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By Kevin Robinson in News on Jan 2, 2007 5:00PM

The ward west of Rogers Park, the 50th, is going to be one of the more interesting northside races this winter. Although most Chicagoist readers don't live there, it's worth noting, for several reasons. Bernie Stone, the sitting alderman, is facing two serious challengers. What's more, they are both credible, often a premium in ward races.

2007_1_trash.jpgOn December 30, Greg Brewer held a press conference to officially announce that he was throwing his hat in the ring. Greg Brewer is an architect and project manager with
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and founder of Citizens for Responsible Development. He also has a well-produced web page and a well-developed list of issues that he is running on.

Stone's other challenger is Naisy Dolar, who, while perhaps less media-savvy than the Brewer operation, has quite a bit of experience in the public and non-profit sectors, serving on the City of Chicago's Commission on Human Relations. We should also mention Salman Aftab, most likely the also-ran in this race. As far as we can tell, he's not formally filed to be on the ballot, and his campaign website appears to be a dead link.

Both of these campaigns echo some of the dissatisfaction that has been simmering in the 50th Ward: a stronger voice for the different constituencies in the ward, and greater control over the development of the neighborhoods that the community populates. While Stone has held office since the Nixon administration, he has often been accused of being a stalwart for the machine there, letting friends and other interests cash in at the expense of the people that live there while ignoring the needs of the ward. When Stone announced officially in November, he outlined his two main goals: to be the longest-serving alderman in the council, and to hand his seat over to his daughter when he retires (this is the cool new thing to do if you are a local pol). Conventional wisdom suggests that two candidates taking on a powerful sitting alderman can only be good for the incumbent. But Brewer has the backing of more than just his community group, and with so many seats in play this year, anything can happen.