Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Aldermen Say They're Close, But Still Don't Have New Ward Map

"There are no real winners. Everybody has to give," said Ald. Dick Mell (33rd)

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Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) says a proposed map redrawing ward boundaries is out of caucus and isn't going to leave any alderman 100 percent satisfied.

Chicago's City Council held its last meeting of the year Wednesday with one big piece of unfinished business: the new map of the city's wards.

If they don't hold a special session before the end of the year and approve a new map with 41 of 50 votes, citizens would get to have their say through a referendum. And that could cost as much as $20 million.

While there's no official map yet, several aldermen on Wednesday said they're close, albeit not overly satisfied.

"There are no real winners. Everybody has to give," said Ald. Dick Mell (33rd). "The people will vote for it, but if you ask them, 'Is it really what they like?' I don't think anybody will say, 'This is the one I want.'"

Mell said his proposed map includes 18 primarly African American wards, 16 with primarly white populations and 13 wards where Latinos are the majority. Three other wards are Latino-influenced "negotiators."

As Mell said, almost everyone will be making concessions.

"We think that 13 would be our strongest legal position, even stronger than 14, and so we're willing to deal with that," said Ald. Danny Solìs (25th).

The 2010 census showed that Chicago's African American population dipped by nearly 200,000. Whites also left the city, to the tune of about 52,500, while Chicago's Hispanic population grew -- and is expected to continue growing.

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