Ugly, is right... We need to use that knife and cut the city council in half to have just 25 wards based on population. Enough of this political nonsense.
Remap uglier than a knife fight
CAROL MARIN firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: January 21, 2012 12:52AM
‘The giant screw came out of the sky and got me,” said 36th Ward Ald. Nicholas Sposato on Friday morning from his City Hall Office.
Sposato lost 80 percent of his existing ward on Thursday in the new remap. His newly configured ward looks like a tipped-over goal post. Worse, his home on the Northwest Side now sits on an island in the Galewood community where he grew up. Almost every other block surrounding his house belongs to somebody else’s ward.
How did this happen to the 53-year-old former firefighter and freshman alderman?
“Maybe ’cause I’m outspoken. Or independent. Or beat the Machine,” he suggested.
Every decade, as the census changes, government redraws its districts.
This is never clean, neat, logical or, oftentimes, particularly fair.
Take a look at the newly created map of Chicago’s 50 wards and that couldn’t be more apparent.
While it is more than right to give the city’s Hispanics more representation, given their increase in population, and to adjust the representation of blacks and whites according to the drop in their numbers, the journey toward remap is uglier than a knife fight at midnight.
If there is any doubt about that, just take a look at what happened to Ald. Bob Fioretti’s 2nd Ward. Given its tortured shape, it’s being called “The Snake” but looks more like ill-formed blobs of LEGO pieces gone haywire.
Fioretti, who has made his share of powerful enemies on the council but whose voting record has not been unduly rebellious, is understandably furious.
Was he made even more vulnerable by his current battle with tonsil cancer? Fioretti told Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman, “No, no. More of it deals with my being outspoken and making sure . . . taxpayers had a voice.”
A voice in zoning and development, the Council’s heart of money and power.
One of the wonkiest aldermen, with the most thorough understanding of what’s at stake in this remap, is the 32nd Ward’s Scott Waguespack. The crazily cut 2nd Ward now slashes through some of his neighborhoods, dividing up communities. “I know I can handle anything that’s drawn up. . . . but I feel for the people who ended up with these really bad maps,” the alderman said.
Waguespack, whose new ward now cover parts of the former 43rd Ward plus Logan Square, says his office Friday was flooded with calls from upset neighborhood groups, businesses and voters who are no longer sure which ward they’re in or what it will mean to the quality of their areas.
Then again, if you’re in politics, you better know how to swim through shark-infested waters. Waguespack did. And his new ward came out reasonably well.
Not so for Nick Sposato.
One short year ago, in a stunning upset, he defeated Ald. John Rice, the endorsed candidate of Democratic ward bosses and Rahm Emanuel.
Rice, by phone Friday, put it in plain English: “Politics, you have to wheel and deal and make compromises,” he said.
For his part, Sposato contends that the mayor refused to meet with him and that Ald. Richard Mell, head of the remap, told him to his face, “You’re screwed.”
Mell, reached on his cell phone, told me he never said that to Sposato.
Then again, you could argue, he didn’t need to