Ward 6 candidates face off in rematch

Crime is the main issue in alderman race

November 06, 2005|By CHRIS YAKAITIS | CHRIS YAKAITIS,SUN REPORTER

Ward 6 voters will witness a rematch of sorts in Tuesday's election as Democratic Alderman Cynthia Carter faces independent challenger Julie Stankivic again.

This year, they are the only two contenders in what was a three-way race in 2001.

Both candidates have identified crime as a critical issue in the ward, which extends east from Forest Drive to cover part of Eastport, including the Robinwood, Harbour House and Eastport Terrace public housing communities that have been the scene of well-publicized violent crimes in recent years.

Beyond that concern, they have advanced different agendas in their campaigns. Carter, 66, is running for her third term as alderman for the ward.

She first won election in 1997, and four years later, defeated Stankivic by 69 votes in her re-election bid. She said she will work to combat the ward's crime problem by offering teenagers and young adults "alternatives to just hanging out in the street," noting that she has mentored several young women and counseled area families over the past few years.

Carter said that much of the crime issue stems from economic disadvantage and problems in the educational system.

"Until we get the educational component in place in the school system, we're always going to be concerned [about crime]," she said. "I try to level the playing ground of everybody."

Additionally, Carter said she would push for a workplace smoking ban in Annapolis if re-elected.

"No one should have to work in a smoke environment," she said. "And we can't wait for the state to pass it. We have to set an example. As the capital city of Maryland, let us put it in place."

In the wake of this year's Gulf Coast hurricanes, she's also advocating a better emergency response system for the city.

For Stankivic, 40, ensuring accurate crime reporting is one of the key steps in correcting the ward's crime problem.

She pointed to the Aug. 2 shooting at Robinwood that was reported to police as "shots fired"; police later found 33 shell casings at the scene. She said that fear and a desire for anonymity may have led to inaccurate crime reporting in the ward.

Stankivic serves as a block captain but feels that the ward needs better coordination on security issues and an ordinance that would guarantee adequate police and public safety patrols in the ward.

"Neighborhood Watch is a great program, but it's not coordinated across the city or even across a ward," she said.

She also wants the public housing authority to manage its own police department; patrols are now shared by police and authority-contracted security. "It's about time the housing authority and the City of Annapolis stepped up and did this," she said.

Stankivic, a health policy analyst for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has made unchecked development and growing traffic concerns one of her platform issues. "The city has to make sure that infrastructure is in place before development goes forward," she said.

"In my mind right now, Forest Drive is an `F,'" she said. "With some creative, out-of-box thinking, we can bring it to a C."

Stankivic also wants the council to lower the cap on property assessment increases from 10 percent to 4 percent annually.

She feels that as home values have climbed in the past two years, some longtime city residents are getting pushed out of their homes because of sharp increases in property taxes.

With the lower cap, "they can stay in the houses that they have lived in for 20 or 30 years, or in some cases, that they were born in," she said.

In the 2001 election, Carter faced Stankivic and Republican Riccardo Paradiso. This year, facing only Stankivic, she declined to weigh in on the possible outcome of the election.

"I don't take people for granted. She's working hard. And of course I'm working, trying to maintain my spot on the council," Carter said, quipping: "May the best man win."

chris.yakaitis@baltsun.com

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