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Battlefield's fate in question

April 04, 2000

ANNAPOLIS - Four of six Washington County delegates voted against a Baltimore County condemnation bill Tuesday, possibly jeopardizing the chances of having South Mountain designated a state battlefield this year.

The Maryland House of Delegates voted 90 to 35 to give Baltimore County the power to displace up to 1,600 people.

"This is still nothing but a land-grab motivated by greed. They call this revitalization. I call it rape," said Del. Diane DeCarlo, D-Baltimore/Harford.

Advocates argued that the legislature should give courtesy to the Baltimore County lawmakers, a majority of whom supported the bill.

Lawmakers from Washington and Frederick counties are expecting the same courtesy on their South Mountain bill, said Sen. Michael J. Collins, D-Baltimore/Harford.

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It remains to be seen if they will get that courtesy. The bill has passed the House and has a hearing Thursday in the Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee, which includes Collins.

"We'll have to wait and see," said Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington.

Shank joined Del. Robert A. McKee, Del. Louise V. Snodgrass and Del. Joseph R. Bartlett in opposing the bill.

In explaining his vote, Bartlett compared the practice of local courtesy to popular sovereignty, which was used to uphold slavery laws in the 1800s.

The delegation's two Democrats, Del. John P. Donoghue and Del. Sue Hecht, voted for the bill.

- Laura Ernde

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