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.
Robert F. Carbone (Ind.), 53, of 1805 Pelling Ct., Silver Spring, is a professor in adult education at the University of Maryland. He also is an author, researcher and consultant on consumer issues, education and legislative affairs for the Tri-County Free Press. A Maryland resident for 12 years, he is active in community affairs.
Sentences: Mandatory sentences should be imposed for all crimes committed with the use of a gun. While Maryland needs a facility for juvenile offenders, such a facility should not be built. Rather, the state should close one of the several low-quality, undererolled public colleges and convert it to a juvenile center with a heavy emphasis on job training and rehabilitation.
Spending: Maryland ranks about 35th in the nation in support of public higher education, yet our per capita income level is among the highest of all states. We need to provide more support for our public colleges and universities. On the other hand, we spent more than $16.8 million last year just to operate our legislature. That is too much, given the modest productivity of that body. Also, the rest of the state has subsidized Baltimore for decades and we need to cut back on the flow of tax dollars from the rural and suburban areas to the city of Baltimore.
Legislation: 1) Legal reform legislation: Revision of the state's probate laws to eliminate the high percentage fees that lawyers can charge for probating an estate. 2) Automobile insurance legislation: True no-fault insurance legislation to replace the limited no-fault (tort liability) regulations now existing in Maryland. 3) Development rights legislation: Legislation prohibiting the transfer of development rights from agricultural land to properties that are not immediately adjacent to the land on which the development rights exist. This legislation would prevent the concentration of high-density housing in the so-called TDR "receiving areas" and thus reduce urban sprawl, clutter and traffic problems in these areas.
Joel Chasnoff (D), incumbent, of 13712 Batchelors Dr., Colesville, a member of the House of Delegates since 1974, serves on the Judiciary Committee, the Maryland Commission for Women and the Governor's Commission on Condominiums. An attorney and former military intelligence officer, he is chairman of the board of Montgomery General Hospital.
Sentences: Mandatory sentencing should be used sparingly. I favor it for repeat offenders of violent crimes and violators of drunk driving laws. Caution should be used to not reduce the effectiveness of an already over-crowded prison system. I do not favor maximum security facilities for juvenile offenders, as any such offender subject to maximum security would probably be treated as an adult in the current system. I favor increasing security in existing juvenile facilities and building new facilities such as forestry camps to house 40 to 50 juveniles.
Spending: Until the full impact of the New Federalism and the resulting anticipated shortfall in state based upon available funds are determined, it is premature to assess areas in which to cut funds. I would encourage the spending of additional funds, if available, for new business development and housing stimulation in the state, retraining unemployed persons, improving criminal rehabilitation and training programs and aid to the handicapped and education.
Legislation: 1) Drunk driving bills to bring Maryland within the eligibility requirements of Rep. Michael Barnes' recent bill. 2) Providing tax incentives and exemptions for businesses to hire and retrain unemployed persons. 3) Revising real estate assessment procedures to aid the elderly and conform to use rather than projected zoning.