For Doug Riley in 4th Council District

August 03, 1994

In Baltimore County's Fourth Councilmanic District, which stretches from Falls Road in the west to Perring Parkway in the east and from Towson in the south to Timonium in the north, the choices for next month's primary races shouldn't cause much head-scratching among informed voters.

Three Towsonites are taking part in the two contests. On the Democratic side, attorney John J. Appel Jr. is running unopposed. In the Republican primary, the 41-year-old incumbent Douglas B. Riley, a lawyer by profession, aims for a second term. His only opponent is engineer Tom Morris, 43.

Mr. Morris offers a staunchly conservative program long on negativity -- no to state and federal mandates, no to increased taxes and public services, among other no's. His statements betray an antipathy toward the state and federal governments, which would ill serve a jurisdiction that derives major funding and other benefits from Annapolis and Washington.

The clear choice in the primary is Mr. Riley. Though perhaps as true to party ideology as any other county politician, Mr. Riley has mostly avoided partisan showdowns with his council colleagues. When compromises have been needed to pass important measures, he has been willing to bargain. A shining moment for Mr. Riley was the fiscal 1993 budget deal in which he helped craft an unprecedented agreement between the administration and the council. He also served a year as council chairman early in his first term, an indication that he can be both leader and conciliator. Further to his credit, he advocates regional cooperation in such areas as funding for city cultural institutions, solid waste disposal and the sharing of technologies among local governments in the metropolitan area.

We must note that the councilman occasionally suffers from foot-in-mouth disease. For example, during a debate over a bill to create group homes for the elderly in Baltimore County, Mr. Riley made an unflattering reference to "old people." Unfortunately for him, a reporter was in the room taking notes. Such slips have been infrequent, but he will need to prevent them entirely if he is to fulfill the high expectations that many observers in and beyond the Fourth Councilmanic District have for Doug Riley.

Tomorrow: Council Districts 6 and 7.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.