2nd Ward Map Proposal introduced

A second remapping proposal was submitted to the Chicago City Clerk Friday. The proposal is in opposition to a proposal submitted by about 16 aldermen on Thursday.

Signing on to this proposal are area Aldermen Ameya Pawar, Dick Mell, Pat O’Connor, Harry Osterman and James Cappleman. A total of 32 aldermen have sponsored the second map proposal.

Alderman Scott Waguespack has signed on to sponsor a map largely supported by the Latino aldermen that was submitted on Thursday.

Passage through City Council by December 31 by 41 votes would preclude a public ballot on the proposal. That seems very doubtful now.

A simple majority vote of the Council, 26 votes, will cause adoption of a map. However, if that happens, the map would still require approval of the voters.

 


View Map for a Better Chicago in a larger map

Map boundaries are approximate. Credit: Welles Bulldog Graphics

O’Connor: Another map expected tomorrow

Ald. Pat O’Connor, in an exclusive interview with The Bulldog, said he expects another map proposal to be put forward tomorrow with consideration by the City Council of the competing proposals at its January 18th meeting.

December 31st is not a drop-dead date, O’Connor noted. While 41 votes are required for a proposal with no public referendum, only 26 votes, a majority of the council, is required for a map to be adopted, he said.

[Editors note: The Bulldog had said in earlier stories that 41 votes are required to pass a map, with Dec. 31st as the deadline. Passage can happen with a majority even after Dec. 31st. However the voters would then get a chance to vote on the map.]

“We didn’t want to file a plan till we had an agreement,” O’Connor said. O’Connor said the 16 aldermen who proposed today’s map felt they had to get their side out. However, a proposal that he said will have 32 supporters will be filed tomorrow.

“We’ve been working on the boundaries for four weeks,” O’Connor said. These aldermen who filed the map today “didn’t think the talks were going quick enough.”

“This is a fluid process,” O’Connor said. “Everyone needs to see how it develops.”

O’Connor said none of the North Side aldermen had signed on to the map filed today. Cappleman, who co-sponsored the map ‘Taxpayer Protection Map’, will support the proposal being put forward tomorrow, O’Connor noted.

Calls were left for Ald. Fioretti, Cochran, Mell, and Waguespack. Ald. Cappleman’s office returned our calls before O’Connor’s statement about him supporting the map to be filed tomorrow.

 


View Taxpayer Protection Map- Northside in a larger map
Map based on filing with Chicago City Clerk. Boundaries may not be exact.

Ravenswood to be split into two wards under Black Caucus remap proposal

Current ward boundaries (in red) and a proposal by the Black Caucus (in blue) would shift the 40th and the 47th Wards south.

A proposal unveiled yesterday by the Chicago City Council Black Caucus would split the Ravenswood community between the 40th and the 47th Wards. The two wards boundaries would move south by about one mile under the proposal.

The proposal is the first in what promises to be a contentious debate over redistricting in the city, a once a decade process of giving equal weight to each voter in legislative bodies.

The caucus proposed 19 majority black wards and 13 majority Hispanic wards in the 50 member chamber. Previously there had been 20 majority black wards and eleven Hispanic wards.

The city’s Hispanic population has grown by about 25,000 in the last decade while the city’s black population has fallen by about 181,000, according to census figures. Caucasian populations have also fallen.

The caucus, which was unanimous in its proposal, is seeking to maintain the number of black wards through a theory called non- retrogression. That legal idea is that once granted, a right may not be taken away. The caucus holds that non-retrogression requires every effort must be made to guarantee at least 20 black wards in the remap.

The 40th and the 47th Wards would move about one mile south under the proposal.  Parts of Horner Park East and all of Lincoln Square and Ravenswood north of Montrose would be placed in the 40th Ward if the map is adopted.

Ravenswood Manor, currently in the 33rd Ward, would be represented by the 39th Ward. The 39th Ward would also represent some areas in Budlong Woods. Ravenswood Manor is currently districted into the 33rd Ward.

