Lawyers vie for seat on council

Two candidates for District 1 list similar priorities, backgrounds

Maryland Votes 2005

October 08, 2006|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,Sun reporter

Voters in the northernmost portion of Anne Arundel face a difficult choice between two homegrown lawyers in their 40s seeking the District 1 County Council seat: Their similarities may be more striking than their differences.

Both Republican John E. Lindner and Democrat Daryl D. Jones put controlling growth sensibly, preserving open space and managing workforce housing at the top of their to-do lists. Both consider their legal minds an advantage in representing residents who clash with developers. And both said this race to succeed Pamela G. Beidle, who is completing her second term and running for the House of Delegates, is friendly.

"This is not a partisan whack job," said Lindner, 46, of Linthicum. The self-described moderate ran unopposed in last month's primary.

So alike are their positions that Jones, 42, of Glen Burnie joked that to edge past Lindner, "I'll have to use my charm."

They agree that change has come hard and fast to the Mayberry-like character of the communities since they grew up in the 1960s. Vastly altered are wide swaths of Pasadena, Jessup, Glen Burnie and the Linthicum area near Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, then known as Friendship Airport.

"We're threatened by development constantly," Lindner said. "We have to maintain our buffers ... negotiate the best deals we can with developers when it comes to BWI and Fort Meade's [expansion], bringing more jobs, housing, roads and schools."

For example, Lindner opposes building a proposed water theme park on Nursery Road in Linthicum. But Jones said he'd like the county to build one of the nation's first parks for disabled children in the unused portion of Bachman Sports Complex in Glen Burnie.

"That's something the county could take pride in," he said.

Lindner and Jones, who raised around $30,000 and $15,000, respectively, both oppose establishing a controversial stormwater utility fee. Similarly, they share a concern about the county's police force, stating it needs to hire at least 60 officers. Jones said crime patterns in the Brooklyn area are troubling and that more officers should be available there.

Dapper, thoughtful and quiet, Jones attended the old Andover High School. He came to politics early, as the youngest in a family with three children who all spoke up in table talk.

"Every evening, there were political discussions after the evening news," said Jones, the surprise primary winner over frontrunner Richard Forgo in September's primary.

Jones studied political science at University of Maryland, College Park and joined the campus movement urging American companies to divest their holdings in South Africa under apartheid.

Jones, a University of Baltimore law school graduate, established a law practice in Annapolis after working from 1992 to 1996 as a prosecutor in the state's attorney's office. He now handles mostly criminal defense cases.

Jones has more political work experience than Lindner, having served on the county's Democratic Central Committee during his law school years. A campaign volunteer, he also worked as an aide to former Rep. Tom McMillen on Capitol Hill.

He has been endorsed by the Maryland State Teachers Association and the local affiliates of the AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club, he added.

Outgoing and a big Orioles and Ravens fan, Lindner attended Cardinal Gibbons High School. He majored in history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus. Like Jones, he owns a law firm, but the difference is that this University of Baltimore law school graduate handles mostly civil cases in his Glen Burnie office, representing medical and financial firms as clients.

Political aspirations are nothing new to either. Lindner, a married father of two, said he waited until his children were out of the house to run for office. For his part, Jones said he held off until he was financially secure enough not to depend on politics for a living. He is single and has a part ownership interest in Dotson's, a Glen Burnie restaurant and bar.

As they go door to door, both are seeing old friends and acquaintances from their school days.

For the Republican, the personal touch is key in winning over a conservative Democratic district. "I've campaigned as if I had an opponent out on the stump," Lindner said, adding cheerfully, "I'm outnumbered."

Jones said much the same thing about getting out the vote. "Take the campaign household to household," he said. "Make it personal."

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