Bobo assails Howard's state delegation

October 09, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Sun Staff Writer

Former County Executive Elizabeth Bobo criticized the Republican-dominated Howard County legislative delegation at a candidates forum yesterday, saying it takes a disingenuous approach to governing.

Ms. Bobo, a Democratic candidate for delegate in District 12B, charged that the delegation consistently requests state money for school and road construction and other projects, boasting whenever financing comes through. On the other hand, it routinely advocates cutting taxes, she said.

"It's not an honest way to govern," Ms. Bobo said. "We've got to reconcile this discrepancy."

Several Republican incumbents -- particularly Dels. Robert L. Flanagan and Robert H. Kittleman of District 14B -- came under fire during the afternoon session of the forum at Howard %J Community College, which featured candidates for delegate, state Senate and state's attorney.

Democrats Andrew D. Levy and Carolyn H. Willis, who are trying to unseat the two Republicans from the two-member western Howard district, charged that the incumbents are failing to seek constituents' opinions on key votes, such as welfare reform. The challengers said the incumbents also have inconsistent records on issues such as term limits and crime prevention.

Mr. Levy said the incumbents are "ineffective," citing Mr. Kittleman's 1994 bill changing the official state fossil as his "greatest accomplishment."

"We don't have the luxury of having legislators like that anymore and it's time for a change," Mr. Levy said.

Mr. Flanagan, the delegation chairman, highlighted his efforts to secure school construction money and reform the juvenile justice system, while Mr. Kittleman emphasized his lengthy battle to eliminate the program that allows state legislators to award scholarship money.

Republican candidates for the General Assembly emphasized reducing taxes and creating a leaner state government.

At least three -- delegate candidates Michael Grasso and Kenneth Miller in two-member District 13A and David Maier in Senate District 12 -- say they have signed on to Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen Sauerbrey's plan to cut income taxes by 24 percent over four years and institute other spending and ethics controls.

"It isn't doomsday. It's not closing schools, laying off firefighters and policemen," Mr. Maier said. "We have to take care of our needs first, our wants second."

Edward J. Kasemeyer, Mr. Maier's Democratic opponent, countered that Ms. Sauerbrey's proposal is a "gimmick" and that counties would lose revenue and be forced to raise local taxes if it were enacted.

Democrat Frank Turner, a delegate candidate in District 13A, criticized Republicans for advocating increased spending on prisons and education while at the same time cutting taxes. "Those numbers don't work out," he said.

One significant difference between Democrats and Republicans running for the three Senate seats is their positions on government vouchers for private schools. Republicans Martin G. Madden, a current delegate; incumbent Sen. Christopher J. McCabe; and Mr. Maier all support at least considering vouchers or privatization as a solution to public education problems.

Their Democratic opponents, Del. Virginia M. Thomas; James P. Mundy, a Glenelg High School teacher; and Mr. Kasemeyer, respectively, argued that vouchers would diminish public education with no guarantee of helping the poor.

The candidates generally agreed that penalties for criminals need to be toughened and that efforts to reduce juvenile crime and develop alternatives to prison for nonviolent offenders need to be stepped up.

In the state's attorney race, Republican Marna McLendon advocated more community involvement in reducing crime, tougher sentences for juveniles and first-time violent offenders, and more support for victims' rights. She opposes abolishing parole.

Democrat Dario J. Broccolino emphasized his independence from the county administration and the county Police Department. He also supported increasing community involvement, strengthening victims' rights and abolishing parole.

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