Alderman continues dispute with e-mail

McMillan asks backers for letters that support him, criticize Snowden

April 28, 2000|By Scott Calvert | Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF

Annapolis Alderman Herbert H. McMillan has gone online in his feud with county official Carl O. Snowden, asking fellow Republicans in a mass e-mail to send letters to the editor supporting him and criticizing Snowden.

An e-mail message that McMillan sent Monday to "Republican friends" included the address of The Capital newspaper in Annapolis. It listed "talking points," such as his contention that Snowden is abusing his position as special assistant to County Executive Janet S. Owens with his activism on Annapolis public housing issues.

McMillan said he is only trying to even the score on The Capital's letters page. Since his dispute with Snowden hit the newspapers last month, the vast majority of letters have defended Snowden.

"If we're up against an organized letter-writing campaign like that, you can be assured I'll want to be sure our message gets out as well," McMillan said yesterday in an interview.

McMillan holds the Ward 5 seat previously occupied by Snowden, a Democrat known for his community activism and unsuccessful bid for mayor in 1997.

In recent weeks, McMillan has criticized Snowden's activism, as public housing residents and community leaders have pushed for better conditions at the city's 10 developments. He claims Snowden has a conflict of interest because of his work for Owens.

At a rally last month, Snowden led a chant against the housing authority. Then, at a housing authority board of commissioners meeting four days later, Snowden offered Owens' assistance.

Snowden declined to comment yesterday. Owens has shown no sign of wavering in her support for Snowden's right to speak his mind.

"This is a partisan Republican document that was not addressed to the county executive; therefore there is really no need to comment on it," said Owens spokesman Andrew C. Carpenter.

Other Republicans also are calling for positive letters about McMillan, a first-term alderman who some observers say aspires to run for County Council or General Assembly.

"Snowden gets support letters every day," wrote one Republican, Warren J. Sandberg, in an e-mail in a widespread mailing. "Come on Republicans! Here is a chance to defend a courageous public official."

As of yesterday, The Capital had not published any pro-McMillan letters since the e-mail messages were sent.

Many of McMillan's talking points refer to his support of P. Holden Croslan, director of the Annapolis Housing Authority. In fact, No. 1 says: "Pat Croslan, the African American Director of the Annapolis Public Housing Authority, took it from a HUD assessment of 47 (troubled) to 97 (high performing) in less than 2 years."

Croslan appreciates the backing, saying, "It's not easy trying to do the best job you can if you only hear negative things about it."

In addition to labeling Snowden's comments "politically motivated," McMillan lobbed criticism at Owens, also a Democrat, in his e-mail. He accused her of pandering to Snowden and said she should force him to stop "interfering" in city issues.

In a letter to McMillan early this month, Owens said the nature of Snowden's "day-time government employment" should not abridge his constitutional rights.

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