Crime, education among issues raised at Crofton political forum CAMPAIGN 1994

November 03, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

Crofton resident Ted Criswell, whose wife was murdered near the local library, pleaded for support for a victims' rights amendment in the state Constitution during a candidates forum last night at the Crofton Country Club.

Crime and education were on the minds of many of about 150 people who gathered to hear the views of candidates for positions ranging from Orphans Court judge to governor.

Crofton resident Diane Dezio said crime and taxes are the most important issues. She said she was especially interested in hearing more about where the gubernatorial candidates stand on these matters.

Her mother, Cathy Greene, said reducing crime and controlling guns were also her first priorities, along with improving schools in the district where her granddaughter has recently entered Arundel High School.

"I want to hear the education issues," said Marcia H. Clark, who teaches in Anne Arundel and is president of the Maryland Coalition for Gifted and Talented Education.

Time limits prevented detailed responses by the candidates, but some were able to outline their goals.

John G. Gary, Republican candidate for county executive, said he would make a new high school in western Anne Arundel a priority.

His Democratic opponent, Theodore J. Sophocleus, said he would work for a new west county high school if the Board of Education made it a priority.

However, the two spent more time outlining the differences in their managerial styles. Mr. Gary presented himself as the more frugal choice, while Mr. Sophocleus emphasized his managerial experience and consensus-building skills.

Some District 33 candidates for the House of Delegates picked up the education theme.

Republican Janet Greenip called for an end to unfunded state and federal mandates. Democrat David G. Boschert said he had worked for money for planning for a new west county high school.

Others played the law-and-order theme.

Democrat Mike Canning called for inmates to serve more time in prison, without luxuries such as telephones and pay-per-view cable television. He also attacked the Republicans' emphasis on tax cuts, asking, "What is that going to do to the state police?"

Republican David Almy said that although he did not support caning, a recent trip to Singapore taught him that getting tough on crime could make U.S. streets safer.

Mr. Canning called Mr. Almy's trip to Singapore a "government-paid junket."

Mr. Almy later dismissed the comment as "just malice" and "pretty outrageous" and said his firm had paid for the trip. Mr. Almy attacked Mr. Boschert for his 1989 vote as a councilman to change county officials' pension benefits, saying Mr. Boschert would receive $262,000 extra from the change if he lived to be 84.

Mr. Boschert responded, "It was a mistake." He said that he had voted on the advice of the county's accountants and pension advisers -- including Republicans.

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