The Takoma Park City Council, preparing for a Jan. 28 vote to fill a vacancy on the council, this week interviewed three of the four candidates for the position.

At a work session Monday night, Mayor Edward F. Sharp and the council sought applicants' views on such issues as rent control, the city's nuclear free-zone policy and whether Takoma Park should work to become fully annexed by either Montgomery County or Prince George's County. Currently, the city straddles the border of both counties.

The candidates, Carolyn A. Pion, Kathy Porter and Juan Torres, along with Verne Wilson, who did not attend the session, are seeking the Ward 7 council seat vacated by Sharp when the council appointed him to replace Stephen J. Del Giudice as mayor. Del Giudice left office last month, midway through his two-year term.

Pion, who writes for the Takoma Voice newspaper, told the council that she was instrumental in raising $5,000 for an extra gypsy moth spraying for the area and has served on the board of directors of the Takoma Foundation, a philanthropic group that this year funded a neighborhood group's plan to make an oral history of the area.

A landlord in Virginia, Pion said she favors rent control, efforts to unify Takoma Park into one county and a strict adherence to the city's policy of not doing business with companies that produce nuclear weapons.

Torres, the public works director in Cheverly and formerly a deputy director of public works in Takoma Park, emphasized his knowledge of city services and expertise in managing such tasks as snow and trash removal.

Kathy Porter, who submitted signed petitions supporting her candidacy, has served for five years as president of the South of Sligo Citizens Association. She told the council that she has the broadest base of support from the community and that her civic ties would be an advantage on the council. She is treasurer of Historic Takoma, a historic preservation group, and works as research director for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit organization that studies and advocates federal and state policies assisting low-income people.

Both Porter and Torres said they also are generally in favor of rent control and support Takoma Park's nuclear-free law, provided it does not interfere with the operation of government in the city or take precedence over providing certain services.

Verne Wilson, who did not appear, is a registered nurse who has worked for the city as an election judge. Two months ago, he applied unsuccessfully to succeed Del Giudice as mayor.


The town's newspaper recycling program, discontinued last April, is set to resume today, with weekly Thursday morning pick-ups.

Residents should set their newspapers outside by 7 a.m. Pick-up will take place sometime after 7:30 a.m.

Southeast Recycling Corp., which had contracted with the town to provide the service, told town officials last spring it no longer would be sufficiently profitable to serve the community because of the low prices being paid for recycled newspapers. Plans to resume newspaper recycling began, however, after a poll conducted last fall indicated that many town residents wanted to continue the program and would pay a fee to do so.

Each household will now be charged a monthly $1.40 recycling fee.

The Glen Echo Town Council will hold its next meeting at 8 p.m. Monday at Town Hall, 6106 Harvard St. -- Beth Kaiman