Cook County Board remapping process winding down

Updated 6/5/2012 4:00 PM
  • Gregg Goslin

    Gregg Goslin

  • Timothy Schneider

    Timothy Schneider

  • Peter Silvestri

    Peter Silvestri

With none of the fireworks that accompanied the state's legislative remapping process, the Cook County Board's new district map could be approved before the month is over.

A final public hearing on the new map is slated for 10 a.m. Thursday at the county board offices at 118 N. Clark St. in Chicago.

Members of the board's redistricting committee called the remapping process politically collaborative and peaceful. A vote on the new map that would take affect ahead of the 2014 election could be ratified at the board's June 19 meeting.

Following guidelines of the federal voting rights act, the new map will retain five predominantly African-American districts, but add a third Hispanic-leaning district stretching almost to the county's far western edge.

Another change in store for voters is the creation of more "compact and contiguous" districts in the far northwestern suburbs. Currently, the 14th and 15th districts, represented by Republican commissioners Gregg Goslin of Glenview and Tim Schneider of Bartlett respectively, are wide swathes stacked on top of one another. Under the current proposal, Schneider's district would be all of Hanover, Barrington and Schaumburg townships as well as a large chunk of Elk Grove Township with slivers of Wheeling and Palatine townships. That would give Schneider the westernmost district. Goslin's district would be most of Palatine, Wheeling and Northfield townships with bits of northern Maine and Niles townships included.

"I lost Barrington Township, which is 72 percent Republican, but it's much more compact and contiguous than I had before," Goslin said. "Most of the districts didn't change much."

Peter Creticos, a consultant who drew the map, said Elmwood Park Republican Commissioner Peter Silvestri's district will have the greatest shift in new voters. Only 72 percent of Silvestri's current constituents will be in the new 9th District if the map is approved.

Silvestri, vice chairman of the redistricting committee, didn't seem to mind the change that brings him further into the northwestern suburbs as well.

"What we did was try to keep the communities together as much as possible," he said. "I think the map is good."

Each district is roughly 305,000 residents in size, give or take 5 percent, Creticos said.

Commissioner Earlene Collins, a Chicago Democrat, has submitted a different map than what the redistricting committee, led by fellow Chicago Democratic Commissioner Deborah Sims, is proposing. Creticos called Collins' map proposal "radically different" than the committee's map. Collins' map will be available for inspection at the public hearing Thursday.

"No map is going to make everyone happy," Silvestri said.

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