Chicago’s South Side residents crowded into Progressive Baptist Church on Thursday, Jan. 12, taking turns expressing their discontent over proposed ward maps to aldermen at the second public hearing for the city’s ward remapping process.
“I made one mistake 10 years ago,” said Valerie Brown, principal at Hamline Elementary School. “I left the redistricting up to the politicians and that was the biggest mistake I made.”
Hamline Elementary consists of three buildings and is located in Back of the Yards, a neighborhood currently divided into five wards. Brown explained that each of the school’s buildings falls into separate wards – one of the buildings is in Ald. Pat Dowell’s 3rd ward, another in Ald. Willie Cochran’s 20th ward, while the other lies in Ald. JoAnn Thompson’s 16th ward, making it difficult for her to get the services that she needs for the school.
Other residents from the 11th ward and from the North Side neighborhood of Lincoln Park also testified, asking the aldermen to keep their neighborhoods intact. Some questioned the transparency of the remapping process, citing the possible compromise between the Black and Latino Caucus, reported by various news sources on Wednesday Jan. 11.
Two more public hearings are scheduled, although specific dates have not been given, before aldermen vote on their preferred map. In order for a map to be approved it needs support from 41 out of the 50 aldermen, if no deal can be reached the competing maps would land on the March 20 ballot, reported WBEZ.
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