Linthicum residents vie for county council Beidle, Starr touting community service

October 25, 1998|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

Gerald P. Starr says he is counting on voters to elect him District 1 County Councilman because his years of community activism in Linthicum give him the edge over opponent Pamela Graboski Beidle -- whom he describes as an unknown in the area.

To which Beidle cries foul.

"This is a big district," she said. "We have over 60,000 people to represent. Mr. Gerald Starr acts as if they're all in Linthicum. He's really limited in his experience."

Beidle, 47, is on the boards of the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation and the Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce. "I've had a wide variety of community service all around the county, not just in Linthicum," she said.

The race to represent District 1 -- Linthicum, Brooklyn Park, Pumphrey and parts of Glen Burnie -- features two Linthicum residents who have extensive resumes but no experience as elected officials.

Starr, 57, a retired Westinghouse manager, is a former president and current vice president of the Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association who vows he will be a full-time councilman. This is Starr's second run for public office -- he ran unsuccessfully for the House of Delegates in 1994.

Full-time vs. part-time

Beidle, who owns a Nationwide Insurance agency in Glen Burnie, is "only going to be a part-time councilman," Starr said, a point Beidle calls irrelevant.

"In all the years that I've been in business," Beidle said, "I've served on six boards and done numerous projects. I have the kind of business where I'm not required by my company to spend any set amount of time there. I've always found the time to get the jobs done that I've committed to and do a good job."

Previous achievements

Starr has trumpeted his 28-year involvement in the Linthicum association. His resume also lists other accomplishments: "Director of Beautification Project -- Linthicum Elementary School," and charter member and leader of Boy Scout Troop 550 in Linthicum.

Starr said he has successfully petitioned to start police patrols of the Light Rail station, fought for new sidewalks and obtained donations for a computer program for Linthicum Elementary School.

Starr said he is confident about the race.

Beidle sees few negatives in her service as a board member of the United Way Community Partnership of Anne Arundel County, Archbishop Spalding High School and Hospice of the Chesapeake.

Her work with the hospice last year earned her the Nationwide Insurance Corporate Service Award -- presented to one of the company's 4,700 insurance agents annually -- and the Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce's Businessperson of the Year award.

"She has not only been an energetic, enthusiastic and thoughtful leader on the board, but she's also been incredibly involved," said Griff Hall, executive director of the chamber.

"She's just been a driving force at our meetings," Hall said.

Candidates' goals

If elected, Beidle said, she will work to assign more police officers to community patrols, increase the budget for fire and Emergency Medical Services, identify open space that should be preserved and take advantage of the state's Rural Legacy Program.

She said she plans to work for completion of Brooklyn Park Middle School and push for smaller class sizes and school renovations.

"One of the other things I've talked about is increasing our commercial tax base so we can afford to do some renovations," Beidle said. "I don't want to see increased taxes, so if we can attract more businesses to the area and increase the commercial tax base, that will hopefully get the job done for us."

Starr said education is a priority for him. He said he is going to push for smaller classes, renovations and training students in computer technology.

"The county over the years has emphasized a business atmosphere, and the school system's not keeping up with educating our children and preparing them for employment with future businesses," Starr said.

He said he wants to push for a new recreation center in the district, sidewalks in Pumphrey and keeping nightclubs from organizing parties for those younger than 21, which, he said, leads to underage drinking.

Pub Date: 10/25/98

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