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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.

  • T

    Thanks for the update and taking the time to keep us informed. INCUMBENCY seems to be what the majority of our officials in all walks of govt are concerned about. We no longer have "those who serve" but constant candidates! So sad. TERM LIMITS!!!

  • EveryBlock Becca Director of Community Management

    Part II from L

    A message I was surprised to hear that was also prevalent is that both maps really do crazy things with existing things you'd want to keep together. For example depending on which map you look at, the old row houses on the DePaul campus would be split into two different wards, DePaul would be split into two different wards, an apartment and townhouse community near UIC would be split into two wards. The south loop would be split into four wards. Clark St. through Lincoln Park would have two different aldermen. Near the children's hospital site at Lincoln and Fullerton there would be three different aldermen at that six-way intersection. The north side line through Lake View in the 44th doesn't stay consistent along Irving Park so Wrigley Field would get split from most of the people who live around it. Logan Square would be split off from the boulevards.

    Mell said that no one really liked either map.

    The latino caucus map doesn't have the population disparity problems the black caucus map has and would likely stand up in court.

    The asian american community had two different speakers asking the aldermen to consider that they are the fastest growing minority group and they want their communities left intact.

    There was a strong showing from the 36th ward which gets really messed up under both maps. They just elected an alderman that people finally like and the remap will basically take him away from the people who voted for him.

  • EveryBlock Becca Director of Community Management

    Part III from L

    My editorial comments
    Both maps keep South Lake View neighbors intact. This is a good thing. Many other neighborhood groups are not so lucky. Imagine if you were Michelle Smith, who has been working on the children's hospital site, to now have to negotiate with two other aldermen (under the black caucus map).

    According to the Chicago Tribune and the Sun Times this morning (links below), the black caucus and the latino caucus may have come to an agreement yesterday before the meeting. If they have, this might be over by the time the city council meets next Wednesday. The black caucus map would be approved. There would be some changes to the south side, but the north side would get totally messed up. Maybe what they heard last night will change some of their opinions, but I really doubt it.

    Now is the time to write Mell, Rahm, and other north side aldermen to break away from the black caucus map so that the whole north side isn't messed up for the next 10 years.

    Link to Chicago Trib article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-chicago-ward-remap-0112-20120112,0,3011069.story
    Sun Times: http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/9949196-418/black-caucus-chairman-predicts-city-council-agreement-on-remap.html

  • L

    Thanks to Rebecca for untwisting my mistake and posting parts 2 and 3 here.

  • Wendi on Maud Interested in local news

    My husband and I were there until about 7:40 last night, so we didn't sit through the whole meeting. But it was great to see so many people there and glad so many voices got to speak. Although, not sure our voices were actually heard.

    All those aldermen on stage were quite a sight. Many looked bored throughout, and when they weren't bored, they were annoyed. I counted ten of them constantly on their blackberries and iPhones, not even pretending to be engaged.

    Exception: Bob Fioretti showed up late, but he was completely engaged and the poor man has cancer.

    During the introductions, Mell bungled the pronunciation of Scott Waguespack's name and forgot (?) to introduce Michelle Smith. It was totally disrespectful.

    I think this is about diluting power. Waguespack and Smith are outside the Machine and have taken actions that are right for the City and their own constituents but that go against City Hall. And we can't have that now, can we?

  • L

    Wendi, I'm not sure if you heard the folks from the 36th, but I was struck by their passion. They also elected a new, outside-the-machine alderman. Now, most of them will be outside his ward.

  • Wendi on Maud Interested in local news

    I heard a number of folks from the 36th and I agree w/ you: they took a risk to elect a non-Machine representative and they deserve to be heard....and appropriately represented by the person they CHOSE.

  • L, I commented previously on the other Part II post. I do attend my community meetings, and am very active in many political organizations. I just have a different opinion than you.

    I am happy that wards are split up for the EXACT reasons Wendi mentioned. It's difficult to engage our elected officials (speaking from experience) and diversity among them is best.

    I'm willing to put up with a few blocks where there are zoning disparages due to different alderman. Two aldermen having a voice in the former CMH site is better than one in my opinion. Just look at 2555 N Clark--maybe that wouldn't have happened if there were two alderman talking about it instead of one. Now it's just short of a black hole of real estate.

    I pick my battles and the cityscape is already up for sale via ads on garbage cans, ads on the Chicago River bridges, covering bus windows, etc. I don't lose sleep over Southport Corridor potentially having different zoning. It's not a big issue to me.

    Thanks so much for posting though. It's good to hear what happened as I was not able to make it out. It's troubling that the southside will not have the same representation as the north.

  • L

    I get what you are saying. My experience has been the opposite, but I find my alderman engaged. If I had a different one, I might think differently.

    There was another meeting last night on the south side. However, with the snow and such I wonder what the turnout was like.

  • Bob

    Dear Kristy,

    Please remind us what the issue is with 2555 N. Clark?

    If you attended the re-map hearing at DePaul, then you heard about 95 residents, regular people, most articulately explain in great detail the problems that develop concerning planning, delivery of services, having someone take responsibility for a street, a school, a problem business, etc.

    The real issue is local government being responsive to local residents, voters, taxpayers, children, the elderly....

