City Council Black Caucus Chairman Alderman Jason C. Ervin (28th) is waging a media blitz to get the word out that the Chicago United Map is best for the African American community.
Ervin cautions voters that the proposed Latino map will not only cause Blacks to lose several wards but is designed to “destabilize” the Black community and its leadership, who are chairmen of some of the most powerful City Council committees.
If the Latino referendum map is approved on the June 28 election, Ervin said Black aldermen would lose powerful chairmanships. “Out of the 19 committees in the City Council, 9 of them are chaired by Black folks,” he said during a meeting held at the Chicago Urban League on April 8.
“The only way to knock us out of those positions is to knock us out of office,” Ervin told the audience.
“It would send us as a community back to the drawing board. There is no real reason behind the dramatic changes to some of the wards being presented.”
Last Sunday, April 10 on WVON’s “ON THE CASE” talk show Ervin said the Black aldermen “are under attack” during the battle of the remaps.
Referring to the “best map, the Chicago United Map that 19 members out of 20 Black aldermen have signed onto,” he said, “It preserves the tradition and integrity of the Black community, and it is fair in that it respects the growth of both the whites and Latinos in those perspective areas of the city.
“We refer to the best and fairest map as the ‘Harris’ map named after Alderman Michelle Harris (8th) Ward.”
Ervin emphasized that the Chicago United Map, the Harris Map, is the one they have endorsed for the June 28 election. He said that is the map that appears on the June 28 ballot.
“There are a lot of names on that ballot, but we are asking the community to look for Harris’ name and vote for that one,” he said.
That was the message Ervin, who chairs the City Council Black Caucus, gave at the Chicago Urban League, hosted by former Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, President and CEO.
In an effort to clear up misinformation about the ward remap, Ervin explained that it was the 2020 Census that is responsible for the “right-sizing of the wards.” Currently, he said there is a deviation from the most people to the wards with the least number of people which is a deviation of almost 40,000 people from top to bottom.
However, the 42nd ward has enough people for a ward-and- a-half with 30,000 over and the 34th Ward which is the opposite is about 10,000 under the target population. In this case it would be 54,928 people which is the city’s population divided by 50, according to Ervin.
The goal, Ervin explained, is to have one-man, one-vote; everyone should be represented equally by equal numbers of people.
“As it exist today, we have a total of 15 majority African American wards, 12 majority Latino Wards, 13 majority white wards, 10 wards with no majority, and no wards would have a majority Asian population.”
Under the old map, Ervin said 15 wards have a majority Black population. Three wards out of the 18 that are African American wards are currently below the 50 percent mark, he said, referring to 16th, 18th and 27th wards.
“All of these wards previously were above the 50 percent mark.” He said there was a population shift in the last 10 years.
It is the same for the Latino wards. Ervin said the Black wards were not the only ones that lost population. He pointed to the Latino wards and a Latino proposed remap chart.
“Every last one of those wards with the exception of one is below the target population. There are four wards that are below the 50 percent threshold.” According to Ervin, the 19th Ward is also below the target deviation by almost 4,000 people.
The wards with the largest populations are anchored near downtown and the lakefront including the 42nd Ward. “A lot of these wards are on the South Side of Chicago and the West Side changing the population because of the Cook County Jail,” Ervin explained.
Referring to the wards that are on the far South Side, the 9th, 10th, 19th, and the 34th, Ervin said these Wards are well below the target by almost a whole half a ward–meaning the Black population has significantly decreased. If you look at the 6th, 7th, 8th and 21st Wards, Ervin said the decline was even greater, “We are a whole ward of people short.”
Another challenge is that the 10th and the 19th wards “are being drawn by default because they are drawn totally by Black wards. The Black population has increased to create a ward in those areas because there aren’t enough people to take those wards, but we have to fill those wards in.”
Ervin said the 10th Ward is down by 6,000 people and the 19th Ward is down about 4,000 people. “There are about 11,000 people that we have to fill in who come traditionally from our area on the East side the 7th Ward, the 9th Ward, on the Southwest side from the 21st and 35th Wards.”
Referring to 3rd ward, 4th ward, 5th ward on the lakefront and the 27th ward are all above the target of the 54,000 where we need to be.
According to Ervin, the wards with the largest Black population are the: 21st, 8th, 34th, 6th, 9th, 7th, 24th, 20th, 17th, 28th, 29th, 37th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 16th, and 27th.
The wards having the most whites are the: 43rd, 44th, 41st, 2nd, 47th, 32nd, 42nd, 19th, 38th, 4th, 1st, 46th and the 48th.
Ervin said the wards having the largest Latino population are the: 22nd, 14th, 15th, 31st, 12th, 23rd, 13th, 10th, 30th, 35th, 26th, 16th, 33rd, 25th and the 18th. He said all of them are below the target they need to be.
The question, Ervin said, is “How do we maintain the representation we have at the same time that respectfully works with other communities. This was the first proposal put out there, the Chicago Advisory Redistricting Commission proposal known as the Fair Map proposal.”
Ervin said there is another proposed map that “has the least amount of wards that are majority African American. It purports to have 15 African American wards, but in fact, it only has 14.
“Ward number one is a Black ward on paper, but anybody who knows anything about that corner in the city of Chicago, called Mount Greenwood,” knows that Blacks could not elect a Black alderman. That map actually gives them 13 Black wards.
On the proposed Latino remap, Ervin said if you go past December 31, any 10 members of the City Council can file a map. This is the first map that was filed.
He said the last time the City Council went to the referendum was in 1992.
Of the three sets of maps, Ervin said, “They take a lot of areas in the Black community and turn it in a lot of different directions.
Another map, he said, “takes us from 18 to 15 wards. The next election it will drop to 13 and the election after that, we’ll be down to 11 wards. On paper, we got 15 wards, but as we get to some communities the number of wards that we have are in the low 60s and the 50s (population).
“Those are some of the wards we see that are potentially changing as the demographics in a lot of these communities because they are heavier with white population that are being drawn deeper into some of the population where we are seeing growth of people who do not look like us,” he stated.
“If you look at what is done to the West Side, it changes the landscape dramatically,” he said explaining that the 66 percent of the 27th Ward would be new under this proposed map.” He said 59 percent of the 28th Ward would be new. Thirty-seven percent of these wards would be totally different. “There is no rhyme or reason for doing this.”