Both the 40th and the 47th Wards would extend west of the Chicago River to represent areas in Irving Park.

Andersonville, currently represented by four wards, would find most of the business district north of Foster represented by the 48th Ward. The business district south of Foster by the 46th Ward.

The 47th Ward southern boundary would extend to about Wrightwood and would include most of Roscoe Village.

Lathrop Homes and parts of western Roscoe Village would be in the 38th Ward.

Some adjustments were also proposed in the boundaries on the eastern side of the 40th and the 47th Wards.

The caucus noted that it had not worked with Hispanic aldermen on the proposal. In answer to a question from The Bulldog, it also noted it has not presented or consulted with political power houses such as Joe Berrios, Michael Madigan, Dick Mell, Pat O’Connor or Ed Burke about their plan.

It also did not use a state Voting Rights Act doctrine called minority influence district. Finally, the caucus noted it did not take into account Asian communities as they are not a protected minority.

The minority influence district holds that if a minority has a sizable population, but not a majority, the population should not be divided into multiple districts. The theory allowed a sizable, but still minority, population of Asians to be considered in the drawing of districts north and west of Ravenswood.

A concern the caucus did apparently consider were the home address of current aldermen. They noted that no incumbent would be required to run against another incumbent under their plan.

The caucus also provided evidence they considered neighborhood communities in its proposal.

A neighborhood community is a city defined area. There is no city defined area called Ravenswood. The area we generally consider Ravenswood is comprised of two other communities, North Center and Lincoln Square.

State legislators heard considerable testimony about communities of interest, a term that drilled down deeper into our city, considering such things as churches, schools, ethnic groups and other geographic areas with a shared sense of identity.

 

Ward Alderman Democratic Committeeman Republican Committeeman Minority

1

Joe Moreno

Jesse Ruben Juarez

Kathleen Cordes

Hispanic

32

Scott Waguespack

John Fritchey

John Curry

33

Dick Mell

Dick Mell

Lisa Reed

Hispanic

38

Timothy Cullerton

Patricia J Cullerton

Kevin Edward White

39

Margaret Laurino

Randy Barnette

William Miceli

40

Pat O’Connor

Pat O’Connor

Steve Seiling

43

Michele Smith

Michele Smith

Doug Glick

44

Thomas Tunney

Thomas Tunney

Jim Fuchs

46

James Cappleman

Tom Sharpe

Diane Shapiro

47

Ameya Pawar

Eugene Schulter

David Ratowitz

48

Harry Osterman

Carol Ronen

Adam Robinson

50

Debra Silverstein

Ira Silverstein

Kenneth Hollander

 

Zorn: Coulda, woulda, shoulda could have prevented Blago

What if, Eric Zorn asks, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley had the courage to stand up to Ald. Richard Mell and his pick to lead Illinois in 2002. Might we have been spared the misrule of Rod Blagojevich?

“Blagojevich, then a backbencher in Congress, was locked in a three-way battle for the nomination,” Zorn, a Chicago Tribune columnist notes.

“Sometimes leadership demands you take a chance,” Zorn says. “In this case, it demanded that Daley… do the right thing.”

Read more at Chicago Tribune.

There has to be some changes made: Stone

NBC Chicago notes the close financial relations between aldermen and the employees on City Council Committees. Despite Shakman and even the declaration of out-going aldermen like Stone in the headline, the report says “over the years, aldermen like Stone have awarded freinds and supporters with jobs on Council Committees.”

“40th Ward Alderman Pat O’Connor… has four city employees who have contributed between $3,000 and $9,000 since 1999,” the report notes.

The report noted a supporter of 33rd Ward Alderman Dick Mell, Terry Toner. Toner, who the report says is on sick leave, has given Mell $1,900. Toner, the report says, is required to live in the city. However filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections indicate he resides in Oak Park.

Read more at NBC Chicago.

