Campaigns under way

Democrats vie in primary

GOP contender awaits

Ward 4

December 31, 2006|By Nia-Malika Henderson | Nia-Malika Henderson,sun reporter

Democrats vie in special primary It was roughly 15 months ago that Wayne M. Taylor was going door to door during his campaign for Annapolis city council and hearing complaints again and again about too much crime and traffic.

The three candidates now running to replace Taylor, who resigned to run the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities, are hearing the same refrain.

Democrats Brian Tucker and Sheila Finlayson will face off in Tuesday's special primary, and the winner will face Republican James M. Conley in the Jan. 30 special election.

The new alderman will serve out the remaining three years of Taylor's term in the ward, which includes such disparate communities as Newtowne 20 and Bywater, and Annapolis Walk and Kingsport. Of the 3,043 registered voters in the ward, 1,781 are Democrats, 690 are Republicans and 554 are independents.

In his first run for elected office, Tucker, 39, who is a literacy instructor, is pointing to his grass-roots, "regular Joe" approach.

"I am not a bureaucrat or a career politician," he said. "People are looking for an alderman who they can call at 3 a.m. and be there. That's who I am."

Tucker, who lives in Bywater, has the support of Taylor. He would create a community advisory board and look for partnerships to deal with youth-related issues. As for crime, he would encourage participation in neighborhood watch programs and start a partnership between Ward 4 residents and the Police Department.

Taylor said there are no clear solutions to traffic issues, but input from the state, county and city is required.

Sheila Finlayson, a 54-year-old high school English teacher who until this year represented 6,000 teachers as president of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County, also said county, city and state cooperation is required when looking at traffic issues.

"We couldn't begin to work on it alone," she said. "But we can look at ride sharing and encourage people to use those programs."

Finlayson, an Annapolis Walk resident, said that reducing crime is about increasing after-school activities, expanding job opportunities and having more undercover police stings.

She has been endorsed by many in the Democratic establishment, including Alderman Classie Gillis Hoyle of Ward 3, County Councilman Daryl Jones of Glen Burnie and state Sen. John C. Astle.

Conley, a 43-year-old financial strategist and chief executive officer of Martin Mortgage Associates who sits on the Kingsport Board of Directors, said his financial expertise will improve the council's budget process.

He said he'd look for room in the forthcoming budget to increase police patrols.

"I think there needs to be more men and women out there," he said. "The tax base has increased, but the protection has not increased sufficiently."

To ease traffic on Forest Drive, he proposes widening the strip to include three lanes during rush hour and expanding downtown shuttle service.

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