Lincoln Park counts

Letter to the editor

01/04/2012 10:00 PM

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Lincoln Park is a valuable part of our city and residents here pay significant property taxes to support the City of Chicago. It’s very disappointing that recent developments concerning the remapping of Chicago’s Ward boundaries place an unfair burden on the people of Lincoln Park. New Ward boundaries could tear apart the fabric of well-established neighborhoods, all a result of old-style political jockeying.

Lincoln Park was one of the first communities in Chicago to recover from the declines of the 1950s and 1960s, largely as a result of strong community involvement. Each neighborhood in Lincoln Park formed a community group that fought for public safety, the schools, the parks and renovation of historic housing. Together, we have made Lincoln Park what it is today: a beautiful and desirable community.

We’ve had a history of working closely with our aldermen in making our community great. But under the so-called “Map for a Better Chicago,” Lincoln Park is divided up into FIVE wards: the 43rd, 44th, 32nd, 27th and the 2nd. This map puts Park West, Ranch Triangle and Wrightwood Neighbors into two wards that are completely out of the 43rd Ward, and divides Sheffield Neighbors into three wards and Lincoln Central into four wards.

This map is unfair to Lincoln Park. It will be much harder when four or five alderman have to be consulted to solve problems, support local festivals, programs and invest in much-needed infrastructure projects. Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Review will be a nightmare especially if five Aldermen have different goals. A new 2nd Ward that stretches from Orchard to Kimball can hardly efficiently represent the various communities and constituents.

More importantly, this map is unwise for all Chicagoans. It shatters our communities and fails to accurately reflect the city’s current ethnic and racial balance. If adopted, costly litigation would result, which Chicago cannot afford. This map leaves the city so gerrymandered that ward services could not be delivered effectively.

The Taxpayer Protection Map, while not perfect, more closely preserves Lincoln Park to its established boundaries. It should be restored as the foundation for the remap as long as it keeps our community associations in one, or at most two, wards. Since the remap will impact our communities for the NEXT TEN YEARS, we must address this.

Aldermen play an historic and vital role in advocating for constituents. We, as voters and leaders of the community groups in Lincoln Park, call on our City Council to make our ward map fair to our community. Together we can protect the rights of the people of the 43rd Ward as well as ensure the fiscal health of the entire city. That is something that counts for everyone.

Rodger Owen, President, Lincoln Central Assn.
Nada Riley, President, Mid-North Assn.
Phillip Graff, President, Old Town Triangle Assn.
Pat Dearing, President, Park West Assn.
Anne Phillips, President, Ranch Triangle Assn.
Dan Hermann, President, Sheffield Neighbors Assn.
Dan Varanauski, President, Wrightwood Neighbors Assn.

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