Alderman Debra Silverstein has made the economic health of the 50th Ward a priority. Over the last few years, many new businesses have opened in the 50th Ward – Starbucks, Ross Dress for Less, Petco, Chase Bank, Advance Auto Parts, Lickity Split Frozen Custard and Sweets, Relish Chicago and more. The 50th Ward has some of the most unique and diverse shops in the City of Chicago – and people are starting to take notice. New this year, Debra organized a weekly Community Market during the summer. Shoppers came from all over the city to see what the 50th Ward has to offer and to purchase unique gifts from our local businesses.
Another concrete step Debra has taken to bring businesses back to our neighborhood is the Devon Avenue Streetscape. Debra has worked with a coalition of business owners on Devon to make this multi-million dollar project a reality. Soon Devon will be safer, brighter, greener and more beautiful – drawing shoppers and businesses from all over the City of Chicago and beyond. Highlights of the project include wider sidewalks, street bump-outs for safety, new pedestrian-friendly street lights, brick pavers, flower planters, trees, seating pods and decorations designed specifically to beautify the business district.
The entire project will give Devon Avenue a much needed facelift all the way from Kedzie to Leavitt. Construction has begun on Phase One, between Sacramento and California. Make sure to stop by and see how Debra is improving business in the Ward.
As Alderman, Debra actively engages the business community and residents at every step of development and asks for their input. The 50th Ward has amazing people with great ideas. We need to get those ideas, publicize them, and make them a reality.
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Since taking office, Alderman Debra Silverstein has worked closely with 24th District Police Commander Thomas Waldera and 17th District Commander Jose Ramirez to combat crime and keep our neighborhood safe. She takes all safety concerns very seriously and wants to partner with you to keep this community a safe place to raise a family.
Debra has also organized several revolutionary multi-jurisdictional public safety stings together with the Chicago Police, Evanston Police and Cook County Sheriff's Department. These first-of-their-kind joint taskforces allowed the police officers to cut through much of the red tape and pursue criminals across municipal borders. We are affected not just by the safety in our neighborhood, but also in neighboring communities. Knowing this, Debra has paved the way for greater communication and collaboration between law enforcement in multiple cities – keeping us all safer.
Debra's focus on safety has attracted notice. In May of 2014, she received a Partnership Award from the Evanston Police Department for her work in curbing the dangerous situation centered around Sibling's Bar on Howard Street. Debra succeeded in collaborating between different cities and multiple police departments to address a pressing problem and improve the safety of our neighborhood.
Aiding the Police Department is not enough to keep us safe, though. We need community involvement. With this in mind, Debra has held several safety seminars where experts from the police and fire departments showed residents of the 50th Ward how to keep themselves and their families safe. She has organized police roll calls in parts of the ward that have seen gang activity. In addition, Debra has also brought the director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communication (OEMC), which maintains the 911 Call Center, to our neighborhood to train people in the best ways to get the police response they need.
Debra is always looking for new ways to keep our community safe and will continue to work with the police department, local business owners and residents of the 50th Ward to make sure that happens.
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The City of Chicago has world-class schools – many of them right here in the 50th Ward. Since taking office, Alderman Debra Silverstein has been a constant partner with Chicago Public Schools to ensure our schools have appropriate funding and are able to attract — and retain — the region's best teachers. She helped many local schools receive new lockers and air conditioning systems this year, so our children can learn in a comfortable and conducive environment, and she is working to ensure that all of our schools receive air conditioning in the near future.
Debra reaches out to administrators, teachers, and parent groups to talk about the issues that affect them. She holds regular principal's meetings to discuss how to improve our schools directly with the decision makers. Debra also hosted a series of Parent Educational Forums where community members were able to meet with representatives from neighboring elementary and high schools to learn about their children's educational options. She looks forward to working with you to discover new ways to improve our neighborhood schools and keep our children engaged and learning.
