Glendening offers ideas, but few details, on crime

March 23, 1994|By Michael A. Fletcher | Michael A. Fletcher,Sun Staff Writer

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Parris N. Glendening laid out a complex prescription to combat Maryland's burgeoning crime problem yesterday that was long on themes but short on specifics.

His proposals include streamlining the state's death penalty process, eliminating parole and early releases for certain violent offenders, and bolstering job training, education and drug treatment programs in prisons.

The Prince George's County executive outlined his anti-crime platform in a meeting with a dozen community leaders at the Baltimore NAACP headquarters in Charles Village.

"I think I offer a comprehensive solution," Mr. Glendening said. "Beware of candidates who offer simple answers."

Mr. Glendening's audience seemed heartened that the candidate drew a direct connection between crime, education, economic development and the strength of communities.

"You have to approach crime from a variety of fronts," he said.

He said that, if elected governor, he would work to strengthen families by making before- and after-school programs available in as many Maryland schools as possible. He also said he would encourage businesses to offer employees flexible schedules so they could help out at their children's schools.

"I believe in families and personal responsibility," Mr. Glendening said. "I also believe in governmental action that encourages that."

Among his other ideas:

*Providing alternative sentencing for nonviolent offenders.

*Creating courts for drug cases.

*Establishing mandatory treatment as sentence for use of drugs.

*Improving regulation of gun transfers.

While Mr. Glendening laid out his philosophy for fighting crime, he offered few specifics about how his proposals would work or be funded.

"Part of it is spending our money more smartly than we do now," he said, adding that he plans to develop more details as the campaign progresses.

After his crime talk, Mr. Glendening toured the Charles Village area, where community leaders have been pushing legislation that would allow a tax surcharge to pay for extra services, including police and sanitation. A bill allowing the tax district was approved by the state Senate yesterday, and a similar measure was passed by the House last week.

"He is the only gubernatorial candidate who has been interested in any way in our neighborhood," said Dawna Cobb, president of the Abell Improvement Association. "That, by itself, is impressive."

Mr. Glendening is running in a Democratic primary field that includes Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg, Sen. Mary H. Boergers of Montgomery County, Sen. American Joe Miedusiewski of Baltimore, and former Del. Frank M. Conaway of Baltimore.

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