Rapidly growing South Carroll said to miss opportunity at polls Candidates see failure to exert political might

October 16, 1998|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Although South Carroll is home to more than one-fourth of the county's registered voters, the fast-growing region has yet to flex its political muscle at the polls, fielding few candidates in the November election.

Candidates from South Carroll are calling for more classrooms and better roads to address local problems, but voter apathy has infected the county's most populous area, said Carolyn Fairbank, an Eldersburg independent who is running for the Board of County Commissioners.

"If every precinct in South Carroll voted for South Carroll issues, there would be real potential to flex its political muscle," Fairbank said.

For years, the county has directed much of its development to South Carroll, which has grown to 30,500 residents, an increase of more than 7,000 since 1990.

Eldersburg schools are crowded, its roads are congested, and its police and emergency workers barely meet the demands of a burgeoning population. Many residents of the unincorporated area that stretches from Baltimore County west to Route 97 and Howard County north to Liberty Reservoir believe the county has been unresponsive to their needs.

"I think this area of the county has been neglected," said Sykesville resident Maxine C. Wooleyhand, a Democratic candidate for county commissioner. "A lot here should be changed."

South Carroll has the numbers to make changes. Nearly 20,000 of the county's 76,000 registered voters live in the Freedom and Berrett voting districts, which include Eldersburg, Sykesville and Woodbine. They outnumber voters in Westminster, the county's largest voting district, by nearly 3,000.

In the seven-way county commissioner race, only two candidates are from South Carroll: Fairbank and Wooleyhand. Three other South Carroll residents, including incumbent Commissioner Richard T. Yates, were among 19 county commissioner candidates in the party primaries, but they were defeated.

Susan Krebs of Eldersburg and Mary Oldewurtel of Sykesville are among six candidates vying for three school board seats. No other candidates from South Carroll are seeking major county posts.

South Carroll has the most issues and the least voice, Krebs said. While campaigning, she has seen informed voters everywhere, but she fears they will not go to the polls next month.

Pub Date: 10/16/98

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