WBEZ | redistricting http://www.wbez.org/tags/redistricting Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Watch Chicago's 2nd Ward fly north over the years http://www.wbez.org/news/watch-chicagos-2nd-ward-fly-north-over-years-110293 <p><div class="image-insert-image ">Last week <a href="http://wbezdata.tumblr.com/post/86343915004/mapping-rahm-emanuels-2011-victory-and-how-that-may" target="_blank">we looked at</a> where Rahm Emanuel had support in his 2011 election and how that might shift, but one of the major pieces of geography that will change in 2015 are the boundaries themselves.</div><p>In 2012 aldermen approved a new ward map, as they do every 10 years with the decennial census. And as is also a Chicago tradition, there were calls of gerrymandering, civil rights abuses and the eventual lawsuit.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s redistricting efforts have been challenged in three of the past four attempts going back to 1980. That&rsquo;s why you&rsquo;ll find two different maps in use in the 1980s and 1990s, and very possibly later this decade as well (A lawsuit from the League of Women Voters is <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140228/downtown/city-ward-map-lawsuit-headed-back-court" target="_blank">working its way through the courts)</a>.</p><p>Inspired by a <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/05/15/americas-most-gerrymandered-congressional-districts/" target="_blank">series of articles from the <em>Washington Post</em>&rsquo;s Christopher Ingraham</a>, we decided to see just how gerrymandered Chicago&rsquo;s wards have become. Ingraham created a 0-100 scale to measure the level of gerrymandering in congressional districts and we reproduced that to see how Chicago&rsquo;s wards stacked up to Congress.</p><p>We used maps from three sources: The <a href="http://hue.uadata.org">Historical Urban Ecological data set</a>, the <a href="http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/collections/maps/chigis.html">University of Chicago</a>, and the <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/doit/dataset/boundaries_-_wards.html">city</a> of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/no-sidebar/approved-ward-map-95662">Chicago</a>.</p><p>We loaded those maps in a PostGIS database and followed Ingraham&rsquo;s methodology, specifically applying the <a href="http://www.redistrictingthenation.com/whatis-compactness.aspx">Polsby-Popper method</a> to determine a gerrymandering score (on a 0-1 scale), then converting it to a 0-100 scale.</p><blockquote><p><em>If you&rsquo;re playing along at home, the formula we used was 100*(1-(((4*3.14)*Area)/Perimeter^2))</em></p></blockquote><p>A few caveats before we continue:</p><p>-Polsby-Popper isn&rsquo;t the only way to measure gerrymandering and may not capture aspects some would associate with gerrymandering. We followed along with Ingraham&rsquo;s method to make comparisons.</p><p>-A perfect compactness score of 0 would be a circle, but no area can be split into a bunch of circles. A series of perfect squares would score 21.5.</p><p>-Compactness of a ward doesn&rsquo;t take into account population, demographics or keeping communities together, something required by the Voting Rights Act. That means sometimes a less-compact district can better serve a community.</p><p>-Chicago is a weird looking city (geographically speaking). With Lake Michigan, the O&rsquo;Hare annexation and its extreme North-South orientation, there are a lot of irregular boundaries. The city itself scores 88.8 on our gerrymandering scale (which may say something about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/gulp-how-chicago-gobbled-its-neighbors-109583" target="_blank">how the city came together</a>, but that&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;re working with).</p><p>With that said, this is a good starting point to look at how Chicago&rsquo;s wards have changed over the years, and how it compares to other civic divisions.</p><p><strong>1927</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1927_0.jpg" style="height: 378px; width: 320px;" title="Chicago City Council Wards, 1927 (Source: Historical Urban Ecological data set)" /></div><p>Chicago first split into 50 wards in the 1920s. Before then there were 35 wards with two aldermen each. Reformers hoped that having one alderman per ward (and 50 instead of 70) <a href="http://www.lib.niu.edu/1979/ii790211.html" target="_blank">would help reduce corruption</a>. The fact that this story exists implies that it did not.</p><p>That first attempt at 50 wards (with annexation thrown in in 1927) is pretty compact, and contains mostly shapes your toddler could name. You can see in the map above that most ward lines are fairly straight, with the Chicago River the main natural divider creating some squiggles.</p><p>At this point the 2nd Ward is a fairly regular shape, more or less a six-sided polygon.</p><p><strong>2nd Ward score: 43.37. Chicago score: 48.74.</strong></p><p><strong>1986</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1986_0.jpg" style="height: 378px; width: 320px;" title="Chicago City Council Wards, 1986 (Source: University of Chicago)" /></p><p>Fast forward to 1986 (the next year we could find electronic ward maps). These boundaries were drawn after the election of Harold Washington as mayor and a <a href="http://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2730&amp;context=cklawreview">4-year-long court battle</a>, so would only be in effect until 1992.</p><p>While the map as a whole has undergone some major changes, the 2nd Ward is relatively close to its original shape. The boundaries to the north, west and east are in basically the same spot, but it has grown to the south. Also, notice how the southern boundary is more irregular.