Contest of kindness 

Never before has News Hits seen such a compassionate side of Gil Hill. In trying to please disgruntled parents and environmental activists during a hearing last week, the Detroit City Council president nearly made his generally affable colleague — and mayoral opponent — Councilman Nick Hood, appear shrill. Nearly.

About 10 people came to voice concerns about the construction of the new Beard Elementary School on arsenic-contaminated soil on Detroit’s southwest side. The agenda was packed with budget talks, so the group was allotted only 15 minutes. And Hood, who chaired the meeting, was going to see they didn’t run over. But Hill, who normally sits mute and chews gum at these meetings, insisted these folks be given more time on such a “matter of importance.”

Hood conceded. What else could he do? Let candidate Hill make him look like he didn’t care about the possible health dangers these schoolchildren may face?

“We’ll see what time is needed,” Hood wisely countered.

The hearing went on from there — for a good hour.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or

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