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.
Leo E. Green (D), 50, of 3123 Belair Dr., Bowie, is an attorney in private practice. He served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1974 to 1978 and was mayor of Bowie for two terms. He is on the board of trustees of the Maryland State College System, has been president of the Bowie Citizens Association and is active in community affairs.
Sentences: (a) I support swift, certain and strong mandatory punishment and penalties for firearm and drug-related crimes, repeat offenders and probation violators; for crimes against law enforcement officials and the elderly; and for child abuse. (b) A secure prison for unruly violent offenders definitely is needed. Present detention centers are inadequate for violent repeat offenders who do not benefit from programs at training centers and forestry camps. We need juvenile restitution program to make offenders responsible for crimes. Successful treatment of youthful lawbreakers, including special education and job training to curb the recidivism rate, is the best chance of curbing future crime. We must rectify the placing of youngsters in adult prisons where they are exposed to abuse and the worst criminal elements. Citizens live in fear of violent attacks on their persons and property. An essential purpose of government is to protect its citizens' lives, persons and property, and to provide justice.
Spending: Less: Reduce the high price of state borrowing. Each year, $350 million in tax money -- "the equivalent of two years of construction projects? -- is spent paying interest and principal on previously issued bonds. Phase in pay-as-you-go financing as a permanent commitment of state government. More: Provide new jobs by vigorous recruitment and wooing of high-tech firms, new business, foreign investments, exports, tourism and tax incentives for new businesses. Emulate successful Oklahoma and South Carolina plans that match people to jobs and provide training for firms expanding in-state and for existing industry. Initiate a recruitment program for a police corps by offering free college or professional education, with summer police training, to young people who serve equivalent years in the police force after graduation. Could double police presence. Target more money to counties and municipalities for education, health and senior citizen services.
Legislation: 1) Legislation or budget amendments to implement programs listed in answers above. 2) Provide better and more economists and rate-making experts for the Public Service Commission in order to institute needed rate reforms and combat rising and rapid rate increases proposed by public utilities. 3) Amend state law to reinstate and strengthen municipal home rule powers, so municipalities can do the jobs they can and should do for their citizens. 4) Toughen pollution laws, especially to prevent further deterioration of the Chesapeake Bay. 5) Amend the Public Information Act to make government more open, responsive and accountable.
Burton W. Oliver (R), 48, of 3333 Memphis La., Bowie, is director of economic development for Prince George's County. He has chaired the county's Private Industry Council and served on city and county planning boards. He is active in many civic organizations concerned with youth services, trade and commerce, travel and promotion and senior citizens.
Sentences: I would support legislation requiring judges to impose mandatory sentences for those offenses that are violent in nature. Such offenses would include armed robbery, crimes committed with a gun, shooting a police officer or a firefighter and assaults that result in permanent infirming of a victim. Most crimes committed by juveniles are property related. However, when crimes such as armed robbery, assault with a gun, rape and the like are committed by a juvenile, he should be dealt with in adult court. If this treatment results in overcrowding current juvenile facilities, then strong consideration should be given to building a facility that would accommodate these extra people.
Spending: The state of Maryland should spend more than is currently budgeted on its Office of Business Liaison, with the intention that Maryland will be better able to compete with neighboring states for those businesses that will become the backbone of our state economy in the next decade. I propose that we create a "central data bank" about Maryland and its assets, which would contain state-of-the-art information from state agencies, universities, etc., so that it can be given and presented to interested parties. This would make us more able to present ourselves to interested businesses thinking of locating in our area, and would better our chances of improving our economic base and make us more competitive with neighboring states. I think the state will have to spend more money in the area of special education for handicapped children to make up for cuts in federal spending.
Legislation: 1) Introduce a bill that would use the Agriculture Extension Service concept with regard to business. This concept has, in no small way, helped us to lead the world in agricultural productivity. This extension service concept in regard to business would give us a wonderful opportunity to help cope with our economic difficulties. 2) Introduce a bill that would greatly expand the Department of Economic and Community Development's Office of Business Liaison. 3) I would introduce a bill requiring mandatory minimum sentencing for those individuals convicted of violent crime with use of a gun.