After weeks of contentious hearings and negotiations, the Chicago City Council has approved a new city ward map, which will go into effect for the next mayoral election, to be held in 2015. The Council voted 41-8 to approve the map, which meant that no competing maps could be introduced. Because of shifts in the city’s population, ward boundaries needed changes to require more Latino representation, which did not sit well with other communities whose populations shrank or grew at a slower rate. The approved map worked to keep some neighborhoods together, and offered protection to many incumbents, but some aldermen were not happy with the process, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The city’s process for creating and passing the new map, however, did not meet standards of open government. “Where’s the transparency in voting on a map that hasn’t been released to the public, that’s still being copied on the Xerox machine in the back of City Hall as the meeting is scheduled to begin?” asked Whitney Woodward of Network partner Illinois Campaign for Political Reform to the Chicago Tribune. “This is not an example of open government. This is not an example of good government.”
“The mayor had his 41 votes, and you saw how that was tentative,” said Elisa Alfonso of Network partner MALDEF to the Chicago Tribune. “For an administration claiming transparency and accountability to the residents of the city of Chicago, it left a lot to be desired. It’s business as usual.”
Other Network partners participated in the proceedings along the way. MALDEF also introduced their own map, which intended to split the difference between some of the competing maps introduced in the early stages. Additionally, Asian American Institute provided testimony at public hearings stating that the new map divides Asian American communities.
Chicago Tribune: New ward map from old politics
Progress Illinois: Possible deal on ward remap, but few happy
WBEZ: Interactive: City Council-approved Chicago Ward Map
Read Network Partner Illinois Campaign for Political Reform’s full testimony to the Chicago City Council on redistricting, as well as their statement regarding the process.
Illinois Campaign for Political Reform: Testimony to Committee on Committees, Rules & Ethics
Illinois Campaign for Political Reform: Statement on Redistricting