"We're a crossroads in Carney. We're the drive-through community."

As to the green scene, Carney residents who want a park experience have to drive to Gunpowder State Park to the north or to Double Rock Park to the south.

"Carney really doesn't have open space," O'Hare said.

The activist has been observing the evolution of the Harford Road corridor her entire life. She grew up in Hamilton (she's a 1967 alumna of Notre Dame Prep) and has lived in Carney since 1973.

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She has seen politicians like Marks arrive on the scene and others depart.

She said her experience is that council members whose roots are in community activism are the most responsive and sympathetic to constituent concerns. She includes Marks among their number.

"He hasn't left us high and dry," she said.

Despite a few setbacks, including last year's closing of The Barn, a popular crab house and live music venue, she assesses Harford Road as a healthy commercial corridor.

"The Dunkin Donuts is always crowded," she said with a smile.

O'Hare's clout results from the respect she has earned among Carney residents over the years, according to Barbara Hopkins, executive director of NeighborSpace of Baltimore County, a nonprofit land trust that acquires property for green space.

Hopkins observed with interest as the "good dialogue" between O'Hare and Marks resulted in a compromise instead of acrimony.

"It's absolutely crucial to have people like Meg," she said. "She has an audience of people that subscribe to her message. She's definitely someone who has earned respect."