Feb 25, 2022 - Politics

Ward remap likely heading to voters

Politician
Ald. Gilbert Villegas listens during a city council meeting in May 2021. Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The head of the Latino Caucus said Wednesday he is 1,000% certain that the ward remap will be decided by voters.

Why it matters: The comment highlights what now looks like an intractable stalemate between warring city council factions.

  • Alderpeople failed to agree on the remade map they're tasked with creating once a decade based on new census numbers. Without a compromise, it will be put on the June ballot.

What they're saying: "We've exhausted all avenues. So we've decided to let the voters decide," Ald. Gilbert Villegas said at a Wednesday press conference.

  • "From here on out, we're in campaign mode."

The intrigue: Even though a majority of alderpeople support the map that came out of the rules committee, they are short of the 41 votes needed to keep it off the ballot.

The holdouts: The Latino Caucus (13 members), plus 2 other alderpeople, are supporting their own map that increases the number of Latino-majority wards and decreases Black-majority wards based on the 2020 census numbers.

Bigger picture: Last week, the nonpartisan political advocacy group Change Illinois endorsed the Latino Caucus map after their own independent map — The People's Map — failed to get traction.

  • "The People's Map is the most diverse, compact, and best at keeping communities whole, but unfortunately, alderpersons concerned with their futures just were not willing to support," Change Illinois executive director Madeleine Doubek tells Axios.
  • "We concluded the (Latino Caucus map) is the best map that can be put in front of voters and thought it was important to support the best map for most of Chicago."

Fact check: The city council rules committee has argued that putting the map on the ballot will cost taxpayers millions of dollars, but that has been disputed.

What's next: The council has until mid-May to secure 41 votes to avoid the map going to a referendum.

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