</p><p><strong>2nd Ward score: 45.06. Chicago score: 61.58.</strong></p><p><strong>1992/1998</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1998_0.jpg" style="height: 378px; width: 320px;" title="Chicago City Council Wards, 1998 (Source: University of Chicago)" /></p><p>Following the 1990 census the Chicago City Council couldn&rsquo;t decide on a new ward map so they sent two proposals to voters in a referendum. Again, the choice was challenged and went to the courts, and a new ward map came in 1998. The process <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-11-09/opinion/ct-edit-wards-1109-jm-20111109_1_new-chicago-ward-map-incumbent-aldermen-census" target="_blank">cost the city $18.7 million</a>.</p><p>This is the first major change for the 2nd Ward. Other than its eastern edge on Lake Michigan, the whole thing is blown up and now resembles something like a transposed &lsquo;L.&rsquo; Not only does most of it move north, but its long, skinny shape extends west halfway across the city.</p><p>In this one change, the 2nd Ward goes from one of Chicago&rsquo;s more regular wards to one of the more gerrymandered.</p><p>While the new 1998 map had some big changes for certain districts, there was little change as far as the gerrymandering score for the city or Ward 2.</p><p><strong>1992: 2nd Ward score: 84.89. Chicago score: 69.91.</strong></p><p><strong>1998: 2nd Ward score: 85.10. Chicago score: 69.71.</strong></p><p><strong>2002</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2002_0.jpg" style="height: 378px; width: 320px;" title="Chicago City Council Wards, 2002 (Source: City of Chicago)" /></p><p>After the 2000 census an amazing thing happened: Chicago passed a ward map that didn&rsquo;t get thrown out by the courts. In true Chicago style, though, this came because of more gerrymandering, not less.</p><p>Mayor Richard M. Daley <a href="http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=164131">worked with black and Latino councilors to craft wards that were acceptable to them</a>, creating safer constituencies at the expense of compactness.</p><p>The 2nd Ward is barely touching its original area, a plume of smoke rising from the ashes of its foundation. Its continued its northern path and now swallows up Burnham Harbor, Soldier Field and and the Field Museum.</p><p>This is the first time the 2nd Ward is Chicago&rsquo;s most gerrymandered, narrowly passing the 41st (91.28).</p><p><strong>2nd Ward score: 91.33. Chicago score: 69.71.</strong></p><p><strong>2015</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2015_0.jpg" style="height: 378px; width: 320px;" title="Chicago City Council Wards, 2015 (Source: City of Chicago)" /></div><p>These are the wards that will elect our next round of aldermen in February, unless of course they don&rsquo;t.</p><p>The 2nd Ward was moved not only entirely north of where it was in 1927, but north of where it was in 2002. This got a lot of attention after the <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-01-20/news/ct-met-city-council-new-ward-map-20120120_1_new-ward-map-aldermen-vote-whitney-woodward">map was approved in 2012</a>, because it moved current 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti into the 28th Ward, seemingly a punishment for not sticking with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.</p><p>WBEZ produced <a href="http://www.wbez.org/no-sidebar/approved-ward-map-95662">an interactive map of the new wards</a> along with demographic profiles of each ward back in 2012. Check out that link for more information on the process as well.</p><p>The end result is that the 2nd Ward is now solidly Chicago&rsquo;s most gerrymandered, with the 1st Ward ranking second at 91.48.</p><p><strong>2nd Ward score: 94.16. Chicago score: 74.18.</strong></p><p><strong>How Does Chicago Compare?</strong></p><p>Going back in Ingraham&rsquo;s work with states and congressional districts, Chicago and the 2nd Ward fit in pretty well. Chicago matches up well with states like Missouri as in the upper half, but not near the most gerrymandered. The 2nd Ward, though, would be just outside the top-10 for most-gerrymandered district (Illinois 4th is No. 8).</p><p>Again, these scores may be indicators of gerrymandering but is by no means the final word. That will come later from the legal system.</p></p> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 14:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/watch-chicagos-2nd-ward-fly-north-over-years-110293 Veteran Illinois lawmakers try to hang on against ambitious primary challengers http://www.wbez.org/story/veteran-illinois-lawmakers-try-hang-against-ambitious-primary-challengers-97226 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-12/IMG_1293.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Just over a week to go before Illinois' primary election day. Candidates for all sorts of offices are knuckling down and knocking on doors.</p><p>That includes the multitudes running for the 177 seats that're up in the Illinois House and Senate. We looked at a pair of those elections, which couldn't be more different.</p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><strong>DISCUSSION: </strong>More on Monday's <em>Afternoon Shift with Steve Edwards</em></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332752351-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-march/2012-03-12/leg-races.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></div></div><p>Last year when Democratic leaders drew new boundaries for state legislative districts, they manufactured some match-ups that otherwise would not have been. Take the 24th state Senate District in the Western suburbs: held by Republican Kirk Dillard, a senator since 1993.