Residents in the city of Frederick will vote for mayor and the Board of Aldermen today in a general election whose calm and businesslike tenor is a striking contrast to the buildup that preceded it.
For mayor, voters will choose between Republican newcomer W. Jeff Holtzinger, a former city engineer, and former four-term mayor Ronald N. Young, a Democrat. All five seats on the Board of Aldermen are in play. Only two incumbents, Democrats Marcia A. Hall and Donna Kuzemchak Ramsburg, are seeking reelection.
In the Democratic Party's primary, Young collided with Mayor Jennifer P. Dougherty in a campaign laced with ill will; Holtzinger upset the Republican favorite, Alderman Joseph W. Baldi.
Ever since, theirs has become the race of the unflappables: Holtzinger and Young have focused so much on the nitty-gritty of governance in low-key interviews and forums that neither has said anything very critical about the other. Each sounded calm on the eve of today's election and complimentary of the way his opponent conducted the race.
Said Holtzinger, 41: "I've got a Board of Zoning Appeals case I'm more worried about."
Young, 65, said yesterday that he and Holtzinger agreed from the start to fight fair. "We both felt good about that. It's probably not been as exciting to some people, but it's allowed us to talk about a lot of important issues."
Holtzinger, who grew up as a contemporary with Young's children, joked that he has not even tried to provoke his opponent in the campaign because Young is not the excitable type.
"So I got to pick on Dick Zimmerman. He's a little easier," Holtzinger said, referring to Young's campaign co-chairman.
Each supports cautious approaches to further development, trimming city expenditures, reducing the tax burden and litigating disputes less often than has the current administration. Both have said they support passage of an adequate public facilities ordinance that would require greater scrutiny of existing roads, water supplies and schools before development is approved.
Holtzinger offers himself as a fresh alternative, while Young promotes his long experience in state and local government.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.