Pasadena ballot will contain echoes of elections past November council race will feature names familiar from 1994

Primary 1998

September 17, 1998|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF

The primary election defeat of incumbent Thomas W. Redmond Sr. Tuesday has ensured a confusing and intriguing race for his County Council seat this fall. Pasadena voters seem to like it that way.

Incumbents in Pasadena rarely make it to a second term, even without the kind of ethical and financial controversies Redmond found himself in last year, and election grandstanding is almost invariably fiery.

Shirley Murphy, who upset Redmond for the Democratic nomination, and Republican Dutch Holland are reminding residents of other races they have gone through, especially the one in 1994, when even the names were the same.

That year, Redmond beat Murphy in the primary, then ousted Holland from office.

Holland is back, citing his record on the council from 1990 to 1994, as is Murphy.

Holland is reminding voters of Murphy's endorsement when he went on to the general election in 1994. Murphy is saying she endorsed Holland only because she wanted to hurt Redmond.

Murphy "not only endorsed me, she worked very actively in my campaign," Holland said. "She might have had a loss of memory.

"It's very intriguing," he said, adding that Pasadena doesn't have time for "on the job training" of Murphy if she is elected to the council.

Murphy said she had to endorse Holland as "the lesser of two evils" in 1994 and that during his tenure he was "clearly not an effective legislator."

On the issues most important to Pasadena, the two have similar views.

Both address rapid growth, traffic and crowded schools in their platforms. Neither will take a position on whether a racetrack should be built or whether Mountain Road should be widened.

Murphy, 57, describes herself as a pro-business Democrat with 30 years of business and community-service experience. She was the first woman commissioner of the Anne Arundel County Housing Authority in 1974, helped found the Greater Pasadena Council in 1976 and served for several years on the board of the Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce.

Holland, 55, a former Democrat who switched parties in 1982, is vice president of T. G. Management Co., a local engineering company. Before his election to the council in 1990, he managed a liquor wholesale business in Baltimore. In 1978, he ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the House of Delegates. In 1982, he ran as a Republican for the same seat, again unsuccessfully.

In 1986, he ran for a seat on the council and lost. In 1994, when he lost his bid to retain his seat, some local voters said they believed he was trying to take credit for things he hadn't accomplished, namely legislation regarding Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.'s disposal of fly ash and construction of the Solley Road school. Most said they believed he pushed the building of the Mountain Road library through the council.

"I am very proud of my record, and I will put my record of accomplishments up with anybody in a four-year period," he said.

Yesterday, at Pastore's delicatessen on Mountain Road, the informal hub of the community, residents speculated on why their area seems to specialize in rematches.

"People are sick of the traffic. Everywhere you look they're building something new, and people are saying this is too much," said Darrin Nightengale, 33, who works at the restaurant and lives in Riviera Beach. "We'll keep throwing people out of office until things start getting done."

Laura Hawley, 26, who has lived in Pasadena her whole life, said the upset of Redmond was part of the "old country style" of people who care less about whom they are voting for than whom they are voting against.

Pastore's longtime cashier, Jerry Gleeson, said, "See, people are kind of set in their ways here. It's like bagels. I tell them all the time bagels are to the 1990s what pizza was in the 1980s. And we can't give the darn things away."

Pub Date: 9/17/98

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