City Council is expected to vote on the new neighborhood map on Wednesday, but the public hasn’t seen it, and some are calling for an end to gerrymandered neighborhoods that divide communities


CHICAGO (CBS) — If you live in Chicago and care about city services, take note of an important upcoming deadline.

Wednesday is the day the city council is supposed to vote on a new neighborhood map – but no one has seen it yet. As CBS 2 political investigator Dana Kozlov reported Tuesday night, many communities in Chicago are hoping the new map will give them more unity — rather than leaving their neighborhoods divided into oddly shaped neighborhoods, each under the jurisdiction of a different alderman.

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At Ainslie Street and Central Park in Albany Park, walking from 35th Ward to 33rd Ward or 39th Ward involves a distance of a matter of feet. Three wards dividing a ward equals a fragmented representation at City Hall for residents. A new map could change that.

But here’s the thing – no one knows what the new neighborhood map will look like. Less than 24 hours before the aldermen are mandated by law to vote on this redesigned map, it is still shrouded in secrecy.

Some watchdogs say it’s all back to town hall business as usual.

“They basically did it in a back room with the doors closed, and not much sunlight or transparency,” said Madeleine Doubek, executive director of Change Illinois.

Doubek said it should be for everyone who lives in the Windy City — an appropriate use of the moniker in this case.

“What they’re doing is basically rigging the system to favor the incumbents and stay in power,” she said.

It’s an age-old practice in Chicago, despite Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s campaign promises that it would be different this time around.

“We are terribly disappointed,” Doubek said.

Change Illinois sent a letter to Mayor Lightfoot on Tuesday expressing those concerns. The group has spent months working with the public on what they call a People’s Map, which keeps most neighborhoods in one neighborhood instead of dividing them.

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The proposed popular map and the current map can be seen side by side below.

Follow these links for a closer look at the current map and the proposed popular map.

“There are communities like Englewood, like Logan Square, like Austin and many others — Back of the Yards — that have been split and divided historically,” Doubek said.

Chinatown is also one of those communities – in fact, it has never been subsumed into a single neighborhood, despite a decades-long struggle.

“Our motivation behind creating an Asian American majority neighborhood is to ensure that the Asian American voice is heard on city council,” said Justin Sia of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago.

Sia said they had received promises that it would happen this time. Otherwise, they will go to court.

But for those wondering why they should care, Doubek says the splintered neighborhoods along multiple neighborhoods mean confusion for people trying to get help from the city.

“It prevents you from understanding who you are supposed to reach and how you are supposed to get the government to respond to you,” she said.

Splintered neighborhoods also undermine the power of community groups and organizations.

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If there is no ward map vote on Wednesday, that opens the door to a possible public map vote down the line. But this also has its obstacles.

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