Ward remap passes: 2nd Ward blown up, 3rd and 4th Wards split South Loop

Ald. Fioretti mounts last-ditch effort to delay map, but overruled by Emanuel, Burke

01/19/2012 12:00 PM

By Ben Meyerson

34 Comments - Add Your Comment

After months of backroom wheeling and dealing, the South Loop has gained a new alderman and lost another, as Ald. Bob Fioretti’s 2nd Ward has officially been blown up and banished to the North Side in Chicago's next ward remap.

The Chicago City Council unveiled its new ward boundaries Thursday morning at a special meeting, then promptly approved them minutes later.

The new map takes Fioretti’s 2nd Ward from the South Loop, West Loop and Near West Side, and turns it into a scribble-shaped ward that stretches from the Gold Coast to Ukrainian Village.

In the 2nd Ward’s wake, Ald. Pat Dowell’s 3rd Ward and Will Burns’ 4th Ward take over most of the South Loop, with Ald. Danny Solis taking a chunk as well.

In the West Loop and the Near West Side, Ald. Walter Burnett’s 27th Ward takes over most of the turf, with Solis taking a small chunk.

Fioretti’s home on Jackson Boulevard just east of Ashland Avenue has been added to the new 28th Ward, which has been gerrymandered to include his home by mere feet. The 28th Ward, which used to be mostly Austin and other Far West Side neighborhoods, now includes much of University Village.

When the council meeting began soon after copies of the new map were passed out, it was clear that Fioretti was outflanked. So with Ald. Nick Sposato from the Northwest Side — whose mostly white ward was being turned into a mostly Hispanic one — they tried to delay a vote on the map.

They were promptly rejected, though, and the council passed the new map by a vote of 41 to 8. Voting no were aldermen Fioretti, Scott Waguespack (32nd), Rey Colon (35th), Roderick Sawyer (6th), Michael Zalewski (23rd), Michael Chandler (24th), John Arena (45th) and Nick Sposato (36th). Toni Foulkes (15th) was absent.

The 41 votes in favor of the map mean that no referendum can be held on it. However, it doesn’t mean a lawsuit can’t be filed against the city, which could nullify the map.

After the vote, Fioretti said he was considering his options in terms of a lawsuit, but he would continue to serve the current 2nd Ward until 2015.

“The current map remains in effect until the next election, contrary to what thoughts are. We were elected to represent the political boundaries that were in effect for the last election,” Fioretti said. “Why was this done the way it was done? Who knows. This was controlled from the fifth floor and the silver-haired caucus. It was predictable.”

Fioretti also said he was going to be paying close attention to the new 2nd Ward boundaries, though he stopped short of saying he’d be campaigning for reelection there.

“I’m going to be listening very carefully to the new 2nd Ward,” Fioretti said.

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By Keep Voting D for your reward from South Loop
Posted: 01/23/2012 2:05 PM

What do the Wards that were butchered have in common? One thing is these Wards are where residents outworked the Democratic Machine to oust corrupt & ineffective incumbent pawns. Even w/ guaranteed single party rule, DEMOCRATS, who claim to represent the middle class, don’t like the results, so they changed the rules by stealing votes from 250,000+ citizens with a crayon. But in 3 months, the same group will start up the 'Voter Disenfranchisement Campaign' because of Voter ID requirements.

By Jon from South Loop
Posted: 01/23/2012 7:27 AM

I agree with Schroeder. I read about the public hearings (what a joke they turned out to be) and it does not appear that the map that passed was ever made available to the public for comment. I'm really unhappy that my ward completely disappeared and the South Loop is now mainly in two wards with even smaller parts in two others.

By Paul from University Village
Posted: 01/23/2012 0:34 AM

I don't know how the heck I ended up in Balcer's Bridgeport ward. It must be because I'm white. I wonder what the reaction would be if the ward representing Lincon Park was "blown up.".

By David Schroeder from Sloop
Posted: 01/22/2012 9:50 PM

I attended the public hearing in Lincoln Park last week and the map that was passed was not one of the ones we were shown. Thus the map that as passed was passed with no input from the public whatsoever. I am not happy that my neighborhood, the South loop, is cut up into at least four wards. There are some neighborhoods that are cut up even worse. This map is a travesty and does not do what the vast majority of people in the city wanted - keeping their neighborhoods together.

By Cole Anderson from South Loop
Posted: 01/22/2012 9:46 PM

The only justification for having 50 aldermen is so that as many neighborhoods as possible can be represented in the council. When the wards are drawn to carve up neighborhoods to protect incumbents and for blatantly racial reasons, there is no longer any need to have 50 wards. The best revenge the voters could have is to have the number of wards reduced to 25 or even 15.