Education does not end with the teachers and parents, though – it is primarily about the students. We can have the best schools in the country, but if our children do not have the supplies they need to do their schoolwork, they will not be learning. To help remedy this problem, every year Debra holds a Back to School Event where she hands out hundreds of free backpacks stuffed with school supplies to children from across the neighborhood. It is so rewarding seeing our children excited about going back to school.
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SERVICES AND INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS
Alderman Debra Silverstein's office uses all the resources available to address your city service issues promptly and effectively, as well as improve the infrastructure in our neighborhood. Since being elected, Debra's office has helped fulfill thousands of service requests, ranging from graffiti removal to tree trimming to pothole repair. The 50th Ward Office is open every weekday to help residents cut through the red tape and get their requests for city services taken care of without any hassle.
Debra runs a responsive and efficient aldermanic office. Her staff is ready and willing to help you navigate through bureaucratic processes, such as applying for a business license or handling a zoning issue, or simply providing you with a new garbage can or informing you about city programs.
Debra is also committed to improving the infrastructure of the 50th Ward. Since 2011, she has installed new, pedestrian-friendly street lights on many of our blocks and has worked diligently to keep our storefronts graffiti free. One of her focuses has been on repairing our crumbling streets. Unfortunately, many of our neighborhood's streets have been allowed to fall into disrepair. Since taking office, Debra has completely resurfaced close to 100 of the 50th Ward's worst streets and has driven down every block in the Ward numerous times to identify more streets for repair.
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During her first term, Alderman Debra Silverstein pioneered several landmark pieces of legislation in the City Council. In 2012, she passed legislation protecting children from the dangers of indoor tanning. The ordinance she introduced has since inspired a statewide ban on indoor tanning for minors. Debra received an award from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) for spearheading this initiative.
At the request of the Chicago Fire Department, Debra also championed a proposal to require the placement of placards on dangerous and vacant buildings. These markers warn firefighters of hazardous conditions inside the building. She also passed a second ordinance requiring dispatchers to inform firefighters of buildings with dangerous truss construction prior to their arrival on the scene. Debra received an award from the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 for her work on behalf of our city's first responders.
Another important piece of legislation Debra passed was the Bed Bug Ordinance. This vital new law declares bed bugs to be a public nuisance. The ordinance requires landlords to provide extermination services by a qualified exterminator. It also requires tenants to notify their landlord of an infestation immediately and cooperate in the eradication process. Since this ordinance has taken effect, complaints about bed bug infestation and calls for service have already dropped.
In May of 2014, Debra co-sponsored the Chicago Sweat Free Procurement Ordinance. This ordinance had the support of the Asian Caucus, of which she is a member, and Chicago Fair Trade. In April of 2013, the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed and killed over 1,100 workers. The sub-standard and inhumane conditions in the factory were horrifying. Under the new ordinance, all contracted garment vendors and sub-contractors with the City of Chicago must sign affidavits stating there are no sweatshops within their supply chain. If the contractor fails to disclose this information with the city, the chief procurement officer will determine the contract is in default.
Alderman Silverstein has also co-sponsored several resolutions placing a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools.
Debra's main job is to represent you in the City Council. She believes strongly that the function of a government is to most effectively reflect the voice of the people – so she needs to hear from you. She is always seeking the opinions of her constituents about new and existing Chicago ordinances and laws.
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COMMUNICATION AND TRANSPARENCY
As your Alderman, Debra Silverstein believes that you have a right to know how she is representing you. With this in mind, Debra has made communication and transparency a highlight of her administration. Debra sends out a weekly email newsletter, detailing how she is improving our neighborhood and everything she has done as your voice in the City Council. If you do not receive the newsletter, please visit www.50thWardChicago.com to sign up.
Debra maintains an office in the 50th Ward at 2949 W. Devon. She holds open office hours every Monday evening where residents are invited to visit and discuss any issues and concerns directly with her. She is also available for appointments during the rest of the week and returns all phone calls directed to her. She is your Alderman, but also a member of the 50th Ward community. She wants to hear from you and help improve the neighborhood we all live in and care about.
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