IT IS IMPORTANT to note the ideological difference between the Republican incumbent who represents the 5th District on the Howard County Council and the GOP loyalist who wants to replace him.
Charles C. Feaga chose to run for county executive rather than seek a fourth term on the council. His defeat in last month's Republican primary was largely a result of his inability to shake an image, somewhat deserved, as "the developers' friend."
Allan H. Kittleman, the GOP's choice to succeed Mr. Feaga on the council, does not have that problem. Mr. Kittleman refused to accept contributions from developers or zoning-case lawyers. He then joined others in the younger generation of local Republican politicians who have called for increased restrictions on development.
That is in stark contrast to Mr. Feaga, a farmer, who often argued that property owners' right to develop their land as they wished should not be overly impeded by government restriction.
The perspective of Mr. Kittleman is better for Howard County. Crowded schools and clogged roads show the need to manage growth more carefully. His thoughtful views about growth make him the preferred choice to represent western Howard, where considerable construction is expected.
Debra Ann Slack-Katz is the Democratic candidate in the 5th District. A 13th-generation county resident, she, too, understands the importance of matching growth to infrastructure. But she has not articulated her ideas as well as Mr. Kittleman.
The Republican nominee enjoys an edge in name recognition, as the son of Del. Robert H. Kittleman, the minority leader in the Maryland House of Delegates. It had been assumed that the younger Kittleman would one day seek the seat in the state legislature that his 72-year-old father has held for 16 years. But he is instead running for County Council.
Mr. Kittleman can be expected to do the same thorough job he did as chairman of the Howard County Republican Central Committee from 1992 to 1997. His assurances that partisanship will take a back seat to representation of all appear sincere.
Mr. Kittleman has promised to work for the repeal of the county's garbage tax, saying services used by all residents should be paid for through the general fund, not by a user fee. As a council member, he will need to show how the county can replace the revenue or survive without the $8 million annually that the trash tax generates.
Among other priorities, Mr. Kittleman would like to speed the timetable for expansion of Route 32; strengthen the adequate public facilities law to kick in sooner when schools become crowded; and improve wages for teachers and public safety workers.
He has a clear vision of what Howard County must do to remain an attractive place to live and work.
Pub Date: 10/30/98