50th Ward Alderman Bernie Stone may announce his retirement today. Alderman Stone is the vice-mayor and the powerful and exalted Chairman of the City Council Committee on Buffoonery. He took over from his predecessor, former 42nd Ward Alderman Burt Natarus. There will not be a power vacuum though. Alderman Stone has been grooming Alderman Ed Burke to succeed him.
Recently, Alderman Stone, during a debate on an ethics reform ordinance and the appointment of an Inspector General over the aldermen, made the following comment- “If you vote for this ordinance it will be political suicide. As we know, if you commit suicide, it will kill you.”
Stone is also known for a very important city project- the building of a $150,000.00 steel barricade wall down the center of Howard Street. The wall was to shield Chicago residents from the blight of a new shopping mall in Evanston. The wall was torn down by Mayor Daley, who never cared about wasting money.
Recently, two of Stone’s political workers were convicted of vote fraud regarding absentee ballots. Stone called the workers political prisoners. The judge, in sentencing them, stated they tried to steal Democracy. Stone claimed it was the judge and the city Inspector General who was stealing Democracy, not his workers. He had planned to hire them back upon their release from jail. Rumor has it he retained Amnesty International to investigate, advocate, and instigate upon their behalf.
When pictures surfaced of Stone napping during a City Council Meeting. He responded he had closed his eyes to digest what was being debated. More likely, he was trying to digest his lunch. The snores were really belly rumblings, one could guess.
It is a shame Bernie Stone is retiring. He brought color, laughter, and light to a boring dark serious body. He took buffoonery, clownishness, and the penchant for jester-like behavior to new highs. It is hoped is successor, Ed Burke can do the same. From some of his comments and actions, it will be business as usual.