Added Jan 12 2012
This is broken into three parts because of Everyblock limitations
I'm sorry these aren't entirely in narrative form. I wanted to get them out quickly this morning. I make some editorial comments at the end.
I made it until 9pm and the meeting was still going (after starting at 6pm). So, I can't say what happened after that.
The room was packed. It had a capacity of 482 people and it met it and the doors were closed. Some people were not allowed in until others left.
More than 20 aldermen attended
The aldermen and Mell didn't say much. Most of the time was spent listening to voters.
While there are three submitted maps (and one more that came in yesterday that we haven't seen), comments were mostly focused on the two maps which have aldermanic support.
Ald. Smith (Lincoln Park) began the meeting by talking about how ill-conceived the black caucus map is. First, the number of people in the wards is supposed to end up close to 53,912. In this map, the south side wards have too few constituents, while the north side wards have too many. It probably won't withstand court challenge. Her second complaint about this map is that it moves her ward and splits it into five different pieces. She supports the latino caucus map with some slight revisions.
She also indicated the process should slow down. There is no reason this has to be decided this week. (See my editorial below for more about this.)
Most of the constituents who chose to talk were from the 43rd and supported Ald. Smith and agreed with the latino caucus map with the proposed revisions.
Another consistent message was that the aldermen were only drawing maps that supported incumbency and that none of them really cared about their constituents. Many people noted they would like a map with regular neighborhood and geographic boundaries.