City senators OK special zoneA "special benefits district...

MARYLAND NEWSWATCH

March 13, 1992

BALTIMORE CITY — City senators OK special zone

A "special benefits district" for downtown Baltimore, where commercial building owners would pay a surtax for cleaner streets and more security, cleared its last major hurdle in the General Assembly yesterday.

The Baltimore Senate delegation voted to approve the legislation, which other lawmakers have agreed to consider a local issue, subject only to the decisions of city legislators.

With the House delegation's approval of the measure earlier this week, yesterday's 8-1 vote means the House and Senate bills will become law if the two delegations can settle minor differences between their versions.

The legislation would allow the City Council to enact an ordinance giving building owners in the downtown area a chance to decide for themselves if the district should be established and the tax imposed.

Woman sues Cambridge:

Maryland State

A Dorchester County woman whose three children were killed in a 1989 house fire set by a former boyfriend has filed an $18 million civil suit against the Cambridge city government and a police officer for allegedly failing to protect her and her family from "a foreseeable chain of events" that led to the arson and deaths.

In the suit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Carol L. Pinder claims that Cambridge police should have jailed Don Pittman, Ms. Pinder's former boyfriend, after he broke into her Pine Street home, attacked her and threatened her life on March 10, 1989.

Pittman later returned to the house and set it afire, killing Ms. Pinder's three children, Kim, 11, LaToya, 4, and Troy, 2.

Pittman pleaded guilty to three counts of murder stemming from the 1989 arson and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Measure targets Pepersack:

Anne Arundel County

After exceeding his budget last year, Sheriff Robert Pepersack is again running in the red by more than $100,000. As a result, County Executive Robert R. Neall proposed state legislation this week that would require Mr. Pepersack to live within the county's budget allocation.

"There is a history of difficulties with the sheriff not living within the means of his budget," said Neall spokeswoman Louise Hayman. Last spring, Mr. Pepersack, who provides courtroom security and prisoner transport, overspent his budget by $90,000.

Under Sheriff Patrick Ogle blamed Mr. Neall's budget analysts for the current dilemma. "If we are over budget, it's their problem," he said. "There is a movement over there in the budget office to slowly erode the sheriff's office into nothing."

UM merger uncertain:

Baltimore County

The House of Delegates, by a 94-17 vote, overwhelmingly approved yesterday a proposal to merge two University of Maryland campuses in the Baltimore area, but the measure appears near death in the Senate.

The bill calls for combining the University of Maryland Baltimore County campus in Catonsville and the downtown University of Maryland at Baltimore into a new University of Maryland-Baltimore run by a single administration.

"This merger will require a great deal of additional funds and would take away from community colleges, historically black colleges and other components of the University of Maryland System," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., who opposes the move.

The bill's proponents, however, said the merger would not cost money but instead could save a little.

The vote in the House was 94-17.

Dentists taking trip:

Carroll County

Dentists taking trip: Ecuadent 1992 begins today as 17 dentists and their assistants leave for an eight-day trip to Ecuador, where they will provide care to the farming community of Riobamba.

"Some people, in this poor area, have never seen a dentist," said Dr. Robert T. Scott.

The 17-member group, most of whom live in Carroll County, are paying their own transportation expenses, but received donations from their suppliers, civic organizations and churches.

Grant requests taken:

Harford County

The Harford County Cultural Advisory Board is accepting grant applications for fiscal year 1993 from non-profit performing, exhibiting and educational institutions. The application deadline is April 1.

The grants are distributed by the Community Arts Development Program with funds provided by Harford County government and the Maryland State Arts Council.

For further information call Jim Massey, 838-3749.

Man gets life sentence:

Howard County

A Howard County jury spared Brian Jordan the death penalty yesterday, instead sentencing him to life in prison for the April 1990 slaying of a 44-year-old Columbia woman.

Jordan, 29, was convicted of first-degree murder by the jury on Monday for his role in the death of Pamela Mary Barker.

A program analyst with the Health Care Financing Administration, Ms. Barker was found stabbed to death in the bedroom of her ransacked home in the 9700 block of Basket Ring Road.

Circuit Court Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. gave Jordan consecutive sentences of 20 years for robbery and 10 years for burglary.

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