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Candidates forum

February 08, 2001|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Mayor, Council candidates participate in forum



More than 75 people attended the first forum for Hagerstown candidates for mayor and city council on Wednesday.

The 18 candidates in attendance were given five questions from the host of the forum, the Landlords & Property Owners Association of Washington County.

The Wednesday forum, held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Hagerstown, lasted more than two hours.

The candidates did not all answer each question. The answers given are listed below.

Question 1: Do you consider residential renting as a business, and how do you plan to promote and encourage this type of business in the city?

Council candidates, Democrats

Kristin B. Aleshire, 25, 745 Guilford Ave., planner for the towns of Middletown and Myersville in Frederick County, Md.: Yes, it's a business. The number of rental properties has increased faster than the number of owner-occupied properties over the last 10 years and that should be more balanced, he said.

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John A. Budesky, 28, 200 E. Irvin Ave., executive director of the Washington County Community Partnership for Children and Families: They are a business, and "the city needs to provide an environment people want to live in."

Brian E. Coss, 36, 1335 The Terrace, family investment specialist at the Washington County Department of Social Services: It is a business, but he hasn't thought about encouraging it.

N. Linn Hendershot, 56, 850 W. Irvin Ave., communications director at Western Maryland Hospital Center: "Yes it's a key business." He said he would "try to work with all the landlords" to prepare for the aging population. He said a portion of senior citizens living in rest homes would be living at home if their home bathrooms were handicapped accessible.

Ira P. Kauffman, 68, 1009 Lindsay Lane, retired: Yes, it is a business. "I would like to keep the tax rate as low as is possible."

Lewis C. Metzner, 48, 322 E. Irvin Ave., attorney (incumbent): It is a business.

Penny Nigh, 53, 634 N. Mulberry St., housewife: "It is a business. ... I hope to work with landlords to make it a good business," Nigh said, adding that the city is "overwhelmed" with bad property owners.

Larry Vaughn, 58, 734 W. Franklin St., retired: Yes.

Council candidates, Republicans

Victoria K. Bodnar, 56, 117 E. Franklin St., commercial decorator: "It is one of the biggest businesses in Hagerstown."

Alfred W. Boyer, 64, 1142 The Terrace, retired (incumbent): Yes, it is a business.

"We need to encourage more upscale residents in our city." He said the city must "resist tax increase ... and continue police protection" to encourage such development.

Richard G. Everhart, 58, 30 Richmond St., between jobs: It is a business with some good and some bad landlords.

Carol N. Moller, 65, 430 Virginia Ave., retired: Yes, it is a business.

Michael E. Nehring, 31, 606 Potomac Ave., attorney: "Of course it's a business."

Paul H. Toothman, 45, 1412 The Terrace, agent for the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation: It is a business, and one that the city needs to work closer with. He said he's concerned about the low percentage of homeowners properties in the city.

Steve Zaks, 49, 648 Sunset Ave., owner of a franchise of The Entrepreneur's Source: It is a business, but one he would not support or promote. "We need more owner-occupied buildings."

Candidate for mayor, Republican

Robert E. Bruchey II, 42, 905 Woodland Way, vice president of PartsBay.com (incumbent): "Yes, it's a business." "One of Hagerstown's problems is that it is 60 percent rental to 40 percent homeownership. ... It's difficult to sit here and say I promote rental" because of all the city programs to promote homeownership. Bruchey said the problem is not the properties, but some of the people that "end up in the properties. He said there needs to be a "better screening of tenants."

Candidate for mayor, Democrats

William M. Breichner, 69, 1117 Oak Hill Ave., retired, (current council member): It is a business, and he would like to see the landlord association work closer with the city inspections department.

Question 2: Do you or have you ever owned residential rental property?

Council candidates, Democrat

Aleshire: No.

Budesky: Not yet but his family has.

Coss: No.

Hendershot: No, but his family has.

Kauffman: No.

Metzner: No.

Nigh: No.

Vaughn: Yes, he rents an apartment above his home.

Council candidates, Republican

Bodnar: Yes.

Boyer: Yes.

Everhart: No.

Moller: No.

Nehring: No.

Toothman: He did "for a short time ... and I didn't want to do it again."

Zaks: Yes.

Mayor candidate, Republican

Bruchey: No.

Mayor candidate, Democrat

Breichner: No.

Question 3: The city has a problem with drug use and trafficking that has curtailed the pool of quality tenants who want to live in the city. Do you feel if the current laws are effectively enforced this situation will continue to improve or are new laws needed?

Council candidates, Democrat

Aleshire: More services would require more taxes.

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