Alderman Stone: My Reelection Would Be a Savings to Taxpayers | Bleader

Friday, September 17, 2010

Alderman Stone: My Reelection Would Be a Savings to Taxpayers

Posted By on 09.17.10 at 11:27 AM

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As city officials search for ways to help close a historic $655 million deficit, 50th Ward alderman Bernard Stone thinks his constituents could pony up and provide some solutions.

"The taxpayers will actually save money by reelecting me," he says, estimating he’ll collect $90,000 a year in pension payments on top of an additional lump sum of $200,000 should he retire or lose in this winter's municipal election.

That would make an interesting campaign slogan, but Stone says he’s not sure if he’ll run for another term. Stone has long said he'd like to become the oldest sitting alderman in the City Council, a title currently held by former 25th Ward alderman Vito Marzullo, who threw in the towel at age 89 in 1985. In order for Stone to beat that record, he’d have to win reelection in the upcoming municipal election and again in 2015. The City Council veteran told me he was ready to walk away from that dream and join some of his colleagues in retiring from the City Council, but he says he might reconsider those plans now that Mayor Daley has announced he won’t seek reelection.

“You’re going to need some experienced hands. Some of the candidates running for mayor don’t know a damned thing about city government,” Stone told me, singling out White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Cook County sheriff Tom Dart.

Stone says he'll make a decision next week on whether he'll run, but one of Stone’s potential opponents, architect Greg Brewer, believes the cards are stacked against Stone now that Mayor Daley is bowing out. Brewer ran against Stone in 2007 and got knocked out of the running in the February municipal election, when he received about 18 percent of the total votes cast. Stone got less than half the votes and was pulled into the April run-off election against Naisy Dolar, who would have been the City Council’s first Asian-American alderman had she won. (Dolar has since moved to Florida and opened up her own Filipino barbecue restaurant called Sweet Racks.)

Stone credits Mayor Daley for being "extremely helpful" to his fund-raising efforts during the 2007 elections, and his campaign disclosure forms tell a similar story. During that time, Stone received $22,500 from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, a close ally to the mayor, and $3,000 from Walmart, a member of the chamber whose expansion efforts in Chicago have received a great deal of support from the mayor.

While he thinks he can muster another win without the backing of Mayor Daley, Stone told me it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he lost.

"If I win, I win. If I lose, I lose. At my age, so what?” he says. “The worst thing that’ll happen to me is I’ll get a good pension."

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