Baltimore County Council of Maryland is divided into seven districts of roughly 108,000 residents each. The Fourth District was created eight years ago as a majority minority district after the 2000 Census count. It includes the Liberty Road communities – Woodlawn, Lochearn, Milford Mill, Windsor Mill, Randallstown, Granite, Woodstock, Reisterstown – and the New Town and Painters Mill areas of Owings Mills.?

Kenneth Oliver made history in 2002 when he became the first African American to be elected to Council. Now finishing his second term as the representative of the Fourth District, Oliver is quick to rattle off those accomplishments that make him proud of the work he’s done:

*The only regional park in the county with indoor ice skating, soccer;

*Senior housing in Woodlawn;

*Additions to Cedar Mill;

*Police substations in Randallstown;

*Opening of the brand new Windsor Mill;

*And the largest community center in the county.

He also volunteers that his detractors discount this list, which is just a sampling of the one on his Web site. “They say I haven’t done anything. I don’t know what they’re looking at when they say that,” the councilman said.

“If you look at the [4th] district, over the last 30 years nothing was done, until the last eight years. …

“I initiated discussions with the Liberty Road Business Association about an apartment complex and we’re working on developing three vacant automobile dealerships into mixed use developments or office complexes.”

But this work has not exempted him from a challenger in this election. “Some don’t know, some don’t know about my personal involvement and many just don’t read,” he said. “I can’t understand why there would be an effort to unseat me when there will be four brand new councilpersons as it is. Why not make an effort to add more African Americans to the Council, rather than unseat the only one?”

He has already received the endorsement of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County (TABCO).

County NAACP President Pat Ferguson, clarifiying that as a non-profit the organization cannot make an endorsement, said there are “definite concerns related to how effective he has been as a leader” and “the adequacy of his overall response to the needs of the broader community.”

Add to the doubt about his political performance his guilty plea in 2009 related to the misuse of campaign funds and this can only multiply whatever factors make him appear vulnerable.

And the race is on in the Fourth District.

Penny McCrimmon is running against Oliver, as is attorney Leronia Josey. This is McCrimmon’s third run for this seat. Josey said she’s running out of necessity, because of what she calls “inexcusable neglect” and her “disappointment in the performance of our current councilmanic representative.”

She would be new to the council but not to local politics. She’s monitored developments in the community while serving on the Parole Commission, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, Coppin Development Foundation, Leadership Maryland and the Frostburg Board of Visitors.

She says the district currently has a need for:

* Enhancing public education by re-engaging parents and holding principals and teachers accountable;

* Revitalizing commercial and economic development; and

* Using incentives to attract businesses to the county and to stimulate job creation.

Josey is perhaps best known for her service as general counsel for Bethel A.M.E. Church for 15 years, two of them as chief operating officer. She has received endorsements from the Baltimore County 10th District Democratic Club, and the Stonewall Democratic and Northwest Catonsville Political clubs. She calls herself an experienced problem solver who is committed to re-connect with and re-engage the county community.

Penny McCrimmon had not responded by AFRO press time.