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Chicago City Council adopts new ward map after fierce fight, averting election referendum – Chicago Tribune


The Chicago City Council adopted a new map of the city’s 50 neighborhoods on Monday, preventing a referendum on the competing views of black and Latino aldermen and their allies and ending a racist confrontation over the borders between the 2 teams.

The map yielded 43 votes to 7, just two votes more than needed to bypass the June 28 referendum when Chicago voters would have chosen neighborhood designs for the following decade. The vote took place three days before the deadline to avoid the referendum being put to voters in the big electoral ballot in June.

For many Chicagoans, their alderman is by far their most intimate and necessary relationship with an elected official. From next year, hundreds of residents will want to get used to a new level of contact for many local services and complaints due to the redesigned map placing them in multiple neighborhoods.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and many aldermen have said these days that the council’s compromise was a better outcome than the referendum, and so they hope the body can go through after months of acrimony.

The map that was handed out has 16 majority black neighborhoods and 14 majority Latino neighborhoods, one Latino neighborhood less than the Latino caucus needed in light of Latino residents citywide. It additionally consists of Chicago’s first Asian-majority neighborhood.

Northwest Side Ald. Felix Cardona, thirty-first, was one of the first Latino aldermen to sign the compromise. The deal puts residents first by avoiding the potentially costly and divisive referendum, he said.

“As caucus members and non-caucus members, we had to find a compromise, and this was the best compromise for us,” Cardona said. “But we will continue to fight for our Latino community, for our businesses, etc., because it doesn’t stop there. It doesn’t stop today.

But while she received overwhelming support from the aldermen, the new card is not universally loved.

Far South Side Ald. Anthony Beale, ninth, said he tried to work with colleagues at first but was kicked out of the system because the board’s rules committee set about changing his boundaries without his consent.

“I guess I’m one of the few not in the kumbaya club,” Beale said. It is not a compromise. This is a secret business card.

This drew an offended rebuke from Black Caucus Chairman Ald. Jason Ervin, twenty-eighth, who said Beale drifted away from his Black Caucus colleagues during the map design class. Beale demanded an apology, which was not offered by Ervin throughout the debate.

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In addition to Beale, downvotes came from Southwest Side aldermen Edward Burke, 14th, Raymond Lopez, fifteenth, and Silvana Tabares, twenty-third; Near North Side Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd; Northwest Side Ald. Gilbert Villegas, thirty sixth; and North Side Ald. André Vasquez, fortieth.

Aldermen Maria Hadden and Byron Sigcho-Lopez voted in favor of the map, but urged the city to begin processes that sooner or later allow additional entry for residents.

Many residents of the Thirty-sixth Ward are offended by the unusual winding design of their new neighborhood.

Villegas chairs the Latino Caucus and led the unsuccessful fight for 15 Latino neighborhoods. He pointed to his neighborhood’s design on the new map as “a real red flag” for anyone looking to take legal action against the borders.

And famed Latino Caucus cartographer Frank Calabrese is a legal requirement for the design of Illinois’ legislative districts. “The 36th Ward is drawn to be as less compact as possible” under the compromise map, Calabrese said.

Still, Villegas, who works for Congress, also said he hopes the board can put the fight on the map behind him.

The map will take effect with the 2023 municipal elections. Until then, aldermen are characterizing the wards from which they were elected in 2019, although observers can watch if council members start making choices to try to curry favor with voters in new neighborhoods whom they will have to impress to win. re-election the following year.

Check back for updates on this breaking story.

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