By South loop resident from South loop
Posted: 01/22/2012 2:59 PM

We south loopers have helped revitalize an abandon industrial wasteland and this little problem of horrible leadership should be no problem for us to correct come election time. I have a feeling this will be a little too much for current aldermen to deal with when the time comes. We got rid of \'the hat\' and we can get rid of dowdell and her cronies. I can\'t wait.

By South loop resident from South loop
Posted: 01/22/2012 2:58 PM

We south loopers have helped revitalize an abandon industrial wasteland and this little problem of horrible leadership should be no problem for us to correct come election time. I have a feeling this will be a little too much for current aldermen to deal with when the time comes. We got rid of 'the hat' and we can get rid of dowdell and her cronies. I can't wait.

By Anonymous from SLoop
Posted: 01/22/2012 9:59 AM

Fioretti said on Fox this am he will be representing the 2nd ward (the new one) come 2015.

By Mike from Printers Row
Posted: 01/21/2012 9:18 AM

I usually don\'t comment on articles but after digesting what has happened, I feel the need to join the masses on how idiotic this remapping is. I just don\'t see how one alderman can fill the different needs that all these neighborhoods demand. I hope that we stay on top of how things get done and are able to make the correct changes on voting day!

By Charles from West Loop
Posted: 01/20/2012 9:08 PM

According to an article in the Tribune today , the supreme court today ruled in a TX case that redistricting is the role of the legislative body, ie. the city council. Judging from Fioretti's comment that he will be listening to the new 2nd ward...it will be like when he ran for mayor, campaigning in the other 49 wards and not here for the 2nd ward. Also, to clarify, Skinner was always in the 27th ward. Burnett is a good alderman. Burnett and Solis can get things done, not just take credit.

By Claudeah from united center
Posted: 01/20/2012 5:40 PM

I mean 21st century.

By Claudeah from united center
Posted: 01/20/2012 5:39 PM

I mean 21st century.

By Claudeah from united center
Posted: 01/20/2012 4:17 PM

I so agree with "it's not legal". Someone needs to sue and bring this city into the 20th century. If what you say about the Supreme Court case is true, this is a slam dunk. This craziness has to end. Maybe would should have an "occupy city hall" and not leave until they make sense. Then again, we may all die in place before the old guard understands the new citizens. Argh

By mary from 6th WARD
Posted: 01/20/2012 4:04 PM

It sucks! This remap benefits the alderpersons and not the voting public or the city. They were thinking about personal gain not representing the rights and needs of their constituents. The political system is the main problem here in Chicago because residents are identified by race and ethnicity and goods and services are allocated based on those factors. Race is still an issue in 2011.

By It's not Legal from South Loop
Posted: 01/20/2012 1:39 PM

It's not legal & would be easily overturned. The supreme court has upheld many times since the early 1990's that even in trying to fulfill the equal protection act, that if a government entity gerrymanders a district into a bizarre shape on purely racial considerations, the government entity must have a compelling interest (a near impossibility), and even assuming such an interest exists, the government entity must be narrowly tailored to meet that. They would be caught in a lie, case closed.

By Brian from South Loop/Printer's Row
Posted: 01/20/2012 12:11 PM

I understand the political benefit to the aldermen. What exactly are the benefits to the citizens? This is ridiculous. Why not just chunk it up into equally sized sections in as much of a grid system as possible to make garbage collection, etc more efficient. If the only change is on racial lines, both figuratively and literally, how is this even legal? Also what did Fioretti do to piss someone off?

By Ryan from Loop
Posted: 01/20/2012 10:31 AM

This is such a disgrace. I live in the loop, but now I am somehow part of Pilsen?!? However, my neighbors across the street are still part of the loop. The alderman know they are worthless so they've insulated themselves from scrutiny in the ultimate of gerrymandering.

By David
Posted: 01/20/2012 10:28 AM

I live on the Near West Side at Monroe and Morgan and to my knowledge I'm in the 25th ward now and Danny Solis is my new alderman, is this correct? This butchering is unbelievable.

By J from West Loop
Posted: 01/20/2012 9:43 AM

As a voter and as a 2nd Ward resident, this whole process has been both disgusting and disappointing. Chicago politics at it's worst and something I'll remember when it comes time to vote.

By Anon from 2nd ward
Posted: 01/20/2012 7:57 AM

This whole map is racist. Purposely splitting up established neighborhoods. I hope someone sues, because it is clearly an abomination.

By Tom Besore from New East Side
Posted: 01/20/2012 6:12 AM

This is the clearest example yet as to why Chicago ought to be redistricted into 25 Wards instead of 50.

