Campaigns Under Way

Eastport candidates focus on crime, traffic

Ward 8

December 31, 2006|By Nia-Malika Henderson | Nia-Malika Henderson,SUN REPORTER

Candidates focus on crime, traffic

The platforms of the four candidates running for alderman in Eastport are a little like the community itself: diverse, eclectic and environmentally minded.

Among the ideas proposed by Republicans Frank B. Bradley and Joel Saline, and Democrats Ross Arnett and Paul Foer are insular ones, such as opening a police substation, while others are bold, calling for an overhaul in how city government is managed.

The candidates face off Tuesday in a special primary, and the winners will meet in the Jan. 30 special election.

The ward, which Joshua Cohen represented before his election last month to the County Council, is a mix of maritime businesses, older homes and newer, more expensive homes.

The tight-knit community has a long-running alter ego as the wacky Maritime Republic of Eastport, foe of Annapolis.

The community has 3,356 registered voters - 1,576 are Democrats, 1,125 Republicans and 630 independents.

Saline, 45, an engineering consultant who has lived in Eastport for 20 years, cited the rise in overall crime, particularly burglaries, as the reason he decided to run.

He'd like to see more foot and bike patrols, as well as a police substation in Eastport, partially funded by developers.

"They would get the benefit of developing the property, and we would reap the benefit of having improvements with safety and infrastructure," he said. "We have to use public-private partnerships."

His opponent, Bradley, 62, a semi-retired owner and operator of a floor-covering business, said "neighborhood watch is a good deterrent, if people will use it."

"People need to be picking up the phone and making phone calls, but they don't do it. I don't care how minor the crime," he said.

"If there's a stranger walking around the neighborhood, we have to report it."

In terms of growth, Bradley said that having the infrastructure before development is key to solving traffic issues.

Arnett, 63, president of the Eastport Civic Association and a retired federal employee, said that traffic will continue to increase and that reliable mass transit is the long-term solution.

"People don't seem to think of the bus system Annapolis already does have, but even that's not enough of a solution," said Arnett, who has lived in Eastport for five years. "We need capital investment and a mind-set change on the part of the citizens."

He said extending the Washington subway and light rail lines are among the options that should be considered.

To deal with crime, Arnett proposes additional lighting, sting operations, job training and rehabilitation programs to curb the drug trade.

Foer, 46, a former city employee who has lived in Eastport since 1981, said the city isn't devoting enough resources to combating crime and that more state and county assistance is necessary.

To enhance transparency and professionalism in city government, Foer proposes appointing a city manager to oversee the government, weakening the power of the mayor.

As for congestion, Foer said people have to get out of their cars.

"Instead of talking about hiring a parking coordinator, we need to think about hiring a walking coordinator," Foer said. "We are not doing enough to address walkability."

nia.henderson@baltsun.com

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