The three candidates for Evanston’s 2nd Ward aldermanic seat agree that they support small businesses and affordable housing.

Small business

But at a weekend forum sponsored by the Evanston League of Women voters they said nothing about proposed ordinances before the Council that local business owners have criticized — including a fair workweek ordinance, a ban on cashless businesses and a tax on carryout bags.

Affordable housing

Asked whether they support zoning changes to allow more types of housing in areas now zoned only for single family homes — a measure seen as encouraging more affordable housing:

  • Ald. Krissie Harris said, “We all have to share the burdens and resources” so “no one community is saturated” with particular housing types.
  • Patricia Gregory said it’s very important that different housing types are “distributed equitably” through out the city.
  • Darlene Cannon said the Council should “make sure that there are different types of housing throughout the city — don’t saturate one part of town.”

Margarita Inn

Asked whether the city should approve continued operation of the Margarita Inn homeless shelter, Gregory’s answer did stand out:

  • Cannon said, “Housing should be a right” and that the city needs to make sure residents at the Margarita are treated “with care and dignity.”
  • Harris said she was “uncomfortable talking about the Margarita” because of a recent court injunction that returned the issue to the Land Use Commission.
  • Gregory said she had taken a family in need of help to the Margarita, “but it was awful they way they were treated at the door,” adding, “The program sounds good, but it’s not working for everybody.”

Ryan Field

Asked whether Northwestern University’s propose redevelopment of Ryan Field is good for the city:

  • Gregory said she was impressed with the revenue the new field could generate for the city but that she was “really concerned about managing traffic.”
  • Cannon said the city “should be leaning on the residents who live in that area — trying to gain as much understanding as we can about what their concerns are.”
  • Harris said she wanted “to make sure all voices are heard” because while the stadium most directly impacts the 7th Ward, it will impact the city as a whole. “My mind’s not made up one way or the other,” Harris added.

A video recording of the forum is available online.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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