Interview with Aberdeen City Councilman Ron Kupferman:
As part of The Dagger’s coverage of the City of Aberdeen’s municipal election on Nov. 3, the following questions were presented to each candidate for mayor and city council.
The five questions (bolded and boxed) were chosen to generate discussion on specific topics. The candidates’ answers have been included verbatim as received by email or reported following an interview.
1) If you are unsuccessful in your re-election bid and never return to office, what will your legacy be? How do you want to be remembered?
“I also enjoy being a city councilman and helping the city go in the right direction because, you know, I think we’re at a crossroads.”
“They’re gonna say he was mayor for 5 terms and always had the city at the forefront of decisions being made. I think a large part of the electorate would think I’ve done a darned good job.”
“I hit it head on. Everybody’s always known where I stand. My legacy will be ‘you knew where he was coming from’.”
2) Do you believe Aberdeen gets enough “bang for its buck” from the city police department? Would Aberdeen be better off dissolving the APD and handing protection over to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office? What changes, if any, are needed within APD – underfunded, overfunded, top-heavy, etc?
“I think Randy Rudy is doing a great job.”
“All you gotta do, in my opinion, is look at the stats 35 miles south of us and it scares the bejesus out of you.”
“I’m not saying we don’t have drugs, but I do feel we’ve got it under control. I’ve got nothing but straight A’s for the police department.”
“We’re still doing the same things. The difference is we don’t have the mayor going around with a pistol strapped to his shoulder.”
3) What do you believe is the best path to securing Aberdeen an affordable, sustainable, longterm water supply?
“Amendment 6 is what I’d call a four- to five-year Band-Aid. It will give us water to grow.”
“It’s a temporary fix, but we do need to think long term. We need to build ourselves a plant so the city of Aberdeen along with our partner Aberdeen Proving Ground don’t have to worry about water.”
Kupferman said the best long term water plan involves building a new water plant next to the city’s existing sewer plant and treating raw river water through a combination of reverse osmosis and desalinization.
Options for where that raw water could be drawn include:
– Paying Father Martin’s Ashley for access to run a water line through the rehabilitation center’s property
– Running a line through APG from Plum Point
– Building a water line and pumping station to transport the water from Havre de Grace
“Right after this election, if I’m successful, I think we need to get on with it.”
Alternatively, Kupferman said the city could just buy another 600,000 gallons per day from Harford County – bringing its total allocation from Harford to 900,000 gallons per day, which Kupferman called a “midrange plan for the next 10 years.”
4) If the Wetlands team came back with another proposal for annexation similar to the one talked about two years ago (including the millions of dollars upfront for city infrastructure, funding for city personnel and equipment, new fire substation, etc), what would your vote be and why?
“The city council got a little aggressive and wanted to bring in Wetlands at R3 and the people that live up there got organized. I heard the people, they said they didn’t want R3 up there.”
“After the election, if Glengarry comes back and request R2 zoning for growth, I think we need to look at smart growth.”
The developer will pay for every piece of infrastructure, but there won’t be the millions of dollars of cash up front to the city, or the funding for new city engineers and equipment, or a new fire station, or any of the other commitments the city had in writing from the Wetlands developers a few years ago, Kupferman said.
According to Kupferman, the Glengarry plan would bring single-family homes starting in the $300,000 range within 2.5 miles of the APG gate – meeting the all-important and still-anticipated Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) demand.
“I don’t think a lot of people have really grasped that it’s coming.”
Kupferman also pointed out there are 920 acres of property surrounding the city, which were delineated as growth areas and will likely be considered for annexation and development at some point if Aberdeen has any hope of seeing a downtown commercial revitalization.
“We need the rooftops so the demographics work for businesses looking at Route 40.”
5) Who do you hope is elected mayor and why?
“I want to see Mike Hiob. I think he’s matured a lot as far as government leadership. I know he can do the job.”
“I think Mike Hiob can do a better job than the current mayor.”
From Kupferman’s biography on the city website:
Councilman Ronald Kupferman was born June 20, 1940 in Bronx New York. He graduated from Aberdeen High School in 1958 and served in the National Guard from 1960 to 1966. His professional career started in 1963 when he went to work for American Cyanamid in Aberdeen, he retired in 1993. In 1993 he worked in the Insurance business for Prudential and worked with The Nichols Group. 1997 – 2002 Councilman Kupferman served as Director for the City of Have de Grace Chamber of Commerce.
Councilman Kupferman resides in Aberdeen with his wife Ingrid, they have been married 40 years. Councilman Kupferman was first elected in 1978 and served ten two-year terms , five as President of the Board (Mayor), he is now in his 12th term. He was inducted into the Maryland Municipal League Hall of Fame for elected officials. His civic affiliations include the Aberdeen Lions Cub (1985), Aberdeen Rotary Club (1986). as well as several other local civic organizations. In 1998, he graduated from the Harford County Leadership Academy. As Councilman, he serves as liaison to the Harford County Boys & Girls Club, the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce, and the Ripken Stadium Management Board.