THERE ARE no primary elections for Howard County's 4th Councilmanic District seat. Incumbent Democrat Mary C. Lorsung is unopposed. She will face the sole Republican candidate, Gregory Fox, in the general election on Nov. 3.
But the vacancy created by the decision of three-term Republican 5th District Councilman Charles C. Feaga to run for county executive has spurred four Republicans and two Democrats to seek his western Howard County seat.
In the Democratic primary, Bernard J. Noppinger, 63, an Ellicott City printer, faces Debra Ann Slack-Katz, 43, a registered nurse and health consultant who lives in Sykesville.
Ms. Slack-Katz is the superior candidate. Her knowledge of Howard County comes from being part of the 13th generation of her family to live here. But her views on current growth issues look to the future, not the past. She wants to make sure western Howard, which has remained largely rural, has the infrastructure to support planned residential development.
The Republican race is essentially between two stalwarts of the local party -- Gail H. Bates and Allan H. Kittleman -- who find themselves in the odd position of being on opposite sides. Mr. Feaga has thrown his support to Ms. Bates, 52, his former campaign manager and an assistant to County Executive Charles I. Ecker.
Some Howard Republicans believe Ms. Bates has earned the nomination through her years of hard work for the party. But the same can be said of Mr. Kittleman, 39, who with his father, Del. Robert H. Kittleman, helped keep the party going through lean times in a historically Democratic state.
Both Republican candidates have attributes that would well serve Howard County, but Mr. Kittleman is the candidate we favor. He brings a fresher perspective that, with his stated willingness to compromise, would be an asset on the county council.
Mr. Kittleman believes the adversarial relationship between the school board and council has not been good for education. He says he would resist voting to repeal the garbage tax while the county's debt is so large. To illustrate his open mind on growth issues, he has refused campaign money from either developers or zoning-case attorneys.
Should Ms. Slack-Katz and Mr. Kittleman face each other in November, 5th District voters would have two strong choices.
Pub Date: 8/20/98