Deal Looks Close to OK Map for Better Chicago; Better for Whom?

By Patty Wetli | Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Despite protests from residents, City Council looks poised to accept the Map for Better Chicago ward remap proposal. Credit: Sarah Tilotta

The standoff between City Council’s African-American and Hispanic caucuses looks close to a resolution, with a vote on a new ward map possibly coming as soon as Thursday, Jan. 19. For the hundreds of residents who packed last week’s ward remap public hearing at DePaul, pleading for their voices to be heard, this won’t come as welcome news.

Aldermen appear to have reached a deal to accept the Map for a Better Chicago proposed by the Black Caucus, a map that residents from River North to Galewood and Back of the Yards to Lakeview rejected as better only for council members, not the city or its people. The map parcels portions of Lincoln Park into four different wards, splits the Southport corridor down the center and airlifts the 2nd Ward, along with Ald. Bob Fioretti, from its South Loop home to the North Side.

Council members are still seeking reassurance from experts that the Better Chicago map could withstand legal challenges. At issue: the requirement that Chicago’s two and a half million residents be divided somewhat equally among the city’s 50 wards. At last week’s hearing, Ald. Smith noted that the Black Caucus map placed a greater number of residents in North Side wards and fell below the target number, 53,912, in several South Side wards. “It’s so unbalanced,” she said. “It destroys what’s important to Chicago, which is our neighborhoods.”


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