County executive debate only one to be televised

October 02, 1994|By Phyllis Brill | Phyllis Brill,Sun Staff Writer

Only one debate among Harford County candidates for office -- that between Democratic County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann and Republican challenger Ron Szczybor on Wednesday -- will be aired on local cable television.

But residents might be able to hear two of the League of Women Voters' scheduled debates live on a local radio station, and Comcast will air five-minute interviews with several Harford candidates throughout this month.

The League of Women Voters of Harford County will moderate two candidate forums in the County Council's chamber this month. The first, between Mrs. Rehrmann and Mr. Szczybor, will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The second forum, featuring candidates for County Council seats and County Council president, is scheduled Oct. 20. Both forums are open to the public.

Harford Cable Network will tape the Wednesday forum and air it at 6 p.m. on the four Fridays in October. But because of previous commitments to televising high school football games, producer Robert Lidke said, HCN will be unavailable to tape the second forum.

Lauren Gorden, the league's co-president, said the cost of televising debates and the league's limited budget preclude any other cable coverage. She said several sponsors were solicited to cover the cost of taping Wednesday's forum.

WAMD Radio Vice President Jim McMahan said he would like to broadcast both the Rehrmann-Szczybor debate and the one between Republican Joanne S. Parrott and Democrat Theresa M. Pierno, who are vying for the council presidency.

"I think those two positions are very important to the community, so if there's a way I can broadcast them, I will," he said. The Aberdeen station will air the debates live if communications logistics can be worked out, he said.

Ms. Gorden said the league, a nonprofit volunteer organization, does not have the money for television coverage of both its forums. She said HCN, which regularly tapes council meetings, agreed to cover Wednesday's debate for $375, but if the league was to have the second debate televised, it would cost two to three times as much.

Comcast spokesman David Nevins said cable viewers could get a look at local candidates on CNN's Headline News. Each candidate for state and local office has been offered a five-minute interview with a Comcast representative. The interviews will be aired five minutes before the half-hour and five minutes before the hour beginning Oct. 11, Mr. Nevins said.

Doors open for Wednesday's debate at 7 p.m., when guests may submit questions to be asked of the county executive candidates. The debate, with a league representative as moderator, will begin at 7:30 p.m.

On Oct. 20, the council chamber will open at 7 p.m. Mrs. Parrott and Mrs. Pierno will begin answering questions from sponsoring organizations and the audience at 7:30 p.m.

The forum for individual council seats begins at 8:15 p.m. that night. Each candidate will have three minutes to make a statement and two minutes to respond to his or her opponent's statement.

The County Council chamber is on the lower level of the county courthouse on Main Street in Bel Air.

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