Friday, January 27, 2012

FOX Chicago Sunday on Remap

An excuse to remind you of the Greater Chatham Alliance meeting coming up this weekend. Click this link for more details as one of the items on the agenda is the ward remap.

[VIDEO] Ald. Bob Fioretti of the 2nd Ward was on last week's edition of FOX Chicago Sunday talking about not only how his ward was drawn up north in the form of a Salamander (he holds up a map of the new 2nd ward) but perhaps even a strategy for a future lawsuit against this remap. Mainly that such a lawsuit would be an equal protection argument that this new map "rips apart communities" and also there are more people in white majority wards (at least 10% more) than there are in Black wards (that's not one person, one vote).

In addition I want to offer one more tidbit. 23rd Ward Ald. Mike Zalewski's ward is largely Polish and he himself is the only Alderman of Polish descent. Unfortunately to accomodate the need for more Latino seats and maintain as many Black seats as possible his ward would turn mostly Latino in the remap:
“I am willing to compromise, and our ward was at about 47 percent Hispanic before the map was redrawn,” explained Zalewski. “I was willing to go up in the 50’s and I had no problem with the first map. But since then, every time another version is brought up, I’m expected to give up more. I’m just not going to do it.”

Zalewski is referring to the aldermanic remap that is a result of the last census, which indicates a larger percentage of Hispanic residents. While the white population has remained somewhat stable, African-Americans have seen a sizable drop in city residents.
While Zalewski’s 23rd Ward would see a jump in Hispanic representation just over 60 percent, he said his opposition to the remap controversy has nothing to do with race.

“Back in 1995 when I came into office — and your paper wrote about it back then — the (Chicago Lawn Police) 8th District was out of whack with the ward. It is geographically too big. This latest map presents the same problems,” he said.

Zalewski adds that the 23rd Ward boundaries are unique.

“The way the 23rd Ward is configured is that we border several suburban communities — Bedford Park, Summit and Forest View for instance,” he noted. “Each neighborhood has its identity like Clearing, Garfield Ridge and West Elsdon. All that will be lost.”

I got this article from strannik's blog that has been a very good read about the remap process. As you can see Zalewski was unwilling to go along with the dismantling of his ward which has a significant Polish population. He had little problem with taking in more Latinos in his ward but by all accounts didn't want to have to give too much up. He made this prediction:
“When this is finally agreed upon, the map will not go into effect until May of 2015,” said Zalewski. “So, right now, I’m not agreeing to any map. Believe me, no matter what happens, there are going to be lawsuits.”
It makes you wonder who else amongst the Aldermen who voted no are talking lawsuit. Not that the individual Aldermen will file, but if they see it coming something is on the horizon somewhere.

In which case you can challenge the odd shape of the new 2nd ward on the near north side and the population variances of the wards under the newly adopted map. There would be more people in many of the mostly white north side wards of Chicago than in the mostly Black south side wards.

Again we shall see and time will tell!

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