Monday, January 16, 2012

Remap progress???

It appears the city council may be able to produce another ward map. Hopefully this map will be seen at this week's remap hearings before the City Council will take a vote. It's all about their votes!

Anyway here's what was at stake:
“There’s no more debate on the number of wards Hispanics would get. It’s 13. And the number of [Hispanic] influence wards is two. The Black Caucus would get 18. The 20th Ward would stay on the South Side. They’d keep everything they’ve got except the 15th Ward, which would become a super-majority Hispanic ward,” Solis said.

“The only real issue now is will this map get struck down because of the deviation” from the benchmark that every ward have 52,900 residents.

Victor Reyes, a consultant to the Hispanic Caucus, said the original map filed by the Caucus included a deviation of four percent. The compromise raises it to ten percent.

Hispanic majority wards are at least 60 percent Latino, influence wards 35 percent to 40 percent, and super majority wards, at least 65 percent.
If you're not happy about the proposed map, it looks like they're working to insure that it won't be challenged in court:
But, Solis said, “We need a clear and coherent narrative that, not only we understand but the public can understand of how this map will be defensible to a legal challenge. We just want him to have a further conversation with our attorney, Mike Kasper, since he went through this” when legislative and congressional maps were drawn to coincide with the 2010 U.S. Census.

Burt Odelson, an attorney representing the Black Caucus, insisted the compromise is on solid legal ground.

“All the case law throughout the United States is that, if it’s below ten percent [deviation] with good reason, then it’s an acceptable map,” Odelson said.

“Good reason means pursuant to the Voting Rights Act and trying to make wards with a population that will be able to elect a minority — whether that be Latino or African-American.”
A national redistricting expert approves of this new ward map as well:
For weeks, the council’s Black Caucus and its allies and the Latino Caucus have pushed their own versions of a new ward map. On Monday, aldermen heard from Allan Lichtman, a consultant the council hired for the remap process.

Lichtman told council leaders that a modified proposal first submitted by the Black Caucus and its allies could withstand a legal challenge. But the American University professor and redistricting expert witness said aldermen would need to show that population variances among wards were designed to protect African-American and Latino voters and preserve racial harmony, aldermen said.

Approval by Lichtman was the key condition set last week by Ald. Daniel Solis, 25th, Latino Caucus chairman. If Lichtman also can find legal justification for other map quirks — including the odd shaped of the proposed 11th Ward — the Latino Caucus would sign off on the plan, Solis said.
Some expected changes in this map:
The Chicago Sun-Times reported last week that a last minute boost in the Hispanic population of the Southwest Side’s 23rd Ward — from 54 to over 60 percent — could seal a remap deal.

Incumbent Ald. Mike Zalewski (23rd) remains adamantly opposed to the changes, but his vote may not be required. The compromise could attract the 41 votes needed to avoid a remap referendum — with or without Zalewski, sources said.

“I assume they’re just gonna go ahead and pass a map with as many votes as possible. But nothing has changed as far as my position,” Zalewski said Friday.

In addition to Zalewski, the new map would endanger incumbent Aldermen: Jim Balcer (11th); Nick Sposato (36th) and Bob Fioretti (2nd), whose home would not be located in his newly-redrawn ward.

Aldermen Toni Foulkes (15th) and Joann Thompson (16th) would be thrown into the same ward, meaning only one of the two incumbents could survive.
The main concern is how the 6th Ward will fare under this map. If only there was a way the public can view this map before it's voted upon, finally!

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