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Smithsburg residents mixed on mayoral race

March 08, 1998|By TERRY TALBERT

Smithsburg residents mixed on mayoral race

If the controversial firing last August of Tommy Bowers as Smithsburg police chief has had any positive impact, it may be in stirring up interest in the town's May election, and getting out the vote.

Bowers, 47, will square off against incumbent Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers, 62, in the town's May 12 election. Myers and the Town Council dismissed Bowers, who is asking an appeals court for reinstatement to his job, back pay and benefits.

Town residents on Saturday had mixed feelings about the mayoral race, but most agreed the competition was healthy.

"I think it's a good thing," said 66-year-old Roy Loughridge of Blue Mountain Estates, a housing development for senior citizens. "I'm glad she's got some competition. I don't think she done him right. Whenever he was town cop he was down in this area all the time. Now you don't hardly ever see a cop down this way ... . I'll be the first one to vote for him."

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Loughridge was sitting on a bench talking to a neighbor, 83-year-old Guy Bachtell.

Bachtell said he wasn't registered to vote until several months ago. He said Bowers was chief at the time.

"I told Tommy I wasn't registered to vote," he said. "Next thing I knew he brought a man up here to register me. That's the kind of guy Tommy is."

Bachtell said he thinks a lot of Myers, but will probably vote for Bowers.

"I like Tommy. Now, I'm not picking at her, but that's a man's job in my mind. I think a lot of her, but it's a man's job."

Hilda and Terry Hoover of Pennsylvania Avenue have lived in Smithsburg for more than 20 years. Until this year, they hadn't felt the need to vote in town elections. Both said they planned to register just so they can vote in the mayoral race.

Hilda Hoover, 44, said she has mixed feelings about the race.

"I'm a little concerned that Tommy Bowers may be running for the wrong reason. I hope he has the town's welfare in mind ... . I think Mickey Myers has done a lot of good for this town," she said. "What worries me about her is that she doesn't seem to want to talk about any of this. The town's gotten a lot of publicity about this - bad publicity. It worries me that she doesn't want to make a positive statement now."

Terry Hoover, 56, said he didn't think Bowers was cut out for the mayor's job.

"It's not his cup of tea," he said. "It will be a close race, though. I think he's got a shot at it - a pretty good shot. I think she's got a problem."

Neighbor Judy Bolton paused for thought when asked how she felt about the mayor's race.

"I'm not sure I have a real strong opinion about it," she said. "I think the kids here - the teens - had a respect overall for Tommy. He did little league umpiring ... he took care of the kids on the field. A lot of those kids are teens now. I'm very distressed about what happened to him. Whether he'll make it as mayor or not, I don't know."

As for Myers, Bolton said, "I don't think she's done a bad job for the town. I'm not sure she's done such a great job, either."

Bolton said she will probably vote for Bowers.

Karen Fitzgerald, 41, of Grove Creek Circle, said as a civics teacher she feels the interest in the town election is "very good." She said she and her family have lived in Smithsburg for two years.

"On first impression, it's a nice small town where everybody gets along," she said. "And it's probably true that most people do get along. But then you get something like this, and the stereotype sort of bites the dust."

Neighbor George Kangas, 69, has lived in Smithsburg for 10 years. He said he could care less about town politics.

"I don't even follow it," he said. "I don't have any kids in school ... . It doesn't bother me one way or the other. I don't even know if I'll vote."

Bonnie Schaller, 56, of Schaller's Lane, has lived in Smithsburg all her life.

"I think it's great - the competition," she said. "I just hope the better person wins."

Lori Wiles, 23, has lived in Smithsburg for seven years. It doesn't matter to her who's mayor.

"I don't care. I like them both," she said.

The deadline for candidates to file for the May 12 election is April 6.

There are about 1,100 registered voters in Smithsburg. Two hundred and fifty-four residents voted in the last mayoral race four years ago.

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