An endorsement in the District 31 Senate race by three environmental groups came under attack yesterday from seven North County activists, who complained about the influence of Silver Sands resident Mary Rosso.
The group, during a press conference at the Riviera Beach Library, objected that last week's endorsement of incumbent Democrat Philip C.
Jimeno over Republican John R. Leopold was "unfair" and "biased."
Much of their criticism focused on the role played by Rosso in making the endorsement. She is a member of all three environmental groups -- the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action and the Anne Arundel chapter of the Sierra Club.
Twin Coves resident Lois Kyle charged those groups failed to follow their own criteria for endorsements -- endorsements on candidate interviews, legislative records and interviews with neighborhood leaders -- in selecting Jimeno.
Rosso, president of the Glen Burnie-based Maryland Waste Coalition, had a Jimeno campaign sign in her front yard when she and John Kabler, regional director of Clean Water Action, interviewed Leopold, "and therefore could not be fair or unbiased when making a recommendation," Kyle said.
Leopold, a two-term state delegate, has the better voting record on environmental issues, Kyle said. Leopold voted with environmentalists 73 percent of the time; Jimeno only 65 percent, she said, referring to a report on environmental votes prepared by the League of Conservation Voters.
However, the League of Conservation Voters most recent report gives Jimeno the edge over Leopold. The senator voted in conservation's favor 63 percent of the time; Leopold 57 percent, the report shows.
Yesterday's numbers were an average of scores reported in 1986 and 1990, the report shows.
Kyle also said the groups never contacted anyone in the areas of Stoney, Furnace, Rock and Bodkin creeks or the Magothy River.
"We question who these neighborhood leaders are that were consulted and how broad a base was used throughout the 31st District," she said.
Rosso dismissed the criticism, saying Kyle and the others don't understand the endorsement process. "Just because I have a sign in my yard doesn't negate the process," she said. "I'm not the only one who votes."