Last night, 500 Chicagoans packed an auditorium to fire-marshal capacity at the DePaul Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., in protest against City Council’s ward remap proposals. One thing was clear: There are some angry people in Lincoln Park. And Lakeview. And Logan Square, Back of the Yards, River North and Montclare. For more than three hours, residents aimed their outrage at the approximately 20 aldermen in attendance, offering countless variations on the theme of “we’re mad as hell.” Local alderman feeling the heat included Scott Waguespack (32nd), Dick Mell (33rd, chair of the hearing) and Tom Tunney (44th). Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), presided over his own weekly ward night along with a community zoning meeting; Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th) had a longstanding prior commitment, according to his office.
At issue: a pair of maps, one presented by City Council’s Hispanic caucus, commonly referred to as the Taxpayers Protection Map, and another by the African-American caucus, known as the Map for a Better Chicago. A third “Equity Map,” introduced by MALDEF, was a non-starter. More intriguing, a computer-drawn grid-based “pro bono” map so newly-filed that Ald. Dick Mell, chair of council’s rules committee, had yet to set eyes on it.
While there was much talk from the aldermen about “one man, one vote,” references to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and which map deviated more from the target population per ward, residents were more concerned with their neighborhoods, crying foul at the way both proposals summarily drew boundaries that tear apart longstanding communities in the name of political expediency. Even Mell was forced to concede, “I don’t think anybody likes either of these maps.”
Read complete coverage on our sister site, Roscoe View Journal.