</p><p>"You know, essentially I went Northward, very much like a glacier would move," said Dillard on Sunday in his campaign office, looking at a map of his new district. "You know I think [Democratic leaders] did it because they needed to take care of some senators on the south suburban area."</p><p>Dillard could be governor right now if he'd managed to swing a couple hundred votes in 2010. In the GOP primary, he fell just short of beating fellow state Senator Bill Brady, who later fell just short of beating Democratic Governor Pat Quinn.</p><p><strong>Dillard v. Nybo</strong></p><p>But instead of ruling the state, Dillard is going door to door to fend off a Senate challenge. His campaign is buying no TV ads, no radio. Just mail - and lots of it.</p><p>"It is amazing how fast when you really focus on it, you can get mail out the door. But literally in the last weeks, you could be talking upwards to 800,000 to a million pieces of mail," Dillard said.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-12/IMG_1299.JPG" style="width: 350px; height: 263px;" title="State Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale"></p><p>And that's to a district with about 217,000 residents, by the last Census count.</p><p>Most of Dillard's mailings are positive, he says, but one this week will knock his opponent, state Rep. Chris Nybo.</p><p>"You know, if you put a sign up, you just mark it down 'Yes,' you know, 'YS" for yard sign, and the notation that you placed it. But it should be a good day out there. I mean the weather's nice so people should be in a good mood," Nybo said in a pep talk Sunday to about a dozen volunteers wearing his green campaign T-shirts.</p><p>He's a state representative with little more than a year of House experience. But he's running for Senate against Dillard in part because Democrats drew him into a district with another Republican House member. Nybo chose instead to go for the promotion, against Dillard.</p><p>"You know, I mean, Kirk is a nice guy, but he's been down there a long time," Nybo said. "And I think we need some new energy down there. I don't think anybody should be making careers of this stuff."</p><p>And with all those votes in Dillard's career, Nybo's found quite a few to criticize. Dillard's campaign, meanwhile, put up an attack website featuring "The Chris Nybo Report Card."</p><p>Oddly enough, both these Republicans have ties to the Democratic president. Dillard appeared in a TV commercial for then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama during the Democratic primary for president, praising him for bipartisan work. Nybo volunteered on the congressional campaign of Mr. Obama, who was his law professor at the time.</p><p>As you can imagine, both men are quick to deflect blame for their cracks in party loyalty.</p><p>"I don't think he should say anything about my 15 nice words about President Obama about an ethics bill he sponsored with me when he was walking precincts and a student coordinator at the University of Chicago," Dillard said.</p><p>"Kirk Dillard is criticizing what I did as a 22-year-old college student with what he did as a 50-something-year-old party - acknowledged - party leader," Nybo said.</p><p>This is one of four Illinois Senate primaries statewide that feature two current Republican members of the General Assembly. Not an uncommon occurrence in elections following redistricting.</p><p>Boundaries changed all over the state, though not all that much in one Chicago Senate district that nonetheless is seeing a big Democratic primary fight. The 5th District is entirely within Chicago - a bit of the North Side, but mostly on the West.</p><p><strong>Collins v. Watkins</strong></p><p>"How you doing? God bless you," Patricia Van Pelt Watins greeted potential voters in the entranceway of a charter school in the Lawndale neighborhood.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-12/IMG_1283.JPG" style="width: 350px; height: 263px;" title="Patricia Van Pelt Watkins of Chicago"></p><p>Some parents tell Watkins they voted for her last year when she ran for Chicago mayor. Watkins hears that a lot, but doesn't always believe it.</p><p>"Right. Because there's too many of them," Watkins said. "Wait a minute. I only got [9,704] votes. How in the world did all these people vote for me? I guess they wanted to in their hearts."</p><p>The state Senate, some voters tell Watkins, is where she ought to be.</p><p>"Yeah, because they think this position fits me better," she said.</p><p>The seat used to be held by the outspoken Rickey Hendon, until he resigned - suddenly and without much explanation - early last year. Watkins applied for the vacancy, but Democratic leaders chose Annazette Collins, who'd served a decade in the state House.</p><p>"Well, if I win [a full term], people will have recognized that we've done a good job," Collins said in an interview last week at her office.</p><p>Collins talked of her efforts to overhaul the state's youth prison system. She boasted of bringing lots of state money home to the district, a positive symptom of seniority she said Watkins would be without.</p><p>"If I lose, it means that there are people who want change, and they want something different. And our community is upset. People are mad. They're mad at the president because things aren't changing fast enough. They're mad at everybody, except themselves," Collins said.</p><p>A loss could also mean that voters gave weight to some of the negatives lobbed Collins' way in recent months. Media reports have questioned whether she really lives in the district, as required by law. Last week the<em> Sun-Times</em> reported she gave university scholarships to people who live outside her district.</p><p>"I don't know that [this election is] so much tougher [than in the past], but it's very nasty," Collins said.