Evans' combative style criticized by DeAngelis

October 27, 1994|By John Rivera J JTC | John Rivera J JTC,Sun Staff Writer

Diane R. Evans takes pride in her reputation as the member of the County Council most likely to dissent.

"I have upset a lot of people; I have challenged a lot of people," said the first-term Republican incumbent. "At least the issues were discussed at more depth."

But David L. DeAngelis, her opponent for the 5th District council seat, says her combative style has been divisive and harmed the collegiality of the seven-member council.

"I don't look at a 7-0 vote necessarily as a bad thing," Mr. DeAngelis said. "If you're always fighting with people, it's hard to get those four votes when you need them to bring a project into your district."

Mr. DeAngelis, 43, is trying to reclaim for the Democrats the council seat lost four years ago. But some feel that he will have a difficult time unseating Ms. Evans, 46, who likes to emphasize that she works full-time hours on a part-time job.

Even those who would like to see someone else in the seat concede that she has distinguished herself with her constituent service.

"You call her with a problem and she gets on it right away," said environmental activist Stephen Carr. "That's why I think she'll do quite well in this election."

Mr. Carr, who ran unsuccessfully for a Democratic nomination to the House of Delegates, said he originally contemplated a run for council, but decided against it "because I made a calculated decision that I could not beat Diane Evans."

Albert Johnston, who chairs the Greater Severna Park Council's legislative committee, said he has been impressed with Ms. Evans' first-term accomplishments.

"Diane has done an excellent job of crafting legislation and then getting the council to pass it," Mr. Johnston said. "On that level I have to give her high marks for legislative smarts."

Ms. Evans lists among her accomplishments her sponsorship of legislation to retool the under-funded pension fund for appointed and elected officials and her role as a fiscal watchdog.

Responding to the growing concern over waivers to the county's adequate facilities law, she formed a committee to study the problem and make recommendations. She got the expansion of Broadneck High School moved to the top of the school board's capital projects priority list. And it was Ms. Evans who cast the deciding vote to put a second Detention Center on Ordnance Road in Glen Burnie.

The jail issue provides one clear contrast between the two candidates. Ms. Evans voted for it; Mr. DeAngelis is against it. The Ordnance Road corridor was intended for economic development, he said, and questions remain about contamination on the land that once was part of a U.S. Army munitions depot.

Mr. DeAngelis, chief deputy in the Baltimore sheriff's office, said he would prefer to see the county build an adult rehabilitation center for inmates willing to participate in drug and alcohol counseling and hold down a job. Mr. DeAngelis noted the state would pay for construction of such a facility, but inmates are required to pay their own living expenses.

Ms. Evans said she finds it ironic that she is the hard-liner on the jail issue. "Given his law-enforcement background, I feel he is soft on crime," she said.

Mr. DeAngelis laughs off her criticism. "Diane, when was the last time you were beat up in the projects on Friday night?" he asked at a candidates forum. "Because it's happened to me. So don't call me soft on crime."

One of Ms. Evans' campaign promises four years ago was to build East-West Boulevard to link Veterans Highway with Ritchie Highway and take some traffic off Benfield Road. The western half is nearing completion. She said she will push for construction of the eastern portion as well.

Mr. DeAngelis said he is not sure the boulevard is needed. "Is East-West Boulevard really going to do what it was intended to do?" he asked. "Is it really worth it now? And the answer for me is no, it's really not."

Each candidate accuses the other of being a lap dog for some other politician. Mr. DeAngelis said Ms. Evans is nothing more than a mouthpiece for County Executive Robert R. Neall. "She's been his person on the council to push through his agenda," he said.

Ms. Evans calls Mr. DeAngelis a puppet of Democratic County executive candidate Theodore J. Sophocleus. She said Mr. DeAngelis' loyalties lie more with North County and the constituents of the 31st Legislative District than with the Severna Park and Broadneck peninsula that make up most of the 5th District. As evidence, she points to Mr. DeAngelis' campaign finance report.

"He didn't receive one dollar from anyone in the 5th District," she said. "He received them from North County and Baltimore."

Indeed, none of the contributions in Mr. DeAngelis' report that covers the period from November 1993 until Aug. 9 came from the 5th District. He reported no new contributions in the latest report filed in September.

Mr. DeAngelis, who grew up in Highlandtown and works in Baltimore, said that's where his friends, family and co-workers live and that's who has contributed to his campaign. "Come back in four years, if I'm elected, and you'll find a lot of contributions from the 5th District," he said.

Ms. Evans is supported by businessmen and developers, he said. "The business people who call her up and give her $800, you won't find them on my campaign report."

She concedes she has received developer money, but argues it is less than 10 percent of the total she has raised, and certainly not enough to influence her votes.

"Developers know my votes are not for sale," she said. "But I will treat them fairly and equitably, and I don't play favorites," she said.

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