2 declare candidacy to succeed Rakes

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

April 16, 2006|By LAURA CADIZ

Two more candidates are in the running to fill David A. Rakes' vacated seat on the County Council.

Jeffrey L. Underwood and James Hanson, both of Long Reach, have submitted applications to the Democratic Party by the April 10 deadline.

They join Calvin Ball, 30, and Adam Sachs, 42, who are both running in the election for the council's District 2 seat.

The Democratic Party is scheduled to meet Tuesday, when the central committee will select a replacement for Rakes, who resigned March 31, for health reasons. That name will be sent to the County Council for approval.

On Thursday, the council will meet to confirm the appointment.

Underwood, 48, is a real estate broker with Uncommon Realty and said that he owns a number of properties throughout the county, in Elkridge, Fulton and all the villages of Columbia.

He said he wants to become politically active in the county so he can help the public through some of the zoning issues that he has had to deal with at his properties.

"In the various communities where I do own property, usually my neighbors come to me [with their problems], assuming that I know more about property issues than the normal person," Underwood said. "Not being politically connected, I do the best I can."

His family moved to the county when he was 3 years old; he is a graduate of Atholton High School. He is married and has five children (including one who died), ranging in age from 8 months to 12 years.

If chosen for the seat, Underwood said, he would like to run in the November election. He also said he is interested in pursuing a state or county position in the future.

Hanson, 45, said he is between jobs. He said his last job was a contract worker doing data entry for the Science Applications International Corp.

One of the main reasons he said he chose to apply for the position was because he felt there was a "real lack of leadership" on the council during the "Comp Lite" zoning process.

Hanson also said he does not approve of the county's handling of its surplus and budget cuts and is "extremely disappointed by the lack of respect afforded to Dave Rakes" by the Democratic Central Committee."

Hanson, who is single, is originally from Pennsylvania and has lived in the county since 1995.

If he is selected for Rakes' seat, he said he is unsure whether he would want to continue on the council after the term is completed.

Legislative session

By the close of the General Assembly session April 10, two bills that had failed during the last session were passed.

The legislature approved a ban on animal leg-hold traps and a bill to increase the county's marriage license fee from $35 to $50. The additional money is to go to programs that deal with domestic violence.

Other successful county legislation included:

A bill that would allow wineries to sell wine in Howard, which has no wineries, and another that would allow multiple liquor licenses to be granted to the same person or corporation.

A bill that aims to enhance sheriff's deputies workers' compensation benefits.

A bill that enables two Town Center developments to be annexed into Columbia, allowing those residents to participate in the village's elections this month.

The county was unsuccessful in obtaining $500,000 in state money to help build a parking garage in Ellicott City.

That project is not in the county budget but likely will be the first project considered by the county's new revenue authority, which will be established July 1, said Jim Vannoy, an aide to County Executive James N. Robey.

laura.cadiz@baltsun.com

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