Kamenetz puts stress on council experience

Veteran faces newcomer in bid for fourth term

Maryland Votes 2006

12 Days Until Nov. 7

October 26, 2006|By Josh Mitchell | Josh Mitchell,Sun Reporter

From his perch at a County Council meeting, he grilled a department head about what he saw as a sloppy memo. At a work session, he admonished a fellow councilman for a proposal that he called potentially illegal. A few years ago, he accused a development firm of delivering political threats and denied its zoning request.

Baltimore County Councilman Kevin B. Kamenetz, whose re-election bid is being challenged by Republican political newcomer Carol "Lisa" Marquardt, said jokingly that he sometimes wishes he had the "farmer's restraint" of one of his council colleagues.

"I tell it like it is, but I also try and be thoughtful," Kamenetz, an Owings Mills Democrat, said this week in his law office in Towson. "It's who I am. Some people call it leadership."

Kamenetz is seeking a fourth four-year term representing the council's 2nd District, which includes Pikesville and parts of Lutherville and Owings Mills.

He has amassed a campaign account of more than $358,300, while Marquardt is spending her own money in her first try at public office.

"At the very beginning, people that I have a lot of respect for were insinuating, `You don't know what you're up against,'" said Marquardt, a 49-year-old law clerk for a District Court judge. "I've really put my heart and soul into this campaign."

Marquardt moved to the county from Chicago 13 years ago and lives with her husband in Lutherville. They have two adult daughters. After unsuccessfully lobbying to protect a nearby forest from development several years ago, Marquardt decided to earn a law degree to prepare herself for a career in public service.

She graduated from law school at the University of Baltimore and passed the bar exam. And for the past eight months she's been knocking on doors and waving signs on a street corner. She beat Timothy M. Thompson, who did not actively campaign, in the Republican primary.

If elected, she would "dive in 100 percent," she said, promising to quit her job and work on the council full time.

Her top priority would be improving communication between the government and communities, she said. She promised to call homeowner associations to notify them every time a landowner requested exemptions to county development regulations.

"A community needs to be informed about zoning requests from the very beginning," and not after important decisions have been made, Marquardt said. "Most of the time the community doesn't really understand how crucial that decision is, how important it is for them to be there."

She also said she would try to allocate more money for open space in urban areas and work to improve the relationship between the council and county school officials.

Kamenetz, 48, is a lifelong Baltimore County resident who lives in Owings Mills with his wife and their two young children.

He graduated from Gilman School, attended the Johns Hopkins University as an undergraduate and earned a law degree from the University of Baltimore.

Kamenetz, a former assistant state's attorney for Baltimore City, was first elected to the council in 1994.

While saying he does not know much about his opponent, he pointed out that he's been on the council for just about as long as she has lived in the county.

"I know this county," he added. "I know the difference between Essex and Arbutus, and all points in between. That is invaluable."

He said he has gained a keen understanding of how county government works, and he is known for being detail-oriented.

Kamenetz, who was unopposed in the primary, was behind several laws that sought to address what he called loopholes in the county development process.

He has authored legislation that set an expiration date on county development plans so that older plans would have to comply with new regulations. Another bill lowered the number of homes that could be built on land under a rural zoning classification.

"I have passed a lot of laws that the public doesn't know about that have made a fundamental difference in the county," Kamenetz said.

"My role as a legislator is to provide checks and balances," he said. "I think I do a good job at it, and I think I have more to contribute."

josh.mitchell@baltsun.com

2nd DISTRICT CANDIDATES

County Council

Name: Kevin B. Kamenetz

Democrat

Age: 48

Address: Owings Mills

Education: The Johns Hopkins University, University of Baltimore School of Law

Occupation: Lawyer

Political experience: Elected to the County Council in 1994, 1998 and 2002, and has served three one-year terms as chairman; served on county's Democratic Central Committee from 1978 to 1994, as chairman the final four years

Name: Carol "Lisa" Marquardt

Republican

Age: 49

Address: Lutherville

Education: Texas Christian University, University of Baltimore School of Law

Occupation: Law clerk for District Court judge

Political experience: First-time candidate

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