Showdown Set Over Ward Remap as Deadline Approaches | Chicago News


Video: Casino sites, gas card giveaways and an ethics program, Councilmen Brian Hopkins, Gilbert Villegas, Pat Dowell and Jason Ervin discuss the City Council’s to-do list. (Produced by Blair Paddock)

Chicago City Council members who support the Latino Caucus-backed map will attempt Wednesday to revise the map that is expected to go to voters in June to reflect a compromise reached with an independent commission.

However, Black Caucus-backed map supporters are expected to block that effort, accusing the Latino Caucus of asking for a mulligan in the racially polarized debate over what the boundaries of the city’s 50 wards should look like after the 2020 census.

Unless 41 aldermen agree on a map within the next 23 days, Chicago voters will decide between the two maps for the first time in 30 years in the June 28 primary election.

Black Caucus Chairman Ald. Jason Ervin (28th Ward) said during an interview Tuesday on “Chicago Tonight” that he was open to additional negotiations but will not accept a map that creates 15 wards with a majority of Latino voters as required. the Latino Caucus.

“Hopefully people get a chance to sit down and come to a rational conclusion,” Ervin said. “As I’ve said before, the African-American community will not live on its knees.”

President of the Caucus Latino Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th Precinct) said he was also willing to negotiate with the Black Caucus, especially since U.S. Census officials believe Latinos and blacks in Chicago were undervalued.

A coalition of community groups led by Change Illinois teamed up with the Latino Caucus in February, abandoning efforts to convince city council members to give up the power to choose their own voters, while punishing their enemies and bolstering their allies with a map that will determine political power in Chicago for the next decade.

But because the Latino Caucus had already filed its initial proposed map with the city clerk, triggering a referendum, the map could not be easily revised.

To allow this, a majority of city council would need to vote to suspend the rules at Wednesday’s meeting and then vote to approve one of the two maps at issue.

Aldus. Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) said she would not vote to suspend the rules.

The revised map the Latino Caucus would like to offer voters would create two wards, rather than three, to include Englewood, with the boundary line drawn between Englewood and West Englewood, officials said. Additionally, Woodlawn and Washington Park would be in the same neighborhood, officials said.

Still charged, this year’s remapping effort is especially strained due to the city’s changing racial makeup.

While Chicago’s black population fell 10%, its Latino population jumped 5% and its Asian American population jumped 30%, according to the 2020 census.

State law requires Chicago neighborhoods to be “nearly equal to the extent practicable” while being as “contiguous” and “compact” as possible while complying with the Voting Rights Act, which is designed to protect the voting rights of black, Latino and Asian residents.

Given that Chicago’s population in 2020 was 2,746,388, each neighborhood should have a population of 54,928, according to data presented to the Chicago City Council.

Chicago residents are 31.4% white, 29.9% Latino, 28.7% black and 6.9% Asian, according to the 2020 U.S. Census.

The Black Caucus-backed map creates 16 wards with a majority of black voters, one ward with a plurality of black voters, and 14 wards with a majority of Latino voters.

Thirty-three aldermen support the Black Caucus-backed map – eight short of the votes needed to avoid a referendum in June. Two aldermen have yet to back either card: newly appointed Ald. Nicole Lee (11th Ward) and charged Ald. Ed Burke (14th Ward), who pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of bribery, extortion and bribery.

The months-long dispute has grown increasingly acrimonious, with Harris calling members of the Latino Caucus “crybabies.” Harris is also Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s floor manager.

Lightfoot declined to weigh in on the debate and neither side hailed her support as she prepares to launch a re-election campaign.

Video: Casino sites, gas card giveaways and an ethics program, Councilmen Brian Hopkins, Gilbert Villegas, Pat Dowell and Jason Ervin discuss the City Council’s to-do list. (Produced by Blair Paddock)

In addition to the showdown on the neighborhood map, the ethics committee Ald. Michele Smith (Ward 43) plans to introduce an overhaul to the city’s ethics ordinance that would increase the fine for violation to $20,000.

Aldus. Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward) and Dowell said they were open to these changes, which are backed by the Chicago Ethics Board.

The city council is also expected to confirm the appointment of Deborah Witzburg as inspector general, 193 days after the departure of former inspector general Joseph Ferguson.

Ervin and Villegas said he expects the mayor’s plan to use $12.5 million in city funds to give away 50,000 cards with $150 in gas as well as 100,000 passes that will cover $50 of CTA routes to be approved by the municipal council.

“We know many in our community are hurting,” Ervin said.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]


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