Two candidates join council race as one drops out

Tax protester, activist are seeking vacant seat

Kittleman moving to Md. Senate

Aide to councilman bows out for family reasons

Howard County

October 14, 2004|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Soon-to-be state Sen. Allan H. Kittleman won't resign his seat on the Howard County Council until next week, but the field of prospective replacements angling for the council job is changing.

William A. Theis Jr., 45, Kittleman's special assistant on the council for the past six years, is dropping out of contention, he said this week, while Patrick Dornan, 43, a fiery Ellicott City tax protester, and John Taylor, 49, a Highland activist who ran twice before, have entered the race.

Theis, who had backing from Kittleman, said a combination of factors - including the arrival of a baby and the prospect of losing half his salary to become a council member - weighed in his decision to drop out. Kittleman is scheduled to resign his County Council seat Oct. 20 and be sworn in to succeed his late father, state Sen. Robert H. Kittleman, the next day.

"I would stay for a transition period," Theis said, to help whoever is chosen for the job get up to speed on the complicated zoning decisions facing the council in December and January. Properties affected include those along the U.S. 40 corridor and Turf Valley and Maple Lawn Farms.

Dornan, who founded the Howard County Taxpayers' Association in 1991, led a petition protest drive last year that collected more than 7,000 signatures of people opposed to a 30 percent increase in local income tax rates pushed through by County Executive James N. Robey.

"I was considering running in 2006 anyway," said Dornan, who owns a home improvement business. "There's no doubt in my mind I can be more effective as an advocate for the beleaguered taxpayer from the other side of the podium."

Previous runs

Taylor, an engineer for Northrop-Grumman, said his experience as a Republican candidate for the District 5 seat in 1990 and 1994, his service on citizen committees considering school crowding and moderate-income housing, and his slow-growth advocacy work, make him a prime candidate.

"I'd certainly be among the most qualified," Taylor said, noting that he has lived in the district longer than any other hopeful except Charles Feaga.

Steven H. Adler, 51, now in the process of buying a house in Kittleman's western county District 5, said he has mailed resumes to each of the nine members of the Central Republican Committee.

Gregory Fox, 37, who ran for the council's District 4 seat in 1998 but whose home was later moved into District 5, is also a candidate.

A Fulton resident, Fox works for Constellation Energy.

Former central committee member Rose LaVerghetta, 56, of Ellicott City, a former six-year central committee member and a former aide to Del. Warren E. Miller, is considering a run for the job, she said, partly because she feels the five-person council should have a female member.

"We need a woman," she said.

Term limit

Meanwhile, Feaga, 71, the former three-term councilman, said he is seeking the appointment from the county's Republican state central committee despite a county term-limit law that says if he is chosen for the job, he can't run for a full four-year term in 2006.

"I felt if I could give two years to the county I would not run again. It would create a better field for people to run [in 2006]," he said.

After Kittleman's resignation, the law allows a maximum of 30 days for the County Council to confirm a new member.

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