Chicago Aldermen Skirmish Over New Ward Map (VIDEO)
Though Chicago aldermen set out Thursday evening to approve a ward remap that increases Hispanic representation on the City Council, they ultimately failed to arrive at a plan approved by at least 41 of the council's members -- and head back to work Friday.
The remap is intended to reflect the city's changing demographics outlined in the latest Census -- specifically that the city's Latino population is increasing, while its white and black populations are decreasing. As WGN reports, the objective is to morph two of the city's black-majority wards and one of the city's white-majority wards into Hispanic-majority wards.
The plan, being lead by the council's powerful rules committee head Ald. Richard Mell (33rd), has specifically targeted the districts currently represented by three aldermen -- Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th), Ald. Willie Cochran (20h) and Ald. Nick Sposato (36th) -- as Fox Chicago reports. Ald. JoAnn Thompson (16th) also stands in danger of being drawn into the same South Side ward as Foulkes in one proposed map, according to the Chicago Tribune.
It appears the three will not be backing down without a fight, which, if not sorted out Friday, could drag out into a referendum or even a court case. Either way, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he will not intervene in the matter and is confident the council will arrive at a consensus, according to CBS Chicago.
"When I'm required to do something, I will," the mayor commented on the matter Thursday, according to the Tribune. "I don't need to be the referee on that process."
Sposato told ABC Chicago he was "born and raised" in the Montclare neighborhood included in his ward, but now "it's all being taken away from me" in a remap plan which, as proposed, would trim away 80 percent of the neighborhood he's long called home.
If the City Council were truly representative of Chicago's demographics, it would have 15 Latino representatives, rather than either the seven it currently has or the 10 it could have if the remap proceeds as planned.
Over the past decade, the city's Latino population has grown by 25,000, while the city's overall population dropped by 200,000.