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-12/IMG_1288.JPG" style="width: 350px; height: 263px;" title="State Sen. Annazette Collins of Chicago"></p><p>Collins had a public showdown recently with Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, a Watkins supporter who compared Collins to former Governor Rod Blagojevich.</p><p>But with turnout expected to be brutally low, Collins is counting on a strong get-out-the-vote game. Helping lead those efforts as a paid member of her campaign team: Rickey Hendon, the onetime politician whose abrupt resignation a year ago put this seat in play.</p></p> Mon, 12 Mar 2012 19:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/veteran-illinois-lawmakers-try-hang-against-ambitious-primary-challengers-97226 City Council anticipating ward map compromise--and parliamentary maneuvers http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-19/city-council-anticipating-ward-map-compromise-and-parliamentary-maneuver <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-19/Hearing1.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The remap of Chicago's 50 wards was not quite a done deal. The Chicago <a href="http://www.chicityclerk.com/" target="_blank">City Council</a>'s rules committee met Thursday morning and they were expected to pass a compromise map. However, it may not get past the full City Council Thursday because at least two aldermen plan to delay a vote with a parliamentary procedure called a, "defer and publish." WBEZ's reporter Sam Hudzik joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> from City Hall and WBEZ's <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-ward-remap-hearing-draws-thin-crowd-95639">Chip Mitchell</a> joined the show from WBEZ's West Side bureau, near where a public hearing on the map was held Wednesday night. Then, former alderman Helen Shiller (46<sup>th</sup>) related her experience of having to go through the process of remaps after the 1990 and 2000 censuses.</p></p> Thu, 19 Jan 2012 14:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-19/city-council-anticipating-ward-map-compromise-and-parliamentary-maneuver Chicago City Council continues to meet on ward re-map http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-city-council-continues-meet-ward-re-map-95577 <p><p>Chicago aldermen are still hashing out a compromise on re-drawing ward boundaries.</p><p>Tuesday the Chicago City Council rules committee is scheduled to meet on changing the city ward map. Aldermanic boundaries are being altered because of changes in population from the most recent census. The Latino and black caucuses of the city council have competing maps.</p><p>Third Ward Ald. Pat Dowell said she doesn’t think a vote will happen this week. She said aldermen are still attending public hearings. She backs the black caucus map.</p><p>"What I think is happening is great conversation is occurring between the various caucuses. We have been attending these public meetings and hearing feedback from the community about the map," Dowell said.</p><p>A redistricting public hearing is scheduled for this Wednesday on the West Side. And the rules committee plans to meet again on Thursday.</p><p>At one public meeting last week, residents accused aldermen of trying to protect their own seats.</p><p>Last week the leaders of both caucuses said they had reached a compromise.</p></p> Tue, 17 Jan 2012 21:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-city-council-continues-meet-ward-re-map-95577 Public sounds off on ward remap proposals http://www.wbez.org/story/public-sounds-ward-remap-proposals-95479 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-12/forweb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Frustrated Chicagoans accused aldermen of shattering communities to protect their incumbencies at the first public hearing on the city’s ward remap process Wednesday night.</p><p>At least 600 people flooded into DePaul University’s Student Center in Lincoln Park, with many forced to wait temporarily outside closed doors due to concerns that attendance would exceed fire code limits. For three hours, scores of city residents hurled criticism at the more than 20 attending aldermen, and the two maps they created.</p><p>“This map is unwise for all Chicagoans, because it not only shatters our communities, it fails to accurately reflect the city’s current ethnic and racial balance,” said Daniel Varanauski, President of the Wrightwood Neighbors Association in the 43rd Ward, where the hearing was held.</p><p>Varanauski and hundreds of other 43rd Ward residents came to put pressure on council members against the map that appears to be gaining the most traction at City Hall – The Map for a Better Chicago.&nbsp; That map, proposed by the council’s Black Caucus, would carve the 43rd Ward on Chicago’s North Side into five wards.</p><p>“If adopted, as Alderman (Michelle) Smith (43rd) suggested, costly litigation would result,” added Varanauski. “Moreover, it is so gerrymandered that ward services could not be delivered effectively.”</p><p>The meeting was heavily attended by residents of Chicago’s North Side, who have felt largely cut out of the political jockeying between the city’s two largest minority groups – Hispanics and African-Americans – on the South and West Sides. &nbsp;</p><p>“I am an angry citizen tonight. This is a joke of a map,” said 43rd Ward resident Colleen Day, referring to the Map for a Better Chicago.&nbsp; “I will no longer live in my ward. I will live in the 2nd Ward. My daughter will go to school in the 43rd Ward, which is 100 feet from my house. My police station will be in the 44th Ward,” she said. “Who do I go talk to when I have a problem?”