    Grassroot neighborhood associations have a good perspecctive on this and all seven in the 43rd Ward were very upset with the idea of dividing up the Ward. The northside is also getting cheated out of its share of aldermen. Please give this issue additional thought.

    Best wishes

  • L

    Remember when Mell said he hadn't seen the fourth map from the Pro Bono group. Apparently, it was submitted a week ago. Here is the link: http://www.probonothinking.org/new-wards-of-chicago/

  • Does anyone know what happens if, as it appears likely at the moment, the 20th ward moves to the north side? Does Cochran become my alderman? Will he need to move into the neighborhood? Does the ward office remain on South Cottage Grove? It all sounds pretty farfetched.

    When will we again be able to vote for an Alderman? 3 years from now? Or can there be a special election? It would be nice to once again be represented by someone who I at least had the opportunity to vote for/against a bit earlier than that. Thanks.

  • Wendi on Maud Interested in local news

    I understand what Kristy is saying re: engaging alderman. And I've actually lived it w/ Vi Daley. She rolled over for every developer, including Seth Harris who began his five year prison sentence in Feb 2011, and she has had a negative impact on my 43rd Ward property, without a doubt.

    However, the 32nd and 43rd finally have two non-Machine aldermen who work together to get things done and their combined influence is productive and, dare I say it, hopeful.

    Thus, I do NOT want our influence diluted. We pay 65% of the total city of Chicago property tax. We have EARNED our voice. In the words of our first, great Illinois president, "United we stand, divided we fall."

  • Bob

    Hi Wendi,

    Do you know where one can find the data for property taxes collected by ward that you sited? The number seems very high. Please consider the total valuations of residential or commercial high rises downtown, South Loop, Near North, etc.

    Thank you.

  • L

    @mratcheson - This is what I understand - after the new map is approved and any court cases are settled, the aldermen will pick a date in the future when they "flip a switch". On that date you are represented by your new alderman. What usually happens is that a relocated alderman resigns prior to the "switch flip" and is given another job somewhere else in city government. Then, the mayor appoints a replacement who lives in the new ward. If the alderman does not resign, s/he has only a certain amount of time before s/he must move to the ward. I have no idea what happens with the ward office.

  • Wendi on Maud Interested in local news

    Bob: I actually poked at my own sound bites and told Donesha to carefully fact check the data. I've also asked a friend/real estate attorney to look for sources. I can't recall where I got the data, but I'm very confident in my comments!

    Seriously, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty good at retaining core information like this....just not the sources.

    When I have the source, I'll definitely report back.

  • Bob

    Dear @mratcheson, thank your for asking the question.

    Dear L, thank you for your answer.

    L, I heard much the same.

    However, I spoke with Ald Fioretti Jan 9th at the DePaul hrg and he believes he has seen something official out there that clarifies that the switch would be at the next aldermanic election.

    There are problems with "the switch" and with the mayor appointing replacements. The mayoral appointments would take power from the voters, give more power to the mayor, and give an advantage to those appointed and now incumbants. It's not very democratic. They would also be loyalists to the mayor.

    The whole process is to help those in power keep their power. Apparently, the idea of good government or elected representative government never crossed their minds.

    Please write the Andy Shaw, Pres & CEO of the Better Government Association and ask that there be no switch until the next election. He would be pushed out of 43 and into 2.

    Illinois law is not clear and may have been affected by IL Supr Ct rulings since. Is anyone here a lawyer?

    See (65 ILCS 20/21‑38) (from Ch. 24, par. 21‑38)
    Sec. 21‑38. Redistricting every ten years.
    and
    65 ILCS 20/21‑39) (from Ch. 24, par. 21‑39)
    Sec. 21‑39. When redistricting ordinance takes effect
    and
    (65 ILCS 20/21‑40) (from Ch. 24, par. 21‑40)
    Sec. 21‑40. Failure of council to act ‑ One‑fifth of the aldermen may submit redistricting ordinance.
    and
    if it goes to a referendum:
    (65 ILCS 20/21‑41) (from Ch. 24, par. 21‑41)
    Sec. 21‑41. Redistricting ordinance submitted ‑ Form of ballot.

    Earlier today, I had asked my alderman's office to ask the alderman to contact Ald Fioretti and hear him out.

    Please tell me what you learn.

    Again, thank you for everything.

  • RAKARWOWSKI RETIRED CITY WORKER, CLEANING UP HUMBOLDT PARK

    They are dividing us to their advanatage, does everyone understand this! An Alderman, will ignore a large part of their ward population (by race or whatever) or plan to, and then notice or figure that they will no longer vote for them, just remap them out of their ward, problem solved! The way I read these maps, bye bye Ukrainian Village (A big time voting block) from the 26th ward welcome to the 32nd ward, Surprise! Well no, we deserve what we voted or did not vote for.

  • RAKARWOWSKI RETIRED CITY WORKER, CLEANING UP HUMBOLDT PARK

    Let me also point out that Alderman and the Mayor have time and time again obeyed only the laws that suited them, ie.. (The Zappada Projects on Armitage). Totally illegal against zoning rules but not stopped until sued by neighbors, A.N.T. We must unite and demand less wards and Alderman now and prepare for the next election now.

  • L

    Bob posted this article in another thread. It is about the second restricting meeting. http://www.thegatenewspaper.com/2012/01/residents-express-concern-over-proposed-ward-maps-in-second-remapping-hearing/

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