Apr 29, 2022 - Politics

Municipal mudslinging and map maneuvers in Chicago

Illustration of Chicago City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Now that U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley has passed on running for mayor, the political intrigue at City Council returns to a familiar battle: maps.

Why it matters: The new ward map will shape Chicago politics for the next decade. But the council is split on two competing maps which ultimately may be decided by voters.

The latest: On Wednesday, the council refused to vote on letting the Latino Caucus update its map for the ballot.

  • The caucus wanted to update based on citizen input.
  • But opponents called the updates a "Burke protection plan."
  • Indicted Ald. Ed Burke (14th) has yet to choose a side.

Context: The big difference between the two maps has to do with representation in both the Black and Latino communities.

  • In the 2020 census, Chicago’s Black population dropped 10% compared to 2010.
  • The Latino population jumped 5%.
  • The Asian American population surged 30%.

State of play: The prolonged political fight is over one seat.

  • The Latino Caucus supports the People’s Coalition Map, which includes 15 Latino-majority wards.
  • The map supported by the Black Caucus (Chicago United Map) includes only 14.

The intrigue: The two competing maps are creating strange bedfellows — and in turn, confusing voters.

Who supports the Chicago United Map:

  • The Black Caucus
  • Finance chairman Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd)

Who supports the People's Coalition Map:

  • The Latino Caucus
  • Progressive Caucus members Ald. Rosanna Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd), Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35th)
  • The independent political advocacy group Change Illinois
  • Tribune and the Sun-Times editorial boards

Deadline: If 41 alderpeople agree on a map by May 19, they can avoid putting the issue on the June 28 ballot.

Where's the mayor? Mayor Lightfoot has decided to stay out of the fray.


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