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A Marked Man

Our columnist takes a closer look at Democratic council candidate Mark Hines—where he (and his running mates) stand on the issues, and how he feels about his detractors.

Our neighborhood has changed dramatically in the last few years, as houses have sold and younger families have moved in. The cul-de-sacs are once again filled with wagons, toys, tricycles and the sounds of children playing. The joyous sounds of unstructured playtime drift my way in the late afternoon, reminding me of when my boys were young, shooting hoops out front or organizing the other kids for a pre-dusk game of "jail break."  

Games from my childhood are lost now: Mother May I?, Freeze Tag, Red Light/Green Light, even Jacks and jump rope have been stashed in the past. One game lives on, though: rock, paper, scissors. I was thinking about this the other day, reminding myself that paper covers rock, rock trumps scissors, scissors cut paper, and so on, because no matter how many times I've played that game, I have to repeat that mantra over and over again to remember what does what and to which.

This simple game popped into my mind last week when thinking about the upcoming town council race: Does beauty trump experience, or does age trump beauty? Does youthful exuberance top a willingness to serve? I sat down with Mark Hines recently, to get a feel for the Democratic ticket, and to find out why he has taken a lot of heat over the campaign to save Open Space funds for, well, open space.

It wasn't until I started writing for Patch in 2011 that I began attending town council meetings. Greg Newcomer has been a mustachioed presence "in the cheap seats" for 18 years, Mark Hines for at least five. From the outset, Mark and Greg were both very vocal about the use (or abuse) of Open Space funds. Although council rescinded the resolution to use that money for the fields project, it is important to note the Democrats were the ones who fought that hard and unpopular battle from the beginning.

Mark Hines has taken it on the chin from many anonymous commenters on Patch, so I felt it was important to find out why. Why is he running? Why has he been singled out as being divisive? How can he and the Democrats help fix what is ailing Moorestown?  

Mark Hines and his lovely wife Elizabeth Endres have lived with their two children in Moorestown for 17 years. Both are food scientists from the Midwest who came east for their careers and decided Moorestown was the perfect place to raise their young family. Both Mark and Elizabeth are activists. They are involved in their church, they're active at Sunnybrook, route: {:controller=>"listings", :action=>"show", :id=>"sunnybrook-swim-club"} --> and Mark sits on the board of MEND. When they didn't like where town council was going with its stubborn campaign to use Open Space funds for field improvements, they created , which was then . We have specific plans for Main Street, as well as Lenola. We would love to have a 'Main Street manager,' someone whose job it is to create a climate conducive to growth," Mark said. "We're thinking that maybe could be used to salary a Main Street manager for a two-year contract. There has to be a pro-business attitude and

