Re­mem­ber­ing Bill Hanna

The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS - The writer served as chair­man of the Mary­land-Na­tional Cap­i­tal Park and Plan­ning Com­mis­sion from 1989 to 1993.

The Jan. 19 ed­i­to­rial page has a fit­ting trib­ute to R. Sar­gent

Shriver, a fine na­tional fig­ure. But I’d like to note a lo­cally im­por­tant per­son­age of great vi­sion and grit who also died last week.

Wil­liam E. Hanna Jr. served on the Mont­gomery County Coun­cil in the 1980s and ’90s, and he was likely the great­est coun­cil mem­ber of the time. He was an out­spo­ken leader with a re­gional vi­sion. He led the ef­fort to es­tab­lish the Shady Grove Life Sci­ences Cen­ter, and he fought long and hard for af­ford­able hous­ing in the county. He was in­stru­men­tal in the tough bat­tle for the Sil­ver Spring-Bethesda Tran­sit­way, the Pur­ple Line’s pre­cur­sor, as well as the ef­fort to re­vi­tal­ize down­town Sil­ver Spring. He fought hard for the In­ter­county Con­nec­tor, and he de­manded and bud­geted for pub­lic art to grace new pub­lic build­ings and parks.

One night, when Bill and I were go­ing through a par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult time re­gard­ing craft­ing and then de­fend­ing a new af­ford­able hous­ing ini­tia­tive, and we were get­ting hit from all sides, I said to him, “Boy, this has got to be re­ally tough on you.” Bill re­sponded, “ This is re­ally noth­ing.” I asked, “What do you mean?” Bill calmly replied, “Gus, I have seven daugh­ters.” I learned over time how close he was to his seven daugh­ters.

Bill some­times rubbed peo­ple the wrong way with his blunt man­ner and old-school, im­politic lan­guage, but he had the prover­bial heart of gold. He was a rar­ity in elected life, then and now — a non-show­boater with real vi­sion who didn’t wish to be em­peror of the uni­verse.

Gus Bau­man, Sil­ver Spring

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