10 Oct

TNT: Hines, Blocker, Conor McCarthy for Tacoma council

The Tacoma City Council is short on members who’ve run successful businesses or at least understand the private sector. That’s a serious problem.

The private sector pays for the city’s public services and provides most of its jobs. If Tacoma’s private businesses don’t thrive, neither does the city.

Not everyone is a fan of private employers, though, as evidenced by the initiative on Tacoma’s November ballot that would abruptly raise the city’s minimum wage from $9.43 to $15. Its drafters either didn’t understand or didn’t give a damn that a sudden 58 percent raise in the wage floor would kill some small businesses, drive others to leave and throw people out of work in the bargain.

Support for the 15 Now initiative is a good proxy for how much a City Council candidate worries about Tacoma’s business climate – or understands rudimentary economics, for that matter.

There are three contested seats in this year’s city council election. All three races include candidates – Anders Ibsen, Suzanne Skaar and Tom McCarthy – who were early supporters of the initiative. (Ibsen and McCarthy have backed off somewhat.)

These three are smart and personable, but their leanings toward the fringe of progressive politics don’t bode well for Tacoma’s job-creating private economy.

As it happens, all three have strong opponents from the city’s liberal mainstream, a fact that makes these races easy to decide.

In District 1 – the West Slope and most of the North End – Ibsen is seeking re-election after a first term in which he personally antagonized many of the people he worked with. Seven of his eight council colleagues have pointedly endorsed his challenger, John Hines.

Hines, a teacher and football coach, is a union booster and Democrat who’s well-aligned with the politics of this district. Unlike Ibsen, he’s likely to develop effective working alliances with fellow council members.

In District 3 – Hilltop, Central Tacoma, part of South Tacoma – Keith Blocker faces part-time Pierce College instructor Tom McCarthy.

McCarthy’s an involved citizen and energetic community activist. He also hails from far left field. He earned notoriety in 2007 for suing the City of Tacoma for $2 million and forcing it to spend more than $100,000 before a jury rejected his claim.

His grievance: He’d been briefly jailed after a protest at the Port of Tacoma where he refuse police orders to remove a backpack. The police feared – reasonably – that the backpacks he and other protesters insisted on wearing could have been used to smuggle chains or weapons to the demonstration site.

Tacoma needs dissenters like McCarthy – but not, in his case, running city government.

We much prefer Blocker, a program director for a nonprofit that works with middle school youth at risk of failure. Blocker has a compelling life story: He grew up poor and sometimes homeless in Philadelphia, eventually making an extraordinary journey from hip hop performer to graduate of the University of Puget Sound.

He’d be a strong voice for the disadvantaged on the City Council.

The race for Position 7, a city-wide seat being vacated by David Boe, pits attorney Conor McCarthy against Suzanne Skaar, who works for a Tacoma-based charity that provides schooling for orphans in Tanzania.

Conor McCarthy has a broad record of community involvement and a firm grasp of Tacoma issues. His pragmatism and smarts are what the City Council needs.

Read more here:

10 Oct

Letter to the Editor: John Hines is Better for District 1

As a longtime resident of Tacoma City Council’s District 1, I have concerns about our representation on the council.

Achieving results on the council requires the ability to work with colleagues at least well enough to obtain a majority vote. This process can be called teamwork, collaboration, leadership or by some other name.

Unfortunately, in four years on the City Council, Anders Ibsen has either failed to grasp this simple concept or lacks the necessary skills. Ibsen has, on the other hand, managed to gain the mistrust of all but one of his fellow members who have joined with numerous other well-respected civic leaders to endorse his opponent, John Hines.

Hines has shown an ability to listen to all sides and work collaboratively with others. His experience in teaching and coaching reinforces his leadership and teamwork skills. Hines is clearly the better choice for District 1.

By Marvin Vialle

Read more here:

15 May
0 Hines announces switch in bid for Tacoma City Council


TACOMA, WA – The race for Tacoma City Council heated up today with the announcement that teacher and football coach, John Hines, will run now for the District 1 seat against Councilmember Anders Ibsen instead of running for the at-large seat.

In explaining his decision to switch, Hines said: “I have doorbelled nearly 2,000 homes, many of them in my own community in District 1. Residents in the district have repeated the same concern over and over: they don’t feel heard and are hungry for new representation. After the enormous amount of feedback, I realized this isn’t a citywide issue, it’s a District 1 issue.”

