Council hopefuls focus on growth

Jones, Forgo part ways on storm-water fund, agree on most other issues

Maryland votes 2006

August 25, 2006|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,sun reporter

Managing the arrival of newcomers is the biggest issue on the minds of both Democratic candidates vying for their party's nomination to replace 1st District County Council member Pamela G. Beidle, who is stepping down because of term limits.

"We are not going to be able to stop the growth," said Richard "Rik" Forgo, 41, who announced his candidacy 10 months ago. "What we need to do is mitigate the negative impacts of that growth."

Forgo, a database consultant, says he is running because he is already engaged in local issues and securing grant money. He says the job would be a natural progression from his work as the head of Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association and the North County Coalition of Community Organizations.

His opponent, Daryl David Jones, 42, a criminal defense attorney and tavern owner, said he, too, has served the county for many years and remembers the way Anne Arundel used to be.

He would concentrate on protecting open space even as more jobs come to the area. "I grew up in Anne Arundel County," Jones said. "Anne Arundel County was a place where people escaped city clutter."

Both are seeking to represent a diverse district in northwest Anne Arundel that includes Jessup, Hanover, Ferndale and Brooklyn Park, and that takes in Arundel Mills, Northrop Grumman and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The winner will face Republican John E. Linder in November.

The candidates agree on most issues. Neither feels the county needs a new high school, as some have suggested. Forgo said a new elementary school could be needed in West County. Both want more resources dedicated to fighting crime and its causes in Brooklyn Park, an area that has had problems with drug dealing and prostitution. And both agree that roads in the county need to be widened. "People like their cars," Forgo said.

The candidates differed on one key environmental issue. Forgo said he supports a dedicated storm-water management fund - a proposal that could require homeowners in the county to pay an additional $60 a year toward repairing creeks and tributaries ravaged by erosion.

Forgo hedged his views. "I'd like to go and try to convince people we need to do this. I hope I'm successful," he said.

Jones flat out disagrees with the measure. "It is going to apply to people who are already heavily taxed," he said.

Jones stressed one project - he wants the county to have the state's first park for people with disabilities. He envisions a specially designed baseball diamond where people in wheelchairs could participate in the game.

The men - born almost exactly one year apart - come from different backgrounds. Forgo grew up in Accokeek (southern Prince George's County) and graduated from Gwynn Park Senior High.

He said he held several jobs after high school and then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1987 and served in the public affairs unit in post-invasion Panama and during the first Gulf War. After he left the military, Forgo bought a house in Linthicum and wrote for niche papers in Washington, D.C. He left journalism and did work with database management of the Pentagon; he's also been working toward a college degree. He is married and has a 10-year-old daughter.

Born in Glen Burnie, Jones graduated from Andover High School in 1982 and the University of Maryland, College Park in 1987. After a two-year stint in Washington, D.C. as a staffer for then-U.S. Rep. Tom McMillan, he earned a law degree from the University of Baltimore Law School.

Jones' first job out of law school was in the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office. In 1996 he opened his own criminal defense and malpractice firm in Annapolis.

Jones said he takes a particular interest in mentoring his clients and tries to get them to focus on school or job goals. Jones also has a small-business background - he owns Dotson's Live, a bar on the 7300 block of Furnace Branch Road in Glen Burnie.

Of his two jobs, Jones, who is single, said: "You learn to serve people."

Forgo has raised about twice as much as Jones has, taking in $29,000 to Jones' $15,550.

Outgoing councilman Beidle has written checks to both candidates, but gave Forgo $655 and Jones $90.

Jones said he's not worried about the disparity in funds - but is hoping to raise more money before the Sept. 12

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