WESTMINSTER — They come from a variety of walks of life -- a homebuilder, a high school teacher, a retired marketing consultant, a photographer, a physicist, a truck-parts distributor, a telephone company planner.
However, they have one thing in common: They all want a hand in running this city and deciding how residents' tax dollars are spent for the next four years.
They are the seven candidates in Monday's City Council election, and they're looking for votes.
The field -- two incumbents and five challengers -- will vie for
three seats on the five-member council
The city's sole polling location -- the Westminster Volunteer Fire Company at 66 E. Main St. -- will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the election.
Incumbents Samuel V. Greenholtz and Mark S. Snyder both are seeking their second term.
Council President Kenneth Hornberger, whose term also expires, decided not to run again after eight years on the council. His departure leaves one open seat that willbe won by a newcomer.
The challengers are Stephen R. Chapin Sr., Dennis Frazier, Michael Oakes, Rebecca A. Orenstein and Kenneth A. Yowan.
Yowan served on the council from 1983 to 1987 before his worksent him on a two-year stint to Hawaii, requiring him to relinquish his seat.
Among the issues discussed during an April 29 candidatesforum were the debate over the current council's quest for additional city government office space and the tempestuous relations between the council and Mayor W. Benjamin Brown.
Here is a brief look at the candidates, in alphabetical order:
* Chapin, 50, promises a "no-nonsense, business approach" to city government. A retired marketingconsultant and restaurateur, he believes marketing principles shouldbe used to attract business and revitalize the city's commercial district.
"I'm tight with my money, and I'll be tight with the city'smoney," the self-described conservative said.
The disarray in mayor-council relations has "plagued" the city, said Chapin, who vows towork to "end the bickering."
* Frazier, 34, puts recycling and other environmental concerns high on the agenda, along with controllinggrowth.
He has called for a voluntary city recycling program, stressing convenience. Instead of twice-weekly trash pickup for residents, Frazier suggests that trash be picked up one day a week and recyclables the other.
"The city is doing nothing for recycling right now," he said.
Frazier, a teacher at Loyola High School in BaltimoreCounty, is president of The Greens of Westminster Homeowners Association, vice chairman of the city Parks Board and a member of the city Tree Commission.
* Greenholtz, 45, a long-range planner for C & P Telephone Co., has lauded the current council's work on controlling growth and spending. He promises to work to continue such efforts.
Greenholtz downplays the state of relations between the mayor and council.
"I don't believe there's a problem," he said.
He chairs the council's Public Safety Committee, is council liaison to the Planning and Zoning Commission and chairs the city Recycling Committee.
* Oakes, 38 and owner of the homebuilding firm Michael Oakes Inc., called for measures aimed at quickening the pace of commercial revitalization.
He proposes free parking downtown and tax credits for Main
Street merchants. Oakes has spoken out against policies aimed atstifling growth.
"The people of Westminster are going to need a City Council progressive in ideas and aggressive in making those ideasbecome realities," he said.
* Orenstein, 48, operates a portrait and commercial photography studio. A member of the Downtown Task Force, she founded TreeAction, an environmental advocacy group, and is onthe city Tree Commission.
Orenstein advocates a deliberate approach to growth, one that won't disrupt the city's small-town character.
She called for an end to the mayor-council tiff and said she envisions an open, accessible, citizen-oriented government.
"The fighting in City Hall must end," she said.
* Snyder, 36, owns Synder Body Inc., a manufacturer-distributor of truck equipment in Hampstead, and chairs the council's Public Improvements Committee.
Snyder also has pointed to accomplishments of the council during the past four years, including actions on city water, and sewer and road maintainance and improvements.
"The accomplishments are many," he said.
Like Greenholtz, Snyder said that he believes the mayor-council turbulence has been overstated and that he sees no "lack of communication."
"The relationship . . . has not stifled the focus or the long-range plans of our city," he said.
* Yowan, 49, is a physicist at theJohns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He questions the increase in city government staffing and spending under a council that characterizes itself as fiscally conservative.
"Don't be fooled by the rhetoric," he said, noting that taxes have gone up 15 percent in four years. He vows to work to cut expenses.
Yowan chaired the Downtown Task Force. He has been critical of the mayor-council row and has called for the return of powers taken from Brown when the council enacted legislation to enable the hiring of a city manager.
"The council changed our basic form of government and spent $100,000 of unbudgeted money in hastily hiring a city manager simply to get back at a mayor with whom they didn't get along," Yowan said.