Compromise looms, but few details emerge at city hall remap meeting
01/18/2012 10:00 PM
Chicago’s political battle lines are being redrawn, and the new aldermanic ward boundaries increasingly look like they’ll be along the lines of a map presented by the city council’s Black Caucus.
That map would notably move the 2nd Ward from the South and West Loop and turn it into a narrow ward snaking through Lincoln Park and into Logan Square on city’s North Side.
Lincoln Park would be divided into several more wards than it’s currently in, and current 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti’s home on the Near West Side would be connected via a narrow tendril to Bridgeport’s 11th Ward, effectively cramming him into a ward with Ald. Jim Balcer.
At a ward remap hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 17, several residents testified about the map, but during the course of the entire meeting, there was no mention of a proposed compromise map, even though the City Council could have voted on it as early as the next day, Wednesday.
During the course of the hearing, none of the aldermen in attendance made any mention of a compromise map. On Tuesday evening, Chicago Sun-Times reported that the aldermen were close to arriving at one — though the coalition that signed on to the Taxpayer Protection Map reserved the right to withdraw their support if it didn’t pass legal muster.
When asked about the compromise map after the meeting, Ald. Richard Mell (33rd), the chairman of the Rules Committee, responded that while the aldermen had a few small details to work out, the compromise map should be ready for a vote by Thursday. He indicated that the map would be largely based around the Map for the Better Chicago proposal.
If the map was ready, it was set to go before the City Council at the special 10:00 a.m. session on Wednesday. A compromise map needs 41 votes to pass — otherwise, any group of 10 aldermen could submit a map of their own, which would then go to referendum.
As of Wednesday morning, only Ald. Nick Sposato (36th) and Ald. Michael Zelewski (23rd) declined to support any proposal. That gives the aldermen who signed on to the Taxpayer Protection Map and Map for a Better Chicago proposals more than enough votes to avoid referendum.
However, this scenario assumes that all aldermen that support Taxpayer Protection Map proposal would vote for the compromise. Some of those aldermen would be remapped out of their own wards, with Fioretti (2nd) being one of the most prominent examples. If enough of the Taxpayer Protection Map-backing aldermen vote against the compromise, the referendum may be triggered after all.
When a map is eventually approved, the new ward boundaries will not go into effect until the 2015 municipal elections.
Wednesday’s city council meeting had not finished by Chicago Journal’s deadline.