On Friday, January 31, Common Council President, Jr. rocked the local government and political landscape with his sudden resignation from his office effective the next day. On this past Monday, “Mr. Hines” assumed his new position as associate director of the Housing Authority.
There has been much speculation as to why Hines resigned in the middle of his term and after 18 years of public service. As Common Council president, he was the second most powerful person in city government and the next man up if something were to happen to the mayor, Tom Barrett. Hines’ reasons for stepping down are his own and should be respected as such. He assured us in an interview that he is in good health and did not leave office because of any coming scandal; and we take him at his word. With Hines’ resignation will come a rush of individuals who will want to sit in his aldermanic seat in the chambers of the Common Council. Those who will announce their intentions to run and take out nomination papers will, no doubt, be sincere in their wanting to serve the constituents of Hines’ former 15th aldermanic district.
What we would like to see in the coming special election is civility and respect between the candidates who will be on the ballot and contend for the aldermanic seat. We’ve already heard rumblings about two individuals, one a current office holder on the county level and another a former elected county official. People are already picking sides and touting their preferred choice. Whether it be two, four, or more candidates vying for the position, we urge that they keep personalities out of the debate (in other words, “NO HATIN”“) and stick to the issues that the predominately Black district--and the Black community--faces: Crime, unemployment, a struggling school system, foreclosed housing, and more.
The people of 15th aldermanic district deserve the same type of candidate--and eventually alderman Hines was--who will exhibit the type of temperance, hard-work and quiet determination he exhibited. No, Hines wasn’t like another current alderman who seems to draw attention with verbose statements and actions that get a lot of attention and press, but little--in our view--in the way of results. The former Council president reminds us of a proverb: “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back!” Hines worked and spoke quietly (and wisely, but we’re sure it was mixed with forcefulnesss when needed) behind the scenes affecting change and balancing city budgets--which he’s done for the last 10 straight years. You can’t do that if you’re constantly ranting and raving about problems, yet doing little to solve them.
We wish Hines well in his new endeavor as he continues to serve the public. The person who takes his place has big shoes to fill and, we hope, the willingness to exude the type of quiet strength and commitment to public service Hines did.
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