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Hispanic aldermen welcome proposal to cut City Council in half

Updated: January 22, 2012 8:15AM

Calling Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s bluff, the Hispanic Caucus has drafted a new Chicago ward map that cuts the City Council in half — with 25 wards nearly evenly divided between blacks, whites and Hispanics.

The 50-member City Council is currently comprised of 22 whites, 19 blacks, eight Latinos and Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), who is of Indian descent.

The 25-ward map drafted by the Hispanic Caucus includes eight majority white wards, eight majority black wards, seven majority Hispanic wards, one Hispanic “influence” ward and one black influence ward.

That more fairly represents a city now 32.9 percent black, 31.7 percent white and 28.9 percent Hispanic, according to Ald. Danny Solis (25th), chairman of the City Council’s Hispanic Caucus.

“If it was 25 wards, we would be much better and more fairly represented because you’re starting from scratch. This would be welcomed by the caucus and me,” Solis said.

“It was an issue in the last election. Editorial boards asked the question. It’s been mentioned in several of the meetings that the mayor might push this. We would be open to it and confident the end result would more accurately reflect the population.”

Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), chairman of the Black Caucus, scoffed at the suggestion that Hispanics would fair better if the Council was cut in half.

“They think they’re gonna beat Ald. Ed Burke in a ward that’s double the population and he’s got $9 million in the bank? That’s a pipe dream. They will not fare better. It’ll be harder to run, harder to win and require more money,” Brookins said.

Earlier this week, Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), the mayor’s City Council floor leader, warned that Emanuel is prepared to push a non-binding referendum asking Chicago voters if they want to cut the council in half if feuding aldermen can’t avoid a $30 million repeat of the 1990 remap referendum.

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