Howard County

October 22, 2002

VOTERS IN Howard County should not hesitate to give incumbent County Executive James Robey a second term at the helm.

Nothing flashy in Mr. Robey. Just careful, good judgment backed by a strong, experienced team of bureaucrats Mr. Robey, a Democrat, was wise enough to retain when he replaced Republican Charles I. Ecker four years ago.

Businessman Steven Adler's challenge essentially ended on Sept. 24, when Mr. Robey was able to announce that difficult budget cuts and unexpected tax revenue growth eliminated an $18 million deficit. Howard's solid rainy-day fund escaped unscathed, and prudent pruning of county spending carried the county through choppy financial waters without major incident.

Mr. Adler, a Republican, takes credit for some of these economies, arguing they might not have happened without his urging. Surely, the accountability imposed by a challenger of substance helps.

But Mr. Robey's record of steady stewardship over the past four years suggests he would have taken whatever further action was necessary. He hasn't been flashy or particularly imaginative, but the county's good fortune has eliminated the need for flash. Howard has been getting the kind of if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it leadership it needs. If the economy remains sluggish, Mr. Robey has shown he knows what to do in difficult times.

The Sun's choices for Howard County Council are driven also by good times and good performance. Working well enough with Mr. Robey, the council has handled the usual suburban problems with skill and civility. The county remains a desirable place to raise a family, run a business and find a job. It provides consistently strong public services, public education and law enforcement while addressing the problems of sprawl and underachievement in some schools.

District 1: The Sun urges support for Christopher Merdon, the incumbent Republican. Conscientious and thorough, he deserves a second term.

At the same time, The Sun recognizes the merit of Democrat Lynne Bergling, a challenger who has demonstrated model citizen involvement as an advocate for her community.

District 2: David Rakes, until recently a member of the Howard Community College Board and the president of an entertainment and media consulting company, gets The Sun's endorsement. Mr. Rakes, a Democrat, brings two important perspectives: education and business. He is the stronger alternative in the race against the Republican, Brian Harlin.

District 3: The Sun endorses Democrat Guy Guzzone. A seasoned council member, Mr. Guzzone handled extremely sensitive zoning matters - particularly at Maple Lawn Farms - with skill and sensitivity. His Republican challenger, Diane Wilson, would be a fine council member, but Mr. Guzzone's experience and performance make him the better choice

District 4: Joan Lancos, the Republican, gets The Sun's endorsement in this district.

Newcomer Ken Ulman, the Democratic candidate, mounted an energetic campaign against Mary Kay Sigaty in a primary battle he won narrowly.

The balance tips to Ms. Lancos on the basis of her experience in zoning matters - an important qualification as the council prepares to tackle comprehensive rezoning of the county.

District 5: The Sun recommends re-election of incumbent Allan H. Kittleman, a Republican. Here again, experience carries the day. Mr. Kittleman has been a well-prepared spokesman for his constituents and a careful student of the difficult growth issues that come before the council. He deserves another term.


The Sun continues its endorsements in the Nov. 5 general election with a look at more county government races and the first of the newspaper's legislative picks.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.