Brown, Calwell re-elected Halstad wins council seat

May 11, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

While bidding farewell to retiring City Council President William F. Haifley, Westminster council members welcomed a new face and two incumbents to their ranks last night.

Mayor W. Benjamin Brown, who ran unopposed, got 524 of the 729 votes cast for mayor in yesterday's election.

The two open seats went to Councilman Edward Calwell, who received 426 votes, and Damian Halstad, who received 597 votes. They will serve four-year terms.

About 6,000 people are registered to vote in Westminster.

"I haven't felt happier since I met my wife," said Mr. Halstad, a 31-year-old lawyer, who attributed his victory to getting his name in the public eye early.

Mr. Calwell, 48, an employee of the U.S. Public Health Service, said he had knocked on doors to meet residents for the past two months.

"I'm elated," he said. "I feel I worked hard to earn all those votes."

Dennis Frazier, 36, who also ran in the last council election, got 305 votes.

At last night's council meeting, the mayor, council members and city employees thanked Mr. Haifley for his eight years of service.

"I'm not going to sit here with a straight face and say that it's always been a pleasure to work with you, because it hasn't," Mr. Brown told Mr. Haifley during the meeting. "But I would like to remind you of all the times we have agreed on things."

Councilwoman Rebecca Orenstein said, "Thank you for being such a strong leader, and I wish Mary Haifley [Mr. Haifley's wife] the joy of having you in her life full time."

Write-in votes were not closely counted last night because they would not have affected the final results, said City Clerk John Dudderar. He confirmed that the majority of write-in votes for mayor went to Thomas Eckard, owner of Eckard's Wallpaper and Paint Store on Liberty Street.

A last-minute telephone campaign had been organized to elect the former councilman.

"There have been some people who are upset with the current administration who asked if I would allow my name to be written in to send a signal to City Hall that all is not well," Mr. Eckard said.

A lack of dialogue among the current council, the mayor and the public was one issue Mr. Eckard said some residents, whom he declined to name, were concerned about.

He also said he never expected to win the election.

"If I were going to actively seek the office of mayor, I would have done so earlier in the year and debated the issues with Mayor Brown," he said. "This is just a signal that all is not well."

Election judges said turnout at the city's two polling places was lower than anticipated.

"It's been slow," said Nicky Smelser, a judge at the new poll in Meadow Branch Church of the Brethren. "We've not had as many voters as we would like."

Council members added the second polling place after residents BTC of the Greens and other developments west of Route 31 said it was too difficult to get to the polling site in the Westminster Fire Hall.

"It's so hard to get downtown," said Greens resident Lori Welsh-Graham after she voted yesterday afternoon. "Now, we can stop [and vote] on the way home from work."

Election judges at both places said they had no problems with residents showing up at the wrong place to vote.

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