GOP activists vie for seat on Balto. County Council Incumbents expected to retain other slots on board in quiet primary

Primary 1998

September 16, 1998|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,SUN STAFF

Early results from the Baltimore County Election Board showed that a 38-year-old party activist was locked in a tight race over Baltimore County Councilman Louis L. DePazzo for the Democratic nomination for the southeast's 7th Councilmanic District.

John A. "Johnny O" Olszewski, who works for a firm that prepares autos for showrooms, trailed DePazzo by slightly more than 100 votes, with about half of the precincts reporting. Olszewski worked methodically for months with backing from the large Battle Grove Democratic Club to erode support for the 65-year-old incumbent.

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 capture the Republican nomination for the 4th District -- the only vacant seat on the council. The council's other incumbents faced little or no primary election challenges.

Olszewski is vice president of the Battle Grove club, which expelled DePazzo as a renegade Democrat who backed Republican Congressman Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. instead of his own party's candidates.

Olszewski -- who was claiming victory late last night -- 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 to his long-neglected district.

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, said last night's primary victory "gives me a tremendous feeling of satisfaction. I've got goosebumps 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, 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."

The other Republican candidate was retired state employee Walter E. Boyd, 72, who conceded the race was between Skinner and Beadell. It seems likely that the Republicans will keep the 4th District spot on the council because the lone Democratic candidate, John J. Appel, 73, isn't actively campaigning.

Besides DePazzo, only Perry Hall Democrat Vincent J. Gardina, 43, faced primary opposition.

Gardina's Democratic primary opponent in the 5th District, former 24-year Orphans' Court Judge Alexander B. Page Jr., 71, held the two-term councilman responsible for everything from Chesapeake Bay pollution to the loss to Anne Arundel County of the Middle River Racing Association's proposed motor raceway.

Gardina stressed his efforts to cut zoning density in Honeygo, a 3,000-acre planned community north of White Marsh, to build school additions and make repairs, and to buy parkland. He also said he worked to speed removal and redevelopment of decaying Essex-Middle River apartments like the Riverdale complex on Eastern Boulevard.

Five Republicans competed for their party's 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 Democrats 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, ran against Jacqueline A. Fleming, 59, of Lochearn, the '94 Republican nominee.

In the 6th District, three Republicans vied to run against Bartenfelder.

Andrew Peet, 38, a Parkville management consultant, campaigned for more government control over development.

Glen A. Thomas, 52, of Phoenix, a local activist who operates his own marketing and college enrollment consulting business, called for a rollback of the 1992 increase in the local income piggyback tax.

The third Republican hopeful in the 6th District was Thomas V. Morris, 47, of White Hall, who owns and manages an apartment house near Druid Hill Park in Baltimore.

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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