Good Luck to all 48Th Ward Aldermanic Candidates The Chicago Sun-Times take..

Candidates blast political insiders
By Stefano Esposito Staff Feb 17, 2011 02:08AM
"Harry, could you please tell me how you think we could change the 48th Ward and make it better?" asked candidate Patrick McDonough, turning to the freckle-faced doll, a stand-in for state Rep. Harry Osterman.
The ensuing silence was a funny moment in a race with a nasty edge. McDonough, a Department of Water Management worker who hosted the debate as a feature on his political website, and wine merchant Philip R. Bernstein say the ward has been governed for too long by political insiders. They point to the fact that Mary Ann Smith, the current alderman, once worked for the late Kathy Osterman, who was Harry Osterman's mother and was alderman here until 1989.
Harry Osterman said he's his own man and is focused on talking directly to the voters — as he has for the last 11 years as a legislator.
"I'm out engaging the voters and running a campaign that's focused on the issues that people care about in our community," said Osterman, 43.
Both Osterman and Bernstein, 63, said expanding Andersonville's thriving retail to other parts of the ward is key.
Bernstein said the powers that be haven't done enough to either encourage quality retail in struggling areas or shift lower-quality shops elsewhere.
"They need to be relocated to areas where they're better supported," Bernstein said. "You don't take up a major thoroughfare like Broadway and populate it with used-car shops."
Bernstein said he would use his business background to reach out to thriving businesses in other neighborhoods and encourage them to come to the 48th Ward.
Osterman said, among other things, that he would work with existing neighborhood businesses, offering them tax-increment financing funds to encourage them to expand elsewhere in the ward, a tactic that he said already had some success .
McDonough said he's focused on shaking up the establishment and making sure all basic services get delivered to residents.
"It's not glamorous, but that's what people are paying taxes for," said McDonough, 50. "You're not paying taxes for pretty flags and all sorts of other pretty things."
Candidate Steve Chereska, a juvenile detention counselor, said he would seek federal funding to boost tourism in the ward, which also includes part of the lakefront.
Chereska said his lack of political experience is an asset.
"I'm a fresh face, a young guy who can't be influenced," said Chereska, 35. "I'm able to say no. It seems to me that a lot of people haven't said no for a while. That's why we have a lot of deficits and mismanaged money."
The election is Tuesday.
Thank you Chicago Sun-Times. I wish all the candidates in the 48Th Ward would debate the issues. We have some fine candidates and the voters want to know where we stand on the issues.