Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Recap of the Black Caucus ward remap hearing...

Click pic for a larger resoluation!
Sidenote: The map at the top is the publicly released 50 ward map proposed by the City Council Black Caucus provided by Ed Sarpolous who drew this map. There are four other maps that provides for streets, community areas, and even current ward boundaries. They will be on display here. Please note that this map is only a proposal no vote has taken place on it yet and the process will continue until the December 1st deadline to agree on a ward map!

Monday night I attended the City Black Caucus ward remap hearing held at the South Shore Cultural Center @ 7059 S. South Shore Dr and then the next night the West Chesterfield Community Association held a meeting where one of the items on their agenda was the city ward remap. I wrote notes at both gatherings and the South Shore Center gathering was very informative.

At the Black Caucus hearing, it appeared to have started early. It was advertised to have started at 7:00 PM however the meeting was already in progress by the time I had arrived on the 3rd floor where the hearing was being held. In fact, another man (who turned out to be 17th Ward Aldermanic challenger David Moore) asked me if the meeting was supposed to have started at 7:00.

When I had arrived cartographer Ed Sarpolous was giving his presentation on how he drew the draft Black Caucus 50 ward map. He showed details of the southwest side, southeast side, and the west side black wards. Mainly in drawing these maps he made sure that there were at least 51% black population in at least 19 wards. It was noted that the 2nd Ward would no longer be a Black ward but that's should be no surprise since most of the projects near downtown had been torn down and the population dispersed throughout the Chicago area.

Furthermore the population of the city has shifted both downtown and towards the west side. Also has been noted in the press wards along the lakefront or Indiana state line and city limits along the north, west, and south sides means that the ward boundaries will have to shift accordingly. The 9th ward for example has to move North because it can't move further south.

There were a number of questions, but a lot of questions about the census and a recount. It was noted that a recount wouldn't matter as far as the remap, but it would matter for say more federal funds. They expressed doubts that 180,000 blacks left Chicago and theorized that despite a serious effort at outreach many Blacks in Chicago just chose not to complete their US Census surveys.

Also there was a question about possibly cutting the city council in half. Mainly Ald. Howard Brookins (21st Ward) argued status quo and said it would be a problem with a larger area and more people. They could save money in Aldermanic salaries but it would be offset with an increase in Alderman staff. Especially since Chicago citizens still rely on their Aldermen for not only city issues but state and federal issues as well.

Sidenote: I argued it might be necessary to change the whole job description if we wanted to cut the number of Aldermen in half. They may not be able to do most of what they're expected to do now in enlarged wards and with more people.

The draft map presented by the Black Caucus will not be the final map for certain. There will be different maps to be drawn and the Rules Committee of the City Council will ultimately put forward a map to the full city council by December 1st. If the city council can't agree on a map at that solid deadline there will be a binding referendum in next year's Presidential Primary that will allow for the voters to pick their preferred map.

Also we should look out for information with regards to a map room located at City Hall on the 3rd floor. There citizens will be able to view multiple proposed ward maps on display. It's currently not open, but the city council rules committee will offer more details as a later date.

1 comment:

  1. David Moore, welcome to the 6th ward, where you can lose again, this time to Alderman Roderick Sawyerr.


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