Election choices in Aberdeen

April 26, 1993

Aberdeen voters will be asked to choose between two visions of their new city charter government when they go to the polls next Tuesday to elect two members of the city council.

Two of the candidates, council president Ronald Kupferman and former state legislator Barbara O. Kreamer stand poles apart on the question of the respective powers of the mayor and council. Mr. Kupferman has led the council opposition to Mayor Ruth Elliott since the charter was adopted last year. Mrs. Kreamer fully supports the mayor and would bolster the mayor's position.

The third candidate, Macon L. Tucker Jr., a high school teacher, seeks re-election for a second term as a neutral in this political tug of war, which centers on personnel appointments.

A charter review committee is holding public hearings to clarify ambiguities in the document over separation of powers and responsibilities. Personality clashes between the mayor and council members have accentuated the divisiveness of the charter interpretations.

Aberdeen's image has suffered. The police chief and city attorney have been caught in the middle of the tussle. Charges of parking ticket fixing and misappropriation of police funds have emerged from the fray. Mrs. Elliott has charged Councilman DeWayne Curry with assault.

We recommend a vote for Mr. Tucker, whose common sense approach and nonpartisan voice are a positive influence on the four-member council.

To fill the other seat, voters must decide between an advocate for a strong council and a voice for a strong mayor. In neither case, would the mayor gain an assured council majority (or a guaranteed tie vote that she could break.)

We prefer the experience of Mr. Kupferman, whose 14 years on the council serves as a counterweight to Mrs. Elliott's 11 years in Aberdeen government. Mrs. Kreamer is an active political veteran, but she has jumped from one race to the next since 1978, without showing prior interest in holding municipal office.

Aberdeen's best hope to resolve its political future rests with the charter review committee, which must clearly define city office powers and have those interpretations adopted as a consensus for resolving future disagreements, regardless of personalities.

For Tuesday's election, however, we urge a vote for Mr. Tucker and Mr. Kupferman.

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