More Chicago Ward Mapping and Other Political Reads

The possibility that a lawsuit could be filed over the recent ward remapping of the city is still in play. But not everyone’s dissatisfied: a small, active Polish coalition made significant gains on the northwest side.

Chicago sunrise

 

* One thing that local political watchers have been speculating about for months is the possibility that the ward remapping could end in a lawsuit. Carol Felsenthal reports that significant sustained criticisms are coming from Latino pols:

The Latino population increased by about 25,000 this census, but in the last census the Latino population soared by 200,000, and Latino aldermen did not push then for power commensurate with their population—a mistake, they pledged, not to repeat. The new map has 13 Hispanic-majority wards, a gain of three, but, as noted above, only 10 have the 60 percent voting age population.

* So everyone’s mad? No: not the Poles. They’ve been forgotten over the years as a political force, but as Molly Redden reports in The New Republic, a small but well-organized group conducted an extensive campaign, but one mostly under the radar of the local news (but well represented in local Polish-language newspapers). And they got “85 percent of what we wanted,” centralizing significantly Polish areas of the northwest side into a single ward:

Unable to compete in numeric terms with Latinos and African Americans—and, unlike those two groups, unassisted by the Voting Rights Act, which protects racial but not ethnic minorities—the Poles positioned themselves between the two camps. Correctly anticipating that Latino and African American aldermen were going to butt heads, Pogorzelski cast the Poles’ demands as another potential flashpoint—something that could prevent either side from moving forward.

* In the Chicago Reporter, Kari Lydersen makes an important point that should balance our progress with homicide statistics:

While the city’s homicide rate and overall crime have declined in recent years, the number of people wounded by gunfire has increased, according to an analysis of Chicago Police Department crime data. Between 2004 and 2007, the city averaged 1,751 incidents of aggravated battery with a firearm—the department’s classification for non-fatal gunshot victims. However, between 2008 and 2011, the city averaged about 100 more such crimes each year.

* Rich people are different from you and me; their money is really weird and has different physical properties:

As the sprawling probe that includes regulators, criminal and congressional investigators, and court-appointed trustees grinds on, the findings so far suggest that a “significant amount” of the money could have “vaporized” as a result of chaotic trading at MF Global during the week before the company’s Oct. 31 bankruptcy filing, said a person close to the investigation.

* This has all resulted in a “regulatory rethink”:

CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler ordered the review after questions emerged about whether the CFTC or exchange-operator CME Group, whose self-regulatory arm served as MF Global’s front-line regulator, could have done more to prevent the firm’s collapse and safeguard customer money.

* An excellent long read: Kim Janssen on “The Judge, the Madam, and the Babies She ‘Bought.’”

* In advance of the G8/NATO, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick takes a look at our widely criticized laws about recording the police.

 

Photograph: seligmanwaite (CC by 2.0)

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