3rd District race pits newcomer against veteran

Redmond sets to regain his seat as a Republican

Election 2002

Anne Arundel

August 29, 2002|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

The Republican primary in the County Council's 3rd District matches political newcomer Ron Dillon Jr. against former Councilman Thomas W. Redmond Sr., who lost his seat in 1998 after a series of financial troubles.

Redmond, 55, a property manager who joined the Republican Party shortly after he lost to Shirley Murphy in the Democratic primary four years ago, has blamed a 1997 bankruptcy for his defeat.

Revelations also surfaced before the 1998 primary that the Pasadena native and former tow truck and scrap yard operator owed $42,000 in back property taxes.

Redmond, who filed for bankruptcy a second time two months ago, has refused in this campaign to discuss what he calls "personal problems." Instead, he said he wants to know why two local elementary schools have yet to be rebuilt, and why a moratorium on residential subdivision permits for Mountain Avenue was lifted a year after he left office.

"When I was a council member, I was obsessed with it," Redmond said. "I just jumped in and got involved."

Dillon, 27, a Pasadena finance manager, isn't making much of Redmond's bankruptcy filings - Redmond will sell two commercial properties to settle his debts - but said that for voters, "it may be somewhat of a concern."

"I'm definitely not excusing it," said Dillon, 27, who hopes his management skills - including the recent sale of his family business, Dillon's Bus Service Inc., to a national transportation chain - will give him an edge against Redmond in the district, which includes Pasadena and Marley Neck.

If elected, Dillon has said that he would use his knowledge of accounting - he worked for Arthur Andersen in Baltimore for a year before joining his family's business - to manage the county's operating and capital budgets. He criticized council members who gave themselves a raise within a few weeks of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"That was a ridiculous move," said Dillon, who said he would look out for county employees first. "We all knew where the economy was headed at that point."

Dillon says he also is interested in improving the school system. He said that research he has done with help from his wife, a kindergarten teacher, shows that of 1,500 new school system jobs in the past two years, 244 were in the classroom.

"The money gets sucked away by the administration," he said, adding that with new Superintendent Eric J. Smith at the helm, the time is ripe for change.

Dillon said that should school board members refuse to redirect funds to pay for books and classroom computers, he would "play hardball."

"When there are requests for funds from the school board for more money, the council should say, `No, until you change the way you spend the money, we won't give you more,'" he said.

Redmond said he was disappointed to learn that two schools, Lake Shore and Pasadena elementaries, had lost their priority standing for replacement since he left the council.

"They were already funded, and they got moved down," he said. "For a council person to let that happen is totally irresponsible."

In the latest campaign finance reporting period, Redmond failed to file a report with the State Board of Elections by the Aug. 13 deadline. His campaign treasurer, Andrew A. Janiak of Glen Burnie, will owe the state agency $2,510 in late-filing fees.

Dillon raised $15,160 during the last period. As of the most recent deadline, his campaign had $2,634 in the bank.

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