Friday, August 5, 2011

Will a Redistricted 5th Ward Include Hyde Park?

posted by richard gill

Chicago’s ward boundary lines are being redrawn, and the 5th Ward may no longer include any part of Hyde Park. Would that it were so. Hyde Park Progress has long been critical of 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston, and we supported another candidate, Anne Marie Miles, in the February 2011 Aldermanic election. Miles lost. Hairston won and will be 5th Ward Alderman for at least another four years. That’s unfortunate. A perusal of this blog’s posts over the past couple of years will detail our beefs with Leslie Hairston. For one thing, small interest groups easily intimidate her, and she won’t take a position if she senses the smallest amount of discord.

Hyde Park is largely divided between the 4th and 5th Wards. The line runs along 55th Street, Lake Park Avenue, and 53rd Street. The redistricting may, or may not, put all or more of Hyde Park in the 4th Ward (Ald. Will Burns), the 20th (Ald. Willie Cochran), the 7th (Ald. Sandi Jackson), or 3rd (Ald. Pat Dowell). Any of these four Aldermen hold promise be an improvement, if for no other reasons than that they seem inclined to get things done, and confront buffeting winds when necessary.

The remap process, of course, is a contest of self-interest among the 50 Aldermen. Beyond the legal requirements of contiguity within wards and substantially equal populations among wards, the boundary lines are allowed to wiggle and twist, so that wards can acquire all manner of bizarre arms and tentacles. Take a look at the current Chicago ward map at and click on Chicago Government.

The new boundaries won’t take effect immediately, but it’s likely the incumbents will run again. It’s not too hard to believe that future Aldermen representing Hyde Park will have drawn the short straw. Hyde Park is known to exhibit all manner of silliness, obstructionism, hysteria and outright craziness over all matters big and small. Among the Aldermen themselves, the question may be: do they want us?

Beware the Maroon Candyman! RedEye's Take on HP Media

posted by chicago pop

HPP comentator and neighborhood blogger for the Tribune's RedEye website Melissa Conway gives her humorous take on the Hyde Park media situation - such as it is - in this little piece. (Not that we're a news organization or anything, or even track anything very regularly; we just have something to say once in a while):

First, there’s the local neighborhood paper, the Hyde Park Herald. It’s been around forever – no for real, since 1882 they say – and occasionally, their viewpoint seems stuck there. While it’s relatively informative about what’s going on in the neighborhood, I also sense a decidedly doomsday undercurrent whenever it comes to any new development or redevelopment in the neighborhood. This is reflective of a fear shared by many long-time Hyde Parkers – this sense of not wanting the neighborhood to evolve past anything they’ve already known it to be.

When I’m looking for an alternative perspective on the development going on in the neighborhood, I turn to a blog called Hyde Park Progress... The recent purchase of Borders by U of C is a current topic on the site It seems that whenever the University purchases property in Hyde Park, there is a fear in the air that warns, “Beward the Maroon candyman! He is only here to steal your property, and turn it into office buildings that will only benefit them, and not the community!” 

Check out RedEye's dedicated Hyde Park blog for snippets of lifestyle and current events. Another source on the hood.

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