Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

50TH WARD INCUMBENT: BERNARD STONE
2007-02-21

This article shared 4317 times since Wed Feb 21, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


BY MEGHAN STREIT

Ald. Bernard Stone is one of few remaining aldermen who was on Chicago's city council during the infamous 'Council Wars'—the infamous political gridlock that followed the election of Mayor Harold Washington in 1983. Stone has attended countless meetings and watched more than three decades of Chicago history unfold. Still, the 79-year-old is not ready to retire. Although his council seat is one of the most hotly contested this election cycle, Stone is determined to represent the 50th Ward for another four years.

Windy City Times: What do you think are the most pressing issues facing Chicago—and the 50th Ward, specifically?

Bernard Stone: Probably the single most pressing issue facing the city as a whole is probably affordable housing. Too many people haven't got decent housing, and it's a problem that we've been facing for a number of years. We've been trying to meet it, perhaps not as fast as some people would like, but we have been making headway.

The mayor currently has a set-aside ordinance before the council. It's not as much as some people would like, but it's more than others would like. That's the fact of legislation—you never please everybody.

You've also got to understand that my ward is 35 percent senior citizens, and we've always had a large amount of affordable housing. The major set-aside for affordable housing has been for senior citizens.

WCT: In connection to affordable housing, what about the issue of jobs?

BS: It's a major problem citywide, but not a major problem in my community. Certainly it's a major problem, particularly in areas like in the Black and Latino areas because that has always been a real problem. That's one of the reasons I've always been active in job training. One of the things that I worked on particularly, with Ald. Ed Smith, [ has been ] job training in the moving industry, which has helped young African-American men get training in the moving industry.

WCT: How do you think the city of Chicago could do to make this city friendlier to the LGBT community?

BS: I've had problems that concern different nationalities, I've never had a problem concerning gender problems. I don't think there's any particular prejudice against gays and lesbians.

I have a large segment of Orthodox Jews who have an in-built prejudice against gays and lesbians. It's part of their religious training. But on the other hand, Jews are, by nature, extremely liberal.

I've got to say that my very first piece of legislation that I ever placed in the council—and I'm talking thirty-three and a half years ago—was when Cliff Kelley came to me with a piece of legislation that concerned civil liberties towards gays and lesbians. And when I read it, I didn't even know what it was. Cliff explained to me, 'This is civil liberties.' And, of course, my Catholic friends said, 'Don't you dare sign it.' And this was the first piece of legislation ever thrown at me.

WCT: And this was what year?

BS: 1973.

WCT: So what did you do?

BS: I didn't sign it—even though I was certainly for something that had to do with civil liberties. And Cliff was one of my good friends too. Cliff said, 'Alright, pass on this one. It's a little hard for a guy in his first meeting.' It wasn't going anywhere anyway. Now, needless to say, when the issue became strong during the Harold Washington [ administration ] , I was a key vote, and I did vote for the legislation—to the consternation to some of my close friends. But by this time, the sides were drawn, and the issue became clearly a question of 'Do you treat people as people?'

It was interesting. I went to talk to one of the leading rabbis in my ward. In [ the Seven Laws of ] Noah, there's a statement that says [ homosexuality ] is an abomination. And I said, 'Rabbi, how do you justify this statement?' And he said, 'While I do not condone this lifestyle, it is absolutely unacceptable that everybody isn't entitled to have a right to be whatever they feel like being.'

WCT: And is that how you feel?

BS: Yes. That was clearly the moving point...

WCT: Since that time, a lot has changed. If the Illinois legislature were to try to take steps to legalize same-sex marriage, would you support it?

BS: I have no reservation on that. I have no reservation even on raising children. I certainly have no reservation as to time off, and things of that nature. I voted for all of those pieces of legislation. I'm certainly not homophobic. [ We are ] way beyond the point at which we thought [ homosexuality ] was a disease, or things of that nature. I don't have to do this for political reasons. I do not have a large gay population. I don't need to play to the population for votes. It's just a question of how do you feel as a matter of right.

WCT: You've certainly put your time in serving on city council. What made you decide to run again?

BS: I enjoy working with people and I enjoy helping people, so why the heck shouldn't I run again? I enjoy doing what I do, and someone who doesn't have the experience I have, who doesn't understand really what the job's about, and can't perform to the extent that I can perform, can't help the people to the extent that I can help the people and, quite frankly, isn't qualified to help the people as much as I am qualified to help the people.

WCT: In the 33 years that you've been on the council, what is the one thing you are most proud of?

