Democrat Lloyd G. Knowles has some nice things to say about the two incumbents in the House of Delegates district he hopes to represent.

He said Dels. Robert L. Flanagan and Robert H. Kittleman are nice, hard-working guys, the kind of people you would have over to dinner. That's why it is too bad the two men are Republicans, he added.

"To make things work for Howard County" in the Democratic-controlled legislature, "you really have to work as a team," Knowles said.

The partisanship of the two incumbents "is great for statewide Republicans, but it is horrible for the residents of 14B," Knowles said.

As House minority whip, Kittleman stirs up animosity from the House's Democratic leadership that hurts their district, Knowles said.

District 14B covers central Howard County, the west side of Columbia and the Laytonsville area of Montgomery County.

Flanagan and Kittleman defend their performance, saying they have seen no evidence that their party allegience is hurting district residents.

"On the contrary, I think Howard County has fared quite well," Flanagan said.

Kittleman said he might even step up his attacks next year.

"I do stand up and fight the leadership. They are getting to be so dictatorial it's unbelievable," he said. "I'll probably take a bigger stand {against them} next year."

Knowles, a Johns Hopkins engineer, is only the second challenger in the race for the two 14B seats. The other is Democrat James B. Kraft, a Columbia lawyer.

Knowles served three terms on the Howard County Council. He lost his seat to Ruth Keeton in 1986 when the county went from at-large council seats to single-member districts.

Knowles said he wants state government to get more involved in land-use issues. He suggested the state might want to develop legislation to phase in zoning changes called for when the General Plan is revised.

He also said the state should consider adopting a two-tiered property tax structure that taxes businesses and residents at different rates.

Knowles, 56, kicked off his campaign on a windy, rainy Tuesday in Centennial Park off Route 108. He said he picked the site to reflect his interest in the environment but joked to a dozen raincoat-clad supporters huddled under a park shelter that "I think we overdid it."