Ward 6 council race heats up Brown, Turner trade barbs

September 17, 1993|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,Staff Writer

The Annapolis city primary election isn't until Tuesday, but already Michael T. Brown, one of two Democratic challengers for alderman in Ward 6, is ignoring his immediate opponent to take )) direct shots at Wayne C. Turner, the Republican incumbent.

Mr. Turner, 39, stands accused of being "asleep at the switch" by Mr. Brown, who lost to Mr. Turner in 1989 by 7 votes.

"I'm very pleased with my record," huffed Mr. Turner. "What the hell has he done?"

Meanwhile, the other Democratic challenger, Kenneth A. Kirby, has been the target of a flier circulated this week that accuses him of using "crack" cocaine and urges voters to cast a ballot for Mr. Brown.

Mr. Kirby, a 38-year-old recreation worker with the city Housing Authority who lives on Primrose Street, strongly denied any drug use. And Mr. Brown said his campaign was not involved in distributing the fliers.

The Eastport ward is one of the most racially and economically diverse in the city, with the most expensive homes near public housing projects along Bay Ridge Avenue between Spa Creek and Forest Drive.

Mr. Brown, a Timber Creek Drive resident, went on the offensive this week when he was asked about Mr. Turner's record. "He's been truly asleep at the switch," said Mr. Brown, 38, a state probation officer.

He charged that Mr. Turner failed to stop the expansion of a Baltimore Gas and Electric Company substation in the ward and has failed to address the crime problem in the district.

"He's not held one meeting in the ward on crime," Mr. Brown said.

Mr. Turner said he has "been one of the hardest working aldermen in the city."

He recited a list of achievements ranging from helping staff a paramedic team for the Eastport volunteer fire department to financing new sidewalks for Bay Ridge Avenue to drug testing for cab drivers.

"I'm very pleased with my record," he said.

He also has been involved in civic work, taking part in bringing underprivileged children to sporting events.

And he said he took the lead in trying to stop BG&E from expanding its substation on Tyler Avenue after residents expressed concern over reports linking electromagnetic emissions to an increased risk of cancer.

An Anne Arundel circuit judge ordered the city last fall to grant a permit to expand the substation. Mr. Turner suggested taking the matter to the state appeals court but said he was overruled by the council.

Mr. Turner, a Conley Drive resident, also said he has worked with police to reduce crime in the ward, adding that crime is a citywide problem.

A systems technician with Bell Atlantic Corp. who has been active in Republican circles for years, he mounted his first campaign in 1989 after Alfred A. Hopkins left the Ward 6 seat to run successfully for mayor.

The Ward 6 councilman, who faces no opposition in the primary, began going door to door this week touting his record.

Mr. Brown also has been banging on doors in his quest to gain a council seat after his narrow loss four years ago.

Mr. Brown, who also ran unsuccessfully for state delegate in 1990, said he thinks the city should have some form of rent control, saying prices of apartments and houses are driving people from Annapolis.

But he offers no specifics. "I would look at it and try to work something out," he said. "I think the City Council has the authority to look at rent control."

Mr. Brown also has been a member of several city boards and commissions, including the city's drug task force.

He also formed a city youth group in 1989 called "Diamonds in the Rough," which he said includes some 30 youngsters.

In the effort to fight crime, he said, he would try to deploy more police from downtown into the neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kirby, a political newcomer, said his campaign will be about building bridges to the various communities in the ++ ward. "There is a lot of tension" due to economic disparities and race, he said.

To achieve this, Mr. Kirby said, he would bring the various groups "to the table."

"I believe the people in Ward 6 are ready for a change," he said.

Mr. Kirby also said the city needs to focus more on trying to deal with the drug problems by fighting it as a public health issue, an idea that has been pushed by Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke. "We should spend more money on treatment rather than incarceration," Mr. Kirby said.

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