What do you consider the greatest accomplishments and failings of the Kamenetz administration?
Geelhaar: The Greatest Accomplishment of Kevin Kamenetz was building Mays Chapel Elementary School while holding the line on Property Taxes. Kevin had the courage to stand up for our Children who have long suffered in over-crowded Classrooms against a group of Angry Protesters at the Mays Chapel Ground-breaking. I would encourage all Elected Leaders to be receptive of suggestions for improvements regardless of party.
Does Baltimore County have adequate resources to meet its needs, particularly to renovate or replace aging schools? Do you support increasing the property tax or local income tax?
Geelhaar: We must resist the temptation of raising Property Taxes. The free ride for Baltimore County Developers must come to an end. We already ask for Developers to assist with infrastructure improvements required for their new homes such as Sewer Connections, but the Tax payers of Baltimore County are unfairly handed the bill to build new schools. This is why I will be asking Developers to share the costs of building new schools just like almost every other County in the State already demands.
Do you support Baltimore County's federal housing consent decree? In particular, do you support a prohibition on rental discrimination against those who use federal housing vouchers?
Geelhaar: It was Parkville’s Loch Raven Village Resident, Republican County Executive S. “Ted” Agnew, who appointed the Commission that lead to the eventual desegregation of our only Amusement Park. Education and job training is the key to the door of eliminating poverty, not a new Government Mandate.
Does the county government exercise adequate oversight over the school system?
Geelhaar: I am pleased that we will have a Hybrid Elected BCPS Board of Education. Our Children are not Democrats or Republicans, and it’s important for our State and County Government to provide our Teachers and Students the tools that they need to succeed.
What role can the county play in assisting in the preservation or revitalization of aging communities?
Geelhaar: Our County Government is facing enormous financial challenges with aging schools and roads that need repair. I would like to see Economic Revitalization Zones extended to assist our distressed Neighborhood Retail Centers. This program would be modeled after the successful program that was implemented for Perry Hall Square Shopping Center under Councilman David Marks.
How would you characterize the relationship between the Baltimore County police and the communities they serve? Are any reforms necessary?
Geelhaar: I will be proposing that Baltimore County follow the lead of Harford County by implementing an Elected Police Chief. In Communities all across the Country, people are demanding a greater say in Police Policy that only an Elected Police Chief can deliver. Also, I support an optional program allowing our Brave Police officers to take home their marked Police Cars. Ford recently introduced a Hybrid Police Responder vehicle which would make this program cost effective.
Baltimore County was a pioneer in rural land preservation. Do its zoning policies and the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line continue to serve the county's needs?
Geelhaar: In Baltimore County, you have to own over one acre of ground to have Back Yard Chickens which seems like a Government over-reach to me. I will be proposing an exception which will allow an applicant to obtain a Permit, after securing signatures in support from most of his immediate neighbors, which will allow a home owner to have Farm Fresh Eggs in their own back yard. As your next County Council Representative, I am hopeful that most land use disputes can be handled by facilitating constructive dialog between the parties in the Community.
Is Baltimore County's support for cultural institutions in Baltimore City too little, too much or just right?
Geelhaar: Baltimore County’s tourism dollars should be used to promote Baltimore County’s Tourist attractions including our Beaches as well as preserving the future of of our Bengies Drive in Theater. I would also like to see a tax credit program created to help our Community Swim Club’s, Beaches, and Pools who provide jobs for our Brave Lifeguards.
Is Baltimore County adequately served by mass transit?
Geelhaar: If the Northeast Maglev Train becomes a reality, it must make a stop in Baltimore County. Imagine being able to go to the Smithsonian institution in the morning, having lunch in Baltimore County, and taking in a New York Broadway Play all in one day.