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Southern Maryland

2 School Board Incumbents and 2 Newcomers Win

Chesapeake Beach Mayor Survives Challenge; Calvert Rejects More Powers for Commissioners

By Susan Kinzie
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 3, 2004; Page A30

Southern Maryland chose school board members, voted to retain the way Calvert County is governed and gave the longtime Chesapeake Beach mayor a tough path to reelection.

In Chesapeake Beach, Mayor Gerald W. Donovan narrowly defeated his first challenger since 1988: Joseph Wayne Johnson, 61, a retired program analyst who was active in Prince George's County affairs before moving to the Calvert County town.

Donovan, 56, whose father and grandfather were also mayors of Chesapeake Beach, started on the Town Council in 1976 and has been mayor since 1983.

Voters rejected code home rule in Calvert by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio.

Some said they were suspicious of the proposed change in the form of local government, wondering if it could lead to bigger bureaucracy or higher taxes. "I just don't trust it," Margaret Burch, 46, of Prince Frederick said yesterday. "I'm going to vote to keep it like it is."

For the Board of Education in Calvert, incumbent Mary Garvey and newcomer Frank Theodore Parish each beat their opponent by a few points.

Parish laughed with delight when told he had won; his housemate said she needed to open some champagne. "I didn't expect to win the primary," he said, "and I certainly didn't expect to win this."

He said he had done very little campaigning -- "I didn't spend 10 cents on anything; I did not buy one sign" -- but that voters must have agreed with the opinions he expressed about the importance of the separation of church and state in schools and more education funding.

In St. Mary's County, incumbent Cathy Allen and newcomer Gary Kessler won Board of Education seats.

Kessler, enjoying his victory at the Roost bar and restaurant in Lexington Park with friends and family, said he thought voters recognized that he ran a positive campaign and knew the issues facing schools.

Allen met with friends at the Old Breton Inn in Leonardtown after final results showed her with more than two-thirds of the vote. "I think the community believed in what this board has been doing and what I specifically have been doing," she said, "and I appreciate that very much."

Calvert school board candidates had talked about how to pay for the growing county's education needs and how to manage mandatory testing, and they debated issues of morality and religion in the classroom.

Jeffrey D. Borgholthaus, 47, a cryptologic engineer from Lusby, said he worried that rapid growth in the county, tight budgets and changing values have threatened the schools.

His opponent for the District 1 seat, Parish, 75, of Dowell, is retired from a public school system in Florida. Parish told voters that the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act are the most urgent issue facing the schools and criticized Borgholthaus for trying to "bring God back into the classroom."

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