3 for Carroll commissioner Sun endorsements: Fairbank, Gouge and Mann could complete the task of shaping a long-range plan.

October 19, 1998

THE CURRENT Board of Commissioners in Carroll County has enacted a pair of tax increases, committed to an ambitious school construction program and overseen the draft of a comprehensive land-use plan after 30 years of unsatisfactory piecemeal revision. The trio imposed a growth moratorium and set a limit of 6,000 new homes over six years to deal with the strains of development.

The above description indicates that the board was capable of significant accomplishment. Unfortunately, it too often got sidetracked by minor squabbles, penny-pinching and controversies over political appointments when it should have been forging a long-term vision for one of Maryland's fastest growing counties. For example, the above-mentioned land-use plan, three years in the making with heavy citizen input, was tabled without action by these commissioners.

This election is an opportunity to start fresh and chart a future for a suburbanizing jurisdiction that still has most of its land zoned for farming.

Carolyn L. Fairbank, a computer software consultant, faces the biggest challenge as an independent candidate in the partisan election Nov. 3. She collected more than 3,000 signatures to get on the ballot. She's a veteran of the growth wars in South Carroll and a leader in planning groups in the Freedom District, where development pressures have been felt most acutely. The same concerns exist throughout the county. Ms. Fairbank offers the background and insight to address them.

Democrat Roger Larry Mann of Westminster, a rental property manager, would bring a business understanding to the job. He would like to cultivate greater citizen involvement -- with public hearings early in the process of building the budget, commissioner sessions held outside Westminster and advertising for volunteers to fill vacancies on panels.

Republican Julia Walsh Gouge, a former commissioner and mayor of Hampstead, is a popular county politician despite four years out of office. She left the board in 1994 to run for lieutenant governor.

Open access to county government, nighttime commissioner sessions to boost public attendance, enhanced industrial development efforts and accelerated farmland preservation are among her priorities. Her leadership and knowledge of government would be valuable.

We believe these representatives from three different political affiliations, are best suited to keep the board from getting bogged down in infighting.

Ms. Fairbank, Mr. Mann and Ms. Gouge are also, in our view, the best individuals for the job.

Tomorrow: Harford executive

Pub Date: 10/19/98

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