After a complex and controversial ward redistricting and remap process that ended in a City Council vote yesterday, some Chicago residents were sent clarifying and celebratory emails from their alderman responding to the outcome. But those responses were varied, depending on the ward.
Joe Moore of the 49th Ward praised his far North Side neighbors—40th Ward Alderman Patrick O’Connor, 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman and 50th Ward Alderman Debra Silverstein—for helping “to draw ward boundaries that corresponded as closely as possible to the local community area boundaries.” He added, “Though population requirements prevented us from drawing wards identical to our community areas, I believe we did as well as we possibly could.” He also linked to WBEZ’s interactive map of the new ward map.
And for Moore, two is better than one: “Practically speaking, the folks whose homes are being re-drawn into new wards will enjoy the short-term benefit of having two aldermen represent them,” he wrote of the new boundaries that would temporarily make him and O’Connor oversee some of the same territory.
Alderman Proco Joe Moreno (1st) was more colorful with his commentary, which he slipped into a longer newsletter about ward happenings, like Adult Trivia Night. “I’m delighted to report that our long municipal redistricting nightmare is finally over,” Moreno wrote. “The 1st Ward is largely how I wanted it to be. I didn’t really want to lose anyone but everyone had to.”
Alderman Richard F. Mell’s (33rd) note didn’t editorialize much, but seemed to have missed a run through the spelling and grammar check:
“I well remember the the redistricting process resulting from the 1990 U.S. Census that costed (sic) the City of Chicago more that $25,000,000 in legal fees and only changed ward boundaries by a few blocks. Since I became the chairman of the Committee on Committees, Rules & Ethics, I vowed to made it my top priority to deliver to the taxpayers of this city a redistricting map that will pass constitutional muster and is legally defensible regarding court rulings regarding the Voting Rights Act as well as attract enough votes in the council to avert an expensive referendum. With the map that my colleagues and I passed yesterday, I truly believe that I have accomplished that goal.”And Michele Smith (43rd) announced that the ward remap had “saved” Lincoln Park, praising her constituents by saying “This Could Not Have Been Accomplished Without You” (emphasis hers). “Without your hard work, our community would have been divided into fragments that do not reflect traditional neighborhood boundaries. In the original proposal, almost half of Lincoln Park would have been excised from the 43rd Ward.” She also thanked Moreno, 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, and 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack, as well as with the Latino Caucus.
However, she mourned the loss of part of the ward, saying that she was “forced to say goodbye to some old friends,” but congratulating her lost constituents for getting to be a part of the new 2nd ward under Alderman Bob Fioretti (Fioretti was on Eight Forty-Eight this morning, discussing how he was outmaneuvered in the remap process, which included City Council turning his mic off).
Has your alderman contacted you about whether you’ll be staying or going, and whether they’re happy with it? Do you wish they had?