By Daniel from south loop
Posted: 01/19/2012 11:30 PM

Pay attention to how these racists not only carved up the S. LOOP to the 4th Ward (the S Loop is south to Roosevelt), and the Near South (Roosevelt to I-55) to 3rd Ward, but note how they cleverly divided up all the schools of the old 2nd Ward [S Loop, Jones, Skinner, Whitney-(border 2nd ward)] to all the other non-caucasian Alderman. 1. CPS does not want an organized cohesive voice getting in their way. 2. They apparently don't want caucasian Alderman representing you crackers.

By Vote DO-nothing-WELL out in 2015 from I don't know yet!
Posted: 01/19/2012 10:51 PM

Well you can thank to your new "Hope & Change" regime backed political class for much of this work behind the scenes, including Cook County President Precwinkle, 3rd Ward Alderman DO-nothing-WELL, and a host of others. The things I was informed that Alderman Dowell would say about Alderman Fioretti behind closed doors was downright alarming. The residents first objective should be finding a real leader for the 3rd Ward and how to vote Dowell out of office come 2015.

By RB from Near North
Posted: 01/19/2012 9:52 PM

While the official start of the new wards may be 3 years from now, my official-current alderman has already told me point blank that she will no longer take any calls from my part of town.

By Anonymous from South Loop
Posted: 01/19/2012 9:49 PM

"The ordinance says that it takes effect upon passage and publication." - from page 59. Effective date should have no impact on whether someone can or will sue, and also does not effect the March committeeman elections. If you live in a condo, I think you may want to check which alderman with whom you should file your scavenger rebate. If you own a restaurant, check to see who has to sign off on your permit for an outdoor cafe.

By jessica from East Village
Posted: 01/19/2012 8:51 PM

This is appalling. This map tears up my neighborhood and puts me in the blown-up 2nd Ward where nobody in the neighborhood has any relationships with that aldermanic office and are now awkwardly lumped in with the LOOP? This makes no sense whatsoever.

By claudeah from united center
Posted: 01/19/2012 8:33 PM

Instead of bringing people together, this new ward map tore communities apart. The alderman should be ashamed of themselves. But I did see that Burnett got to keep his prizes and added one more. The UC, 911, Skinner Park and School, Police Academy and now Rush. Those of us on the near westside 2nd ward are vocal. Burnett will find that out.

By David from Mont Clare
Posted: 01/19/2012 8:01 PM

This whole thing is absolutely ridiculous, I can\'t stand to lose a great alderman like Nick Sposato. I\'m being switched by 500 feet, the street I park on will stay in the 36th yet I\'ll live in the 29th. Also, please change the color of either the 29th or the 36th, they\'re the same color and they\'re next to each other.

By Here4ever from South Loop
Posted: 01/19/2012 5:55 PM

JP's statement is misleading. There will be an election before these new boundries take effect, not as you imply that suddenly those that voted for Fioretti will be moved. His behavior at the meeting today? Not surprising. He ran for three different offices in the past 2 years. Before long he will be out of the job he settled on. Bob did what every politician does-not neccssarly bad. What is bad is the attitude that reformers have that they are somehow more pure. Bob lost today.

By Anonymous
Posted: 01/19/2012 5:09 PM

Anon 2:27 is incorrect, the new ward map takes effect when aldermen are sworn into office in 2015. Plenty of time for a costly lawsuit.

By George
Posted: 01/19/2012 4:23 PM


By JP from S Loop
Posted: 01/19/2012 3:50 PM

Nice job getting this and the map up so quickly Ben. I went to a couple of the hearings and voter after voter spoke to not breaking up communities and finding a way not to concentrate on racial gerrymandering. All a big waste of time. In the end those in power maintained it and those not in power were left behind. It is ridiculous that the new 2nd ward contains not one voter who elected Fioretti, and that the voters who did are now in wards belonging to five "new" alderman.

By Drew from Near West Side
Posted: 01/19/2012 2:29 PM

It is a shame that they had to do that to the 2nd ward. As, apparent from the vote earlier, a former 2nd ward resident, I really liked Fioretti and although I don\'t know Mr. Burnett I think a lot has been accomplished under Mr Fioretti\'s watch and he will be a hard act to follow. I just wish these people could be a little more forthcoming and stop the behind the curtain politics that Chicago is so well known for.

By Anonymous from South Loop
Posted: 01/19/2012 2:27 PM

The Clerk has posted the map, http://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1044420&GUID=E79A7FED-2C2D-4F61-AF3A-F07492D845BD&Options=Advanced&Search=. The ordinance says that it takes effect upon passage and publication.