Mell targeted in redistricting plan; Group: not personal, not against LBGT

An alternative majority Hispanic district proposed by the Illinois Hispanic Agenda and the United Congress excludes Rep. Deb Mell's home. Credit: Illinois Hispanic Agenda

A coalition of Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, community and religious groups released a Statehouse redistricting plan today at the Daley Center in Chicago. The group’s redistricting plan drew both endorsements and support from groups throughout the Chicago region. The plan presented by the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations and the Illinois Latino Hispanic Agenda would cause two Illinois incumbents to lose most of their districts. One of the targeted legislators is Deborah Mell. Mell, the daughter of Ald. Richard Mell, represents an area that encompasses the entire western boundary of Ravenswood from Foster Ave south to Belmont. There it crosses the river to represent the Lathrop Homes/ Hamlin Park area. The other target appears to be Daniel J Burke, a legislator who won a tight race against a Mexican-American opponent in a South-West Side district. Burke’s district would gain a stronger Latino population under the proposal. Much of Mell’s current district shares communities of interest with the 33rd Ward. Richard Mell is the Democratic Committeeman and Alderman for the 33rd Ward. Richard is Deborah’s father and in a powerful position to influence her political future. Latino activists were universal in denying to The Bulldog, in a presser at Daley Plaza Monday, that they had it in for Mell. However, the map says something different. In the world of political redistricting the number one priority is to get reelected. Two plans presented by the groups would each force Mell to run in what would probably be a district currently represented by freshman legislator Ann Williams. Williams’ district is short about 6,000 in population, according to Williams, and itself will need to expand. Mell’s situation will not please LGBT advocates. Mell is one of just three openly gay legislators in Springfield. The LGBT community was not represented in the alliance of groups. The Bulldog was told that the alliance was aware of the interest of the LGBT community of keeping their current strength in Springfield. The United Congress activists were vocal in extending a hand to other communities. However LGBT spokespeople said they preferred not to draw lines on a map. “The LGBT community is in every district and part of the entire state,” Tracy Baim, publisher of Windy City Media Group told The Bulldog. Baim told The Bulldog the gay community does not want to see its representation in Springfield “negatively impacted by redistricting.” “The LGBT community is watching to make sure their voice is not lost,” Baim said. Paula Basta, an announced candidate for the 14th Legislative seat, expressed concerns for the progress made by the gay community in Springfield. “We need to work to assure the laws passed, such as civil unions, stay in place,” she told The Bulldog in an interview last week. “We need a strong voice,” she said. Basta, who is openly gay, agreed with Baim that a line on the map wouldn’t represent the diversity and broadness of the LGBT community. But she worried that gay rights could erode if groups pick off gay legislators to benefit themselves in the redistricting battle. Ravenswood lies between Hispanic majority districts in Albany Park, Avondale and Irving Park and Asian coalition districts that mainly exist north of Lawrence Avenue. On its east are areas associated with the LGBT community. Inside Ravenswood is a shifting population that was once largely German and Greek. Because Illinois nests its Statehouse lower house districts inside its upper chamber districts, the new districts will be drawn, no matter what citizens say, based on the needs of John Cullerton, the Senate President and incumbent Senate candidate in much of Ravenswood. Cullerton lives in the Ravenswood Manor area. But his senate district, which consists of Williams 11th District and Sara Feigenholtz’s 12th District, extends to the Gold Coast on the south end and Uptown’s Lawrence Avenue on the north. “People should be aware of the amount of gerrymandering of districts on both sides of our political system,” Ald. Scott Waguespack told The Bulldog. Waguespack said he wanted to see greater citizen input, but hadn’t been following the state redistricting process. He wouldn’t comment on the United Congress plan until he could study it. John Curry, the Republican committeeman for the 32nd Ward, told The Bulldog that having a plan that puts Mell and Williams into the same district is the natural outcome of a system that emphasizes race in politics. “These interest-based maps ignore established communities,” Curry told The Bulldog. “If you have a partisan or race-based map what suffers are contiguous established communities.” Curry told The Bulldog the Republican party hasn’t participated in the Chicago redistricting. “The Republicans are not a consideration in this game,” he told The Bulldog. But communities like the Asian-Americans point to Chinatown. Represented by numerous state reps, senators and aldermen, it was an established community that was divided in the 2000 reapportionment process. Logically, it would appear that a community represented politically by a number of politicians would have greater power. However Chinatown discovered that politicians played “hot-potato” with their concerns. The politicians at every level thought the concerns of the community were best dealt with by other politicians. “They diluted our vote, they diluted our voice,” a spokeswoman C W Chan spokesman C W Chan of the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community told The Bulldog. Yesenia Sanchez told The Bulldog the reapportionment allows communities to elect those who best represent the district. Deb Mell, Dick Mell, Burke and GOP representatives in the 33rd Ward did not respond Monday to requests to comment by The Bulldog. Last week Mell and Williams told The Bulldog they would not comment saying “it is still up in the air.” The Illinois Statehouse has, by law, until the end of the month to present its redistricting plan to the governor. No plan has been released by the Statehouse yet. Activists believe they need two weeks to study any redistricting plan put forward by the Statehouse.   *** Update 05/03/2011 @ 12.13P The Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community had first identified the speaker as C W Chan. That identification is being questioned. *** *** Update 05/03/2011 @ 5P. The Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community confirmed C W Chan’s quote. The Illinois Latino Agenda asked for a correction to their proper name. We apologize for the error. ***

