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.
Phyllis B. Fordham (R), 46, of 699 College Pkwy., Rockville, a management consultant, has been a member of the Rockville City Council since 1976. She has served on several committees of the Maryland Municipal League and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. She received the United Nations Human Rights Award in 1978.
Sentences: I support mandatory sentences for those who commit crimes against the elderly; crimes committed using a weapon; and crimes including violence or significant bodily harm. Maximum security for juveniles is provided at the Maryland Training School. Montgomery County sentences few juveniles to this facility (recently not more than 10 a year). I would be reluctant to build another, since operating funds for these institutions are used at the expense of Montgomery County facilities and programs for juvenile offenders. The greatest difficulty with sentencing juvenile offenders seems to be a lack of corrective sentencing at the time of the first offense. Alternative programs, such as community service, should be used with more frequency. No first offender should leave the court system without experiencing some punishment. I favor retributive justice that would require an offender to make mandatory restitution to the victims of his/her crime.
Spending: (a) Job training programs, particularly in technical and computer fields. I would further be willing to spend additional funds to provide an innovative and creative office of a "public entrepreneur" to foster economic development programs and coordinate such programs with local governments. Additional public facilities such as roads may be necessary to assist developments in specific areas. (b) Education. Programs that will assist in training the handicapped and provide respite care for this population and their families. (c) Funding for shelter homes for juveniles. Present law mandates judges to remand juveniles to shelter homes in specific cases, but budgetary cuts preclude the maintenance and staffing of such homes. (d) Deletions to spending: capital projects that have no significant impact on employment, such as the $22 million consistently voted for Baltimore Memorial Stadium renovations.
Legislation: 1) A job training and retraining bill tailored to the needs of particular local areas. 2) Municipal powers: legislation to correct the court finding in the Tillie Frank case, which strips municipalities of their zoning powers. 3) Regulatory powers: legislation to review, streamline and coordinate state regulations that affect multiple private facilities and functions. Businesses, nursery schools and nursing homes are only a few of the areas that face costly and confusing regulations. Sixty boards and commissions were scheduled for review during the 1981 legislative sessions, but legislators could never reach agreement on a bill.
S. Frank Shore (D), incumbent, 46, of 11230 Troy Rd., Rockville, a member of the Senate since 1979, is on the Constitution and Public Law Committee. Previously, he served in the House of Delegates from 1971 to 1979. A communications representative for Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co., he has been honored for his work with veterans and the handicapped.
Sentences: I am in favor of mandatory sentences for crimes committed with a firearm or any concealed weapon. I am also in favor of experimenting with a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders. This could be accomplished by establishing such a facility in an existing structure (not necessarily an existing prison). If the experiment is successful, then a permanent facility could be constructed.
Spending: The rate of unemployment in the state of Maryland stands at about 9 percent, the highest it's been since the end of World War II. Among minorities (including the handicapped) the rate is even higher. I support increased state funding for programs to (a) retrain out-of-work Marylanders in new marketable job skills, and (b) teach job skills to the handicapped and help these valuable workers find jobs. I favor increased state funding of both the Washington and Baltimore Metro rapid transit systems. Completion of these systems will encourage economic development in the state, which leads to increased employment opportunities and greater tax revenue. I feel the state will spend less money if it cuts down on its debt service for capital projects. This could be accomplished by funding the capital projects with "pay-go" (funds already on hand that would not have to be borrowed).
Legislation: 1) District 17 includes the three municipalities of Gaithersburg, Garrett Park and Rockville. I will continue to sponsor legislation to protect their autonomy, and will work with my District 17 colleagues to eliminate double taxation in the three cities. 2) As the elderly population of our state continues to rise, increased consideration must be provided to their special needs. I would support legislation to institute income tax dependency deductions for families supporting an elderly member within their households. 3) I will sponsor legislation to increase funding and broaden programs that provide job education training for the handicapped. Along with this, I also will advocate corresponding legislation to implement a state program providing operating funds for residences for the adult handicapped. Vocational job training and adult handicapped housing are, in my opinion, the most critical unmet needs of the handicapped community. I promise to make alleviation of these needs one of my top priorities in the upcoming legislative sessions.