Letter: Border Communities Should Not be Divided by Redistricting

Ten border communities have recognized differences in transportation, water supply, community colleges and other issues.

There is a possibility that the Democrat controlled Illinois House and Senate may create a map that takes some of the border communities of DuPage, splits them up into small pieces and puts them into new legislative districts that straddle Cook County. The concern is that a DuPage border community could become a very small part of these new dual-county districts.  

I believe special consideration must be given to these border communities. Ten DuPage communities reside on the Cook County border. These Cook-DuPage border communities have very different property tax, sales tax, gas tax and legislative agendas. There are recognized differences between Cook communities and DuPage communities for everything from public transit (PACE vs. CTA), how each county gets its water (DuPage Water Commission vs. Water Reclamation District), and separate community college districts. These areas and others eventually need Springfield legislative support.

DuPage and Cook communities also have separate legislative agendas. The DuPage Mayors and Managers conference lobby legislators for the 36 communities in DuPage County. Cook County has a separate West Central Mayors Caucus, representing 37 Cook County communities that border DuPage County.  If there were no differences and this border didn’t matter, separate legislative entities such as the different mayor and manager conferences would not have to exist–but they do. 

Communities within DuPage have grown collectively into a unique place, with particular issues, people and needs, just as communities in Cook have collectively grown into a unique place with its own particular issues, people and needs. This is not an us vs. them.  It is recognition of different needs for different areas that a community must contend with—and by extension its legislator must contend with—because of a political border.

The border community’s ability to receive legislative assistance for needs from roads to community grant proposals will be greatly diluted if this fractional representation becomes a reality, especially if compared to the unfair advantage that whole communities within a legislative district will have.  The message you would be sending with such a map is that border communities such as Roselle, Elmhurst, Wood Dale, Itasca and Bensenville, do not deserve to be heard as a whole.

Please keep border communities intact so that the community has at least a majority of its population within a single district, and that district is preferably within its own county.

And whatever shape the map takes, allow the communities time to comment on it.  There has been some important legislation coming out of Springfield regarding transparency as of late. It would be a shame if that consideration of transparency didn’t extend to the proposed map before a final vote.

—Paul Fichtner, member, DuPage County Board Dist. 1 and former Elmhurst alderman

Bill Angel April 28, 2011 at 04:30 AM
This Fichtner guy is all business who is spot on with his comments. There is absolutely no need for Elmhurst whatsoever to be involved with the WCMC! Do you think those groups (Mayor's) have ever had any interest in joining the DuPage Mayors and Managers? NO, they have different interests that conflict with Elmhurst. I personally want nothing to do with Crook county politics or their policies.
RyanF April 28, 2011 at 06:49 AM
To play devils advocate, a very small portion of Elmhurst is in Cook County verified by the link to an official city map. Ironically, its the land the DuPage Water Commission's buildings sit on. http://elmhurst.org/DocumentView.aspx?DID=346
RobertAWilson April 28, 2011 at 03:09 PM
A huge chunk of district 41 (representative Nybo) is in Cook County already. District 77 goes into DuPage County. District 82 straddles three counties. Redistricting won't add anything new to this mix. Or is the issue that District 46 might pull in more Hispanics (generally seen as Democratic voters) and make it harder for Rep. Reboletti to get reelected?
Darlene Heslop April 28, 2011 at 03:33 PM
1/3 of the 41st district (represented by chris nybo) is in cook county, encompassing such towns as brookfield (along w/the animals at the zoo), riverside, north riverside, and la grange park. i thought that the cta was the chicago transit authority and serviced only the city of chicago...to my knowledge...all of suburban cook county is serviced by pace. what we really should be advocating is having elmhurst represented by 1 person and preferably in a district that would remain entirely in du page county, which, right now, the 46th district happens to be. also, maybe what needs to be pushed down in springfield is for a non-partisan group to divide up the districts, this way, the "party in power" doesn't have the ability to carve out districts.
Jim Court April 29, 2011 at 02:43 AM
I would comment but a bunch of very insightful and intelligent people have covered the issues thoroughly.


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