Incumbent in Ward 5 faces newcomer

Candidates differ somewhat on property tax relief

Annapolis Elections


Ward 5 residents bound for voting booths Tuesday will choose between an incumbent city alderman and a political newcomer who both have long track records in Annapolis civic affairs.

David H. Cordle Sr., 47, the chief investigator for the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office, is seeking a second term. He is the only Republican alderman on the general election ballot seeking to retain the post.

James R. Turner, 67, a retired senior printing manager for the U.S. Department of Defense, is director of the Opportunities Industrialization Center of Anne Arundel County. The Democrat is staging his first run for office.

Ward 5 covers some of the city's western-most neighborhoods, including communities west of Forest Drive and south of Taylor Avenue.

With its tree-lined neighborhoods along a heavily traveled main artery, the ward is full of residents worried that the development that comes with proposed land annexations by the city will lead to more traffic congestion on Forest Drive, already known for its backups.

Cordle is co-sponsor of a bill to put a moratorium on annexations and another to require adequate public facilities be in place to accommodate annexations.

"We have to be proactive in our infrastructure and not reactive like we have been," he said.

Turner, who supports an adequate public facilities measure, serves on an Annapolis panel that is expected to present recommendations next month on annexation-related issues.

"I think very strongly that we have to use smart growth principles," he said.

The candidates differ somewhat on their approaches to property tax relief. Cordle has sponsored measures to lower the cap on the homestead tax credit, saying that as assessments soar, so do tax bills, unless the cap is adjusted.

Turner said he wants to further examine lowering the cap, to make sure that decreases in taxes are fair to businesses as well as homeowners.

Both candidates said the city must work harder for its burgeoning Latino population.

Turner said the city should step in with English classes and work with existing groups such as the OIC, which he heads, and Hispanic groups, as well as adding a liaison to the Spanish-speaking community.

Cordle said he favors adding a Hispanic government liaison and creating a city-sponsored center similar to the Stanton Center where services, including English classes, can be provided.

Turner criticized Cordle for not being in touch with constituents. But Cordle said he attends local meetings and works with neighborhoods.

A criminal investigator for the county prosecutor's office for 25 years, Cordle said public safety is a high priority for him. He helped win raises for the city's police officers. He said he would like to hire another 10 and expand Neighborhood Watch programs.

Cordle is a former lieutenant colonel with the Army Reserves and former chairman of the county's fire advisory service. He has served on public safety panels and the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.

For Turner, the OIC is a part-time post and he is a volunteer there. The center prepares youths for jobs and GEDs, teaching English and other skills. Turner said he would bring his management background to the alderman's position. A former Air Force Reserves sergeant, he has served on the Planning and Zoning Commission and Human Relations Commission.

While Democrats outnumber Republicans 1,122 to 879, the number of unaffiliated and others is 507. And political affiliation is less crucial when people know each other, said Dan Nataf, who runs the Center for the Study of Local Issues at Anne Arundel Community College.

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