… Event hosted by Greater Towson Committee …
By Steve Schuster
Fifth District County Council hopefuls Mike Ertel (D) of Towson and David Marks (R) of Perry Hall squared off Tuesday in a candidates forum hosted by the Greater Towson Committee and held at Goucher College.
Both candidates took on a series of moderated questions and were afforded the opportunity to speak freely before and after the questions.
Marks said Baltimore County faces many challenges including increasing traffic congestion and crime.
He reminded the audience that as Maryland’s third largest county, Baltimore County must remain competitive with other communities such as Silver Spring and Bethesda — and he cited the 50 percent loss of local jobs at Black & Decker and Bethlehem Steel as example of the relationship between local jobs and the community.
Marks pledged that, if elected, he would reform county government by spending less and finding ways to generate more revenue — and make the process of local government more transparent.
He cited more than a decade of federal and state government service in the transportation sector as a key advantage over his adversary on issues dealing with transportation and congestion issues that Towson and the county are facing.
For his part, Ertel said that if elected, he would seek to implement transportation ideas of his own, including changing some traffic patterns to help alleviate congestion. He said among his main goals would be fighting to “bring new vibrance back to Towson and … preserve the middle class way of life.”
Ertel wants to develop amenities and venues in Towson that will attract more people through developer incentives, including creation of a “restaurant row” in Towson.
Ertel also stressed the importance of job growth and education.
“If we don’t have enough jobs, people will leave,” he said. He is also concerned with class sizes, and said, “I don’t want our kids to slip through the cracks.”
Attendance was somewhat sparse at the forum, held in the Goucher College Merrick Lecture Hall, but residents said they learned something about the candidates.
“Both candidates are quite qualified,” said longtime Towson resident Charles Culbertson. “It really speaks well for us.”
… Baltimore County Lodge No. 4 has endorsed candidate David Marks for the Baltimore County Council seat in District 5.