"We're positioning this county so that whoever is county executive 10, 20, 30, or 40 years from now, the county will have the same quality of life," he said to more than 150 business people at a Columbia hotel. Faced with the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, he's made cuts, he argued, and the county is "not only surviving, but is thriving" while forging ahead on issues like the environment and health care.
Kittleman has a different vision.
"I love this county," she said. "We have a phenomenal quality of life." But Kittleman warned that if the county government doesn't change spending policies when better economic times return, Howard could follow Montgomery County into a severe fiscal crisis that could damage that elite status.