As ward map deadline nears, calls for transparency among deadlocked City Council

Chicago News

With just two days left for Chicago City Council to approve a new ward map, a compromise still hasn’t emerged from negotiations happening behind closed doors.

Mayor Lightfoot insists she wants transparency in the once-a-decade ward map redrawing.  

“I think the people in the city are very eager for input,” Mayor Lightfoot said.

But behind closed doors, influential alderpeople are deadlocked over new boundaries. 

Over the weekend, Mayor Lightfoot jumped into the discussion, to little avail.

“I was invited by a number of different folks to get engaged, and I did,” Lightfoot said. “I convened a meeting over the weekend. We spent several hours putting issues on the table, trying to narrow those issues and get to some kind of a consensus.”

In response to an increase in Chicago’s Latino population, City Council’s Latino Caucus wants two more wards. But the Black Caucus doesn’t want to give up more than one seat.

Forty-one of the 50 alderpeople must agree on a map. If they don’t, Chicago voters will choose the ward boundaries during a special election next June. Today, Mayor Lightfoot sounded resigned that Chicago is headed to its first map referendum in decades. 

“They’ll either get something done, or they won’t,” Lightfoot said. “Obviously, Wednesday is an important date but it’s not going to be the last word, I don’t believe, on a map that’s going to dictate what the wards look like over the next decade.”

Even though the final map is not done, City Council’s Rules Committee met Monday afternoon. 

Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward) slammed the map-making process.

“This has been the least transparent process ever,” Villegas said. “Here we are two days before this body is going to take action on it and we, being asked to try to and support this, haven’t even seen the full map yet.”

Mayor Lightfoot’s floor leader Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward) pushed back, however.

“I feel insulted. I feel insulted as a female woman. I’ve asked you to come into a space you all took a – and I’m going to get really indignant right about now – I’ve asked you all to come into a space and in typical male, you all think you can run all over me come in and be part of the process,” Harris said. “That map room has been sitting there. All you had to do…was come in and be part of the process.”

So when will we see the map? Alderwoman Michelle Harris says soon. She says all 50 alderpeople and the public will get the map at the same time.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Popular

Latest News

More News