Incumbents keep seats on council

Tolson to request recount after close vote in Long Reach

Four elections uncontested

Marando is victorious in only race lacking current officeholder

April 18, 1999|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

Two Columbia Council incumbents fended off challenges yesterday as elections were held in the planned community's villages, but one of the losing candidates wanted a recount.

The dissatisfied challenger was Deborah Tolson, a well-known community activist who lost by 13 votes to Cecilia Januszkiewicz in a contest for the Long Reach seat on the 10-member council, according to village election committee officials.

Januszkiewicz won by a vote of 114-101. Tolson said she intends to ask for a recount because of "discrepancies" with the voter logbook and possible "out-of-date" leases used to verify residency.

In another contest -- a rematch from last year -- incumbent Jean S. Friedberg Jr. of Hickory Ridge defeated retired economist Robert O'Brien, 212-146.

In Wilde Lake, the site of the only other contested council contest, former village board member Vincent L. Marando bested former Columbia Council member Michael Deets in the race to replace retiring Chairwoman Norma Rose.

Marando, a professor of politics and government at the University of Maryland, College Park, received 293 votes to 136 for Deets, a project coordinator for the University of Maryland Medical Systems.

The incoming council -- the elected body that governs the Columbia Association -- will be markedly different in makeup than the current one: It will have four new members and a new chairman and vice chairman.

The yearlong session begins May 1.

Elections in four other villages were uncontested, with only one candidate in each, while three villages aren't scheduled to hold elections until next year.

The unopposed candidates were:

S. Kenneth Puckett, who was re-elected to the council seat from Dorsey's Search.

Kirk Halpin, a Kings Contrivance village board member who was elected to replace retiring representative Chuck Rees.

Oakland Mills Village Board Vice Chairman Earl Jones, who was elected to succeed Columbia Council's co-vice chairman, Alex Hekimian.

Adam Rich, a River Hill village board member, who was elected to replace the other co-vice chairman, David W. Berson.

As expected, turnout was light.

The contest in Long Reach sparked interest when Januszkiewicz raised the issue of renters' voting rights. A few weeks ago, she insisted that those who rent homes -- rather than own property -- bring a copy of their lease to the polls to verify residency.

Januszkiewicz said she was making sure that a long-standing election requirement would be enforced, but Tolson, who was expected to have a significant constituency among renters, suggested that her opponent was trying to make it difficult for tenants to vote.

Tolson said yesterday that improving the quality of life in Columbia should be an "inclusive" process. If a recount confirms Januszkiewicz's victory, Tolson said, "She needs to improve in that."

Council contests in Harper's Choice, Owen Brown and Town Center will be held next year.

Residents yesterday also elected members to their village associations, which handle local issues. Most of those races also were uncontested.

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