Crime is at top of city election agenda

April 03, 1997


Staff Writer

Mayoral candidates Robert E. Bruchey II and Steven T. Sager sparred over support for more police officers at a candidates forum Wednesday night.

Bruchey, a Republican, said Sager, the Democratic incumbent, and City Council haven't given police enough support and that a rise in drug dealing and prostitution needed to be addressed. "It doesn't matter what happens in this city if we are not safe," he said.

Bruchey said people won't come downtown if they don't feel safe. "You can not put the cart before the horse and make everything pretty and clean before you make it safe," Bruchey said.


Sager said calling for more police officers is easy if you don't say how you'd pay for it. He noted that the number of police officers has risen from 78 to 94 since he took office, and said he has supported tax increases to hire more police officers.

Sager cited as accomplishments during his tenure $60 million in development downtown in the past 12 years, development of the Hagerstown Business Park and plans to develop the Fairgrounds.

Council candidates discussed a variety of issues.

  • Democrat Larry A. Vaughn said there are Uzis on the street and three gangs operating in the West End. Vaughn said more police are needed on the street. He also said the city should be broken into wards to ensure all areas are represented on the council.
  • Democrat Larry W. Craig cited his experience as co-founder of Washington County Crime Solvers and Children's Village of Washington County and said crime and children were at the top of his agenda. Craig said the county, city and the county delegation to the state legislature must work together.
  • Democrat Eugene E. "Buddie" Morris called for increased use of capital punishment, tougher enforcement of the law and more support for young people.
  • Republican Alfred W. Boyer said he would oppose a tax increase. Boyer also said he wanted to combat the rise in graffiti.
  • Incumbent Democrat William M. Breichner said he would continue to work to keep water and sewer rates reasonable. Breichner said he would seek a better working relationship with county officials.
  • Incumbent Democrat Lewis C. Metzner said his two pet projects were strengthening police and developing the fairgrounds. He said fighting crime requires more than throwing money at the problem.
  • Republican Paul H. Toothman said his chief concern is the development of the fairgrounds property. He said he was pleased with the concept plan. Toothman said he would concentrate on increasing tourism.
  • Republican J. Wallace "Wally" McClure said he would focus on rewarding and recognizing ordinary people who are doing good things but aren't being recognized. McClure said he would institute a hotline at City Hall to deal with citizen complaints.

The Landlords and Property Owners Association of Washington County Inc. sponsored the forum.

The Herald-Mail Articles