Here's the dish: The two candidates running to be the next Howard County executive met for breakfast Monday at the Double-T Diner in Ellicott City.

They described the dining-table discussion as cordial. On the menu were family updates and analysis of local campaigns. They said they didn't spend much time talking about their own race.

As for what they ordered? One candidate had scrambled eggs; the other preferred their eggs over easy.

Perhaps keeping the county's push for healthy habits in mind, both candidates had a side of fruit.

So the question, political junkies, is which meal did Democratic Howard County Council member Courtney Watson and Republican state Sen. Allan Kittleman order?

If you said Watson ordered the scrambled eggs, you'd be right. Er… correct.

Counting signatures for referendum

Members of a band of Howard County citizens who are hoping to bring parts of the recently passed comprehensive zoning bill for a vote on the ballot next November said they think they have "way more than enough" signatures to meet the first cut-off requirement.

The group submitted the first round of signatures to the county Board of Elections Oct. 4 for verification. They need about 3,000 signatures to be approved to submit the other half of signatures by early November.

The Board of Elections hasn't finished processing the signatures yet, according to Deputy Director Charlotte Davis. The board has 20 days from the date the signatures are submitted to verify the signatures.

In the meantime, the group of concerned citizens "will be collecting no matter what," according to an email from Lisa Markovitz, a leader of the group, which has posted a full list of its issues with the comprehensive zoning bill online at FixHoCo.com.

"Our error rate on the signatures is extremely low. Our volunteers have followed the regulations very well. I will be shocked if many are stricken."

Hundreds attend Kittleman picnic

The leaves were already turning red and gold, but guests at Allan Kittleman's fall picnic on Sunday, Oct. 6, basked in the last gasps of Indian summer at the outdoor event.

The picnic, in its seventh year, was held at the Kittleman family farm in West Friendship and drew what Kittleman said was the largest crowd yet, with more than 200 R.S.V.P.s.

It was too early for leaves to be on the ground, but the county executive candidate did rake in some generous donations, according to a volunteer.

Kittleman's speech highlighted his vision for a county "where our education system is world class, our businesses are encouraged to excel and our people have freedom personally and economically."

He threw his support behind some projects that might make other Republicans blush, citing development in downtown Columbia as something he's "very, very excited about."

And he said county government had a role to play in helping its citizens "in crisis," though he clarified that what he supported was "a hand up, not a hand out."

"I want to help everyone in Howard County," he told picnickers. "I'm all about equal opportunity, folks, I'm not about equal outcome. I want people to excel because they work hard."