</p><p>“The Map for a Better Chicago seems to me to be just protecting incumbents instead of reflecting the actual demographics of the City of Chicago,” said Bob Stein of the 43rd Ward. “I don’t understand how this type of old Chicago-style politics, in this day and age, can still be happening.”</p><p>Stein and many others said they prefer the map proposed by the City Council’s Hispanic Caucus, called the Taxpayer Protection Map. They said that map conforms more closely with existing ward and neighborhood boundaries on the North Side.</p><p>At times Alderman Richard Mell (33rd), Chairman of City Council’s Committee on Rules, responded to comments and questions posed directly to the aldermen. “I don’t think any of these colleagues up here would want a change,” said Mell at one point, gesturing to his fellow aldermen seated next to and behind him on the stage. “If they could keep the ward exactly the way they wanted, they’d be very, very happy to do it.”</p><p>Mell told one speaker that the Map for a Better Chicago overpopulated North Side Wards and underpopulated South Side wards, thereby weighting individuals’ votes unequally, because it was necessary to get more aldermen to sign onto the plan. &nbsp;</p><p>“I can guarantee you that not one person here is thrilled with these maps that are up here right now,” said Mell.</p><p>Other aldermen at the hearing included Joe Moreno (1st), Robert Fioretti (2nd), Pat Dowell (3rd), Leslie Hairston (5th), John Pope (10th), James Balcer (11th), George Cardenas (12th), Toni Foulkes (15), JoAnn Thompson (16th), Latasha Thomas (17th), Howard Brookins (21st), Daniel Solis (25th), Walter Burnett (27th), Ariel Reboyras (30th), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Rey Colon (35th), Nicholas Sposato (36th), Michelle Smith (43rd), Thomas Tunney (44th), and John Arena (45th).</p><p>But with aldermen possibly voting on new boundaries for Chicago’s wards as soon as next week, several speakers said the public hearing felt like a sham.</p><p>“Is this a fait accompli?” asked Edwin Marshall, resident of the 43rd Ward. “How many are you taking these statements seriously?,” he asked the aldermen. “Is this an exercise in futility?”</p><p>Many asked the aldermen to take more time either to create a new map, or to more fully consider the impact of the two main maps on neighborhoods. The City Council plans to hold three additional public hearings before voting on a map.</p></p> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 06:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/public-sounds-ward-remap-proposals-95479 Are Chicago ward remaps impossible to figure out? http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2012-01-09/are-chicago-ward-remaps-impossible-figure-out-95392 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-10/phase2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last week, we here at WBEZ attempted to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/no-sidebar/proposed-chicago-ward-maps-could-change-balance-power">add clarity to the ward redistricting process</a> (or <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/search/%23ReMap">#ReMap</a> for you Twitterati).</p><p>We were fortunate enough to obtain map data files from each of the caucuses, which allowed us to make our own Google Map versions of the ward maps.</p><p>The debate over redistricting is a quintessential Chicago political story, one that involves race, ethnicity, clout and, ultimately, who has access to power.&nbsp; In this case, there are maps from multiple sources, including those proposed by the City Council&#39;s Black and Latino caucuses, as well as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and the Pro Bono Thinking Society.&nbsp; Each has filed an ordinance with the City Clerk.</p><p>The most confusing part of this saga for the public, however, is trying to determine which map is best for the city and what any of them might actually mean for any given household. Why? It&#39;s nearly impossible to determine where your house falls in any of the versions released so far.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-10/phase2.jpg" style="margin-right: 15px; margin-top: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; float: left; width: 450px; height: 309px;" title="" /></p><p>So we stepped in to try to fill the void.</p><p>But first a quick bit of background:&nbsp; In order for a ward map to be officially considered, it must be first submitted as an ordinance to the City Clerk.&nbsp; What that means is that the proposed map is actually not submitted as a map at all; it&#39;s submitted as a text document with page after page of street names, directional coordinates, block numbers, etc.&nbsp; Imagine a Google Maps text directions printout - for all 50 ward boundaries in the city.&nbsp;</p><p>Within hours of posting our versions of the proposed maps, we received a lot of responses. It was the first time many could determine the extent of the redistricting and what some would call gerrymandering.</p><p>We also received some emails and Tweets voicing specific concerns about one of our maps: the Black Caucus, also called the &quot;Map for a Better Chicago&quot;.&nbsp; This map currently has 32 alderman sponsoring it, which makes it the leading candidate to win approval, assuming the process doesn&#39;t end in a city council stalemate. Such a stalemate would trigger a public referendum, and possibly a court battle.</p><p>Anyway, our Web readers pointed out that many of the boundaries in our Google-created version of the map didn&#39;t mesh with the descriptions in the &quot;Map for a Better Chicago&quot; ordinance, the 79-page document signed and submitted by the aldermen. The reason: The map was modified in the rules committee, and no electronic version was yet available.