Thursday, October 6, 2011

West Chesterfield on the ward remap process...

SIDENOTE: The map to the right is a superimposed map of the current 6th Ward boundaries represented in yellow and the Black Caucus' proposed 6th Ward boundaries drawn in gray. It's a detail of one of four maps provided by cartographer Ed Sarpolous. Please note that this map is only a draft proposal and the city council has until December 1st to agree to a ward map!

Tuesday night, I attended a meeting of the West Chesterfield Community Association (WCCA) at a bungalow located at 9351 S. Michigan Avenue. One of the items on their agenda was the ward remap. In their newsletter for this month they made sure to note that they protest the redistricting of the 6th Ward and it affecting West Chesterfield. At the meeting there was a petition circulated around the audience that requests that West Chesterfield remain in the 6th Ward under Alderman Sawyer.

WCCA President Michael LaFargue as a matter of fact was at the previous night's ward remap hearing at the South Shore Cultural Center. He especially made the Black Caucus members who were in attendance on that evening (Aldermen Deborah Graham - 29th, Latasha Thomas - 17th, Roderick Sawyer, Howard Brookins, Joann Thompson - 16th, Michelle Harris - 8th, and Carrie Austin - 34th) point out where West Chesterfield would like under the Black Caucus' proposed map.

Another term we learned in the whole drama around the remap: "community of interest". LaFargue argued a community of interest not based on race/ethnicity, but on geography. He identifies not with say Roseland which is part of the 9th Ward, but he identifies instead with the Chatham community.

Communities of interest may be according to race/ethnicitiy, but it could also involve say a group of people sharing the same values. Perhaps West Chesterfield share the same values as Chatham for example. Another community of interest is where the people in a given area share a similar religion or worldview. Former Alderman Lyle noted that Catholic Parishes would be considered a community of interest.

As a matter of fact an Asian lady asked a question about communit of interest at the hearing. Well more of a comment she noted an increase of the Chinese population in the Brigdeport, Fuller Park area but how the population just wasn't enough to justify a Chinese-American ward. The percentage was about 45% when an group to be identified as a community of interest has to be 51%. And ideally as the Asian population is considered dispersed around the city if they were more clustered that could also justify drawing a mostly Asian-American Ward.
Photo courtesy of the Alderman's office on Twitter

In any event, Ald. Sawyer spoke to the West Chesterfield neighborhood talking about the remap process. He urged the community to continue their petion drive to keep their neighborhood in the 6th Ward. In addition he urged them to contact Ald. Mell of the City Council Rules Committee.

He reiterated that the Black Caucus had only drew up a draft map. Ald. Sawyer may lose three strong community organizations in the form of the WCCA, Chesterfield Community Council, and the Roseland Heights Community Association. That also means he could lose the good areas of his ward and possibly Jones Hamburgers of 9818 S Michigan Ave (Ald. Sawyer mentioned them specifically). He wants those organizations to help him make the 6th Ward once again one of the more high turnout wards in Chicago!

A question came up at this meeting was about whether or not being drawn into the 9th Ward might affect property values. It was obvious that this neighborhood didn't want to be under Ald. Anthony Beale - in fact there were gasps about their neighborhood joining the 9th Ward - and Ald. Sawyer made sure to note that these three communities vote! West Chesterfield, Chesterfield, and Roseland Heights provide more votes than the whole 9th Ward as it's currently composed according to the Alderman.

The Alderman also noted that he saw an earlier map than the one publicly unveiled that was more favorable to him than the map than the public draft map by the Black Caucus. There will be some politics involved in this process and he doesn't want to vote for a map that cuts out the heart of his ward. Also noted that there would be no problem with the 6th Ward taking in new areas because that would be an opportunity to lift them up to be part of the 6th Ward. This is what he hopes to accomplish with the people in East Englewood.

Again a consensus map has to be agreed on by December 1st! Of course if the city council can't agree on a map there would be a binding referendum to vote on in next years Presidential Primary. Yes that means we the people will have a chance to decide on map for their communities.

Mr. LaFargue figures that they have the rest of October to continue putting out petitions to the community to show support for remaining in the 6th Ward. Let's hope they are very successful in that drive.

For the purposes of full disclosure while I'm neither a West Chesterfield resident nor a member of their organization I also signed the petition to remain in the 6th!

Documents from West Chesterfield meeting!

No comments:

Post a Comment

PLEASE READ FIRST!!!! Comment Moderating and Anonymous Comment Policy

While anonymous comments are not prohibited we do encourage you to help readers identify you so that other commenters may respond to you. Either read the moderating policy for how or leave an identifier (which could be a nickname for example) at the end of the comment.

Also note that this blog is NOT associated with any public or political officials including Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer!