Tuesday, April 19, 2011

EXTRA: Draw your own political map! It won’t be more ridiculous than real thing

It is going to be interesting to see what comes out of the special rooms being set up both in Chicago and Springfield where people with an interest in political boundaries will get a chance to show the politicians how it should be done.

The Illinois House of Representatives has its redistricting committee working its way around Illinois (spending this week on the far South Side at the Chicago State University campus on Wednesday, the surrounding suburbs and in Will County) to get the input of people who think they know what the Legislature should do when putting together the legislative and Congressional boundaries for the next decade.

BUT THEY’RE ALSO going to have special rooms set up with computers and certain population data so people can literally try drawing their own boundaries – with those proposals then being included in the official record that legislators will consider when they approve a map FOR REAL some time in late May.

One such room will be at the Bilandic Building (formerly known as the State of Illinois Building and currently used as the Chicago office of the Illinois Supreme Court), while the other will be in Springfield at the Stratton Building (located next to the Statehouse proper and quite possibly the ugliest government building in existence).

Think of it as the political equivalent of a “do it yourself” ice cream sundae bar.

Only there’s no guarantee that anyone is going to take your proposal seriously, although state Rep. Karen Yarbrough, D-Maywood, says that all maps drawn up by individuals at those rooms will be put on the Legislature’s special redistricting website so that the public at-large can see their efforts.

SO KNOCK YOURSELF out if you want to give it a try. Officials ask that if you want to show up, call 217-558-3036 first to set up an appointment.

The results may wind up being absurd doodles compiled by people who have no clue how to fit their communities in with the rest of the state.

Then again, they certainly won’t be any more ridiculous than whatever boundaries get drawn up by Democratic Party leadership and approved by the General Assembly.

Ridiculous political boundaries that make little to no sense to their community’s character is about the only guarantee of the redistricting process.


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