Wednesday, March 1, 2023

It’s easier when you can pick your voters

     Pop quiz! Pencils ready? Then let’s begin.
     The 23th Ward is located:
     a) North of the 13th Ward.
     b) South of the 13th Ward.
     c) East of the 13th Ward.
     d) All of the above.
     The answer, of course, is “d” — the 23rd ward looks like a reverse capital F, closing its jaws around the squirming 13th, one of the many tortuous shapes created last year when the ward map of Chicago was gerrymandered into a crazy jigsaw puzzle, diluting the power that was supposed to be wielded by voters Tuesday.
     And we wonder why so many stay home.
     Early voting this year was historically high. Election officials estimate up to 42% of Chicagoans will vote. Not near half.
     Money was out in force, casting its proxy ballot — $1.2 million of Super PAC cash injected into the Chicago City Council races by real estate agents and various business interests.
     There were the usual last-minute shenanigans — anonymous flyers and phone calls, “concerned residents” blasting emails demanding certain candidates drop out, citing old speeding tickets and dusty alleged misdeeds.
     The Council races were the usual dog’s breakfast of the serious and the silly. Nine incumbents ran unopposed; others faced mobs of opponents in roiling battle royales. Almost a third of the Council either retired or announced their decision not to run — some because they are indicted or fancy themselves mayor, a prize not grabbed by a Chicago City Council member since 1876.
     This high turnover is ironic because, thanks to our am-I-toast-yet? mayor, the City Council is more of an actual branch of government than usual.

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  1. Particularly astonishing is the new 34th Ward, which literally runs down the middle of Roosevelt Road east of Clark, just to lasso a total of four residential buildings between Wabash and Indiana.

    1. It reminds me of how O'Hare is connected to the rest of the city, by a narrow strip going down the middle of Foster Avenue between Schiller Park and Rosemont.

    2. I was told, by someone well connected in Rosemont, that the strip of land was a deal made where Rosemont got free city water for the land. That is why you can see several large water tanks in that tiny town.

  2. Hard to believe that Mike Royko has been gone for more than 25 years. If even young Loyola journalism students don't remember his name, then who does anymore?

    . Only Chicagoans of a certain age. Most of them are those legions of geezerly Boomers and Gen Xers, who mourn for a lost world on Facebook pages about a vanished Chicago, and who wax nostalgic for the city they knew and loved in the Sixties and Seventies...and, yes, even in the Eighties. Time doesn't crawl--or march on. It runs.

    I had completely forgotten that Royko had remarried and had a couple more kids quite late in his life...and so have the voters, apparently. Sam Royko got his clock cleaned by the 1st Ward incumbent alderman, who received twice as many votes. Sam must be in his mid-thirties by now. Like his father before him, Sam was a high-school dropout who went to work. But he studied for his GED, earned a BA from DePaul, and got his law degree from Georgetown. He and his wife have two cats. That fact alone would have been enough to earn him my vote.

    Finally,, it appears that Paul Vallas is poised to win the runoff. He received almost double the number of votes as Mayor Lightfoot. A couple of weeks ago, I called him a hired gun, a carpetbagger, and a GOP-leaning opportunist who blows with the prevailing wind. He's still all of those things, and more, but now he's about to become Chicago's mayor.

    I also wrote that I believed that Chicagoans could do better than Paul Vallas...and that they would do so. But I was wrong. And now I am ready to eat my dish of crow, Mr. S, whenever you are ready to serve it.

    1. I would imagine Johnson will get the majority of the votes who went to other candidates. Plus with such a low turnout, there may be more going to the polls in the runoff, most of whom can’t stand the idea of Vallas.

    2. About 515,000 Chicagoans cast their ballots in the general election. Paul Vallas beat Bandon Johnson by almost 70,000 votes (173-104). The total number of votes that went to the other candidates was around 238,000. I'm no math whiz, so I'm not sure how all that plays out in the runoff, and how many votes Johnson needs to assure a win..

  3. Absolutely insane that we have 50 aldercreatures! Los Angeles has twice the area & almost twice the population, but just has a city council of 15. The same for LA County which almost five times the area of C[r]ook County & twice the population, but LA County is run by just five supervisors. Even worse, at least half of LA County is unincorporated, which the county runs, while less than 10% of C[r]ook County is unincorporated!

    1. There was a time where each ward had two aldermen! It is embarrassing for Chicago Democrats to decry Red State Gerrymandering. Us suburbanites suffer no such shame.

    2. History of the ward system. There were 70 wards at one time. Each alderman is supposed to represent 54,000 people. It would seem that 15 counil men is representing to many people. Much like our Congress. A congressman is supposed represent 30,000 people.That probably worked fine when the constitution was passed.


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