Rice in the 4th Council District Sun endorsement: Chairman of Anne Arundel County Council deserves to win rematch of '94 race.

October 28, 1998

FOUR YEARS AGO, western Anne Arundel voters selected Republican Bert Rice over Democrat Bill D. Burlison for the County Council. Residents of the 4th District have the same matchup this election -- and should choose Mr. Rice again.

Mr. Rice, who has chaired the county's legislative body this year, has been a steady, thoughtful presence on the council. Part of the GOP majority that controls the council, Mr. Rice has nevertheless distinguished himself as an independent thinker.

While protective of his district, Mr. Rice, who was as an Army helicopter pilot for 30 years before retiring in 1989, is known to study issues thoroughly before taking a position. For example, when the Middle River Racing Association proposed a $100 million racetrack in his district, Mr. Rice vowed to consider what was "best for the county." His neutral stance angered some in his community who wanted an instant dismissal. Mr. Rice eventually opposed locating the track in Russett, but voted to allow it on a more sparse and accessible former industrial site in Pasadena, out of his district.

Mr. Burlison, meanwhile, represented Missouri in the U.S. Congress for four terms before he lost in 1980 and moved to Maryland. His campaign against Mr. Rice has been soiled by wild charges that reflect poorly on his ability to lead.

Mr. Burlison, for example, accused the incumbent of ignoring Fort Meade, vital to the district. But a county councilman has little say in the manning of an Army base. Mr. Burlison also advocates "clean government," falsely implying that Mr. Rice has been ethically lax. The longer this campaign proceeds, the more we favor Mr. Rice.

Pub Date: 10/28/98

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