Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Interesting development in the ward remap...

It was discussed at the Ward Remap forum hosted by the Roseland Heights Neighborhood Association last month although not at great length. That is the guest who spoke at that forum said keeping the 6th Ward intact could be a strong possibility if the number of Aldermen were reduced. 

While I'm sure this wasn't exactly a palatable possibility it seems city Aldermen are drawing up plans for this anyway if this report is to be believed:
It appears doubtful that chairman of Chicago City Council's Committee on Rules and Ethics, 32nd Ward Alderman Richard Mell, will introduce the new Chicago ward map to the floor of City Council on Wed., Dec. 14, though it should have been introduced by Dec. 1. Several aldermen, however, are working on a new redistricting map--one for 35 instead of 50 wards.

For months there have been meeting after meeting, behind closed doors and in public forums. Aldermen have shuffled in and out of the "map room" to make sure no one has adjusted their boundaries or to readjust them because another part of their ward has been claimed. Negotiation after negotiation has fallen apart. Boundaries look less symmetrical then teeth on a rip saw blade. Logical squared-off boundaries appear to be totally unacceptable. An entire ward is to be moved from the south to the north side of the city and the list goes on.

Tired and no doubt frustrated by the continual jostling for turf that is going nowhere, a group of aldermen including Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward, decided to look at a new solution by reducing the number of wards. There is some historic precedent.

When Chicago incorporated as a City in 1837 there were six wards created. As the population increased the ward count increased to 35 by 1889. For the most part, except for two wards, there were two aldermen per ward until 1923. At that point, the count of aldermen per ward went to one as the number of wards increased to 50.
All the same take this with a grain of salt. The only thing that's probably certain is that there's still no agreement yet on a map as lots of residents not only in the 6th ward but around the city are still waiting on what ward they may lie for the next decade.

BTW, if the city council agrees on possibly reducing the number of wards Joe Lake adds this comment on his FB profile:
Any approval of 35 wards would be by a mandatory referendum.
And if that happens, JP Paulus would get his wish. ;) Although per another comment on FB:
It still would require a vote by the General Assembly in Springfield to change the number of alderman.
And that means it's time to do some research. Must Springfield approve of any reduction or do the residents of Chicago get to determine how many Aldermen represent them?

1 comment:

  1. (65 ILCS 20/prec. Sec. 21‑36 heading)

    (65 ILCS 20/21‑36) (from Ch. 24, par. 21‑36)
    Sec. 21‑36. City to have fifty wards.
    The city of Chicago shall be divided into fifty wards. In the formation of wards the population of each shall be as nearly equal as practicable and each shall be composed of contiguous and compact territory.
    (Source: Laws 1941, vol. 2, p. 19.)


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