Three candidates run for two open seats on Taneytown council

Hale, Long, Wales vie for at-large positions

May 02, 1999|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

Close to the wire, it seemed as though the Taneytown city election tomorrow would be pointless. The mayoral candidate is unopposed, and until April 6 no one had filed to run for the two open city council seats.

But by the deadline April 12, incumbent Brian E. Long and newcomers Darryl G. Hale and Bobby Wales Sr. had applied to run for the at-large seats, creating a race. Voters may choose two of the three, and the two highest vote-getters will win.

The candidates all express a desire to preserve the city's small-town qualities while promoting economic growth, which the current government has set as a goal.

"With new development moving in, and businesses, you still want to maintain the historic charm of the town and not let it get too big," said Long, 33. He was appointed to the council three years ago to fill a vacancy. This is his first political race, as it is for the other two candidates.

All three were born elsewhere but have embraced Taneytown as a place to put down roots and raise children.

"From what I see, everyone wants the same thing," said Wales, who owns Video 2000 on East Baltimore Street.

When he and his family moved to Taneytown 17 years ago from Southwest Baltimore, they found a place where the police officers knew people by their first names and everyone waved.

They arrived with one car and rented an apartment, but have started three businesses and own a few properties.

"Things just kind of clicked, and we fell in place," Wales said. "Taneytown's been really good and profitable for us."

Before putting more effort into drawing more businesses to the city, he said, he would like to promote existing ones.

"I like to see the ones who have been here do well first, actually," he said.

"I see things changing," he said. "I just want to try to keep it the way it was, slow it down a little bit."

Emphasizes family life

Wales said he has noticed an increase in crime, and hears people complain that there isn't enough for young people to do. If elected, he said, he would like to help arrange more recreational programs for school-age children and activities for family members to do together.

"People need to be more involved with their children," he said.

"I think we have an excellent police department," Wales said. He would like to see officers walking the streets to deter criminals.

Wales, 45, and his wife, Marie, own Hair Talk salon and are involved with their son, Bobby Wales Jr., with BKC Inc. roofing company. Their daughter, Tina Marie Ferguson, lives in Cockeysville.

Hale, 32, is a sales service manager for R. M. Schmidt heating and air-conditioning in Westminster. He has lived in Taneytown since moving with his family from Hanover, Pa., 19 years ago, except for four years he spent in the U.S. Marine Corps, including service in Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

`Different perspective'

"I plan to stay here the rest of my life," Hale said. "I want to raise my children in Taneytown. I want to give to my community. I want to be a part of it."

He and his wife, Kim, have a daughter who will be 3 in July.

"A lot of people are starting out buying homes in my age group," he said. "I'm in touch with them. I think someone my age has a different perspective than someone who doesn't have a child in school or might not have a mortgage."

For one thing, Hale said, the town's participation in the Hot Spot state grant program, which provides money for crime prevention, doesn't improve property values in the city.

"I'm not proud of my town having been labeled a [crime] hot spot," Hale said. "It does nothing to bring new business to town."

He said he favors raising police officers' salaries and generally supporting the police department, but would prefer a way that doesn't stigmatize the city as a Hot Spot recipient.

Hale said one big crime deterrent would be to add street lighting to neighborhoods such as Fairground Village and Cloverberry. He has campaigned door to door in those neighborhoods and said their residents overwhelmingly want added lighting.

He said residents tell him drugs are being sold on corners. Hale would encourage them to report such activity to the police and wants to provide more aggressive patrolling of those corners.

Like Wales, he supports a community center for school-age children and teen-agers to come to after school.

"It's going to take some volunteer work," Hale said.

As he has campaigned, Hale has passed out voter registration cards and even offered to deliver the filled-out cards for the applicants. So far, he said, he has turned in 30 cards for residents who had never registered to vote, including a man in his 50s.

"I told him, `You're exactly what's wrong here, guy.' He owns many properties and he's never voted," Hale said.

Long, the incumbent, is a computer-aided design drafter for Wilson T. Ballard Co. in Owings Mills. He and his wife, Danielle, are expecting their first child in June.

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