CHICAGO — Facing a deadline, a ward map emerged from the backroom on Wednesday at City Hall.
However, with the City Council short of the 41 members needed to pass the plan, Wednesday’s vote was postponed. Now, the public gets a chance to weigh in.
“Over the next days, months, we’re gonna work together as a Council to get a map,” Ald. Michelle Harris said.
The draft map includes 16 majority Black wards, one influence ward where African Americans make up the highest percentage of the population — but not 50 percent. It also includes 14 Latino wards and the first-ever Asian majority ward.
The Black Caucus was demanding 17 wards, but Chairman Jason Ervin said he’s willing to compromise.
“I support the map as it’s being presented,” Ald. Ervin said.
Meantime, the Latino Caucus seems to be holding firm pointing to census data showing their population is growing. They want 15 wards.
Chairman Gilbert Villegas hopes to keep talking.
“To try to work through the data that clearly shows Chicago’s Black population has dropped and Chicago’s Latino and Asian population have grown,” Villegas said.
Another area of contention is the Lincoln Yards mega development. The draft map moves it from Brian Hopkins’ 2nd Ward to Scott Waugspeck’s 32nd Ward.
To account for population loss, the draft map moves Carrie Austin’s 34th Ward to the north. She plans to retire after completing her current term.
Mayor Lightfoot reacted while away for meetings in Washington D.C.
“I have not seen the map that was filed today that was filed by the Rules Committee,” Lightfoot said. “My sense is that was still very fluid until it was official filed. But obviously, myself and my team will review take the time to review it in detail.”
The Latino Caucus could still put forward their map and let voters decide. Chairman Villegas said members will meet to discuss their next steps, but he’s willing to keep negotiating.
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