Still no agreement on Chicago wards map despite rare Sunday city council meeting

Leah Hope Image
Monday, January 31, 2022
Battle to redraw Chicago wards map continues with no agreement
There is still no agreement on a proposal that would redraw Chicago's ward map despite a two-hour meeting Sunday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The battle of redrawing Chicago's 50 wards continues.

The Chicago City Council held a rare Sunday meeting, with still no agreement as a result.

The latest meeting comes as the racial makeup of the city changes and the city council tries to best represent that change.

But what is keeping alderman so far apart?

The Chair of Rules Committee convened the meeting, which was streamed live, about the proposed re-map of the city's wards.

RELATED: Redrawing Chicago wards map sets off battle between Black, Latino caucuses

"I encourage us to get together today, roll up our sleeves [and] work together," said rules committee chair and 8th Ward alderman, Michelle Harris.

The Rules Committee remap proposal currently has 33 aldermen supporting it. The proposal would create an Asian American ward, reduce predominantly African -American wards to 16 and increase predominantly Latino wards to 14.

The coalition map proposes those changes but increases Latino wards to 15.

Despite six months of negotiations and Sunday's two-hour meeting, there is still no agreement.

"We're hoping we can get to that compromise and we can get to that map through this process, but if we can't get to that, I think we're all prepared to let the voters of the city of Chicago decide," said Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa, 35th Ward.

"I'm offended by what you all have proposed. You turned literally every ward on the south and west side of the city upside down to accomplish what it is that you want," said Black Caucus Chair and 28th Ward alderman, Jason Ervin.

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Still, some at the weekend meeting were there in hopes of avoiding a referendum.

"I'm hopeful but then you saw two of their members get up in that space and shout, We're going to referendum,'" Harris said.

"This is a democratic process. If there's not an agreement, let's let the voters decide," said Latino Caucus Chair and 36th Ward alderman, Gilbert Villegas.

"This could be done in a quick timeframe, a thoughtful timeframe with collaboration and that we can get really focused on as we always are every single day -- the issues that impact Chicagoans," said Ald. Harry Osterman, 48th Ward.

A referendum and likely litigation would take time and could cost the city millions of dollars. The cost, some aldermen argue, may be worth it to have more of a growing Latino voice heard at City Hall.