</p><p>In attempting to build out a new map, we wanted to answer another question:</p><p>How hard is it for the average Chicagoan to figure out their ward based entirely on the ordinances available to the public? For reference, here are links to the proposed ordinances:</p><p><strong>Sponsored by aldermen:</strong></p><blockquote><ul><li><a href="http://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1020820&amp;GUID=44163DB3-575E-45FE-AF98-2C76AF93182D&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7CAttachments%7C&amp;Search=ward+map">Black Caucus</a></li><li><a href="http://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1020581&amp;GUID=F4D2D0BC-22DF-4AC2-8810-220F6188325D&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7CAttachments%7C&amp;Search=ward+map">Latino Caucus</a></li></ul></blockquote><p><strong>Independent submissions:</strong></p><blockquote><ul><li><a href="http://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1041420&amp;GUID=048A246B-FF85-41DC-96D3-40C09413F77A&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7CAttachments%7C&amp;Search=ward+map">Pro Bono Thinking Society</a></li><li><a href="http://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1024969&amp;GUID=F80AD630-B6E2-499F-A9BC-88F0FCAC4354&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7CAttachments%7C&amp;Search=ward+map">MALDEF</a></li><li><a href="http://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1024968&amp;GUID=C8FFF14D-4B35-4107-8ECD-912A1E540E7E&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7CAttachments%7C&amp;Search=ward+map">Citizen Percy Ross (wants the wards unchanged)</a></li></ul></blockquote><p>The documents read as if it they were printed on parchment, with language such as &quot;thence northerly&quot; and references to railroad right-of-ways, such as<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore_and_Ohio_Railroad"> the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad</a>, not commonly used in modern mapping devices and websites.&nbsp;</p><p>There are also coordinates that are not your of standard longitude, latitude variety. Descriptions identify points not visible by streets or barriers. These are deemed &quot;Nonvisible Linear Legal/Statistical Boundaries&quot;&nbsp;and are denoted with something known a TLID.</p><p>TLID is Census jargon for <a href="http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/chapter2.asc">TigerLine ID</a>, or shapes/coordinates that are used for census tracts. These are not run-of-the-mill maps, but rather, sophisticated mapping coordinates that are used by professional cartographers, urban planners and certain government agencies like, well, the U.S. Census Bureau.</p><p>Further, some of the language in the descriptions is so vague as to simply say &quot;Alley&quot;.&nbsp; Which alley?&nbsp; And in other instances, descriptions refer to &quot;Local Neighborhood Road, Rural&nbsp;Road, City Street&quot; when &quot;continue west on Archer Avenue&quot; would have been much clearer and more helpful.</p><p><strong>Wait, Wait . . . Gerrymander South!</strong></p><p>Accuracy is paramount when mapping and redistricting, especially when race and population have to be taken into account.</p><p>But when we attempted to map the &quot;Map For a Better Chicago,&quot; based entirely on the descriptions submitted we noticed a few things.&nbsp; The descriptions, sans &#39;thence&#39; and the adverb-ification of directions are akin to a car GPS, a TomTom that is geopolitically slicing and dicing neighborhoods.</p><p>The maps were generated with the aid of mapmaking software, according to one source. However, it doesn&#39;t always seem to get the job done correctly. &nbsp;On the few wards I&#39;ve been able to draw out manually, I found several directional errors, where instructions say to head north to a street, when the said street is in fact south of the last position.</p><p>One proposed ward description runs 5 pages.</p><p><em>Full disclosure: I haven&#39;t the resources to deep-dive into the other submitted map proposals, focusing squarely on the Black Caucus as it has the most aldermen sponsoring it, and the lack of updated electronic files to verify the descriptions faster. &nbsp;</em></p><p>Here&#39;s a shortlist of errors from the Black Caucus Map after drawing out 11 wards thus far:&nbsp;</p><table border="1" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="5" style="width: 630px;"><tbody><tr><td style="vertical-align: top;"><p><strong><u>12<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;Ward</u></strong></p><ul><li><strong>Start Point:</strong>&nbsp;W. Cermak Rd. &amp; S. Homan Ave.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Direction:</strong>&nbsp;North</li><li><strong>Given Destination:</strong>&nbsp; 26<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;Street</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><ul><li><strong>Start Point:</strong>&nbsp;Pershing Rd. &amp; Kedzie Ave.</li><li><strong>Direction:</strong>&nbsp;North</li><li><strong>Given Destination:</strong>&nbsp;42<sup>nd</sup>&nbsp;Street</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><ul><li><strong>Start Point:</strong>&nbsp;S. Archer Ave. &amp; Damen Ave.</li><li><strong>Direction:</strong>&nbsp;North</li><li><strong>Given Destination:</strong>&nbsp; W. 35<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;St.</li></ul></td><td style="vertical-align: top;"><p><strong><u>24<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;Ward</u></strong></p><ul><li><strong>Start Point:</strong>&nbsp;I-290 &amp; S. Kedzie</li><li><strong>Direction:</strong>&nbsp;North</li><li><strong>Given Destination:</strong>&nbsp;W. Harrison St.