Elections around Maryland Election '90

November 01, 1990

Nowhere in Maryland do voters face more intriguing choices than the Washington suburbs, where a just-convicted councilman is running for re-election, a rejected state's attorney seeks a comeback, a defeated county executive is forging a write-in campaign and three dangerous tax-cap measures would clamp a tight lid on government.

What an embarrassment Democrat Anthony J. Cicoria has become for Prince George's voters. Convicted this week of stealing $65,000 in campaign funds and lying on his income tax returns, Cicoria is odds-on favorite to win another councilmanic term. District 2 voters in the Takoma Park-University Park-Colmar Manor area should have none of it; we favor Republican J. Lee Ball.

Also in the county, Arthur "Bud" Marshall is giving a virtuoso performance as a politico who thinks of public office as personal property, not a public trust. He was state's attorney for 24 years, until being ousted in 1986 by Democrat Alex Williams. Now Mr. Marshall has turned Republican and is running a sad and negative campaign. Mr. Williams amply deserves re-election.

In neighboring Montgomery County, the roles have been reversed in the county executive race. This time, incumbent Democrat Sidney Kramer is the underdog in his write-in efforts; Democratic nominee Neal Potter is the favorite. But business' unhappiness with Mr. Potter and Mr. Kramer's support among unions give the write-in candidate hope. Voters ought to stick with Mr. Potter. His two decades of government expertise ably prepare him for the county's top post.

Montgomery residents also should reject three ballot questions -- letters F, G and I -- restricting government's ability to raise property tax revenue. In a time of recession, these dangerous steps would deprive Rockville of flexibility as it tries to pay for public services. Question H should be defeated, too, because it would halt local efforts to accelerate stalled road and school projects.

Across the bay, in Talbot County, another tax-cap proposal is on the ballot. This one merits approval. For the past 12 years, a charter amendment has barred higher property tax collections. The result: a low property tax rate (71 cents) but meager services. The county provides no police protection, no trash collection, no professional firefighters and a feeble public school system.

Talbot's Question A would ease the tax cap by limiting increases in property tax collections to 3 percent a year. That, at least, is an improvement.

And finally, Washington County voters must choose between Republican Del. Donald Munson, who is popular and very conservative, and Democrat Patricia Cushwa, who succeeded her husband as senator this summer and is a pragmatic party activist. We support Mrs. Cushwa.

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