Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sun-Times: Powerful alderman sparks uproar by opting to use 2015 ward boundaries in zoning decisions now

First they changed the electoral precincts to the new ward map, now they want to use the remap for zoning decisions. If you live in West Chesterfield and Roseland Heights Ald. Solis wants to defer to Ald. Anthony Beale in zoning decisions affecting those communities:
A powerful Chicago alderman has decided to start recognizing the city’s new ward boundaries when it comes to making pivotal decisions on zoning and sign orders, infuriating incumbents endangered by the new map. 

Nearly one year to the day after the City Council approved the new map without a vote to spare, Zoning Committee Danny Solis (25th) sent a letter to his colleagues last week informing them of his decision to implement the new boundaries. 

Solis said he would continue to honor the long-standing tradition of “deferring to the aldermen of the ward in which a zoning change or sign order” is located. But, that political deference will now go to the new alderman — not the old one.

“It’s really a courtesy, a protocol. It’s not a legal thing,” the chairman said Tuesday. 

Solis said he made the decision to end a year of political limbo in response to complaints from developers who “wanted to start doing business” in Chicago, but were “confused about who to talk to.”
Ald. Nick Sposato (36th) is livid. He’s one of a handful of incumbent aldermen endangered by a map that cut the heart out of his Northwest Side ward and nearly doubled its Hispanic population — from 32 percent to 61.2 percent.

“I was elected for a four-year term — not a year-and-a-half term. ... To say I can no longer represent the people who elected me after a year-and-a-half is unconscionable. People are furious in my ward,” Sposato said Tuesday.

“You can’t assign people to wards. People elect people to wards. I’m gonna keep representing the people to the best of my ability. If they’re not gonna allow me to do that — if [Solis] is gonna deny stuff that I approve for people — then I’ll have to look at other avenues.”

To bolster his case, Sposato released a Feb. 2, 2012, memorandum written by Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton.

In it, Patton cited legal precedent and wrote, “These cases establish that the 2011 aldermanic elections were for full four-year terms notwithstanding the intervening redistricting and that these aldermen represent the constituencies which elected them.”
I wonder if there is any new news with regards to any potential legal challenge to last year's ward remap?

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