</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><ul><li><strong>Start Point:</strong>&nbsp;S. California &amp; Chicago Burlington and Quincy RR (1/2 block south of 19<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;street)</li><li><strong>Direction:</strong>&nbsp;South</li><li><strong>Given Destination:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;W. 18<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;St.</li></ul></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong><u>14<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;Ward</u></strong></p><ul><li><strong>Start Point:</strong>&nbsp;Pershing Rd. &amp; Kedzie Ave.</li><li><strong>Direction:</strong>&nbsp;North</li><li><strong>Given Destination:</strong>&nbsp;42<sup>nd</sup>&nbsp;St.</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><ul><li><strong>Start Point:</strong>&nbsp;S. Archer Ave. &amp; S. Lockwood Ave.</li><li><strong>Direction:</strong>&nbsp;South</li><li><strong>Given Destination:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;51<sup>st</sup>&nbsp;St.</li></ul></td><td style="vertical-align: top;"><p><strong><u>47<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;Ward</u></strong></p><ul><li><strong>Start Point:</strong>&nbsp;W. Addison St. &amp; N. Western Ave.</li><li><strong>Direction:</strong>&nbsp;North</li><li><strong>Given Destination:</strong>&nbsp;W. Belmont Ave.</li></ul></td></tr></tbody></table><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe align="right" frameborder="0" height="300" scrolling="no" src="https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?viz=MAP&amp;q=select+col2+from+2612460+&amp;h=false&amp;lat=41.887233170355614&amp;lng=-87.71584977795408&amp;z=11&amp;t=1&amp;l=col2" width="450"></iframe></p><p>In short, it took 2 days just to manually draw out 11 wards, some more complex with others. &nbsp;(Progress shown on the right.) &nbsp;There are 50 wards, 5 map proposals, and mounds of census data to sort.</p><p>Is it easy? No.</p><p>Is it possible for anybody without a computer to figure this data out? No.</p><p>Is it possible for seasoned political reporters and community activists to easily sort this data without help, a lot of time, Google Earth/Maps and a lot of monitors? Not really.</p><p>Is it possible that, despite the many errors found on the descriptions, that aldermen signed it without double-checking the boundaries? Yes.</p><p>Is it likely that the maps are being redrawn in closed-door sessions, with a bigger emphasis on keeping incumbant aldermen and not on maintaining neighborhood integrity and race demographics? &nbsp;That the proposed remaps are so complex that a team of cartographers are needed to figure out which alderman you need to voice your concern to?&nbsp;</p><p>But it&#39;s not just accuracy that&#39;s a concern.&nbsp; Transparency has also been hard to come by in this remap process. &nbsp;</p><p>The only &quot;visible&quot; maps that the various groups released to the public contained no streets or neighborhood boundaries. The Pro Bono Thinking Society was the only group to have an <a href="http://www.probonothinking.org/pbts3-new-wards-of-chicago-fusion-maps/">electronic version available&nbsp; </a>to determine where voters wind up. &nbsp;The group, however, has received little or no coverage in the media.</p><p>Without clear, visual representations of the proposed ward boundaries, however, voters are then left to decode near-Byzantine descriptions to attempt a general understanding of where their ward will be.</p><p>Whether intentional or not, one thing is clear: The process keeps the rest of us out of the loop and largely uninformed about the process of determining for whom, how and where we cast our ballots in the City of Chicago.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 09 Jan 2012 18:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2012-01-09/are-chicago-ward-remaps-impossible-figure-out-95392 Judges delay filing deadline for Congressional candidates http://www.wbez.org/story/judges-delay-filing-deadline-congressional-candidates-94342 <p><p>Political campaigns can start filing petitions to run for office in Cook County Monday. But some federal judges have ordered those seeking office in Washington, D.C. to wait a while longer.</p><p>Candidates running for Congress around Illinois were supposed to start filing petitions with the board of elections today . Now, they have to wait until December 23rd to file. That's a new date set by a panel of federal judges in Chicago.</p><p>The decision comes after a group sued over the new Congressional boundaries in Illinois. Illinois Democrats controlled the redistricting process and Republicans say the new congressional districts aren't fair.</p><p>Rupert Borgsmiller heads the Illinois State Board of Elections. He said delaying the filing process could complicate how someone's candidacy is challenged.</p><p>"When you compact the time frame, it does put a little more pressure on the process to get it completed," Borgsmiller said. "But it is something that I think we can work with and we will make sure that it gets taken care of."</p><p>Illinois' primary is March 20th.</p></p> Wed, 23 Nov 2011 20:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/judges-delay-filing-deadline-congressional-candidates-94342 Facing new map, some DuPage GOP infighting ahead of primary http://www.wbez.org/story/facing-new-map-some-dupage-gop-infighting-ahead-primary-92409 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-26/IL-congressional-maps-3_WBEZ_file.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some tough Republican primaries are shaping up in a few Illinois state Senate districts in DuPage County, the result of new political boundaries drawn by Democrats.</p><p>State Rep. Randy Ramey, chair of the DuPage County GOP, said that for the past few months, he's tried to figure out ways to avoid difficult primaries for sitting lawmakers. That's a tall order given that the new map lumps incumbents into the same districts.