AFTER FOUR TERMS in the Senate, and three in the House, Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes has compiled a commendable record on Capitol Hill.
He has been especially diligent in securing funds to address Baltimore's problems and at getting Maryland governors what they want from Washington.
Mr. Sarbanes does not crave the media spotlight or hold center stage during Senate debates. He is a cerebral lawmaker whose impact is more often felt in backroom committee discussions over amendments to bills.
Mr. Sarbanes has mastered the inner workings of Congress. He knows when to apply pressure for the maximum result. And he knows that grandstanders and media-obsessed pols lose more battles than they win.
His intellect and high ethical standards earned him key roles in the Watergate impeachment hearings and the Iran-contra hearings. At a time when integrity in government is at issue, Mr. Sarbanes stands above the crowd.
Over the years, we have, editorially, had our disagreements with Senator Sarbanes.
The senator ignored the trend toward internationalism when he opposed the North American Free Trade Act and voted against normalizing trade relations with China. That kind of protectionism would harm the U.S. economy and diminish its influence in the rapidly evolving world marketplace.
His inflexibility on interest rates also put him sharply at odds with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan over how to reduce inflation and spur economic growth. History proved Mr. Greenspan's high interest-rate policies right, and Mr. Sarbanes' position decidedly wrong.
His Republican opponent, Paul H. Rappaport, has conducted a principled, policy-driven campaign. But Mr. Rappaport has failed to make a convincing case that Mr. Sarbanes must go.
Mr. Sarbanes may be too liberal for some Marylanders, but they appreciate his sincerity, commitment to his home state and nose-to-the-grindstone dedication.
The Baltimore senator deserves another term. He has the experience and persistence to make the most of another six years in the U.S. Senate.
Once Maryland's appeals-court judges are appointed by the governor, voters get a chance to decide if they should be retained for the next 10 years. Two members of the Court of Special Appeals and one member of the Court of Appeals are on the Nov. 7 ballot.
Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr., a standout performer on the Court of Special Appeals, was elevated to the state's highest court in September 1999. His name will appear on ballots only in Prince George's County.
Judge Peter B. Krauser's name is on every ballot across the state, since he was picked by Gov. Parris N. Glendening last December to fill an at-large vacancy on the intermediate appeals panel.
While the initial choice of Mr. Krauser appeared overtly political (he headed the state Democratic Party at the time), the jurist has performed admirably while sitting on the Court of Special Appeals.
Judge Sally D. Adkins joined the intermediate appeals court in June 1998. She, too, has proven an able jurist. Her name is on ballots only in Eastern Shore counties.
The choice for voters is simple: Yes for retention, no for rejection. We urge a vote to retain Judges Harrell, Krauser and Adkins.
State ballot questions
Voters also must determine the fate of two constitutional amendments. Both deserve support.
Question 1 would permit Cecil County to change its election of county commissioners. All five now are elected at the same time. Officials in Cecil want to stagger these terms so there is continuity on the board.
Question 2 would allow the Prince George's County Council to immediately condemn and take control of 100 properties in a crime-ridden area in Suitland targeted for revitalization.
This is a sensible way to handle a chronic, and worsening, community problem.
We recommend approval of Prince George's request.