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City Council race is crowded

The Baltimore Sun

Seven candidates are vying for three seats on the Havre de Grace City Council in Tuesday's local election.

A mix of newcomers and political veterans are seeking a seat on the six-member council. Councilman James P. Miller is the only incumbent running for re-election after two others, Garrett Lyttle and Stephen Gamatoria, decided not to run again.

Registered voters can cast their ballots for the council members from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the social hall of St. Patrick's Church, 615 Congress Ave. Council members will serve a two-year term.

Barry Anderson

Age: 65

Occupation: retired from federal government in 1997, retired from Safe Check business in January.

Priorities: "A developer wants part of a property on 155 and I-95 to turn into a shopping center, and that's not what the comprehensive plan called for. It called for a science/technology campus. I would like a developer to stay true to that comprehensive plan.

"I oppose the regional water authority that our county executive is proposing. Havre de Grace is the only community in Harford County that has its own water source. We should maintain that."

Reasons for running: "I recently retired from being chief operating officer of Safe Check. There's a downturn in the economy, and we're going to have to tighten our belts. We need people who are experienced in running business."

John P. Correri Jr.

Age: 56

Occupation: Sales and marketing, served as mayor 2005-2007 and served almost 25 years in city government.

Priorities: "There continues to be the budgetary things and growth and infrastructural issues and maintaining public safety across the board, police, fire, EMS. The battle goes on. Things get tightened up here to keep your streets fixed and things moving."

Reasons for running: "I've been a lifelong resident of Havre de Grace, I was born and raised here. My commitment to my community has come in many different forms. I want to make my city and the quality of life stronger here in the community. I like to be active and be part of what's going on."

Fred H. Cullum

Age: 58

Occupation: retired firefighter, former City Council member for six terms.

Priorities: "I think we can still continue the tax reduction that we promised four years ago, when we were forced to raise the [property] taxes by 10 cents because of budget cuts from the state. At the time, we promised we could give it back to the people when we could.

"I am opposed to the zoning changes in the property on the 155 and I-95 interchange. It's suppose to be mixed office employment with some retail. Now the proposal is to change it to allow more retail, which is more of a shopping center atmosphere rather than ancillary retail."

Reasons for running: "I enjoy helping people and serving my city. I would like to get back on council and continue to do what I did. I have more time to devote to it since I'm retired."

Joseph G. Gamatoria

Age: 26

Occupation: Director of operations for Pat's Pizzeria Family Restaurant Group for Harford County; nephew to Stephen Gamatoria, city council president.

Priorities: "With the economy, we're going to have to tighten the budget in the next few years. We could invest in solar panels, invest in a green commission. I'm not saying let's spend more money to green things up. Right now, we're not very green, so we could look at cost-effective ways to green things up.

"The parcel of land in 155 and 95 is supposed to be a mixed-office development. I'd like to make sure that stays that way with no zoning changes. It's not supposed to be a heavy commercial or industrial area, but more a campus."

Reasons for running: "I'm a businessman, I run things in a business manner. We could tighten things up and use some new ideas."

Bill Martin

Age: 34

Occupation: Eighth-grade U.S. history teacher at Aberdeen Middle School.

Priorities: "Off the I-95 interchange at Exit 89, we don't have anything built there. It's very important what we put there is something substantial that commands the respect of Harford County, with almost a campus feel -- a mix of shops, retails and campus satellites. I don't want it to turn into another truck stop. I've always felt we needed to put something meaningful there to serve tourists and residents alike and make it classy."

Reasons for running: "I want to keep Havre de Grace a great place to raise my kids. But also, I bring a fresh perspective, and a lot of people have served in office for many years. I need to represent the families that have little kids. I want to add something to the mix -- a different perspective, from a father and an educator."

James P. Miller (incumbent)

Age: 51

Occupation: physical science technician for U.S. Army serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, served on City Council 2006-2008.

Priorities: "The big thing is our taxes and spending and the services that are provided to the city."

Reasons for running: "I live in Havre de Grace. I think by serving on the council, I can make Havre de Grace a better place for everybody. I've been involved in the city since I was in high school, when I was sent to observe and report back to the class some 30 years ago. I found out that's the place you make a difference. I've always stayed involved."

James W. Walker

Age: 60

Occupation: Information technology specialist at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Priorities: "Taxes are a real issue, especially in light of the fact that food and gas prices are getting crazy ... Anything that affects taxes becomes a real concern."

Reasons for running: "I'm starting to have more time, because my children are finally out of school. I've tried to raise them honestly so they understand that community is important. You have a debt and that's easier to do if you show than just tell.

"Plus I bring some skills to the table -- I'm a good listener, that's really important when you're dealing with people. You have to be listening to them to find out what really is the problem."

Havre de Grace City Council candidates Barry Anderson, Joseph G. Gamatoria and James W. Walker did not submit photographs for publication.

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