Anti-incumbents who won council seats in 1990 could see tables turned CAMPAIGN 1994

October 30, 1994|By Phyllis Brill | Phyllis Brill,Sun Staff Writer

Five of the seven current County Council members were elected for the first time in 1990 in a successful rally to throw out the incumbents.

Only District B Councilwoman Joanne Parrott and President Jeffrey Wilson survived the ant-incumbent fervor.

Now, four of those newcomers are fighting to hold their seats and, on Nov. 8, the question before voters will be: Did they do the job or should they, too, be thrown out?

(The fifth newcomer, Theresa Pierno of District C, and Mrs. Parrott are vying for the presidency Mr. Wilson is vacating.)

The tenor of the races for seats in Districts A, D, E and F, and the relatively clean campaigns, suggest that there is not a lot of discontent. No issue has galvanized any of the races in a year when "managed growth" has become a common battle cry.

Perhaps the most intense race of the four is in District D, where incumbent Republican Barry Glassman is running against Bob Hooper, the Democrat he unseated four years ago by fewer than 2,000 votes. Mr. Hooper, who owns Harford Sanitation Inc., the county's largest trash-hauling firm, served eight years on the council.

Mr. Hooper, 58, said he's running again because "I really care about Harford County" and because he can devote more time than his opponent to the council, constituent service and the comprehensive rezoning that will come up next year.

Mr. Hooper cited budget review as a key council responsibility and said, "You don't have to decimate a department to cut its budget."

He would "balance the growth of industry and residential areas" and argued that Mr. Glassman, endorsed by the Harford County Homebuilders and Business for Responsible Government, would not be able to attack that issue objectively.

But Mr. Glassman, 32, a claims adjuster for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., said those endorsements, plus others from a state employees' union and Harford educators, reflect his broad-based support.

He said Mr. Hooper allowed overdevelopment in the last rezoning process, approving thousands of residential units in the development envelope and supporting three proposed malls, which failed to pass the council.

Mr. Hooper said the controversial mall proposed for Route 24 at Interstate 95 would have provided "less blacktop and less rooftop than what's going in there now. That area was not kept green after all."

Mr. Glassman sponsored a bill that froze expansion of private rubble fills and tightened controls on county landfills and co-sponsored a bill seeking reforestation by developers.

He supports an independent auditor's review of education spending.

The two are running close financially. Mr. Glassman, who had $12,300 in campaign contributions by Monday, the deadline for the last report, said most of that is from five fund-raisers in the past three years.

Mr. Hooper said he probably will spend $15,000 on his campaign, most of it from his own pocket.

"I'm working a lot harder this time," he said.

In District F, Mitchell Shank, 38, a legislative aide to Harford Republican Dels. David R. Craig and James M. Harkins, is challenging incumbent Democrat Philip J. Barker, 59.

Their race may have the biggest gap in philosophical outlook.

Mr. Shank, a conservative Republican, favors keeping the Sheriff's Office intact, instituting term limits, reducing taxes for the elderly and for young homebuyers, and reducing government waste.

Mr. Barker, a retired technology and facilities manager with J. M. Huber Corp. in Havre de Grace, lists economic development, education and land preservation as priorities.

He has received a healthy infusion of campaign money from homebuilders and associated industries and has frequently supported administration-sponsored legislation that often has been opposed by growth-control advocate and fellow Democrat Ms. Pierno.

He also has a record of compromise, including efforts to bring the council and administration together on an ethics law.

He said his willingness to compromise has been misread by his opponent, who charged that he was unwilling to support Harford Memorial Hospital's opposition to being downsized by the Upper Chesapeake Health System.

"Certainly, I would like to see the hospital stay as it is," Mr. Barker said last week, "but I think it's important to keep the dialogue open."

He also defended his vote for the county transfer tax, which equally finances farmland preservation and school construction. "It's one of the most useful taxes there is; the use of that money is vital to the quality of life we all want to preserve in Harford County," he said.

Mr. Shank would like to repeal the transfer tax, a 1 percent tax on real estate transfers, for first-time homebuyers, and cap property tax assessments for people 62 and over.

He also favors more accountability from the school system because "more than 50 percent of tax dollars generated in Harford County go to schools."

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