Balto. Co.'s 7th Council District: DePazzo vs. political novice Jung

August 17, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Staff Writer

Despite years as a Baltimore County zoning and housing official, Jean Jung is a political novice and her 7th District County Council campaign fund-raiser was poorly attended.

But the May affair still attracted an unexpected visitor, one who wasn't invited and who didn't go inside.

The visitor was Del. Louis L. DePazzo, Mrs. Jung's only election opponent in the Dundalk district race, who cruised through the parking lot and stopped to speak to another candidate. A Jung supporter said Mr. DePazzo then parked nearby to see who attended the event. The 16-year delegate later admitted being there but vehemently denied scoping out the attendees.

Although minor, the incident is characteristic of the contest for the Dundalk council seat: Mr. DePazzo, the veteran, seems worried about Mrs. Jung, the novice.

Mr. DePazzo is one of two veteran General Assembly members seeking to move this year from the state legislature to County Council seats, both on the county's Eastside. The other, Del. Joseph Bartenfelder, is running in the neighboring 6th District.

In the 7th District, Mr. DePazzo, 61, is considered a heavy favorite over Mrs. Jung, also 61.

Because no Republicans filed in the district, he will get his final reading from voters in the Sept. 13 primary.

Despite his proven record as a vote-getter and a political backlash against Mrs. Jung from an emotional local fight over subsidized housing, Mr. DePazzo expressed concern about her struggling effort.

"I don't know the lady too well," Mr. DePazzo said. "I don't know what to expect. I can't get a reading out of her camp."

The flamboyant lawyer, who has won four terms in the General Assembly and led all five Democrats in the 1990 primary, said he figures to spend about $12,000 this year, mostly his own money.

He's running alone this year.

"No more tickets," he said, recalling his 1990 experience as a nominal member of the "Forward Together" ticket with Dennis F. Rasmussen, the former county executive, and other Democratic incumbents. Despite the team slogan, Mr. DePazzo campaigned against Mr. Rasmussen and the ticket's council candidate, Dale Volz. He supported tax protest candidate Donald C. Mason, who won and is retiring after one term.

The chief issue in Dundalk, aside from the usual complaints of neglected alleys, streets and school buildings, is the federal Moving To Opportunity (MTO) program in which 285 poor Baltimore families will be given federal rent subsidies and moved to more prosperous, suburban communities.

Mr. DePazzo helped spark local opposition to the program, said Jerry Hersl of Rosedale, who has led the program's critics.

Mrs. Jung is board president of the Community Assistance Network (CAN), which has contracted with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to work with 143 of the MTO families and place them around the metropolitan area. Because of that role, CAN has been cast as the villain by Dundalk residents who believe that scores of Baltimore's poorest inner-city residents will be moved to their neighborhoods.

Mrs. Jung has refrained from openly attacking Mr. DePazzo and insists she will run on her record of years of public service and as a longtime Dundalk resident. She is a former deputy county zoning commissioner, planning board member and housing office administrator.

"My approach is my experience," she said. "A major part of it is who I am. I'm a positive person. I have to present who I am."

But Mrs. Jung said she doesn't plan to sacrifice her life to politics, even during the campaign. For example, she spent 10 days in July visiting a daughter in New York, and several other area candidates said they haven't seen her much at meetings or on the streets.

In the 6th District, Delegate Bartenfelder of Perry Hall is vying with three Democrats for the chance to run against incumbent Republican William A. Howard IV. Mr. Howard of Carney, chairman of the council, is unopposed in the primary.

Mr. Bartenfelder, 37, a 12-year legislator and a farmer, said he visits three precincts a week in the northeastern county district. He considered running for county executive this spring when it become clear no other Eastsider would, but finally settled on the council. He's supporting Councilman Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger III of Cockeysville for executive.

Mr. Bartenfelder said his polls show him the runaway favorite among the four Democrats. His main worry, he said, is that his supporters may get complacent.

If hard work can make a novice a winner, then William A. Spiegel, a retired customer relations specialist with Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., may surprise a few people.

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