Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fun With Maps

You may have heard:  Due to the 2010 census, Chicago must redraw its ward maps so that each ward has approximately the same number of residents (53,912 is the magic number).  Of course, this being Chicago, politics and race factor heavily into the equation, with each group trying to draw the boundaries to their best advantage.  The result... well, don't look for any square-shaped wards.

Can you say "Gerrymandering"?  I knew you could!

Two groups have each submitted an opening volley, er, ward map.  Since this blog focuses on Uptown (which we consider to be roughly Irving Park to the south, Foster to the north, Lake Michigan to the east and Clark to the west), we waded our way through the legal descriptions and tried to come up with representations of how Uptown would be chopped up under each proposal.*

* (We're not swearing these are 100% accurate.  You try to figure out what "thence easterly along said Avenue to Nonvisible Linear Legal Statistical Boundary (TLID:111840994), thence easterly along said Nonvisible Linear Legal Statistical Boundary to Perennial Shoreline (TLID:1II766523), thence northerly along said Perennial Shoreline to Perennial Shoreline (TLID:616810245), thence westerly along said Perennial Shoreline to Perennial Shoreline (TLID:616810244), thence northerly along said Perennial Shoreline to Perennial Shoreline (TLID:630009404), thence westerly along said Perennial Shoreline to Perennial Shoreline (TLID:630009403), thence northerly along said Perennial Shoreline to Perennial Shoreline (TLID: 1 1 1 88928 I ), thence northerly along said Perennial Shoreline to Perennial Shoreline (TLID:630009422), thence northerly along said Perennial Shoreline to Nonvisible Linear Legal Statistical Boundary (TLID:111745772), thence westerly along said Nonvisible Linear Legal/Statistical Boundary" means!)

click to enlarge
Thursday, the so-called "Latino Caucus" submitted its ward map.  In it, Uptown becomes pretty much all 46th Ward.  The 47th Ward keeps its four block turf (Dover to Clark between Montrose and Lawrence) and adds Graceland Cemetery.  The 48th Ward is completely shut out; Ald. Osterman's new ward's southern border is Foster.  Ald. Cappleman was the only Uptown alderman to endorse this plan.  You can read the official document here.

Click to enlarge
Then on Friday, the so-called "Dick Mell/Black Caucus" submitted their proposed ward map.  In this one, Uptown is split between the 46th, 47th, and 48th Wards.  The Lawrence/Broadway entertainment district is now completely in the 46th Ward, and Little Vietnam/Argyle Street is completely in the 48th Ward.  Clark Street has been restored as a border between Irving Park and Lawrence.  All three Uptown aldermen (Cappleman, Osterman and Pawar) have endorsed this plan.  You can read the official document here.

As Irish Pirate points out in his analysis, changes are sure to come, so don't get too attached.  He also points out that, along with the tortured ward boundaries, neither map comes close to attaining that magic 53,912 residents per ward aspiration.

You might also want to take a look at the Welles Park Bulldog, which is doing a yeoman job of covering the boundaries and the politics behind the remap.

And just a reminder what the ward boundaries are today.


  1. I just noticed a Tribune editorial on a supposed "doomsday" map. Bring it on!

    I hope Mayor Rahm is holding this in reserve to bludgeon the aldermen into coming to an agreement that will avoid a referendum and a sustainable legal challenge.

    Simply put I have no doubt he could find 9 aldermen to vote for the "doomsday" map. Then it would likely win overwhelmingly in the referendum. The unhappy squealing from the aldercritters could be heard from Milwaukee if that happens.

    Rahmbo is many things. Dumb, ain't one of em'.

  2. The real question is, why do we need so many wards, and aldermen, at all? 200k people left the city in the last ten years, and 311 replaced a lot of the services the aldermens' offices used to provide.

    Cut 'em in half, at least, and *then* redistrict.

  3. Cute. Love how the Latino Caucus map includes Challenger Park in Pawar's ward and all the buildings along Kenmore in Cappleman's...basically, a recipe for disaster for the Kenmore residents dealing with problems in their backyards when their backyards are an afterthought to the ward on the far side of the cemetery. A minor issue in the whole universe of re-districting issues, but nonetheless....

    I'd love to see detailed maps for what the entire set of current Uptown wards would look like under each proposal (including the "Doomsday" map)...where is the southern boundary of the 46th Ward, for example?

    And Luke, a noble thought to cut us down to 25 wards (it seems to be batted around a lot by our more conservative Uptowners)...but if I'm not mistaken, that would take action by the General Assembly in Springfield in order to happen. Has anyone been talking to Greg Harris and Heather Steans about making that happen? Or is the idea just idea without substance?

  4. Bear60640, you can click on the links and read the legal descriptions, or check the Welles Park Bulldog, for complete proposed ward maps. It took HOURS to draw the lines for Uptown; I didn't have the energy, or the knowledge of neighborhoods from Devon to Lincoln Park to the Chicago River, to even make an attempt at complete ward maps.

  5. Ursine one,

    I'm not sure if part or all of 4000-4400 Kenmore is in the 47th ward under the Latino map.

    Maybe the western part of the street. Maybe the western part just north of Kenmore. Those boundaries are difficult to figure out.

    In any case putting any part of Kenmore into the Fighting 47th makes no sense.

    Those precincts also went heavily for Cappleman in 2007 and 2011 and I can't imagine he would want to lose them.

    Nothing to the west and south of any part of Graceland Cemetery should be in the 47th. It's just too damn far from the center of that ward and the cemetery acts as a big natural ward boundary.

    Part of the problem with the current ward map is that ridiculously shape wards were created to bring in the desired percentage of various racial/ethnic groups.

    One proposed map had a ward running from the north end of Hyde Park to Millennium Park downtown. Which by my calculation is over 7 miles. Nutz! Even Futz!

  6. Bear, yes, you're mistaken; ever heard of "home rule"? Just another one of those insubstantial ideas, no doubt.

  7. Caring Neighbor--the maps looked so well-made that I thought they may have been captured from city sources and readily available as links. What you've done IS a huge amount of work that is very helpful--thank you!!

    IP--do you think that whoever drew the Latino map to have the 47th Ward take Graceland Cemetery...thought that they were giving some voters to the 47th Ward? Maybe we need to make sure that voter canvassing includes Potter and Bertha Palmer, the Honores, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Governor Altgeld, the McCormicks, Root, Sullivan, and Carrie Eliza Getty....

    And Luke, I'm not so sure that I'm mistaken--for example, see what Hank Morris said on December 15, 2010 in and the well-informed response by the Better Government Association's Policy and Government Affairs Coordinator, Emily Miller. So which takes legal precedence? After all, this IS Illinois, Land of Indeterminate Law. It's just smart to cover your bases, and my question was whether or not those advocating 25 Chicago wards/alderman have covered their bases in Springfield along with tilting at the windmills in the City Hall Council Chamber. And really, I think it more likely that we would re-elect Rod Blagojevich for governor in 2015 than the Chicago City Council would choose to turn half of itself out of office. Plus you know very well that they would challenge every single signature on petitions for a referendum going around them to accomplish the same thing....

  8. can someone please make sure to run these proposals by the GDs, P-Stones, Kings and Lords? i'd hate to think that the "territory" of one of their "sales representatives" could be split into two wards. that would just cause a paperwok nightmare when it came down to Christmas bonuses...

  9. Bear,

    more fun with remapping.

    Rahm threatens a can of major whoopass.

    Columnist Mark Brown is "confused".

    I refuse to hyperlink based on the preponderance of clouds in the sky.