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Emanuel Calls Special City Council Hearing On Ward Remap Plans

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City Council Chambers

A Chicago City Council meeting. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called a special City Council meeting for Thursday for consideration of a new map of the city’s 50 wards.

But as WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports, the aldermen leading the way on a compromise map say the final vote may not come until early next week.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports

The Chicago Tribune reports just two aldermen can invoke a parliamentary maneuver to put off an immediate vote.

The Latino Caucus has proposed one map, called the “Taxpayer Protection Plan.” The Black Caucus and old-guard white aldermen have another, called “Map for a Better Chicago.”

This past Monday, the Tribune reported, consultant Allan Lichtman told the City Council that the “Map for a Better Chicago” proposal could stand up to a legal challenge, but there would need to be proof that population variances among the new wards were put in place to protect racial harmony and the interests of African-American and Latino voters.

Latino Caucus Chairman Ald. Danny Solis (25th) said the caucus would sign off on the “Map for a Better Chicago” if Lichtman voiced his approval, the Tribune reported.

Election attorney Michael Kasper, who has ties to Mayor Emanuel and Illinois House Speak Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), is also reviewing the Black Caucus map, the Tribune reported.

Regardless of the how the final map shakes out, some aldermen will be left vulnerable to losing their jobs at election time, the newspaper reported. Ald. Michael Zalewski (23rd), Ald. Nicholas Sposato (38th) and Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th), would all find themselves in majority-Hispanic wards, while Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) would see his ward moved clear across the city from the Near South and West sides to the Roscoe Village area on the North Side.

Residents of some wards are also complaining about the proposed changes, particularly in the 43rd Ward in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, which under the “Map for a Better Chicago” would be split between its current ward and the 44th, 32nd, 27th, and 2nd wards.

In advance of the City Council meeting, a public hearing on the remap is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the North-Grand High School auditorium, 4338 W. Wabansia Ave. A hearing was also held on Monday, the Tribune reported.

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