CHICAGO

New Ward Map Passes Chicago City Council, Creating 13 Latino-Majority Wards (VIDEO)

01/19/2012 05:21 pm ET

The Chicago City Council approved a newly-drawn map of the city's 50 wards Thursday in a 41-8 vote.

The new boundaries are seen as a victory for the Latino Caucus, who lobbied heavily for the 13 supermajority wards created by the remap, up from nine under the previous ward map, Fox Chicago reports. Several other interest groups objected to the new ward definitions, which were revealed at the meeting Thursday morning shortly before the vote that approved them.

Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) told Fox he was ready to vote for the map after a meeting with other leaders Tuesday, but that the map revealed Thursday morning had changes that disappointed him. "There was a section of Chesterfield that could have been taken, and instead, part of Chatham was taken," he said.

The Black Caucus took a hit, losing two majority African-American wards for a total of 18, NBC Chicago reports. The adjustments reflect recent census findings that show the city's African-American population has decreased by 181,000 in the past 10 years, while the Hispanic population has grown dramatically.

The decision isn't sitting well with some aldermen, who say they didn't have sufficient time to review the map before the vote was called. The boundaries were still being finalized two hours before the council voted, and three aldermen's request for more time to consider the map was denied on a parliamentary rule technicality, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The map passed by a sufficient margin to avoid a costly referendum, that would have put the map in voters' hands when they hit the polls March 20, but Ald. Nick Sposato (36th), who voted against the map, told the Chicago Tribune he thinks voters will challenge the map legally anyway.

"There's no doubt in my mind the city is gonna get sued over this and we're gonna have to be spending money that we don't have to defend a lawsuit," Sposato told the Tribune. "That's what I'm mad about."

As it stands, changing demographics in the map could threaten the seats of at least six incumbent aldermen. The next city election under the new boundaries will take place in 2015.

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