that one of Ald. Berny Stone's challengers has a chance of defeating the long-time City Council member in the upcoming city election.

Aldermanic candidate Naisy Dolar acknowledged that she and fellow challenger Greg Brewer, an architect and community organizer, both met with a political team from the Service Employees International Union's Illinois Council last month, which asked one of the challengers to drop out of the race.

"It is true. All I can say is that this is part of the game of politics," Dolar said.

So ends Naisy's dream of becoming the primary alternative to Ald. Stone. The major anti-Stone forces in the city and ward have rejected her attempt to become the "first Asian-American alderman" (a distinction that Salman Aftab would also have, should he be elected). The divisive tactics that I've witnessed may be the cause of Naisy being rejected by the primary voices for change in Chicago.

Remember this was about the same time as Rich Miller's comments that "The best news for the broken down warhorse incumbent Bernie Stone is that he faces two strong opponents, who could cancel each other out. Otherwise, this would be one of the hottest races in the city." Perhaps SEIU hasn't given up on beating Berny Stone. Too bad Naisy didn't consider the good of the ward when she rejected SEIU's overture.

Candidate Forum Open Thread

I didn't go to the candidate forum mentioned in comments. I didn't know about it. Consider this your opportunity to talk about your experience at the forum, your observations, and how you think your favorite candidate did.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Labor Endorses Greg Brewer

Rich Miller, the dean of political bloggers in Illinois, reports that the Chicago Federation of Labor has endorsed Greg Brewer for alderman in the 50th Ward. This endorsement is a major pickup for Brewer, wh0 appears to be winning the local endorsements among the challengers to Ald. Stone.

Non-incumbents endorsed by the CFL include Sandi Jackson (7), Carina Sanchez (12), Toni L. Foulkes (15), Joann Thompson (16), Paul Stewart (18), Leroy J. Jones, Jr. (21), Brendan Reilly (42), Michele Smith (43) and Greg Brewer (50). The CFL didn’t endorse any candidate in several races, including 2, 5, 11, 20, 25, 29, 34, 37 and 44.

Dolar's endorsements come from outside the ward (including outside of Chicago). The Labor endorsement represents a setback for Dolar, who has said previously that she expected the SEIU endorsement. Given recent calls for labor unity, it is expected that SEIU will follow the CFL's lead.

UPDATE: The Sun-Times reports that the 50th will be a "Tier One" race "where the Chicago Federation of Labor will devote its heaviest resources." Looking good for Brewer.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Apparently, I'm a racist. At least that's according to the Naisy Dolar supporter who recently knocked on my door. I asked, Is it because I'm White? A Male? A Jew?

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

A young Asian woman knocked on my door and asked if I was supporting Naisy Dolar. No, I replied. That wasn't good enough for her (she seemed perplexed). Why?, she asked. Because I've met and talked to Naisy, and I was unimpressed. Why?, she asked again. Because I don't think she has a good grasp of the issues or concerns in the ward. But why? She was getting exasperated.

Who would you vote for in a race between Naisy and Ald. Stone? Wouldn't matter, I said. Stone would win. As she turned to leave, she called me a racist. Audibly.

Excuse me?

Is it because I'm a white male Jew?, I called out. She looked back around, horrified.

On this day, we celebrate the birth and life of Martin Luther King. Well, some of us do. Others may try to use MLK Day to divide us.

Generally, on MLK Day I try to say Kaddish for all the (white) Jewish boys who died to make King's Dream come alive. My Asian accuser probably doesn't know about the connection between the civil rights movement in this country and Jews. But it's quite strong. In 1909, W.E.B. Dubois, Julius Rosenthal, Lillian Wald, Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch, Stephen Wise and Henry Malkewitz formed the NAACP. A year later other prominent Jewish and Black leaders created the Urban League.

The American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the Anti-Defamation League were central to the campaign against racial prejudice. About 50 percent of the civil rights attorneys in the South during the 1960s were Jews, as were over 50 percent of the Whites who went to Mississippi in 1964 to challenge the Jim Crow Laws. I myself have tried to play a small part in the fight for equality and social justice.

In the end, the reason that I do not support Dolar is because of the content of her campaign, not the color of her skin. Just as MLK would have wanted.

Which begs the question: why is Naisy Dolar (or her supporters) playing racial politics? We expect this kind of divisive tactics from our alderman. It's a shame. On this day, Martin Luther King Day I say, Shame on you, Dolar (supporter), shame on you.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Your Alderman, Crook

We all know that Ald. Stone is corrupt. Part of the reason that we know this is that Berny flaunts his illegal activities. The arrogance of power.

The same can be said of his campaign. This afternoon, I noticed one of Stone's billboards and saw that it didn't have the required "Paid for" disclaimer. When I got home, I went and looked at one of the numerous signs that Stone's campaign had hung on chain link fences in the ward. Again, no disclaimer.

You might expect this from one of the challengers. They've never run before. But Stone has been running for office since the late 1950s. He has no excuse. The fact that his signs do not have the required disclaimer is evidence that he doesn't care that it's illegal. He'll do it anyway. Because he can.

What are you going to do about it? That's what he thought.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


50th Ward Voter #1: Did you hear Berny Stone's response to Alderman Troutman being arrested for accepting a $5,000 bribe?

50th Ward Voter #2: No, what did our alderman say?

50th Ward Voter #1: Stone said, "I'm not that cheap!"

Dolar Signs Go Up

Monday, January 08, 2007

Stone Not Corrupt? Yeah, Right.

Hugh asks, when does Stone get his turn in the box? Well, Hugh, this blog is all about turning out Ald. Stone. That's why we spend so much time dismissing the pretenders.

