Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sun-Times: Four more city committees using 2015 ward boundaries

Future boundaries of the 6th Ward colored red
More fallout from last year's ward remap more committees are planning to use the new map to conduct their business and as a guide for who they may defer to:
Four more City Council committees are now recognizing Chicago’s new ward boundaries when it comes to making pivotal decisions impacting, traffic, transportation, housing and licensing, infuriating endangered incumbents, who claim their voters are being “disenfranchised.”

Two months ago, Zoning Committee Danny Solis (25th) sent a letter to his colleagues informing them of his decision to implement the new boundaries.

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

The Zoning Committee chairman 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.”

Now, the chairmen of four more City Council committees have followed Solis’ lead: Housing and Real Estate; License and Consumer Protection; Pedestrian and Traffic Safety, and Transportation and the Public Way.

Ald. Nick Sposato (36th) accused his colleagues of disenfranchising voters and overruling the legal advice outlined in 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. ... Applicable law provides that the 2001 map, which was in effect for the 2011 aldermanic elections, should govern for the duration of the those four-year terms.”

Sposato is 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.
Also Alderman Sawyer who himself was affected by the remapping last year chimed in:
Sposato, Fioretti, Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) and several of their colleagues in the Progressive Caucus are now demanding that Patton and the mayor’s office clarify the “potential legal ramifications” of the decision by five committee chairman to “ignore results” of the 2011 election.

“The system is not ready for it. When I put in 311 requests, I can only input things under the new map, but I can’t track it. I can only track requests from the original 6th Ward. It doesn’t make sense” to switch, Sawyer said Monday.

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