Sigaty wins crowd OK over two Eagle Scouts

Political Notebook

September 03, 2006|By Larry Carson

County Council candidate Mary Kay Sigaty, a Democrat running in west Columbia's District 4, got the biggest crowd response last week at a candidates forum in Harper's Choice. The question from education activist Stanley Daniello was: "How can we trust any of you?"

It began when UNcommon, a rival Democratic candidate whose name is Jeffrey L. Underwood, responded that he was probably the only Eagle Scout among the four candidates seeking the seat on the all-male County Council. Democrat Josh Feldmark then said he also had been an Eagle Scout, whereupon Sigaty, the only woman on the panel spoke up.

"I think I'm the only one up here who couldn't be an Eagle Scout. You can trust me because I'm your neighbor," she said to a huge wave of laughter and applause from the standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 people.

Sigaty received some unwanted attention last week from an angry Lee Walker Oxenham, political chairman of the Sierra Club, who said she tried to mislead voters on her literature by using a partial quote from a Sun article.

The Sierra Club endorsed Sigaty's main rival, Feldmark, and Oxenham was quoted July 23 as saying that Sigaty "showed real depth on a range of policy issues - but she is not an environmentalist and has not focused her career on environmental activism. Josh has."

Sigaty used "showed real depth on a range of policy issues" from his quote on her campaign literature, but Oxenham asked that Sigaty not distribute the quotes.

"It was in the midst of a sentence," Oxenham said. "It was an obvious attempt at deceiving the public."

Sigaty said Oxenham "misinterpreted what I did."

"I used the good words about me," she said. "The intent was not to deceive."

Fundraising leader

Democrat Ken Ulman continued his lead in fundraising among the four county executive candidates, though he spent far more than he raised in the latest campaign finance report covering three weeks in August.

Ulman reported raising $21,953, and had $335,734 left Aug. 27. Republican Christopher J. Merdon, who is running unopposed in the primary, collected $4,138.20 in cash during the period and had $278,692 left to spend.

The other two candidates, Democrat Harry M. Dunbar and independent C. Stephen Wallis, were far off that pace, with Dunbar reporting $200 more in contributions and a balance of $364.29. Wallis, who has no primary, raised $1,795 and had $3,152 left in his kitty.

The reports were due Friday.

Ulman's contributions came from 138 people, mostly in small amounts from a $10-a-head family-style picnic. Most of the $99,714 Ulman spent - $86,435 - went to Mission Control Inc., a direct-mail advertising firm in Manchester, Conn.

Merdon, who had 14 contributors, reported $29,848 spent - half on media advertising - between Aug. 8 and 27. In addition to the cash he raised, Merdon reported getting $4,600 worth of campaign help from Sam and Beth Lancelotta, who allowed his campaign to cover a large billboard on U.S. 1 near Route 100 with a campaign sign bearing his picture and name.

Backing Franchot

With Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens opposing two men in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary for Maryland comptroller, she might hope to benefit from female voters.

But a group of 30 Howard County women, led by Del. Elizabeth Bobo, gathered last week at the central library in Columbia to pledge their support to a more liberal male candidate, Montgomery County Del. Peter Franchot, who is running against the centrist Owens and incumbent Democrat William Donald Schaefer.

Schaefer has outraged some Democrats with his public comments and behavior on the powerful, three-member Board of Public Works and for his support on the board for Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

"The comptroller does more than collect taxes," Bobo told the group.

In addition to overseeing state pensions, the comptroller wields a sometimes crucial vote on the board, which must vote on every state contract. The board, made up of the governor, the comptroller and the state treasurer, has the power to cut state spending by up to 25 percent without General Assembly approval.

"He is outspoken, though he treats everyone with respect," Bobo said about Franchot. "He's willing to go out on a limb. He's very independent. Boy, do we need that."

Politics and credit

All seemed happiness and celebration Aug. 27 as hundreds of parents, children, and county officials gathered for the ribbon cutting to open Howard County's newest school, Dayton Oaks Elementary.

But just beneath the public display of pleasure and excitement lurked some old political sore spots that had Democrats grumbling about Republicans taking credit for new schools that some claim they did not support. Republicans said the complaints are not true.

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