Joe Shyne, unplugged
As a note to the lengthy feature story about Joe Shyne that appeared in Monday's paper (http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061030/NEWS01/610300313/1002/NEWS),
I have to note that he might have been about the most accessible subject I've ever interviewed since I've become a reporter. That probably has a lot to do with the length of the story - that's my feeble attempt at an apology to my editors and the readers.
But, believe it or not, I actually left some stuff out of the story. I've broken down Shyne's wit and wisdom into two separate blog entries. Here's a few pearls from District F's council-elect:
"We were being neglected out here. And you got to understand: people take care of people who look like themselves. That's just human nature." - Shyne on why he initially ran for a city council seat in 1982.
"Herman wasn't getting nothing done. Herman was a good ol' preacher. But folks realized that Herman couldn't get the job done" - Shyne on his first opponent in a council race, then-incumbent Rev. Herman Farr in 1982.
"That's because I've always been aggressive. They want to say militant. I say aggressive" - Shyne on the reason he wasn't endorsed by The Times in a previous council race.
“I didn’t mind them endorsing James. It wasn’t going to be nothing but the kiss of death for him. If he’d been smart, he’d have told them, “Nah, don’t endorse me” – Shyne on The Times endorsing Green for the District F seat in the Sept. 30 election.
"There was a higher turnout for me than it was the mayoral candidates. There wasn't a mayoral candidate who got the turnout I got. These people know what Joe Shyne is all about" - Shyne making a questionable comparison of his election-night numbers to some of those in the mayoral race.
“He and I worked very closely together. I miss him. He understood the political process. A lot of folks don’t understand the political process. Huck understood it. I understood it. So we could work very well together. He was not selfish and I was not selfish. A lot of people let their egos get involved in the political process and you can’t do that” – Shyne on the late Hilry Huckaby, a former city councilman and close friend.
"The Fair Share program that we have, I led the fight on that. That was to bring more blacks. I’m not going to use the term minorities. I want to say more blacks because we get lost when we start using the term minorities. We put white women in there. We put Asians in there. We put Mexicans in there. All that kind of stuff. The Fair Share program was actually designed to bring more black businesses into bidding on contracts at city hall” – Shyne on the controversial Fair Share program, a city initiative created to increase minority participation in city contracts.
"I'd be crazy to care of folks in Broadmoor when they don't vote for me. These are the people who vote for me, so I take care of them" - Shyne on his reputation for constituent service.
“I play the role, not just of city councilman, but I guess kind of like a missionary. I do everything. I’m there as a public servant. I do it, 24-7.”