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Ward Politics Fri Dec 02 2011
Since we're past the deadline for the City Council to agree on a new ward map, this is as good a time as any to start talking about it here.
For the record, I live in one area that will be affected by the remap process. I've been to meetings regarding the ward remap. This includes neighborhood meetings as well as public hearings about the remap.
If you've followed the stories about this we already know what the deal is. Basically the blacks of Chicago who have lost 180,000+ and the Latinos have gained 25,000+ people. Of course the Asians don't have enough numbers to justify giving that ethnic group their own ward. Also I read that even the city's Polish community want their own ward.
So now there's a new battle which was bound to brew as the City Council Black Caucus want to maintain as much of their city council representation as possible, while the Hispanic Caucus want to gain more representation on the City Council. So while the politicians continue to negotiate ward boundaries, many of those who are concerned about which ward they will lie remain in a sort of limbo until the politicians decide what map will past muster with not only their City Council colleagues, but with the courts as well.
In the 6th Ward, there are three neighborhoods -- Chesterfield, West Chesterfield, and Roseland Heights -- that are very concerned about what ward they will reside in for the next 10 years. If the Black Caucus proposal were to be accepted, those neighborhoods would instead be drawn into a much enlarged 9th Ward under Ald. Anthony Beale, which has lost significant population within the last decade. In those neighborhoods there is opposition mainly because they elected Ald. Roderick Sawyer into office earlier this year and they do not wish to be represented by someone they didn't vote for. Another reason is concern over property values or insurance rates.
Today, I'm sure those neighborhoods and others are holding their breaths on this remap. Since I've only seen one full proposal so far, I'm sure there are many around the city that are waiting to see how the ward map will look. The three neighborhoods of the 6th Ward are still waiting to see what ward they will reside in.
I forgot to note there are quite a few people who reside in those neighborhoods who wouldn't be sad if a few black wards were lost if it meant that they would remain in the 6th Ward. So the news of losing two wards in this remap process might make them happy. Although currently there's little information as to whether or not those neighborhoods will in fact not be drawn into the 9th Ward.