How times have changed in Aberdeen politics. After two tumultuous years since creation of the city charter in 1992, the waters have calmed and the Harford County municipality is moving forward with its daily business. That's apparent in the city election Tuesday, where three candidates are running for two council seats.
Absent from the scene is Ruth Elliott, the first directly elected mayor, and her standard bearers, who waged an ongoing battle with the "establishment" of the City Council. Also gone is Jack Jolley, the town's ex-police chief, whose administration was a persistent focus of political controversy.
Instead of these verbal, and allegedly physical, contretemps in city government, Aberdeen has moved forward with a comprehensive consultant study of city management and has secured a badly needed source of additional drinking water through an arrangement with Aberdeen Proving Ground. It is moving ahead with inevitable annexation of adjacent lands for the city to grow, in concert with the land use plans of the county.
Instead of power struggles over firings and hirings, the council and mayor have debated without personal rancor the timing of the city elections and term-lengths for elected officials.
Incumbent councilmen Ronald Kupferman and Macon L. Tucker have played important roles in advocating consensus and compromise over this period. They have actively pursued options to revitalize the stagnant downtown business district. They are seeking re-election, challenged by accountant and civic activist Douglas Wilson.
Mr. Kupferman, an insurance man seeking his ninth council term, is a keen advocate of development in Aberdeen. Mr. Tucker, a high school assistant principal in his second term, has been effective in issues of education and public services.
Not all their decisions have been without controversy. The abrupt purchase of a vacant bank building across from City Hall as a possible Ripken family baseball museum was more speculative than prudent. There is some doubt the museum could spark renewed business development there.
The mayor's and council's lack of focused effort on legislative repeal of the snack tax also cost Aberdeen dearly. With the tax intact, the Frito-Lay plant is abandoning plans to add 500 jobs, a threat of which the city leaders were well aware.
In Tuesday's election for Aberdeen City Council, The Sun endorses Ronald Kupferman and Macon Tucker. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.