Wake up, Balto. Co. voters

The time is now for the voters of Baltimore County to wake up and do their homework. We have an opportunity to restore the County Council to a more balanced entity whereby the interests of the public are considered wisely. The suggestion in The Sun's editorial ("Buying influence?" Sept. 8) that voters can "find out who is bankrolling the candidates seeking to represent them" is good advice, but the voters can and should do much more than checking the campaign finance section of http://www.mdelection.org.

In District 2, you can note where the campaign signs are placed and get a good idea which developer or special interest is backing which candidate for County Council and county executive. Some developers financed candidates with $1,000-a-head fundraisers in their homes as much as two years ago so it is wise to look at finance records over time.

Note where the candidate is currently employed, such as a law firm a developer uses heavily for land use matters, or consider which candidates have a more subtle conflict of interest which could be of considerable consequence.

Check out community associations and umbrella community organizations, as they have a good memory when it comes to a candidate's record of balancing the needs of the community and special interests. Note the candidates who have regularly been a committed vocal advocate for the interests of the public versus the candidate who lists their previously unknown accomplishments in an advert arriving in your mailbox just before the primary. Visit the candidates' websites and before the general election, take the time to attend a forum or debate to hear what is said or perhaps not said. Be open minded to vote across party lines if that's what it takes to elect the best candidate.

The voters have an opportunity to shape the future of Baltimore County, and their ballots should be cast with confidence in knowing that their selected candidate is qualified, committed, independent and balanced in their approach to county affairs.

Sharon L. Rosen, Pikesville

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