Enough Chicago councilors agree on a new map of the city’s 50 districts that they will avoid a referendum next month, which would give voters a choice between competing maps, sources said Monday.
The proposed map will create 16 wards with black majorities and 14 with Latino majorities, sources said. That’s one Latino ward less than the City Council that Latino Caucus has been fighting for months to secure.
Faced with a May 19 deadline to allow at least 41 councilors to vote to approve a single card to prevent their competing cards from going to voters, councilors have negotiated to try to reach some sort of consensus.
Southwest side of Ald. George Cardenas, 12th, said it appears that the various factions have crossed that threshold.
“A referendum wouldn’t have been good for anyone, so something had to happen and we did,” Cardenas said.
But the People’s Coalition, whose card was backed by the Latino Caucus, released a statement late Monday calling the proposed deal “very gerrymandered.”
So-called ‘reformers’ made backroom deals and decided voters were not allowed to choose their card,” the group said in a statement. “…As a result, Latinos lost for the second decade in a row. Chicago’s largest minority population as such will not be fairly and accurately portrayed. The voices of immigrant populations remain on the fringe.
“We are disappointed that some of our colleagues chose to save themselves over the Latino community. The elected representatives of this ‘Welcoming City’ have proven that they will let us in, but our votes don’t count.”
The once-a-decade battle grew more bitter as the deadline approached, but eventually Latino aldermen who had held out began making deals to join the 35 aldermen who supported a map drawn up by the council’s regulations committee. and was favored by most. of the Black Caucus of the municipality.
Both maps supported by the Latino Caucus and Rules Committee feature the city’s first Asian-American majority neighborhood.
The central point of tension was that Latinos wanted as many new wards as possible to give them more political power to reflect the fact that Chicago’s Latino population continues to grow, according to the latest US Census. Black councilors wanted to retain as many wards as possible after decades of working to increase their power on the council, despite the city’s black population declining rapidly.
Sign up for The Spin to get the top stories in politics delivered to your inbox on weekday afternoons.
In the latest twist, the Latino Caucus hoped to get the council to suspend its rules last month and have a majority of councilors pass either their card or the one supported by the Black Caucus and others. By doing so, the Latino Caucus could have changed its map for the June referendum to reflect the changes it had agreed this year with the good government groups, including CHANGE Illinois.
But the Latino Caucus failed to gain enough support to do so, leaving them without the loyalty to CHANGE Illinois that they hoped would help them convince voters that their card was fairer to people across the city. .
Several Latino councilors began negotiating deals to adjust and support their neighborhood boundaries in the Rules Committee map, with Northwest Side Ald. Felix Cardona, 31st, recently announced that he had done so.
The coalition could still fall apart before councilors vote on it, but it seems likely that the political uncertainty of the referendum will convince enough of them to work together to avoid it.
The last map referendum, after the 1990 census, led to a federal lawsuit that: costs taxpayers $20 million. Backers of the Rules map have relentlessly positioned their proposal as the best way to avoid a repeat of that precious episode.