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Some go on attack, others show unity Candidates hedge on incorporation of Columbia CAMPAIGN 1994

Candidates for General Assembly seats from Howard County wasted no time in attacking their opponents at a forum last night, and a former county executive and a current hopeful made an unusual display of Democratic unity last night.

Democrat James P. Mundy, a state Senate candidate in District 14, criticized the county legislative delegation for its inability to get money for mass transit projects.

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"We're the Rodney Dangerfield 14 . . . in bringing money back," said Mr. Mundy, 42, who teaches politics and government at Glenelg High School.

Democrat Andrew Levy, a candidate for a House seat in District 14B, criticized incumbent Republican Dels. Robert H. Kittleman and Robert L. Flanagan for voting against the recent domestic violence bill.

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"Two of the four votes against the domestic violence bill were Kittleman and Flanagan," Mr. Levy said.

Mr. Flanagan, in his second four-year term, said he voted against the bill because it equated mental injury with physical injury and sexual abuse.

"We're going to get flooded with spurious reports of what they think of as mental injury," Mr. Flanagan said after the forum, which was sponsored by the west Columbia villages and was held at Oakland Manor in Columbia's Town Center. "We'll be wasting valuable time investigating" those cases.

In his opening remarks, Republican David Maier, seeking the District 12 state Senate seat, questioned whether his opponent, Democrat Edward J. Kasemeyer, had established residency in the district. The state prosecutor's office is investigating whether Mr. Kasemeyer has met a six-month residency requirement.

Saying he encounters many "unusual issues" in his district, Mr. Maier said that "one of them is my opponent."

Mr. Maier, 37, a lifelong resident of Elkridge, has questioned Mr. Kasemeyer's move from the west county -- a district he represented from 1983 to 1990 as a state senator before losing a bid for re-election -- to Columbia since the last election.

Mr. Kasemeyer, 49, of west Columbia, said he will prove his opponent wrong. "He will look rather silly when the state finds out I'm qualified," he said.

Mr. Maier also said he is more serious about the campaign than his opponent is and more committed to the district, which includes portions of southwestern Baltimore County.

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"I started campaigning one and a half years ago to learn about [Baltimore County]," Mr. Maier said.

A question on abortion prompted Mr. Maier to abruptly assert his opposition to a 1992 state ballot question that affirmed abortion rights.

Mr. McCabe first said he would probably vote to repeal the abortion rights measure. After other candidates had answered the question, he changed his mind, saying he would "respect the desires of citizens of the state" and would not propose legislation to repeal the 1992 measure.

Both Democratic Senate candidates, Mr. Kasemeyer and Mr. Mundy, said they would oppose repealing the abortion rights measure.

County executive candidate Susan B. Gray appeared to have gotten support from another Democrat in her fight with Republican County Executive Charles I. Ecker. Other top Democrats in the county have turned their backs on Ms. Gray.

Mr. Ecker's old rival, former County Executive M. Elizabeth Bobo, seemed to be speaking Ms. Gray's language when asked by an audience member what needed to be done about mass transit.

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Ms. Bobo said she thought the question was "interesting" because the growth issue cannot be separated from the need for improved mass transit. The more people that move into the county, she said, the more mass transit will be needed.

In what some might consider a jab at Mr. Ecker, who narrowly defeated her in 1990, she noted that her administration's 1990 General Plan called for a comprehensive transportation plan.

"I'm really disappointed that we're still in the studying phase, and we've not moved ahead with that," she said.

Ms. Bobo said after the forum that her remarks were not aimed at Mr. Ecker.

Asked whether she was supporting his Democratic rival, she said, "I'm supporting the Democratic ticket, top to bottom. That's all I've said."

Ms. Gray was fully immersed in the Democratic politics last night, wearing stickers for gubernatorial candidate Parris N. Glendening and U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, among others, on her bright red blazer.

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She had just come from a political rally for candidates endorsed by the AFL-CIO, where she was photographed with the state's leading Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume of Baltimore and Mr. Glendening, the Prince George's County executive.

There is little such unity among leading county Democrats, some of whom have openly supported Mr. Ecker.

Mr. Ecker also had some help in his corner.

One audience member asked whether a ballot question that would allow citizens to petition land-use policy to referendum would shorten the time needed to consider land-use proposals.

Ms. Gray said no because the same referendum power is afforded to residents in Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties, and debate on zoning issues is not limited there. Howard could adopt the same procedures, she said.

Republican County Councilman Darrel Drown, who opposes the ballot question, ridiculed the idea.

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"Anne Arundel County and Montgomery County as the model for zoning laws? No thank you," he said.

In Montgomery County, he said, the possibility of attracting mass public opposition has discouraged developers from large, well-planned projects and instead has led to a hodgepodge of smaller projects.

"I believe we would effectively eliminate long-range planning if the referendum passes," Mr. Drown said.

Mr. Ecker and Mrs. Gray also talked about other issues, including police protection.

Mr. Ecker said more police were not necessarily the answer and that he wanted to see more community policing and stricter enforcement against juvenile offenders.

Ms. Gray said she would take $48 million in county bond revenue intended for "forward funding" of state highway projects and spend it instead on schools and police.


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