Black, Hispanic members of Chicago City Council disagree over new ward boundaries

Brushing off a state law that sets Wednesday as the deadline for the Chicago City Council to draw new ward boundaries, the chairman of the Black caucus said he considers next may the real deadline.

"There’s no rush to get something' done right now, December one. There's no rush," said Alderman Jason Ervin.

Meanwhile, a proposed new ward map backed by a majority of council members was finally released.

But serious disagreements remain between Black and Hispanic members of the council.

The majority's map includes a concession the Black Caucus had long resisted — shrinking the total number of Black majority wards from the current 18 to 16, a result of the continuing African American exodus from Chicago.

But it provides 14 Hispanic majority wards, not the 15 the Latino Caucus says a growing population demands.

"Despite the fact that today in the city of Chicago there are more Latino residents than African American residents, the Chicago Coalition Map put forth primarily by the Latino Caucus has more African American majority districts than Latino districts. I think it's a fair map," said Alderman Carlos Rosa.


The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund is among the groups threatening to file a federal voting rights lawsuit unless their demands are met.

The council majority that supports the map revealed is promising several months’ worth of public hearings, beginning this month, and taking a break for the holidays and resuming in January.

Some aldermen predict a compromise sooner rather than later.

"This thing will be wrapped up somewhere right after the first of the year," said Alderman Howard Brookins.