Veterans corner vote by serving districts

McIntire holds north

Oliver clinches west

Maryland Votes 2006

September 19, 2006|By Josh Mitchell | Josh Mitchell,Sun Reporter

Baltimore County Councilman T. Bryan McIntire visited a psychiatrist not long ago. Well into his 70s and with an increasing tendency to forget little things, McIntire said that if he was losing his wits, he wanted to know about it before it was too late.

"In my case, he said it's all still there," McIntire said. "But the fella who runs back and retrieves it isn't the track star he once was."

The Republican councilman showed last week that he can still win an election, handily beating political newcomer Michael J. Wagner in the primary for his north county seat. He is one of two council members, along with Randallstown Democrat Kenneth N. Oliver, who have effectively won another term on the council because they will not face a challenge from a member of an opposing party.

Oldest member

At 76, McIntire is the oldest member of the council by more than a decade and one of the most senior politicians in the Baltimore area. And while he said this term, his fourth, might be his last, he plans to continue working to preserve the rural landscape of the northern part of the county.

Glen A. Thomas, president of the Greater Jacksonville Association, said McIntire remains popular because he understands not only individual property rights, but that many in the community favor restrictions on development.

"I don't think a councilman in our district would stay in office if he upzoned anything in the near future," Thomas said.

Oliver, the council's first black member, won his second term on the council Sept. 12 by defeating community activist Penny L. McCrimmon with almost 60 percent of the vote.

"I think the people in the district spoke and must have said that I was doing the job that I started out to do," Oliver said.

Oliver, 61, a former chairman of the county planning board and a commercial lender, said his priority would be to continue luring businesses to Liberty Road in his majority-black, west-side district.

He also said that he intends to push to change the way the county school board is appointed - a change that would require an act of the General Assembly. The governor appoints all members, and Oliver said he wants some to be appointed by council members and the county executive so local officials will have more authority over them.

He said he has scheduled a meeting with County Executive James T. Smith Jr. to discuss this and other priorities.

McIntire, the only Republican on the council, won his primary with 72 percent of the vote in the 3rd District, which covers the rural northern half of the county, including Cockeysville, Hunt Valley, Parkton and part of Reisterstown.

A lawyer, he has spent much of his life in public service, serving two terms as Carroll County state's attorney and working as attorney to the school board there.

`Downzoned'

Discussing his views on land preservation, McIntire said he "downzoned" his own 10-acre property in Glyndon and then gave away the development rights.

"There are others who resent to the nth degree the downzoning of their property, and I understand that sentiment," McIntire said. But he added, "It's by far in the best interests of north county."

Irving Spitzberg, a Democrat who worked on McIntire's campaign, credited McIntire with reducing the number of potential building sites in the district through the county's rezoning process.

"He understands there are pressures of development that will always be there, but that development is like water - you can channel it," said Spitzberg, a community activist from Monkton.

Looking forward, McIntire said he is considering legislation to strengthen a law passed by the council this year that restricts a landowner's ability to build properties under old development plans. He said some residents in his district were caught off guard recently when they learned of a property owner's plans to build homes under a plan that was approved decades ago.

At the same time, Spitzberg said that one of McIntire's main duties in the next four years would be recruiting people who could eventually take over the office that he has occupied for the past 12 years.

"There is no clear successor Republican and no clear successor Democrat," Spitzberg said. "The time is now, not four years from now, to begin the process of identifying potential successors."

josh.mitchell@baltsun.com

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