Baltimore County race in 1st District a rematch between Moxley, Manley

2 faced each other in '94

both say education, safety are area's top concerns

October 08, 2002|By Stephanie Hanes | Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF

There's a rematch this fall for the Baltimore County Council's 1st District seat, with incumbent Democratic Councilman Stephen G. Samuel Moxley facing Berchie Lee Manley, the Republican whose council spot he took in 1994.

Both candidates live in Catonsville and both say education and public safety are among the most important issues for their district.

But Manley, a 73-year-old community activist and former homemaker, says she can do a better job supporting police and families.

"We know that parents who care about their children's education look to buy a home where the quality of education is excellent," she said. "In this area, many of the youngsters are going to private school or being tutored at home. That's a significant change over the last 10 years."

Moxley, 43, a surety bond underwriter, pointed to the council's accomplishments during his eight-year tenure, and noted that he has the endorsements of the county police union and the county teachers association.

During his time representing the 1st District, the slice of west Baltimore County that includes Catonsville and Arbutus, crime decreased, SAT scores went up and schools were renovated, he said.

"We've made improvements to all the schools in the area," Moxley said. "But as we all know, just like being a home owner, once you paint one room, it's time to paint the next."

Manley, however, criticized the quality of education, saying many of the district's schools are too crowded.

She also said she wants to raise police officers' salaries and let some officers take their police cars home -- a policy used by other jurisdictions to deter crime.

"It's critical," she said. "We are no longer able to attract and retain our recruits from the police academy."

Moxley said he, too, supports the take-home police car program, but said it is financially unfeasible.

He said he supports the Regional Auto Theft Task Force and the Citizens on Patrol programs.

Although crime in the county increased overall by 3.6 percent last year, Moxley said, in the Wilkins precinct it actually decreased 0.6 percent.

"I think we're doing the right thing in the 1st District," he said.

Moxley said he regularly attends community association meetings to keep tabs on those issues important to his constituents. He said community conservation is a key resident concern, and said he and others on the council have helped preserve older neighborhoods through grants and projects.

"We have repaved alleys, we're doing curb and gutter [work], we're working on traffic calming, providing after-school programs, we're bringing in the best resources we can," he said.

But Manley said the council should do more to stabilize neighborhoods, and said she sees too many people moving out of the county.

"People have fled Baltimore City," she said. "We have people now moving out of Baltimore County for those very reasons."

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