Olszewski upsets DePazzo Baltimore County Council

Primary 1998

September 16, 1998|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers Larry Carson and Melody Simmons contributed to this article.

A 38-year-old party activist upset Baltimore County Councilman Louis L. DePazzo for the Democratic nomination for the southeast's 7th Councilmanic District in yesterday's primary election.

John A. "Johnny O" Olszewski, who works for a firm that prepares autos for showrooms, captured 6,384 votes, or 56.4 percent of the tally, to defeat the 65-year-old DePazzo, who received 4,917 votes, or 43.5 percent of the vote.

"I did it big time," said Olszewski, who worked methodically for months with backing from the large Battle Grove Democratic Club. The club had expelled DePazzo as a renegade Democrat who backed Republican Congressman Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. instead of his own party's candidates.

In the 4th District Republican race, Wayne M. Skinner, a longtime state employee and community leader, defeated Kathleen F. Beadell, a real estate broker and president of Greater Timonium Community Council, to vie for the only vacant seat on the council.

Vincent J. Gardina, a Perry Hall Democrat and the only other incumbent to face a primary challenge, won handily.

DePazzo's loss stunned county officials.

"I was absolutely floored," said Council Chairman Stephen G. Sam Moxley, a Catonsville Democrat. "I am absolutely surprised, considering how hard Lou pushed for his district."

Olszewski criticized DePazzo's personality, his support for the plan to sell and renovate the Hidden Cove apartments with public subsidies, and his zoning change to increase density for the Beachwood Estates development in North Point, despite the objections of neighbors.

DePazzo argued that he had changed his once-combative style, turning from being a political outsider to work closely with County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger to rebuild old neighborhoods and schools, and to add businesses and single-family homes in his long-neglected district.

Ruppersberger spokesman Michael H. Davis said he was surprised by DePazzo's loss, but said "I don't think we'll have any problem working with him [Olszewski]."

The 4th District Republican contest pitted two admirers of Douglas B. Riley, who did not seek re-election for a third term.

Skinner, 44, who had served on both the county Planning Board and the Recreation and Parks board and worked 20 years in the community, received 3,152 or 55.8 percent of the votes, compared with Beadell, who received 2,177 votes, or 38.5 percent. Skinner said the victory "gives me a tremendous feeling of satisfaction. I've got goose bumps and I'm shaking."

Skinner, an administrator of a state tax-credit program, campaigned on five main issues: education, jobs, crime, community conservation and commercial revitalization.

Beadell, 38, who focused her campaign on community conservation and education issues, pledged to support Skinner in the general election and if he is elected to council. "I'm proud of Wayne. He worked so hard. I'm his right-hand girl," she said.

The other Republican candidate was retired state employee Walter E. Boyd, 72, who received 312 votes, or 5.5 percent of the votes.

Skinner's victory makes him the favorite in the general election, because the lone Democratic candidate, John J. Appel, 73, isn't actively campaigning.

With a good economy and backing from a popular county executive, most of the incumbents on the council can expect re-election this fall.

In the 5th District's Democratic contest, incumbent Gardina, 43, received 78.1 percent of the vote to defeat former Orphans' Court Judge Alexander B. Page Jr., 71, who received 21.8 percent of the vote.

Five Republicans competed for the nomination in two districts held by Democrats: the 2nd, covering Pikesville, Woodlawn and Randallstown; and the 6th, stretching from Fullerton to White Hall in the northeastern county.

Primary contests did not exist among Democrats in those districts, where 2nd District incumbent Kevin B. Kamenetz and 6th District incumbent Joseph Bartenfelder are seeking re-election.

In the 2nd District, Lisa P. Cohen, 35, president of Deer Park Elementary PTA and a 10-year Randallstown resident, defeated Jacqueline A. Fleming, 59, of Lochearn, the 1994 Republican nominee. Cohen received 674 votes, or 62.5 percent, compared with Fleming, who took 403 votes or 37.4 percent.

In the 6th District, Glen A. Thomas, 52, of Phoenix defeated two other Republicans to win the right to run against Bartenfelder.

Thomas, a local activist who operates his own marketing and college enrollment consulting business, received 1,498 votes, or 43.1 percent. Andrew Peet, 38, a Parkville management consultant, received 1,060 or 30.5 percent. Thomas V. Morris, 47, of White Hall, who owns and manages an apartment house near Druid Hill Park in Baltimore, received 912 votes, or 26.2 percent.

There were no primaries in either party in the 1st District, covering the southwestern county, or the 3rd District, covering Owings Mills and the northern county.

Pub Date: 9/16/98

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