Quigley, Hopkins give tag team report

Ald. Brian Hopkins and U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley talk to EVA members Feb. 3 at Homestead, 1924 W. Chicago Ave.

"A congressional report should sound like an aldermanic report," said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (5th) on his annual East Village Association visit, this year shared with Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd). But Quigley slyly noted the difference: His office handles requests for White House tour reservations, but lately not so many.

"You will be angry you will be frustrated," Quigley said Feb. 3, anticipating the failed Senate vote to remove President Trump, "but accountability lingers and it does matter." Oversight from federal prosecutors and House investigators continues over money laundering and other issues, Quigley said. "Little land mines are going to pop up." He noted that Congress had appropriated $420 million for election security.

After pledging to target funding for the CTA Blue Line, Quigley fielded questions, suggesting that Illinois would have one or two fewer congressmen following the 2020 census and making a case for securing leadership posts. (Quigley chairs the Financial Services subcommittee.)

Hopkins raises bridges

The Lincoln Yards mega-development community advisory group has drawn 250 applicants, Hopkins said. Plans will emerge this year for a north-south Chicago River bridge, roughly at Cortland and Southport, and parkland that Hopkins hopes will come under Park District ownership. Later, an east-west bridge will be part of a reconfigured Armitage-Elston-Ashland intersection. Hopkins is hopeful that a new Metra station will get state and local funding.

A show of hands found EVA support for coach house legalization. "It's not quite the easy layup you would think," Hopkins said, suggesting that lakefront wards opposed the zoning reform. Hopkins also supports redistricting reform, which would change his oddly shaped ward.

Hopkins made an argument for police use of artificial-intelligence photo IDs, which he claimed to be accurate, and asserted that loss of aldermanic prerogative slowed action on unauthorized renovations at 1123 N. Damen Ave.

Spring training for gardens

Till spring arrives, gardeners will have only house plants to tend. Stephen Hill, creative director of Sprout Home, suggests cleaning off the winter dust and fertilizing every other week as the days get longer. Wait till spring to clear outdoor debris. Hill splits his time between the garden store at 745 N. Damen Ave. and a location in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood.

Winchester restaurant

Chefs Genie Kwan and Tim Flores, formerly of Oriole, discussed plans to buy the closed Winchester restaurant building, 1001 N. Winchester, as a casual breakfast and Filipino-American dining spot.

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