- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 31, 2002

Maryland's moratorium on the death penalty "does not have the basis of law" and can be set aside in particular cases, such as the sniper killings, said Audrey E. Scott, the Republican nominee for Prince George's County executive.
"If there are unusual circumstances, such as the snipers, in my opinion the moratorium does not have an effect," said the Prince George's County Council member during a meeting with editors and reporters at The Washington Times yesterday.
Mrs. Scott, 66, noted she voted for the moratorium two years ago, saying, "It's a serious issue we need to review our procedures [periodically]."
A resident of Bowie for 36 years, Mrs. Scott also said that one of the sniper victims a 13-year-old Benjamin Tasker Middle School student was shot near her home.
"I live right across the street from Tasker. That whole situation really impacted us," she said. The student was treated at Bowie Health Center, which she helped establish in 1974.
In May, Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat, imposed the moratorium on the death penalty until a study of its fairness is completed. The results of the study are expected to be made public by the end of the year.
Eight of the nine Prince George's council members voted for the moratorium in February 2000.
Mrs. Scott, a former three-time mayor of Bowie, noted that Democrats outnumber Republicans in the predominantly black county by more than 5 to 1.
"They say, 'You're a Republican. You're a Caucasian. You're a woman. How can you win?'" Mrs. Scott said. "I have worked hard. I've done nothing mean or dishonest. If I lose, I can go home and go to bed and go to sleep."
But she expressed confidence in her campaign against Jack Johnson, who is black and has won two previous countywide Democratic campaigns to be elected state's attorney.
She pointed up the poor relationship between the prosecutor's office and the county police department as a key issue.
Mr. Johnson has prosecuted and lost seven brutality cases against county officers.
"There are rogue police officers. They have to be identified and corrected," Mrs. Scott said, adding that the majority of the police force consists of honest, hardworking and dedicated professionals seeking to make a positive difference in their communities.
"[Police] are understaffed, underpaid, totally overworked, and the morale is bad," she said, and she would begin an aggressive recruitment campaign as county executive because homeland security and the air-marshal program are draining local law enforcement agencies.
"Until we get [police] fully staffed, it's going to be hard to get the morale up," Mrs. Scott said, noting that the fire department also faces shortcomings.
Education, especially in Prince George's, where student scores have fallen while school officials quarreled, is the main issue for Mrs. Scott.
"I believe education is basic to every other aspect of our lives," said Mrs. Scott, a Massachusetts native who graduated from Tufts University and taught school in Connecticut, France and Japan where she met John Scott, an electrical engineer who became her husband.
"We have never had a county executive who was dedicated to education," Mrs. Scott said.
She then criticized former County Executive Parris N. Glendening, the current governor, for ignoring the need for new schools.
She pointed out that 13 new schools have been built since she was elected, the only Republican, to the County Council in 1994.
When an elected school board battled with the county superintendent, the state legislature appointed a board for four years. As county executive, Mrs. Scott said she would work with state legislators to reduce appointments.
"I believe in an elected school board," she said.
"I don't believe the appointed board has to be in place for four years."
And "I would welcome the opportunity, at least for demonstration, for charter schools," she said, criticizing the General Assembly for not approving legislation that would enable charter schools to be founded.

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