3 for Harford County Council Sun endorsements: Vote for Miller in District D, incumbent Wagner in E and Evans in District F.

October 30, 1998

NORTHERN Harford County, an expanse of undulating pastures and old stone churches straight out of a Thomas Cole landscape, is, fittingly, where you'll find one of the more congenial races this election. Republican council candidate Lance Miller's cows graze on one side of a fence; the thoroughbreds of his Democratic opponent, Richard Norling, romp on the other.

Mr. Norling, who chairs a committee that advises the Rehrmann administration on planning in Dublin-Darlington, is well versed on land-use matters. A former congressional staffer who has developed commercial software, he's an intelligent candidate schooled in political science at Ohio State and Yale universities.

But we favor Mr. Miller, a political science graduate of Towson University. He farms 1,000 acres, owns several businesses and heads the local Farm Bureau. Most important, the 29-year-old offers the council a rare young voice and solid representation in the agricultural community.

In District E, incumbent Robert S. Wagner was the poster child for dissatisfaction with last year's comprehensive rezoning. The

Republican council member sought and won approval from his colleagues to rezone half his 162-acre farm for 120 homes. Yet, proving that politics makes strange bedfellows, he earned the recent endorsement of the Friends of Harford group that petitioned against overdevelopment.

The group correctly concluded Mr. Wagner was a sensible voice for tightening land-use policies. As for his own property, he properly sought counsel from the ethics board and recused himself from voting on his farm, which has been squeezed by the march of new housing. He says, quote accurately. that the county must consider paying upfront for school construction, and then seek state reimbursement.

Democrat Ronald Kupferman, executive director of the Havre de Grace Chamber of Commerce and a longtime Aberdeen mayor and councilman, is also a good candidate. He helped launch the Ripken Museum so the town could celebrate and capitalize on its famous baseball family. He also supports the $12 million proposal -- still on track -- to build a minor-league baseball stadium. Those projects can help the town, which has long relied only on Aberdeen Proving Ground. But his opposition to townhouses and clustered development undercuts affordable housing and "smart growth," whose core premise is that density makes infrastructure affordable. We endorse Mr. Wagner.

In District F, Democrat Thomas P. Evans is a pharmacist and bagel entrepreneur. The council could use his background in business and health. We endorse him over Republican Cecilia M. Stepp.

Vote for Question B

With ethics in politics receiving overdue attention, Harford voters should approve Question B. It would enlarge the ethics advisory board from three to five members and ensure that no more than three are from the same party.

Pub Date: 10/30/98

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