Howard to head council in Baltimore Co. again

January 04, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

The Baltimore County Council gave Fullerton Republican William A. Howard IV his second term as chairman last night in a meeting marked by anger and election-year tensions.

The council also approved a bill that would remove regulatory roadblocks that have prevented any assisted housing for the elderly from coming to the county despite its fast-growing population of elderly people.

Mr. Howard was the only nominee for the chairman's post, which has a one-year term, although Towson Republican Douglas B. Riley teased Pikesville Democrat Melvin G. Mintz as "the only member to passionately seek the job" this year.

Three of the four council Democrats voted against Mr. Howard. But the fourth Democrat on the seven-member council, Dundalk's Donald C. Mason, voted in favor -- a break in party ranks that prompted criticism from Perry Hall Democrat Vincent Gardina.

"We don't have four loyal Democrats on this council," Mr. Gardina said. If there were, he said, the council would have "seen Democratic leadership." He suggested that Mr. Mason change his party registration.

Mr. Mason angrily refused, saying, "I have not left the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has left me and millions of others." He said he wants to move the party closer to his own fiscally conservative views.

Council sources said Mr. Howard, 31, sought the chairman's post this election year to bolster his public recognition. He faces possible challenges from former Councilman Eugene Gallagher and Del. Joseph Bartenfelder, D-8th, both of whom have said they are considering a race for the 6th District seat.

Mr. Howard was chairman in 1992. He replaces north county Democrat Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger III, D-3rd, who served his second term as chairman last year.

The final vote on the assisted-living bill was 6-1, with Catonsville Republican Berchie Lee Manley the only opponent. The bill would allow the homes as a matter of right in residential zones and eliminate the need for a long, costly special zoning exception.

The county has about 140,000 people age 60 and over, among a total population of about 700,000.

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