Ruppersberger, Hayden debate sounds familiar THE NOVEMBER ELECTION CAMPAIGN 1994

October 14, 1994|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Sun Staff Writer

Like a pair of weary dance partners at the end of a marathon, Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden and County Councilman C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger II ended their series of six debates yesterday with a familiar series of attacks and promises.

Speaking before 200 members of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce in Hunt Valley, Mr. Hayden, a Republican, and Mr. Ruppersberger, a Democrat, sounded the same political themes that have dominated their other encounters.

Mr. Ruppersberger, 48, a councilman for the past nine years, is attempting to unseat Mr. Hayden, 49, a former businessman and school board president who was swept into office in 1990 on a wave of anti-incumbent sentiment.

If elected, Mr. Ruppersberger said, he would work to strengthen the police force, beef up economic development efforts, appoint a fiscal watchdog to take a hard look at education spending and go to Annapolis to fight for more state aid for Baltimore County.

He repeated his assertion that the county of almost 700,000 is at a "crossroads" and needs aggressive new leadership.

Defending his record, Mr. Hayden said that thanks to his cost-cutting, his review of county services and better management, Baltimore County government is doing more with less.

If re-elected, Mr. Hayden said, he would concentrate his efforts on "community conservation," rebuilding, stabilizing and strengthening the county's older communities.

Mr. Ruppersberger criticized Mr. Hayden for cutting 100 police officers from the budget three years ago and blamed the incumbent for an increase in crime. He said Mr. Hayden's decision to put through several police recruit classes in an election year came too late.

But Mr. Hayden defended his record on crime, noting that the county has more police officers on the street than in anytime in the county's history -- and not just because of the new recruit classes. He said his administration has hired private contractors for mundane police chores such as writing parking tickets and transporting prisoners, freeing trained officers for the street.

And, Mr. Hayden noted, "Last year in Baltimore County, overall crime went down. It went down."

The debate was fairly amicable, although at one point, when Mr. Hayden agreed to let Mr. Ruppersberger speak last, the pair exchanged some verbal barbs.

"I'm easy," Mr. Hayden said, explaining why he was demurring to Mr. Ruppersberger.

"I know you are," Mr. Ruppersberger shot back.

"We'll find that out in a few weeks," Mr. Hayden said.

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