THE CONTEST in Howard County between Republican Wanda Hurt and Democrat Guy Guzzone could be pivotal in determining whether the GOP retains its 3-2 plurality on the County Council.
Third District Councilman Dennis R. Schrader angered some Republicans by not running for re-election. He won the GOP nomination for county executive. But the lack of an incumbent candidate makes the 3rd District ripe for the right Democrat.
That's what voters have in Mr. Guzzone.
The former Maryland director of the Sierra Club has also been a congressional aide and a staff worker for a council member. He is best suited to represent the interests of the 3rd District as it absorbs new development in North Laurel. The southeastern Howard County district, bounded by Routes 29 and 32, stretches from North Laurel to Columbia and includes Savage.
Mr. Guzzone opposed the controversial method used to rezone land for the Rouse Co.'s proposed mixed-use project. He also wants the Iager Farm development in Fulton to be delayed. The Rouse and Iager Farm projects would create more than 2,000 homes in a three-mile area over 10 years.
Mr. Guzzone is not against development. But he recognizes the need to prepare infrastructure and schools before hundreds of houses are built. "It's not about stopping development," he says, correctly. "It's about pacing development."
Such a perspective is imperative to help steer the Rouse and Iager Farm projects, the county's largest planned subdivisions since the development of Columbia in the 1960s. To maintain a healthy tax base, the county must ensure that adequate commercial development occurs along with residential construction.
Mr. Guzzone says a new adequate public facilities ordinance should reflect more citizen input. He has been an outspoken advocate of better funding for public schools. He wants to improve student discipline and reduce the frequency of school redistricting.
Support for public education is an attribute Mr. Guzzone shares with Ms. Hurt.
A member of the Columbia Council, she has also been a county and state PTA leader. Ms. Hurt has worked hard for smaller class size and improved technology in the schools.
But Mr. Guzzone exhibits the better grasp of development issues, which are certain to dominate the next council's agenda with the rewrite of the county's master plan.
With the Sierra Club, he worked with state officials to preserve thousands of acres of open space. He wants local government to place more emphasis on improving existing neighborhoods.
Mr. Guzzone's earnestness and common-sense approach to problem-solving would make him an asset on the next County Council. We wholeheartedly endorse him for the 3rd District seat.
Tomorrow: 4th Council District
Pub Date: 10/28/98