City Council Approves New Ward Map

Some Chicagoans will soon live in a different ward with a different alderman without having to move.

During a special meeting called earlier this week by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the City Council voted Thursday 41-8 to approve a new Chicago ward map. That's good enough to avoid an election asking voters to choose between opposing maps.

The controversial map is a result of the African American population decreasing by 181,000, the white population decreasing by 52,000 and a huge increase in the Hispanic population in Chicago in the past 10 years.

"I believe that the agreement we have today not only represents the ethnic groups that we have in the city of Chicago but it also defends the taxpayers from not having to go through costly litigation if we had not come up with the agreement," said Ald. Danny Solis (25th).

The approved version is comprised of 18 African-American wards, 13 Hispanic wards and two Hispanic influenced wards.

The city's 50 aldermen went into the vote united behind a version of the map with half-white, half-African American and 13 Hispanic wards. Still many aldermen told NBCChicago this was the first time they got a good look at the new comprehensive remap that will represent the city.

Two hours before the vote the map was still being finalized.

"Two hundred people came to testify on behalf of or against different proposals," said Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd).

The 2nd Ward potentially is the most affected by the redistricting, and Ald. Bob Fioretti said he's ready for anything as long as his constituents aren't cheated.

"The truth of the matter is people should be upset with this map because it excluded them from the process," Fioretti said. "What we see here today is the people are excluded from the process. They have no right to comment on it under what we're seeing today."

"I'm pleased that the aldermen resolved the issue of the political boundaries and lines for the next 10 years. I'm pleased they took that step and worked hard at it," Emanuel told reporters Thursday while meeting with small business owners and members of the Chatham Business Association.

Now that that's done, he said, his focus turns to tackling the city's important issues: schools, public safety and economic growth.

The new ward map takes effect when aldermen are sworn into office in 2015.

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