October 22, 2006

LAST WEEK'S ISSUE: -- In an unprecedented show of support in local politics, all five of Anne Arundel's former county executives stood together last week to endorse the Democratic candidate for chief executive.

The five -- including three Republicans -- praised George F. Johnson IV's integrity and managerial skills as three-term county sheriff.

Joseph W. Alton Jr., Robert A. Pascal, O. James Lighthizer, Robert R. Neall and John G. Gary held the reins of county government from 1965 to 1998. Alton, Pascal and Gary are Republicans. Lighthizer is a Democrat. Neall was elected executive as a Republican and later became a Democrat. The Republican candidate, Del. John R. Leopold, later called the former executives far too cozy with the big-money bosses and the development industry and said their alliance with Johnson indicates that the Democrat also supports special-interest politics.

Do endorsements shape your views about who you vote for?

Bipartisan effort a breath of fresh air

I never pay much attention to endorsements. Truth told, I'm not sure how much they help candidates in their respective bids for office.

I was, however, very surprised to read about the bipartisan show of support for Johnson last week. One thing I do know: It is very difficult to find instances where elected officials cross party lines to work with one another let alone endorse a candidate from a rival party.

I'm not sure how or why the five past county executives decided to endorse Johnson, but it sure is a breath of fresh air to find a candidate who can work well with both sides of the aisle. That said, I think I know who I will vote for in November.

Christine Wolfe Glen Burnie

Crossing lines carries weight

Endorsements by public officials crossing party lines can weigh more heavily in local elections. I have had the privilege of knowing each of Anne Arundel County's executives. Joe Alton, Robert Pascal, O. James Lighthizer and Bobby Neall enjoyed government service and used the power of their office to make government responsive to community needs. Developers were always whining.

It was John Gary who started corrupting the county zoning code, making overcrowding schools an acceptable standard.

The current executive, Janet Owens, constructed zoning laws and weakened enforcement, favoring developer interests over public need for excellence in education, safety in travel and clean water. One person can make a difference, as Owens has proven.

Johnson will make government work for the good of all its citizens again.

Maryellen O. Brady Edgewater

Look at, then past the endorsements

The recent endorsements by five former Anne Arundel County executives, three of them Republicans, should mean almost nothing to voters.

Endorsements are a good thing. However, in this case, the voters need to look at the endorsements, but also look past them.

The question for voters of Anne Arundel County is: Which candidate for county executive will work better with a Republican County Council?

Currently in Anne Arundel County, we have a Republican-led County Council and a Democrat as county executive. Nothing is really accomplished with this mix. Therefore, if you want something accomplished of value, then you have to look for a good combination.

If there is a Republican-led County Council then we should be looking at the candidate who is going to work best with the County Council to get things accomplished.

It is up to the voters to decide if the Conservative Democrat, Johnson, or the Conservative Republican, Leopold is the best to run our county with the County Council.

Victor Henderson Glen Burnie

Desperate effort to defeat Leopold

The endorsement of the sheriff by the five former county executives is not surprising. It is business as usual and nothing more than a desperate effort on the part of the good old boys to defeat the independent-minded Leopold because Leopold is a threat to their big-money network of builders and developers.

Four of the five former county executives either have been, or still are, involved in the development or building business(Gary, Pascal, Lighthizer and Alton). No wonder they would prefer a county executive they consider more pliable and responsive to their interests.

Their endorsements do matter: They convince me of the importance of voting for Leopold.

Jane Miller Pasadena

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