SIGNIFICANT DATES IN THE PROCESS:

  • Tues., May 31 Last day to pass reapportionment by 50% +1 of membership
  • Fri., June 3 Gov. Pat Quinn must receive reapportionment legislation
  • Thurs., June 30 Last day to pass reapportionment by 3/5ths of membership vote
  • Wed., Aug. 10 Last day for eight member commission to submit a reapportionment plan
  • Wed., Oct 5 Deadline for nine member commission to submit a reapportionment plan
  • Early November Candidates begin passing petitions for office under the reapportionment

A GLOSSARY OF TERMS:

  • Federal Voting Rights Act. Provides protected minorities that could create districts of 50 percent or greater population proportion with protection from practices of cracking and packing to dilute their strength.
    • Race and ethnicity cannot ‘predominate’ as a factor in drawing districts without good reason
  • Gingles Factor. A court test based on the Federal VRA provides that to prove a section 2 VRA violation
    • The minority group is sufficiently large and geographically concentrated to make up a majority district
    • That the minority group is politically cohesive
    • That the white majority votes together to defeat the minority candidate
  • One person, one vote
    • Baker v Carr, 1962 court decision held that districts have to have roughly equal population
  • Cracking. Diluting a group. A violation of the VRA for protected minorities if it harms the ability of minorities to elect representation
  • Packing. Concentrating a group. A violation of the VRA for protected minorities if it harms the ability of minorities to elect representation
  • Illinois Voting Rights Act
    • Districts must be contiguous. No island districts
    • Compactness. District should be compact
    • Nesting. Two Illinois representative districts are ‘nested’ inside each state senate district
    • Encourages ‘communities’ of common concern
      • May be ethnic, religious, based on transportation, sexual, etc.
      • Legislature will act not to break up (crack) such communities
    • Crossover districts. The minority is potentially large enough to elect the candidate of its choice with help from voters outside the minority
    • Coalition districts. More than one minority could form a coalition to elect a candidate of their choice
    • Influence district. A minority can influence an election even if the minority candidate cannot be elected

Source: MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

  • Protected minority. Generally one of four groups that have proven courts or the legislature to be disadvantaged as a group. See explanation in EEO guidelines.
  • Reapportionment. The redistribution of legislative seats, especially among the states in the US Congress.
  • Redistricting. The act of redrawing district boundaries for legislative boundaries.

Special council mtg fails to draw quorum

A special meeting of the Chicago City Council failed to draw a quorum Monday, dooming an effort to put referendum on the February ballot regarding increasing police street presence and the disputed parking meter lease.

Just 11 aldermen showed up at the meeting Monday, the last day to place referendum on the ballot. That is 15 less than a quorum. The Bulldog reached out to Ravenswood area aldermen Dick Mell, Pat O’Connor and Eugene Schulter about why they failed to attend the meeting, but our calls were not returned.

