Amid parliamentary maneuvering, Chicago aldermen approve new ward map

January 19, 2012

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Updated at 6:15 p.m.

Chicago aldermen Thursday voted to set new boundaries for the city's wards. A compromise map won support from 41 out of 50 aldermen, a lopsided enough vote to ensure there will not be a referendum where voters would pick between competing maps.

Click Below for an interactive version of approved ward map:

After months of negotiations, the final plan won at least begrudging support from leaders of both the Latino and Black caucuses.

"I don't even like to change a map in my house, let alone change a major step like we had to do," Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), chairman of the Rules Committee and chief sponsor of the map, told his colleagues before the vote.

Among the most glaring changes from the current map: Ald. Bob Fioretti's 2nd ward on the South and West Sides was relocated to the North Side.

"This map divides up communities. It divides up parishes. It divides up areas of interest," Fioretti complained Thursday.

Fioretti tried to use a parliamentary maneuver to delay the vote, but was thwarted when Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his allies used a different parliamentary maneuver.

The map "hasn't been rushed in any way shape or form," Ald. Pat O'Connor (40th), Emanuel's floor leader, said in defense of the move. "This has been hundreds and hundreds of hours worth of meetings, and hundreds and hundreds of times staring at a computer and drawing boundaries. This isn't a rush. This has taken longer than the Sistine Chapel."

But 36th Ward Ald. Nick Sposato, who estimates 80 percent of his ward changes under the new boundaries, was outraged by the parliamentary tactic, calling it "borderline criminal."

The ordinance was still being printed more than an hour after a committee meeting was scheduled to start Thursday morning. Many aldermen got their first look at the final map shortly before the vote.

The threat of lawsuits remains, as some groups claim the map was really more about incumbent protection than anything else.

In addition the Fioretti and Sposato, the aldermen to vote against the map were Roderick Sawyer (6th), Michael Zalewski (23rd), Michael Chandler (24th), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Rey Colon (35th) and John Arena (45th). Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th) did not show up for the vote.

AUDIO: WBEZ's Melba Lara talks with reporter Sam Hudzik about the council's approval of the ward map.

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