Baltimore County: change for better

September 15, 1994

Tuesday's primary elections guarantee that both the Baltimore County Council and the county's legislative delegation to Annapolis will undergo major changes in the coming months.

Turnover will be most evident within the group of state senators and delegates who represent the county at the annual General Assembly. Among the 30 members of the current delegation, only 15 remain after the primary. The rest retired, ran for other offices, lost to other incumbents in redrawn districts or were excused by voters on Tuesday.

And of the 15 still in the chase, several more can be expected not to survive the general election in November.

Some familiar names won't appear on the roster of the next delegation: Sauerbrey, Ehrlich, Levin, Rynd, Bartenfelder, Morsberger, LaMotte, Murphy. What's more, the 1992 redistricting that stitched together sections of the county and the city means the new names will include politicians who have served their entire careers in Baltimore.

Some observers might bemoan this loss of experience for Baltimore County. They ought to contemplate the clout that the county delegation has lost in recent years. The legislators spent much of the current term digging themselves out of the doghouse created by their adamant stand against Gov. William Donald Schaefer's fiscal 1993 budget.

Losing many of the members of this group will be no catastrophe, particularly if the new delegation members can bring the energy and fresh thinking that are badly needed at the state capital.

The County Council, too, is assured a markedly revamped team for the coming four years. At least three new members will join the panel next term, a shake-up like the one seen after the 1990 election that brought five new council members to the county seat in Towson.

A key difference this time around, however, is that a number of the candidates for the next council have significant government or political experience, such as county Democratic party chairman Kevin Kamenetz, county party treasurer Stephen G. Samuel Moxley, planning board member I. William Chase and state delegate Joseph Bartenfelder. If the current council has mainly been a collection of amateurs hired by an electorate angry at past incumbents, the new panel promises to be a more professional group with greater understanding of the way government works.

These changes in the council, as in the legislative delegation, should be for the better.

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