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Black group issues a report card on Owens and County Council


County Executive Janet S. Owens has done slightly more to improve quality of life for blacks in Anne Arundel than the County Council has, even though both have room for improvement in representing black interests, according to a United Black Clergy "report card" issued yesterday.

The nonpartisan county organization gave Owens a B rating and the council a C in its report, which is designed to give the more than 70,000 black county residents a measure of how elected officials approach minority issues.

The report praised Owens for her support of black cultural projects in the county, giving her an A in that category, but urged more work toward developing a program for minority contracting. She earned a C for that.

"I think a report card, when it is issued by the UBC, will certainly carry weigh with the African-American community," said Carl O. Snowden, special assistant to the county executive. "And I think the administration is committed to respond to both the praises and the criticism in that document."

This is the third report card in which the UBC has graded county representatives. The group has evaluated Annapolis Mayor Dean L. Johnson and the members of the Annapolis city council, and the Anne Arundel delegation to the Maryland General Assembly.

The new report card criticized the council for not having a black legislative assistant and for never initiating a minority-contracting program.

"The Anne Arundel County Council should make a concerted effort to address legislatively a minority program that will insure that African-Americans and other minorities are getting their fair share of public dollars," the report said.

The UBC also encouraged the council to become more involved with black cultural activities.

"We call upon the County Council to become more involved with events in the African-American community," the report said. "We want Council members to attend not only during an election year, but also throughout their term."

Nevertheless, the report praised Owens - the only county executive to have received Anne Arundel's NAACP President Award - in that area, noting her strong support for the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial in Annapolis, which she brought to completion within a year of taking office.

"County Executive Owens appreciates that the United Black Clergy has recognized her many efforts," Andrew C. Carpenter, her spokesman, said yesterday. "Ms. Owens is looking forward to working with the clergy to build upon these solid accomplishments."

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