Candidates for the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Sentences: In what cases, if any, would you support legislation requiring judges to impose mandatory sentences? Do you feel Maryland should build a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders? Please explain.
Spending: In which areas of government should the state spend more money or less? Please be specific.
Legislation: Give three examples of legislation you intend to propose.
Allan C. Levey (R), 47, of 10612 Crossing Creek, Potomac, is an oral surgeon and former assistant professor at the University of Maryland and Howard University. He is state chairman of the Republican Party and chairman of the American Cancer Society's Maryland division. He was vice chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee in 1981.
Sentences: The purpose of placing in confinement someone who is convicted of a crime is to punish and to rehabilitate, thereby deterring him from being a repeat offender. Therefore, I would support legislation requiring imposition of mandatory sentences on certain crimes which tend to be repeated, causing much grief and hardship to the victim, their families and society. Some examples of these crimes are murder, rape, any crime utilizing handguns and drunk driving convictions. I feel that juvenile offenders must be handled in a slightly different manner, because although they must be punished and rehabilitated, we do them much harm if they are interred in the same environment as older, more hardened criminals. Therefore, I believe we should place them in maximum security only if the crime they are convicted of is murder, rape or drug offenses, emphasize separation from the older inmates and stress rehabilitation of the juvenile offenders.
Spending: The cost of government continues to rise on a local and state level every year. We must do everything possible to reduce the rise in these costs and the bureaucracy of government administration of these programs. Montgomery County is responsible for 18 to 20 percent of the total revenue that the state receives. In 1981, we received only about 6 percent of the state allocation of money. In order to retain and improve the quality of education, more money must be spent in education in Motgomery County and in the rest of the state. By instituting a strong job retraining program, which can be financed primarily by private funds, we can place more people back in the work force, thereby creating a stronger tax base and relieving the state of some of the burden of unemployment payments and welfare payments. Another program that must be improved is our economic development program. This goes along with our retraining effort so that we will have jobs available for the people who are ready to return to the work force of the state. The health and welfare system in our state must be funded so that every person who cannot take care of himself in our state is adequately taken care of in a dignified way. More money also must be spent on prisons and on the rehabilitation programs therein.
Legislation: 1) Strong ethics and conflict-of-interest legislation, so that the people of our state benefit from the work of our legislators and to prevent abuse of responsibilities of the office to which the legislators were elected. 2) Legislation that will guarantee that the various subdivisions get a fair share of the funds needed for education in our own jurisdiction and to perserve the quality of education that our children rightfully deserve. 3) Single-member districts for the House of Delegates. The people of the community deserve to be represented by someone from their own community, who will be more directly responsible to the constituency. As it is now, there are many people in the state who have no representation in our legislature because their House of Delegates members are elected district-wide. The true democracy of a single-member district will bring government back to the people where it belongs.
Laurence Levitan (D), incumbent, 48, of 11426 Georgetowne Dr., Potomac, has been a member of the state Senate since 1970, where he chairs the Budget and Taxation Committee. A tax attorney, he created and served as the first chairman of the Joint Committee on the Management of Public Funds, which guided investments for the state.
Sentences: (a) Maryland has enacted, and I support, mandatory sentencing for certain crimes, including use of a handgun in the commission of a crime and life imprisonment for a three-time offender. You cannot, however, apply this concept across the board, as in the case of carrying a handgun where justification and judicial flexibility come into play. This concept could be extended to major drug offenses, and the use of more uniformity in sentencing could prevent judge shopping. (b) I believe a maximum security facility is needed for certain juvenile offenders. We cannot afford to continue to allow juveniles to receive only a "slap on the wrist" for the commission of a major crime.
Spending: The state will have to spend more funds in those areas adversely affected by Reaganomics -- specifically, those programs which were previously federally funded and now will be subject to block grants or left completely to the state. These include funding or day care and community care for both the developmentally handicapped and elderly; community-based homes for the handicapped; and drug abuse and alcoholism programs. All of the above have been drastically reduced by federal cutbacks. In addition, we have to spend funds through the Department of Economic and Community Development to get people employed and review on an ongoing basis the employment compensation system to make certain that our citizens are not forced onto the welfare rolls. The state also is holding its growth to 90 percent of the growth in personal incomes, a commitment which was made by the Spending Affordability Committee, which I chaired.
Legislation: 1) As chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, I am most concerned about the state of the economy and unemployment. I intend to work with the Department of Economic and Community Development to improve such programs as the Small Business Development Authority, enterprise zones and industrial revenue bonds. 2) Montgomery County faces a crisis in education that is not widely known. If an appellate court decision putting a dollar limit per pupil is allowed to stand, the excellent system of education that exists in Montgomery County would be destroyed. I plan to actively pursue legislation, including a constitutional amendment, to prevent such a court decision from becoming operative. Once again, this legislation would come before my committee. 3) I intend to introduce and support legislation to toughen penalties for crimes, especially those where bodily injury is inflicted, including drunk driving.