Ward Remap Common Questions & Answers
Dear 40th Ward Residents,
Many of you may have questions regarding the ward remap process. There were a number of wards that saw substantial changes but the 40th Ward retained much of the geographic area which was a part of the ward in the previous map. Lawyers are working together with those of us at City Hall to make the transition to the new map as smooth as possible, while ensuring that we conform to the laws that required the remap. Below we attempt to answer some of the common questions that are being asked about the remap.
Am I still in the 40th Ward? If you are unsure as to whether your home remains in the 40th ward, or is now a part of the 40th ward, the best way to find out is to look at the new map. WBEZ has a nice web application which allows you to zoom in on your street and will show you the ward you fall under in the new map.
We are working on a map that will concentrate on the new boundaries of the 40th Ward. As soon as it is available, we will post it on the website.
Why did there have to be a change? I was fine in my ward! We feel the same way. We have been very happy serving our constituents. However, the law requires City Council to redraw the lines every 10 years based on the census numbers—the only way to keep the lines the same would be for no population changes or shifts to occur in a 10 year period.
Why did we not see this map before it was voted on by the City Council? The map that was approved by the City Council on January 19th was very similar to the map that was released to the public, and made the subject of public hearings. In fact, there were some changes made to the map based on the community responses at those meetings. However, because there are numerous legal parameters which the City Council must work within in order to fashion a map that adheres to population changes and the law, it is impossible to make decisions solely based on the wishes of aldermen, or their constituents.
Why do the people not get to vote on the map? By law, ward boundaries are only put to a public vote in the event that less than 41 of the aldermen can agree on a map. In this case, that was unnecessary. This was a lengthy and long thought out process—a good example of the reason that we have a representative democracy, so that we do not have to bring every decision to the people. Furthermore, we in the City Council wanted to avoid this matter ending up on a referendum ballot, an action that would cost the City of Chicago Taxpayers millions of dollars that would be better spent on more important civic services like our schools, streets and police force.
Does this mean there won’t be a lawsuit challenging the map? Not necessarily. There is nothing that we can do to prevent someone from filing a lawsuit to challenge the new map. However, we did work diligently to adhere to the legal requirements of remap process, while keeping in mind the best interest of the neighborhoods and people of Chicago. Thus, we have created a map that we and City lawyers believe can be defended if it were challenged in court.
I hope this answers any questions or concerns you may have regarding the remap process, and again, we will post the new map as soon as it becomes available.
Alderman Pat O’Connor