After two weeks of day and night meetings between aldermen, a behind-the-scenes deal falls apart.
How Chicago's wards will look in the new year remained in question Thursday, with the Latino and Black caucuses each filing their own proposals after a behind-the-scenes deal fell through.
If the council can't agree on new boundaries, the decision would be put to the voters in a referendum, and that could result in a costly court battle.
"Let's hope that there's not a nuclear winter," said Ald. Dick Mell (33rd) after learning the map he proposed Wednesday wasn't going to happen.
By mid-afternoon, the Latino Caucus was the first to end discussions and filed its map with the Chicago City Clerk, getting the ball rolling on committe hearings and a City Council vote.
"We think that the map that we will present is a map that is fair and legal," said Ald. Danny Solis (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 about 25,000 -- and is expected to continue growing.
The Latino Caucus hopes to gain three wards from the 10 it has now. The Black Caucus, with 19 wards now, will not support the Latinos' proposal to reduce them by two.
"This is a work in progress. It is not a final masterpiece," said Ald. Howard Brookins (21st).