Campbell And Ertel Agree On Many Issues, Spar Over Solutions To Rising Crime Rate


Credit: Van Fisher/Patch

TOWSON - In a forum on Tuesday night, candidates for Baltimore County Council District 6 spoke about crime, public schools, and lack of affordable housing.

The Baltimore County League of Women Voters and NAACP hosted the forum.

Both republican Tony Campbell and democrat Mike Ertel seemed to be on the same page about various issues. They both spoke about infrastructure revitalization, public schools, a lack of affordable housing, and food insecurity.

Both candidates are also in favor of adding two seats to the Baltimore County Council to account for the increase in population.

One issue where the candidates disagreed was crime. In 2021, the county set a new record for homicides, with over 50 people killed. Campbell blamed Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby for rising crime rates.

“I think the voters in Baltimore city did us a big favor in changing the attorney general,” Campbell said. “I think the way miss Mosby was doing her job was directly correlated with the rise in crime in Baltimore County last year.”

He went on to discuss how homelessness and the pandemic have also impacted Baltimore County crime rates.

Ertel blamed the increase in crime on factors such as poverty and subpar school performance.

“We have to look at the root causes of crime in the county,” Ertel said. “We have more poverty now than we have ever had; we have schools that have low test scores, so we are putting a lot of students out into the world that often feel like they don’t have all the choices they could.”

Ertel also discussed community policing and the lack of officers in the county.

“I am a big proponent of community policing. One of the big issues we are struggling with in Baltimore County is that we are short 196 officers.”

The candidates also had differing views on how to fix the lack of affordable housing. Campbell proposed repairing the many vacant homes in Baltimore County. Ertel spoke about implementing a system where a percentage of homes are reserved as low-income housing, as is done in Montgomery and Cecil counties.

The forum highlighted the many similarities in policy between the candidates in what is expected to be one of Maryland’s most competitive county council races. Campbell and Ertel are vying for the seat left by longtime county council member Cathy Bevins who announced she would not be seeking reelection in March. Baltimore County also redistricted this year, with Towson being included in District 6 for the first time.

By the end of the forum, the two men reflected on their passion for Baltimore County and similar policy positions on many issues.

“Unlike other council races, I think both of us would be excellent council members for our district,” Campbell said. 

A video of the forum has been uploaded to YouTube, you can watch the full discussion here

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