During last night’s first 47th Ward Council meeting, Ald. Ameya Pawar provided some insight into the City Council remap process when answering a council member’s question.
“I went into the map room, which was for me was interesting because it was kinda like cloak and dagger,” said Pawar. “There was this conference room with curtains on the inside. You pulled the curtain apart and then you went to a computer. Someone asked, ‘What do you want to get rid of?’ and I said, ‘Nothing.’”
A Chicago City Council remap committee, led by Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), is currently negotiating a new ward boundary map, the first since 1996. Since the 2010 Census found Chicago lost over 200,000 residents since 2000, there are expected to some some significant boundary shifts. Pawar told the Ward Council last night that the 47th Ward is probably going to shrink and move south, although it was not clear to him by how much.
“Look, the natural progression of things is going to move south,” he said. “We have to shrink by about 2,000 people. But it’s not that easy because we’re really dense on our borders. So, it’s not that simple. It really, really just depends on what how they move and what kind of map they present.
“I don’t see the ward changing drastically. I think we’re probably going to move a little bit. We have to shrink but not that much. What’s nice is that we’ve been really stable. There are wards, for example Brendan Reilly’s ward downtown where he’s got to shed 15 or 20 thousand people because of the amount of development downtown.”
Pawar also does not think North Side wards are likely to change much, since most of the city’s demographic shift occurred on the South and West Sides of the city.
“A lot of the problems with redistricting aren’t going to happen up here, up north and northwest. It’s about what happens in the South and West sides. That’s what’s driving it. 200,000 people left the city, and a significant portion of that were african-americans. The battle really is between the hispanic alderman and the african-american alderman about who picks up a seat and who doesn’t and how to draw those lines.”
“I can probably assume there’s going to be a lawsuit.”