McMillan in Annapolis

Endorsement: Republican candidate better suited to face tough economic times ahead.

November 01, 2001

THINGS HAVE changed in the past several months. Earlier, with the economy in good shape, local government had to worry about spending surpluses, not preventing deficits.

As the budget pictures become increasingly gloomy, this is a time to usher in government leaders who are fiscal hawks and will balance the books.

In the race for Annapolis mayor, it has become clear that Republican Alderman Herbert McMillan would do a better job of watching the taxpayers' dollars than would his opponent, Democratic Alderman Ellen O. Moyer.

The Sun, therefore, recommends Mr. McMillan for Annapolis mayor.

To be sure, Annapolis owes a lot to Ms. Moyer, 65, a former lobbyist for the Maryland State Teachers Association and Annapolis first lady who was married to former Mayor Pip Moyer. For the most part, she's been a valuable member of the city council for 14 years. But the general election campaign has proved that she doesn't quite measure up in many ways to Mr. McMillan.

Mr. McMillan, 43, is a Naval Academy graduate and American Airlines pilot who would keep his fulltime job while serving as mayor but says he flies only six days a month. He's quick on his feet and hard-charging, and has a strong personality. He would bring new energy to the mayor's seat - a Republican image of former Mayor Dennis M. Callahan.

If Mr. McMillan points his personality in the right direction, he can move the city forward in building its economic base while maintaining Annapolis' unique historic character. He went the wrong way with his controversial anti-drug-loitering law, which a federal judge struck down as unconstitutional.

That issue is over. Now, Annapolitans must worry about parking and transportation and about their pocketbooks. Mr. McMillan seems much more capable of addressing those issues responsibly.

He appropriately criticized a proposed deal between the city and the Navy that would have continued giving the Naval Academy a substantial discount on sewer services. Engineering a more favorable deal for the city would bring in revenue from his alma mater that the city is certain to need during rough fiscal times.

Ms. Moyer, on the other hand, supports a drastically reduced rate for the academy. Also disturbing is that she quit the council's finance committee in 1994 during a rough budget year. Her explanation that she was busy with her fulltime job was a weak, unconvincing excuse for bailing out of a difficult spot.

Mr. McMillan is well-qualified to be mayor of Annapolis, and he deserves election on Tuesday.

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