Well, it's probably a couple of things—most recently, saving Thillens Stadium. The next couple of generations of young children can have an outlet of energy, and play ball. Even my generation played ball at Thillens Stadium. So maybe my grandchildren's generation, and maybe even the generation following that, will be playing ball at Thillens Stadium.

There are a couple of other things, however. I'm the guy who started and was able to accomplish the Welcome Home Vietnam Parade. Nobody knows that. They did a piece in the Tribune Magazine about it. In one line in the article said, 'Ald. Stone introduced the ordinance.' But I did, and I'm very proud of it because Chicago is the first city that welcomed home the veterans.

WCT: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

BS: I'll tell you one thing. I'm not going to apologize for the fact that I'm a senior citizen.


This article shared 4317 times since Wed Feb 21, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

NATIONAL Military bill, LGBTQ teen, trans deaths, Pride items, children's book 2021-05-09
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that directs the Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs in the Garden State to assist former Armed Forces service members who were denied an honorable discharge due to ...


Gay News

POLITICS U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos to step down 2021-05-03
- U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois) announced she would retire from Congress after this term, Politico reported. Bustos had stepped down from leading the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee after shepherding the ...


Gay News

WORLD Caribbean group, hate crime, 'Queen of the Pacific,' volcano wedding 2021-05-02
- A Caribbean advocacy group launched a fund to help LGBTQ people who have been impacted by the eruption of a volcano on the island of St. Vincent, The Washington Blade reported. The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Black trans candidate, travel case, trans death, CEO fired 2021-05-02
- RuPaul's Drag Race alum Honey Mahogany—who currently holds a vice-chair seat in her local County Central Committee—announced that she will be seeking the role of chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party when current Party Chair ...


Gay News

Coalition of aldermen announces Chicago City Council's Democratic Socialist Caucus 2021-05-01
- Chicago, Illinois (May 1, 2021) — Today, five aldermen announced the formal creation of the Democratic Socialist Caucus of the Chicago City Council. The founding members of the caucus - Aldermen Daniel La Spata (1), Jeanette ...


Gay News

Victory Institute launches LGBTQ political history website 2021-04-30
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Institute — the only organization dedicated to identifying and supporting LGBTQ public leaders — released its new website "Pride & Progress: A history of LGBTQ political power in the United ...


Gay News

Former, current Chicago aldermen facing multiple charges 2021-04-29
- On April 29, former 22nd Ward Ald. Ricardo Munoz was indicted on federal charges alleging he spent cash from a political fund he controlled on sports tickets, travel, meals and other personal expenses, The Chicago Tribune ...


Gay News

LGBTQ appointments in 100 days of Biden/Harris administration off to a historic start 2021-04-29
--From a press release - Washington, DC — One-hundred days into his presidency, President Joe Biden has appointed at least 200 known LGBTQ appointees to his administration, exponentially more than any other president at this point in their administration. Among them ...


Gay News

Mayor Lightfoot announces launch of Open Chicago 2021-04-29
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced the launch of Open Chicago, the latest initiative to safely and fully reopen the city. Open Chicago's initial programming will feature activated, re-imagined, and pop-up spaces for Chicago ...


Gay News

HRC celebrates advancements in LGBTQ rights over Pres. Biden's first 100 days 2021-04-29
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — Today marks the 100th day of President Joseph R. Biden's presidency. In response, Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign, released the following statement celebrating the many steps the Biden Administration has ...


Gay News

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund reacts to joint address by President Biden 2021-04-29
- Statement from Kierra Johnson, ED, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund: "Tonight, the President laid out a broad agenda that would improve the lives of diverse LGBTQ people in this country in so many ways, from ...


Gay News

Yet another governor signs anti-trans bill 2021-04-28
- West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill that bans transgender athletes from competing in female sports in middle and high schools and colleges, The Seattle Times noted. Bills seeking to ban transgender girls from competing ...


Gay News

Hate mail threatening Obamas, Biden, Harris sent to DuSable 2021-04-28
- The Secret Service is investigating six threatening letters sent to the DuSable Museum of African American History that mention President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the Obama family, among others, The Chicago Tribune reported. ...


Gay News

More than 400 major U.S. corporations register unprecedented support for Equality Act 2021-04-27
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Business Coalition for the Equality Act (https://www.hrc.org/resources/business-coalition-for-equality) announced it has grown to include more than 400 major U.S. corporations (including dozens ...


Gay News

New Center for Applied Transgender Studies responds to trans misinformation 2021-04-27
- Combatting bad information and promoting accurate education on transgender issues are the focuses at the Center for Applied Transgender Studies, which officially opened March 31. The independent, nonprofit, research organization ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.