And We Endorse ... The Chesapeake Bay
It's fitting that the Glendening-Sauerbrey debate was televised last week opposite "Millennium," the popular Fox TV offering. For the winner of this election for governor, like the winner in the John Gary-Janet Owens race for Anne Arundel County executive, will be at the helm when we sail into the 21st century.
At New Bay Times we made a decision years ago not to endorse political candidates because we believe that partisanship gets in the way of solving problems.
But we don't shy away from public policy matters, and we believe that few issues are more important than Chesapeake Bay. We don't mean just the environment and the Bay's pleasing aesthetics: We look at the Chesapeake Bay as central to the quality of life of tens of thousands of Marylanders. Also, we see the Bay as an economic engine in regional commerce, a point driven home by a new study showing a 26 percent increase in tourism in Southern Maryland last year.
So through a lens looking in from Chesapeake waters, we view aspirants in this year's contests for governor and county executive.
Gov. Parris Glendening (D). Last week the governor kept a promise to co-purchase (with A.A. County) 477 acres of sensitive, Bayfront land on the Shady Side peninsula that might have become a subdivision. Agree or not, you probably already know about his decisive initiative to protect people and the Bay from future pfiesteria outbreaks and his Smart Growth initiative to rein in unwise development.
From all indications, Glendening has evolved from his days of little environmental awareness as Prince George's County executive to become a governor who understands the value - in more ways than one - of protecting water and land.
Ellen Sauerbrey (R). We think she has been unfairly depicted on several scores, particular civil rights. But on Chesapeake Bay issues, it's difficult to see how she would give a priority where none existed before. That task was rendered harder because Sauerbrey did not find time for a New Bay Times' interview, unlike every major candidate this political cycle.
Sauerbrey's main interest in conservation bills in the General Assembly was blocking them. She has been a champion for property-rights advocates and, until recently, served as board member of Frontiers of Freedom, a right-wing outfit whose mission was going "toe-to-toe with the Sierra Club," according to its literature.
Nonetheless, Sauerbrey says she views environmental protections in a more positive light. She emphasizes private efforts in Bay restoration and wants to plant more Bay grasses and do a better job of repopulating the Chesapeake with disease-resistant oysters.
John Gary (R). While raising many hackles on education issues, Gary has worked to forge alliances with environmental advocates - especially when prodded. He gave critical backing to the $6 million purchase of the threatened 477-tract near Shady Side, and he has a strong record in farmland protection. Skeptics still worry that Gary may support unwise development in the future to pay back contributors.
Janet Owens (D). She has been on the sidelines for the county's land-use
battles in recent years. In an interview, she was unprepared to offer initiatives
related to the Chesapeake Bay or the hundreds of miles of shoreline in Anne
Arundel; she says that she would listen and learn about the Bay if elected.
Owens also says that she is concerned about unchecked growth and especially
about the disappearance of farmlands. (She owns a historic family farm in
Lothian.) She wants to review operations of the county's planning office
and run an open-door office so citizens would be heard.
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VolumeVI Number 43
October 29 - November 4 1998
New Bay Times
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