Schulter had cut short a Florida vacation in March to rush back to Chicago for an earlier special meeting. At that time he had told the Chicago Sun-Times “when there’s a special meeting of the City Council, I’m here. That’s my job.”

The December special meeting would have approved advisory referendum, that is the referendum would have no weight in law, about renegotiating the parking meter lease, a proposal to put more police on the street and a tax on certain financial instruments that are blamed for the current financial downturn.

City Clerk Miguel Del Valle, also a candidate for mayor, told the Chicago Tribune “I think it would have been good to have the voters chime in on these three questions.”

However not all the aldermen present agreed. “I don’t know that referenda are the best ways to deal with those kinds of issues,” Ald. Ed Burke told the News Cooperative.

Among Ravenswood area aldermen, only Scott Waguespack attended the meeting.

201 Miles to Springfield: Some Aldermen not sharing the pain: Chicago News Coop

While Mayor Richard Daley has taken 25 furlough days off this year, reducing his pay by nearly ten percent, some aldermen are not cooperating, according to a study by the Chicago News Cooperative.

Five aldermen have taken no days off according to the study.

Of aldermen in the Ravenswood area, most have taken between 18 and 19 furlough days, with two, Eugene Schulter and Mary Ann Smith taking just 10 furlough days.

That gives the two aldermen pay cuts of about four percent and ties them at 38th place among the 53 municipal office holders considered in the study.

The report accompanying the study notes city employees have been asked to take 12 furlough days so far this year and will not be paid for an additional 12 holidays formerly paid by the city. The proposed city budget asks employees to continue the furloughs, taking five weeks off without pay, the report states. The figures are only through this month and future furlough days taken by each alderman may be different by the end of the year.

Name Office Furlough Days taken
Eugene Schulter Ald 47 10
Mary Ann Smith Ald 48 10
Dick Mell Ald 33 18
Pat O’Connor Ald 40 18
Tom Tunney Ald 44 18
Scott Waguespack Ald 32 19
Richard Daley Mayor 25

Widely criticized city budget moves forward; the silence of officials

This morning the Chicago daily newspapers are reporting that the Chicago City Council Budget Committee passed Mayor Daley’s 2011 budget recommendation with minor changes. The budget will use much of the remaining parking meter proceeds and revenues from TIF districts to plug a deficit of about $655 million according to WTTW’s Chicago Tonight.

The committee, it is reported, passed the mayors proposal unanimously.

The one substantive change to the budget was the council is rejecting $3.5 million of cuts to local chambers of commerce. That money, which is largely unaccounted for by the chambers, was used by the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce to pay for outside public relations counsel, the chamber has told media outlets.

In other chambers the funds pay for salaries and other services.

At a meeting of the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce last month Schulter announced he would oppose any budget that did not fund the chambers.

The Bulldog contacted Ald Eugene Schulter (D- North Center), Pat O’Connor (D-Budlong Woods) and Dick Mell (D-Irving Park) to ask about the budget proposal and to hear their thoughts on the budget debate. The three aldermen sit on the Budget Committee.

The Bulldog contacted the aldermen twice by e-mail over a period of a week for their views, without any reply from any of them. The Bulldog looked at their web pages (the links for the web pages are in the paragraph above), but there was no discussion of the budget.

The Bulldog also contacted the Rahm Emanuel campaign, requesting their views on the budget. Emanuel’s campaign didn’t respond either.

The only person who did respond was Ameya Pawar, a North Center challenger to 47th Ward Alderman Eugene Schulter.

Independent of the silence of the elected officials the budget did receive other reviews however:

In the comments The Bulldog has listed Pawar’s unedited reply. There you can see the questions put to the aldermen, but not answered by them. Directly below, a graphic of the proposed savings listed by the Chicago Inspector General and the Civic Federation.

Beyond that, on our Facebook page is a tab for suggestions. You can use it to give your suggestions on resolving the city’s budget issue.