Social Thought Was Slim In Severna Pk. During Election But The Affluent May Be Keeping Quieter About Problems, Aide Said

December 13, 1990|By Robert Lee | Robert Lee,Staff writer

None of the 7,000 Severna Park and Broadneck Peninsula residents she met campaigning door to door ever mentioned health and human services as a county priority, said newly elected Councilwoman Diane Evans.

"People just didn't mention social issues like crime and drugs, health, teen-age pregnancy, the homeless or whatever. I just don't know what to make of it," said Evans, R-Arnold.

Evans, who holds degrees in sociology and teaching and has worked the past 10 years handling child support cases for Anne Arundel Circuit Court, said she raised the point because she thought it was "interesting."

Evans' remarks were made Tuesday before the Greater Severna Park Council, which had invited her to share what she learned about her district in her successful campaign to win the county council seat vacated by Carole Baker.

The only issue raised that was close to health and welfare was the perceived high cost and low quality of the county public school system, Evans said.

Other issues she heard included slowing county spending, expanding the county gypsy moth spray program, controlling growth and traffic, finding spoil sites to allow the dredging of creeks, expanding recycling, supporting development of private retirement homes, revoking recent pension increases for top county officials, adding sidewalks in older neighborhoods and adding stop signs.

She also heard and pro and con on the proposed East-West Boulevard, which Evans has pledged to support.

Evans ended her presentation by asking the 37 assembled civic association leaders if they "could shed any light" on why social issues appear to be downplayed in the area. The question was greeted by an awkward silence eventually broken by several questions about the school system and capital projects.

After the meeting, Evans dismissed the idea that people in the relatively affluent 5th District are calloused or indifferent to the plight of the disadvantaged.

"I know the people in Severna Park are compassionate and that they're very concerned with the plight of the poor from the volunteer work they do," Evans said. "A lot of folks of my political persuasion believe government can't address everybody's needs though."

Karen Michalec, the county executive's aide to human services programs, said the 5th District's apparent lack of interest may actually be a low profile when seeking county services like counseling or shelter.

"I had three people in this office Monday asking for help with Severna Park addresses," Michalec said. "With the economy the way it is, we've had increased requests for food from all over the county, (but) we're not seeing the same level of support as past years."

Michalec said basic needs programs are likely to need greater support from the county government soon.

Evans said she plans to support basic social, health and welfare programs on the council despite the lack of interest in her district.

"Sometimes government is the only cushion people really have," Evans said.

In other business:

* The GSPC nominating committee, comprised of three past presidents of the council, nominated Patricia Troy of Severna Forest for president, Roy Gulino of Evergreen Estates for vice president, Sharon Maloney of West Haven for secretary and Elizabeth Palmer of Kilmarnock for treasurer.

Nominations will be accepted from the floor at January's meeting followed by voting.

Troy, one of four founders of the Chesapeake Academy, publishes Chesapeake Living, belongs to the Greater Severna Park Chamber of Commerce and is president of the local chapter of the American Business Women's Association. She says she would like to see the council concentrate on long-term planning during 1991.

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