Salman Aftab, front, endorses Ald. Bernie Stone, 50th Ward, during a press conference at Chicago’s City Hall Tuesday on March 27, 2007.
It’s six years since the late, long-serving Ald. Bernie Stone lost his 50th ward seat to Debra Silverstein in a bitter fight.
But don’t let Silverstein’s gesture of pushing to name a revamped far North Side park in Stone’s honor fool you. There doesn’t seem to be too much love lost between Silverstein and the Stone clan.
The colorful Stone, who passed in 2014, held the ward for the better part of four decades before he was beaten in a 2011 runoff by Silverstein, who he had memorably dismissed as "nothing but a housewife."
Silverstein last week presented the decision to rename the park to honor Stone as a magnanimous move, saying she was "not a person who lives in the past."
Stone’s daughter and longtime assistant, Ilana Feketitsch, might not be ready to sing kumbaya, however.
"This is something I’ve been fighting for for two years," Feketitsch told Chicago Inc. about the park plans. "I had to ask another alderman to intervene for me."
Silverstein disputed that. "She didn’t push with me," Silverstein countered, incredulously.
But Feketitsch says she remains so upset by the "nastiness" of Silverstein’s campaign that she has quit politics and moved to Arizona.
"I was shocked at the dishonesty and meanness of some people," Feketitsch said. "The way they’d just dig their claws into you."
"I can’t stand politics any more."
Optimistic 50th ward residents may find hope in the fact that Silverstein has invited Feketitsch to what may prove an awkward unveiling ceremony for the park later this summer, and that Feketitsch plans to attend.
"She’s been OK and she did invite me," Feketitsch said of Silverstein. "She never answered me when I wrote to her, but it’s being done, and I’m happy."
Silverstein agreed with that last part, at least.
"I’m sure she’s very happy," Silverstein said.