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updated: 9/13/2012 4:47 PM

Attempt to undo 'gerrymandered' Lombard district fails

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  • Zachary Wilson

      Zachary Wilson

  • Keith Giagnorio

      Keith Giagnorio

  • This is the district map approved by the Lombard village board earlier this summer. Trustees were required to create new voting districts that reflected the 2010 census, but some complained the map was designed to ensure trustees stayed in their existing districts.

      This is the district map approved by the Lombard village board earlier this summer. Trustees were required to create new voting districts that reflected the 2010 census, but some complained the map was designed to ensure trustees stayed in their existing districts.

 
 

Lombard Trustee Zachary Wilson didn't like the new map of trustee districts that gained approval from the majority of his fellow board members.

He thought the map, which trustees were required to adjust after the 2010 census, was drawn to keep each elected representative in his or her own district, even when that required an awkward adjustment -- creating a narrow finger of land for District 2 that took in a few houses, but kept Trustee Keith Giagnorio in his home district.

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"The problem with that map was it seemed to be gerrymandered for District 2," Wilson said.

But he voted for it anyway, and the map redividing the Lilac Village into six adjusted districts went into effect in July.

Wilson's "yes" vote for the map he disliked allowed him to bring up the issue again for reconsideration last week.

Working with Lombard staff, Wilson developed another map. One he likes more because: it does not keep Giagnorio in District 2; it mainly divides the town along major roads; it does not take into account where trustees live.

"It was not my intent to keep trustees in their districts," he said. "It just so happens that my map does that."

When the previous map was approved, three trustees -- Giagnorio, Greg Gron and Bill Ware -- wanted to make sure each board member's home was included in his or her newly drawn district. Wilson and Trustees Peter Breen and Laura Fitzpatrick said they opposed that method of mapmaking.

"I think we have to district without regard to where people (trustees) live," Breen said.

Working to keep current elected officials within their districts puts too much politics into the process, Fitzpatrick said.

"Every map drawn this year by every governing body has taken not into consideration the population, but the politician," she said. "We are no different ... We've done pretty standard stuff; we've protected our incumbency."

Since trustees stayed within the same district on Wilson's new map, even though he said that was not his aim, he thought it could gain the support of at least four trustees and be approved.

He was wrong. Giagnorio, Gron and Ware voted against his new map, preventing it from replacing the previous one.

"I'm comfortable with what we agreed on and I think we should just stay with that and move on," Giagnorio said.

Gron said he objected to the inclusion of an industrial park north of North Avenue in District 4. Ware said he thinks his constituents in District 6 are best served by the already approved map.

Supporters of Wilson's proposed layout said it would benefit residents by making it easier to understand which district they live in and who is their trustee.

"It does better represent the aims that we should be looking for, which is more solid, contiguous districts," Breen said.

"This is much fairer than the other map," Fitzpatrick said. It shows large geometric shapes and a general shape that the public can understand."

Since the motion to approve the map developed by Wilson failed, Lombard will be divided along the lines approved in July until after the 2020 census.

The map keeps districts 1 and 4 on the North side of the village, split by Main Street with District 1 West of Main and District 4 East of it. District 5 remains in central Lombard East of Main with District 6 South of it, crossing over to the West side of Main to include 18 blocks between Washington Boulevard, Finley Road and Wilson Avenue. Districts 2 and 3 remain on the South side of the village, with District 2 encompassing the Southwest side and District 3 the Southeast.

Each district contains about 7,200 people.

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