Open Space Republican September 17, 2012 at 10:24 AM
Democrats fought from the beginning? Wrong. A Dem may have started MSOS but the fight was ALL of ours. The Moorestown Republican Party stood against it openly. Republicans like Debbie Hess, Barbara Rich, and Maura Dey stood against it. And lets not forget Councilwoman Jordan and Councilman Chiacchio stood against it!
Keep it Green September 17, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Agreed, OS Republican! We all fought together, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents!
CFM September 17, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Should have profiled Newcomer, he's a good man who will be great for Town Council. Hines is divisive, and he would keep this town in 4 years of turmoil and division. Should have had fresh blood run with Greg.
Town watchman September 17, 2012 at 11:37 AM
While driving through the neighborhood on oldershaw, five wild turkeys crossed my path. I got out to say hi, but three of them kept running away. The other two just stared at me. Gobble, gobble!
Pete September 17, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Marsia, I always enjoy your perspective on life in Moorestown, but think your conclusion that “…it is important to note the Democrats were the ones who fought that hard and unpopular battle from the beginning.” cannot be proven to be correct. Most of your other comments in this article support the OS issue to be non-partisan. I personally fought the battle as hard as most others and do not consider myself as a Democrat (although I did vote for JFK and once contributed to the campaign of a Democrat seeking a city council seat). To cast the Republicans as being anti OS is not fair either. The present Council (with bad advice from esq III, again) was dedicated to restoration of our sports fields with minimal impact on taxes. You have to give them credit for trying. Please don’t continue to promulgate the argument that Mark is divisive. He just has an opinion that is different from 50% of the other voters in Moorestown. “Divisive” is a cruel and unfair word that is used when no proper argument can be developed by the critic.
Mark Hines September 17, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Pete - I don't think Marsia intended to imply that the OS fight was solely by Democrats, but reading back through the article, I can see how that interpretation can be made. The OS fight was clearly made by people all throughout Moorestown, probably more "Republicans" than "Democrats", if you wanted to classify by the voter registration records. There were many "Undeclareds" too. That effort clearly showed that there is much common ground between Moorestonians of all political affiliations. I have acknowledged, and continue to acknowledge that past Republican adminstrations have done outstanding work in past years to promote and defend Open Space in Moorestown. They adopted the first ordinances and were aggressive in acquiring Open Space. In regards to the "divisive" term, Marsia saw that term used several times in the comments on past articles, and asked me to address that. She was not calling me "divisive" but asking me for my response to those claims. I appreciate your comments on that, but it was not Marsia that was making that claim. I enjoyed working with you very much and greatly appreciate your pro-active work on behalf of the Library! Thanks!
Travis Woods September 17, 2012 at 04:07 PM
I'm very new to town, so I wasnt present for a lot of the debate about this stuff. But I know people in town who think Hines didnt approach things the right way and is too extreme. I have more homework to do before election day to figure out what he really stands for. Right now, I am voting Garwood and Napolitano, unsure on my third vote (leaning towards Greg Newcomer).
Town watchman September 17, 2012 at 04:31 PM
The title "marked man" is divisive! Not nice!
True Republican September 17, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Thank you Marsia Mason. It is not easy to write in Moorestown these days. You did a wonderful job presenting Mark Hines. Indeed, Mark's courageous work to protect OS as a good steward our OS Fund was special. We all should strive to have such good work added to our names.
Christmas lights September 17, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Some of us have been doing that OS for awhile tr.
Church St September 17, 2012 at 08:23 PM
As we picked up our kids from school today, we noticed that signs are popping up all over town. Big green signs With Phil Garwood's name and the smaller ones. Is that smaller one mr Hines sign? Don't know, I'll check later couldn't read it too well. Will we see any others? Romney signs? I'll check out both websites later.
Ed Nice September 17, 2012 at 09:27 PM
I am not anonymous....I have challenged Hines many times to tell the truth on his lies I mean misrepresentations about legal open space spending and what the legal definition of word recreation really means.....I will even debate him in public if he wants. I know I have corrected you before but its the OPEN SPACE RECREATION FARMLAND AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION TRUST FUND not the OS fund only. Its uses are all legal just like the Judge ruled! If Hines were half a man he would admit it and apologize and learn how to SHARE our OSRFHPTF money just like Jordan/Chiaccio supported last month with BGT. Maybe Greg N or the other guy but no way he has a shot at winning
This Is Our Town September 17, 2012 at 09:40 PM
I've seen the signs popping up too. Love the Garwood/Napolitano/Palko signs, love the green, you can't miss em! The other small ones are the Democrats, I couldnt read them either the first few times until I was sitting at a traffic light and had the time to try!
HD September 17, 2012 at 10:26 PM
I am impressed by the article and even more impressed with Mark's comments. His comments and campaign literature talk about building consensus, efficient management and fiscal responsibility. I have attended meetings with Mark too and never once heard him say anything to suggest divisiveness. Quite the opposite is true and I believe he has the personality and management experience to deliver real results for a better town. He has my vote! To others who have made comments, I see many of you have strong opinions which is a good thing, but I ask you to remember that all the candidates work hard and care about our town. Let's keep the discussion informative and respectful.
Coach September 18, 2012 at 02:49 AM
I voted against Hines 4 years ago, and this time I will do so again with much more certainty and much more disdain for this man.
kristen babcock September 18, 2012 at 03:14 AM
CFM, Greg is a great man and will certainly bring nothing but good to town council if elected. I disagree with you in calling Mark Hines divisive. Maybe you don't know him personally as I do and that is why you say that. Mark would also bring nothing but good to town council. I hope the voters will take the time to see that. He has my vote.
Townie September 18, 2012 at 10:40 AM
Coach / Kristen, Disdain.....great man.... The truth is most likely somewhere in between....
Bill September 18, 2012 at 11:36 AM
The guy doesn't even understand the legal use of an ordinance he voted on as a citizen. How many times did we read, "it's not what we thought we were voting for" ( in regards to the Open Space Recreation, Farmland, and Historic Preservation Trust Fund) . Why would anyone want him on town council ?
HD September 18, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I would want him on town council because of his management/leadership skills, ability to get things accomplished, dedication to improving Moorestown, and fiscal responsibility. I know Mark and he would always act ethically and with integrity. He is a very good choice for town council. I hope he wins.

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