New possibility for Chicago Ward Redistricting surfaces

Date: 
12/14/2011

It appears doubtful that chairman of Chicago City Council's Committee on Rules and Ethics, 33rd Ward Alderman Richard Mell, will introduce the new Chicago ward map to the floor of City Council on Wed., Dec. 14, though it should have been introduced by Dec. 1. Several aldermen, however, are working on a new redistricting map--one for 35 instead of 50 wards.

For months there have been meeting after meeting, behind closed doors and in public forums. Aldermen have shuffled in and out of the "map room" to make sure no one has adjusted their boundaries or to readjust them because another part of their ward has been claimed. Negotiation after negotiation has fallen apart. Boundaries look less symmetrical then teeth on a rip saw blade. Logical squared-off boundaries appear to be totally unacceptable. An entire ward is to be moved from the south to the north side of the city and the list goes on.

Tired and no doubt frustrated by the continual jostling for turf that is going nowhere, a group of aldermen including Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward, decided to look at a new solution by reducing the number of wards. There is some historic precedent.

When Chicago incorporated as a City in 1837 there were six wards created. As the population increased the ward count increased to 35 by 1889. For the most part, except for two wards, there were two aldermen per ward until 1923. At that point, the count of aldermen per ward went to one as the number of wards increased to 50.

 

 

 

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