I don't know how many of you saw Avy Meyers' show last week (not worth watching, so I'll give you a recap), but Berny Stone acted offended that everyone thinks he's corrupt! Now understand, Berny likes to think of himself as an actor, so he "acts" a lot. Because he acts offended gives us no idea whether or not he was offended. All we can say is that he was acting.

All the ward's a stage, I suppose. Especially with Avy there to protect (and project) him.

But we have reason to believe that Stone was really offended. It's not a question of whether the alderman is corrupt. Stone is proud, PROUD I tell you, of his ties to the Chicago mob. It would seem reasonable that corruption is not something that would him. We don't even need to refer to Stone's vote for Todd Stroger to replace his father on the November ballot.

Stronger evidence of Stone's corruption can be found in his defense of patronage and other corrupt practices by the Chicago political machine. If you want to know what truly offends Ald. Stone, ask him how he feels about the Shakman decree!

There's a question we should ask all the candidates.

Stone walks like he's corrupt, and talks like he's corrupt. How can he be offended because the people of the 50th Ward simply assume that he's corrupt? (Until we see indications to the contrary, it's the safest thing to assume.)

The answer to this is that Berny Stone has the thinnest skin of any politician in Chicago. Maybe even the Thinnest Skin Ever! Think of the stereotype of the hysterical woman, that's our alderman. Maybe even more hysterical. Whenever Stone mentions his honorary as Chicago's Vice-Mayor, I always remember the talk at the time that Stone begged, pleaded and badgered his colleagues to win that title. It didn't mean anything, so it was an easy trophy to concede. It's no wonder that people say that Ilana wears the pants in the family!

Getting back to Stone's hack, Avy Meyers. Avy Meyers mentioned that he had invited the other candidates to appear on his show. I find that unbelievable. Imagine all three candidates turning down the chance to appear on local television! Is he for real?

Probably not. Meyers isn't a journalist. He's the mouthpiece for the machine in the 50th Ward. A real journalist would never accept a political position, but Meyers has. He is Stone's boy, bought and paid for. Maybe more evidence of corruption in the 50th Ward!

So when Patrick Fitzgerald gets done investigating the Governor and the Mayor, the 50th Ward would certainly be a good place to continue his war on the culture of corruption in Chicago. If Stone's not beaten this time, it may be our only hope. But before that, we have the opportunity to send Stone packing.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Salman Responds

I've written several times that I don't know why Naisy is running. I've invited her supporters to tell me what they think. This hasn't gotten much response. Instead, we've been treated to a "turn the tables" approach, with Curious questioning why Salman Aftab (who I'm not supporting, but try to cover, since he's in the race) is running.

Yesterday, Salman responded. You can find his explanation here. You can decide for yourself whether Salman answers the original questions posed (also in the thread).

In reading Salman's posting, it occurred to me how much the three challengers sound the same themes. This might explain why the shallow explanations on Naisy's (and even less detailed explanation in my own conversations with her) and Salman's website don't appeal to me. I like the effort made by the Brewer site, with it's more detailed consideration about what we could expect should he win election.

I agree that all the challengers in Chicago are hitting these same notes. While Chicagoans like the Mayor and share his passion for Chicago, there is some basic level of dissatisfaction that all challengers are trying to unearth. This is what I want to write about. What I want to know is, What differentiates the challengers? So I've been looking at this race through three questions:

  • Gravitas. How do the various challengers stack up against Ald. Stone? Can my neighbors imagine them replacing Stone?

  • Electability. Can the challenger beat Stone head-to-head?

  • Credibility. Who can we trust?

To my mind, Greg Brewer continues to stand head and shoulders above the rest. Berny Stone repeatedly singles Brewer out amongst his challengers, acting as if Brewer is his most credible challenger. My neighbors who have met all three seem to agree with that assessment.

But don't take my word for it. Read Salman's posting (link above). Check out the candidates. Curious is right, websites don't vote. But voters will continue to rely on websites to inform their decisions.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year Brings Changes

When I first met Naisy, I asked her why she was running. She basically told me she was entitled to be alderman. She had lived in the ward for 30 years. She'd worked in the Mayor's office, and hinted the idea to run came from there. Plus she's Asian American, and they're due.

Her logic did not resemble our earth logic.

I try to stay abreast of all the developments in this race. Not enough for JVM perhaps (I'm just a bystander), but enough to provide this place for people to kvetch. One of the things I do is visit everyone's websites regularly (Aftab's is up about 40% of the time I've looked). That gives me a good feel for them, so I notice when they get changed. Especially when there are major changes.

The New Year greets us with pretty substantial changes in Naisy's site. Not how it looks, although it could do with some improvement (looks like a cookie-cutter website to me). No, Naisy's changed what she says. Reason number one (as she told me) for running is gone. Kaput. Finito.

Her website used to say, "Naisy has lived in the West Ridge/Rogers Park area for over 30 years. Her family immigrated to the neighborhood from the Philippines when she was 3 years old. She now lives with her husband Ben, a Chicago police officer, raising their two young children, Benny and Levi." You can still find the cache of the old website by googling "About Naisy" and selecting the cache version (to the left of Similar pages at the very bottom).

This language has been changed to, "As a longtime resident of West Rogers Park," and, "Naisy’s family immigrated to the neighborhood from the Philippines when she was 3 years old. She now lives with her husband Ben, a Chicago police officer, raising their two young children, Benny and Levi in the same house where she grew up."

She lives in her parent's house? Is Naisy even a property taxpayer?

There's something going on around here. Something the voters of the 50th should hear. It doesn't make sense that Naisy would change "lived in the area for over 30 years" to "now lives in the same house where she grew up." It was the foundation of why she said she was running. That's bizarre. It doesn't make sense.