Residents in District 1 aren’t alone in their dissatisfaction with the current representation. With today’s announcement, Hines is announcing a long list of elected officials, teachers, labor and business activists and leaders, local Democrats and social service providers who are taking the unusual step of endorsing against an incumbent and colleague.

A sample of today’s endorsements include: Mayor Marilyn Strickland; Councilmembers Victoria Woodards, Robert Thoms, David Boe, Marty Campbell, Lauren Walker, and Joe Lonergan; Pierce County Councilmembers Rick Talbert and Connie Ladenburg, former Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag, former Tacoma Mayors Harold Moss, Mike Crowley and Karen Vialle; Tacoma School Board members Catherine Ushka and Kurt Miller. More endorsements will be announced in the coming days.

In explaining her endorsement of Hines, Mayor Strickland said, “John’s solid, professional experience as an educator and coach brings a much-needed perspective to the Council as we continue to partner with our schools. As a union member who understands the needs of small businesses, John will be a strong addition to the team.”

Councilmembers were more pointed. Councilmembers Boe and Campbell released a joint statement: “We understand this is unprecedented. It speaks to style and the relationship the incumbent has with this Council. But more importantly, it speaks to the high quality and caliber of John Hines. He is the type of legislator with whom we’d want to serve and build a better Tacoma.”

Hines, born and raised in Tacoma, is a high school teacher and football coach.  Hines’ vision for the Tacoma City Council specifically includes focusing development away from single family neighborhoods and toward under-utilized parts of the city. He believes that preserving neighborhood character should be a priority when considering development. This would allow for density and avoid rapidly increasing home prices and values that are forcing residents on limited or fixed incomes out of the city.

Youth development and mentorship have always been at the center of Hines’ community involvement. He is currently a football coach at Henry Foss High School and was previously a coach at Stewart Middle, Lakes High and Todd Beamer High schools. Hines is also a former Alumni Board member and mentor of the College Success Foundation, an organization that improves college access to underrepresented students by providing scholarships and mentoring to low income, high performing students. In 2014, Hines was the keynote speaker for the Tacoma Empowering Youth Luncheon.

In his free time, Hines runs marathons and is a trivia buff. In 2012, Hines was a semi-finalist on the game show, Jeopardy, during their Teachers Tournament. Hines has lived all over Tacoma from the South and West ends to the North end where he resides currently with his wife, Kelsey, and their son, Garyn.


09 Mar

TNT: High school teacher, coach to run for Tacoma council

Staff writer March 9, 2015

John Hines, a high school social studies teacher and football coach, announced Monday that he will run for an at-large seat on the Tacoma City Council.

Hines, who lives in the North End and works at Foss High School, said he will campaign for the position now occupied by David Boe, who is not running for re-election. Boe’s seat is also being sought by Joe Lopez, an attorney who had a brief stay on the council in 2014.

In a release, Hines said he promises “to fight to make Tacoma more affordable, accessible and sustainable.”

“I was born and raised in Tacoma, attended Tacoma’s public schools, and have chosen to stay in this community to start and raise my family,” he said in the statement. “However, residents are struggling to afford living here and struggling even more to move around the city. We need to continue encouraging smart growth, bringing living wage jobs to Tacoma, and supporting families and residents who are still struggling.”

Hines says he wants to funnel development away from single-family neighborhoods and to make preservation of neighborhood character a priority in considering new projects.

He has served as an alumni board member and mentor for the College Success Foundation, an organization that provides scholarships and mentoring to low income, high performing students in an effort to improve college access.

Hines is a self-described trivia buff who was a semi-finalist on Jeopardy’s Teachers Tournament in 2012.

Read more here:

07 Nov

Federal Way teacher and ‘Jeopardy’ contestant hosts Tacoma viewing party

Post by Craig Sailor / The News Tribune on Nov. 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm

John Hines, a teacher at Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way, is one of 15 contestants competing on the “Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament” this week. He’s vying for the $100,000 cash prize.

Hines’ episode will air on Thursday and to celebrate he’s planning a viewing party and a fundraiser tomorrow at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Tacoma. It will benefit the Foss High School football team which he coaches.

If Hines wins his quarterfinal match on Thursday he will advance to the semifinals and then to the two-day finals.

The show airs at 7:30 p.m. on KOMO-TV (4). Buffalo Wild Wings is at 4219 South Steele Street near the Tacoma Mall.