After allowing about five minutes to inspect the proposed map, the Chicago City Council Rules committee met and passed a new ward map for the city at about 9:30 this morning. Then, within the hour, the City Council passed the newly drawn map 41-8.
The new map closely follows the previously proposed Black Caucus map, which moves the 47th Ward northern boundaries south and puts more of Roscoe Village into the 47th Ward. The 47th Ward now extends to Clark St. in the west, while the 32nd Ward now goes as far east as Racine Ave. The biggest change is the reconstitution of the 2nd Ward, in a tangled ward that runs from the Gold Coast to Ukrainian Village along North Avenue.
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), voted no against the proposed map, along with Fioretti (2nd), Sawyer (6th), Zalewski (23rd), Chandler (24th), Waguespack (32nd), Colon (35th), Sposato (36th), Arena (45th). Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th) was absent.
For voters following the remap process, probably the most stunning aspect was how little the public was involved in the process. There was little indication at last week’s City Council field hearings that the 2nd Ward would be draw the way it was, nor was there any indication that the 32nd Ward would move to cover parts of Logan Square.
Freshman 47th Ward Ald. Ameya Pawar says the most important thing is that his ward has kept most of the same boundaries.
“I think at the end of the day they are political boundaries and I was working within the process that was set up. I wasn’t going throw rocks at the process because I was trying to keep as much of the 47th Ward as intact as possible,” Pawar said. “If you look at our map [from] yesterday, we haven’t changed that much. We’ve kept as many of the neighborhoods intact as we could. It was a long four month process.”
For election and official representational purposes, the boundaries do not take affect until the 2015 Aldermanic elections. Therefore this March’s ward committeeman elections will follow the old boundaries, which suits 32nd Ward Committeeman (and County Commissioner) John Fritchey, who is competing for reelection against 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack.
“In my role as County Commissioner, I represent pieces of 13 different wards. Having certain changes made doesn’t change my long term goal for working for whoever I may represent. Being in office as long as I have has taught me that most folks share a lot of common concerns,” said Fritchey.
The new ward boundaries will also create a challenge for the new 47th Ward Council, which will need to cut out certain areas and add others. For those Ward Council representatives mapped out of the 47th Ward, the loss of aldermanic access come as a shock, since neither 32nd Ward Ald. Waguespack or 40th Ward Ald. Pat O’Connor have anything like ward councils.
Pawar says he’ll do his best to spread the ward council idea, however. “We’re going switch over in a year or so. I’m not going to jump to anything, because I have to talk to my colleagues,” he said.