Saturday, December 17, 2011
Council "Remap" Wars
Boys and girls, ladies and gents, the results of the 2010 Census have been in for awhile. Now our various aldercritters fight among themselves to keep their jobs and redraw the ward boundaries for their own personal benefit. Public servants they ain't.
Rob Paral at his eponymous named blog has some wonderful charts you can look at that highlight the population changes in Chicago between 2000-2010.
Total(2000) Black White Latino Asian Other
2,896,016 1,053,739 907,166 753,644 124,437 57,030
2,695,598 872,286 854,717 778,862 144,903 44,830
Essentially the city lost approximately 181,000 blacks, 52,000 whites, and 12,000 other. Whatever the hell "other" means. The city also gained 25,000 latinos. Total population loss of about 200,000 human beings, no matter how you label them.
Essentially the breakdown is now this.
32 percent black.
32 percent white
29 percent latino
5 percent Asian
2 percent other.
Then you need to factor in the voting age population because of various federal court decisions. Because of age and other issues black voter turnout is generally less than white voter turnout. Latino turnout is usually way less, like way, than either black or white turnout. That's because of age and citizenship issues. Asian turnout is similar to Latino turnout and for similar reasons.
Voting Age Population
Total Black White Latino Asian Other
2,073,968 643,800 752,631 524,478 122,720 30,339
Without factoring in citizenship issues we can see that the universe of potential voters is 36 percent white, 31 percent black, 25 percent latino, 6 percent Asian, and 2 percent other. If you factor in citizenship issues the percentages of white and black potential voters goes up significantly.
If you doubt me check out the official Chicago Elections website and look at vote totals out of various wards. In the February 2011 election the largely latino 14th Ward cast 6500 votes. The 19th Ward which is loaded with middle income whites and blacks cast 23,900 votes and the largely black and middle income 6th and 8th wards cast over 15,000 votes apiece. Hell, compared to the largely latino 12th Ward, which cast 4900 votes, the 14th ward is a voting engine. In other words black or white wards often produce 3 to almost 5 times as many votes as a latino ward. That fact means that if you want to draw a ward that will likely produce a latino aldercritter, the latino population of that ward needs to be overwhelming in terms of absolute percentage of the population. Say 80 percent or more.
Whew, those numbers are hurting my teeny brain.
Now let's discuss the concept of equal representation. The courts have found that ,with the exception of the US Senate, any voting district has to be roughly equal in population to other similar voting districts. That means that each Chicago ward needs to have about 53,900 people when remapped. Right?
Wrong. At least according to the two competing maps the various members of the city council have filed with the City Clerk. The black caucus proposal has wards that vary in size by roughly 4600 people. The latino caucus proposal has wards that vary in total population by about 2600 people. That's a deviation of about 2.67-4.7 percent off the 53,900 target number. That means the largest ward has about 8.5 percent more residents than the smallest ward. Trust me I'm a deviate. I understand deviation.
Now why would our esteemed elected officials create wards of such disparate size?
So they can keep their jobs?
Under the black council proposal virtually all of the "black wards" are 1500-2500 under the target number. Only one "white ward" is in that range. That would be the 19th ward which is 2400 under the target number. My guess is they shifted as many blacks as they reasonably could out of the 19th Ward to neighboring black wards to shore up the numbers in those wards.
Two competing maps means a costly voter referendum in March. Yea!
In reality both maps are so out of whack with federal court decisions regarding equal representation and size of districts that a legal challenge is almost inevitable. Hurrah, more taxpayer money down the spiderhole.
By the time this is all done we could be talking 70-100 million dollars in referendum and legal costs just to keep the number of black alderman from falling from 19 to 17. Under the current black caucus proposal 18 black alderman would likely get reelected. Yeah, babee. Under the Latino proposal perhaps 17 black alderman would get reelected.
Now before you think that the black alderman are fighting to maintain black political power I suggest you listen to columnist Laura Washington from Chicago Week In Review last week. Click on the December 9th video. "This all about protecting their jobs", said Lakeview Laura.
Here are some links to the two maps and some commentary.
Black Caucus Map
Latino Caucus Map
Click through some of the recent stories Greg Hinz from Crain's has written recently. He uses such words as "bizarre", "phantom", and "votepacking".
The Welles Park Bulldog has some stories. Follow the related links to see how it may affect specific north side wards.
Here is a map the Welles Park Bulldog created that shows the actual boundaries of some north side wards in the black caucus proposal.
Here is a map that they created which shows how the Latino proposal affects some north side wards.
The Latino caucus map takes the 47th Ward as far east as Clarendon at Irving. That is nutz. Because of being less "deviate" than the black caucus map I think the Latino Caucus map has a better chance of passing federal scrutiny. However, it really butchers the 47th Ward.
In reality the map we end up with will likely be very different than both proposals.
Give me ten grand, some computer experts and a week and I'll give them a map that will pass federal scrutiny and won't butcher wards into ridiculous shapes. It would not have wards that vary in population by more than 1 percent or about 540 votes.
My map would likely have 17 black wards, 17 white wards, 13 latino wards and 3 hispanic influence wards. Which is what I suspect a federal court will order after tens of millions of taxpayer dollars are flushed down the toilet.
I just noticed a Tribune editorial on a supposed "doomsday" map. Bring it on!
Perhaps Rahm is holding that map as a threat if the Aldercritters don't come to some reasonable agreement that will withstand judicial scrutiny.