</p><p>"We've had various meetings throughout the county, talking with fellow legislators," Ramey said. "We thought we had a good plan in place, but then again, it's always up to the individual to decide if they're going to do it or not."</p><p>Ramey's plan had him taking over the state Senate seat now held by fellow Republican Carole Pankau. Ramey said he wanted her to retire, with her pension and a potential appointment to a government board. But Pankau has so far declined.</p><p>"There were many things discussed, but discussions are not necessarily reality," Pankau said. "So I am dealing with what is here and now, and I am running again."</p><p>There's another contested GOP primary in a neighboring state Senate district. Sen. Kirk Dillard is facing a challenge from Rep. Chris Nybo.</p><p>Republican leaders have challenged the new legislative map in a federal lawsuit, alleging it discriminates against minorities. They also said it discriminates against Republicans by putting the party's incumbents together.</p><p>Ramey said he does not expect the courts to make things easier for DuPage Republicans, because he doubts the suit will succeed.</p><p>"The legislative lawsuit, and you have to look at the past history, has never moved forward," Ramey said.</p><p>Ramey adds that if that suit - now in federal court - is bumped to state court, it would face a system dominated by Democrats.</p><p>"If it goes through the Democratic courts and gets to the Democratic Supreme Court in Illinois, I don't see how they change it," he said.</p></p> Mon, 26 Sep 2011 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/facing-new-map-some-dupage-gop-infighting-ahead-primary-92409 Public debate begins over Chicago's ward redistricting http://www.wbez.org/story/public-debate-begins-over-chicagos-ward-redistricting-92193 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-20/mapfix.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A stand-off over the racial and ethnic makeup of Chicago's City Council got going Monday with a proposal from its Black Caucus.&nbsp;The group proposed new ward boundaries favorable to its 19 members.</p><div><p>The most recent Census data show that Chicago has lost nearly 180,000 African American residents in the past 10 years.&nbsp;That's the equivalent of more than three seats on the City Council.</p><p>But the caucus has drawn a ward map that could protect its members.</p><p>"The African American community basically lives in certain areas. So they are still concentrated in particular areas where we were able to draw 19 African American wards," said former Ald. Freddrenna Lyle, the group's lawyer.</p><p>That's a loss of one majority black ward from the map drawn in 2001, though that seat is no longer represented by an African American alderman.&nbsp;</p><p>"The goals of the black caucus were to maintain the maximum number that the law would permit us of African American representation," said Ald. Howard Brookins, caucus chair.</p><p style="margin: 0.6em 0px 1.2em; padding: 0px;">The release of these draft boundaries sets up a clash between the Black Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus, whose members say there needs to be a substantial increase in the number of majority Hispanic wards.</p><p>The Black Caucus map tentatively includes&nbsp;an increase of two wards where Hispanics have a voting-age majority.&nbsp;That's not enough for Ald. Danny Solis, chair of the Hispanic Caucus.</p><p>"I have to study it a little bit more, but I don't think it really reflects the population increase of the Hispanic population," Solis said Monday afternoon.</p><p>The city's Hispanic population grew by about 25,000 in the past decade.&nbsp;Solis said his caucus will hold public meetings before unveiling its own map.</p><p>These proposals are the opening offers in redistricting negotiations.&nbsp;Ten years ago, most aldermen agreed on a compromise, but past redistricting efforts have ended in lengthy legal disputes.</p></div></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 00:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/public-debate-begins-over-chicagos-ward-redistricting-92193 Boehner visits Chicagoland fundraiser to challenge congressional map http://www.wbez.org/story/boehner-visits-chicagoland-fundraiser-challenge-congressional-map-90551 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/boehner1_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>US Speaker of the House John Boehner is visiting the Chicago area to help raise money for a Republican legal challenge to the new Democrat-drawn congressional districts. The fundraiser will take place at a home in Hinsdale, organized by a group called the Committee for a Fair and Balanced Map.</p><p>Pat Brady, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, says Boehner's presence is sure to draw a large audience--and a lot of money--for the cause.<br> <br> "Speaker Boehner is really good at these events, and I think that a lot of people are really irritated with the way that Mike Madigan and John Cullerton shoved this map down the throats of the people--basically trying to undo the election where we picked up five congressional seats," Brady said.</p><p>Republican members of the U.S. House banded together this summer to sue the Illinois State Board of Elections. Though not involved directly with the lawsuit, Brady said the new legislative districts were unfairly drawn, especially for Hispanic voters.</p><p>Democratic Governor Pat Quinn has said the map represents the state well and protects the voting rights of minorities.</p></p> Fri, 12 Aug 2011 19:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/boehner-visits-chicagoland-fundraiser-challenge-congressional-map-90551