Monday, February 27, 2012

Anne Arundel GOP Pols Reveal More Stupidity In Effort To Keep All-White Council // Glen Burnie a "Ghetto" & "Gook" Not a Slur?

Last week, Maryland Juice highlighted the deplorable actions of three Republican Anne Arundel Councilmembers who are dead-set on maintaining a 100% white, male government. The three stooges forced over 100 rounds of balloting and resorted to racial slurs like calling Asians "gooks" in their shameful public meeting to fill a vacancy for the county's District 1 council seat. The council failed to come to a resolution on the matter and postponed further action until March.

Today, Maryland Reporter flagged follow-up coverage of this controversy, and it appears that the defiant GOP Councilmembers are just as tone-deaf and nasty as we had originally imagined. The Baltimore Sun reports that Councilmember Dick Ladd recently attended a community forum, where he was asked to explain his comments. His explanation was an utter failure -- since he said he doesn't find the word "gook" to be a slur -- and he ended up storming out of the meeting:
An Anne Arundel county councilman was peppered with questions Saturday about diversity on the all-white, all-male council — and criticized for his public use of a racial slur — before storming out of a community forum in Odenton...

Ladd was also asked to explain his use at a recent council meeting of a derogatory term for people of Asian descent....

Councilman John J. Grasso, a Glen Burnie Republican whose recent comments referring to Glen Burnie as "ghetto" were also questioned at the meeting, was invited to the forum but did not attend.

Grasso later said that he stands by his remarks about Glen Burnie...

Jessica Snipes, a Severn resident, told Ladd she was "very disturbed and disappointed" by the council's conduct....

The council has met twice on the issue and been unable to resolve a 3-3 tie over who should replace Jones, the second African-American to have served on the council. The candidates are former state Sen. Michael J. Wagner of Ferndale, who is white, and Peter I. Smith, a Marine reservist from Severn who is black....

Carl O. Snowden, an Annapolis civil rights activist, asked Ladd about several issues, including the incident at a recent council meeting. While interviewing candidates for the open seat, Ladd, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War, used the word "gooks," and later apologized.

Snowden said he was dissatisfied with Ladd's apology because it was prefaced by "if I offended someone...."

Ladd added, "I do not think that is a racial slur. …I don't know what else to say...."

Baltimore Sun columnist Dan Rodricks provided the following commentary:
It's 2012. For decades now, Americans of all political ideology have been making efforts to bring diversity to the workplace and to all realms of modern society, particularly government. I'm not talking about what's required by statute or even public policy. I'm talking about human mathematics, the measuring that all of us do in just about all that we do — the considerations that must be made in order to open doors to minorities and to make businesses, organizations and institutions more representative of the general society.

A lot of white people are annoyed by this; they hate that gender or race ever has to be a consideration in hirings or appointments. But they do it. They understand it now. They make the effort. It gets done.

The world Mr. Fink's remark suggests is something like 1959, where the chairman of an all-white government body can scoff at the expectation that he consider voting for a minority to replace a minority.

The Anne Arundel County Council narrowed its choices for Mr. Jones' replacement to two: Mike Wagner, the 70-year-old Glen Burnie businessman and former state senator, who is white, and Peter Smith, a 31-year-old Marine Corps Reserve lieutenant who works at the National Security Agency; he is black.

Three Republicans, including Derek Fink, support Mr. Wagner (and keeping the council all male and all white) while two Democrats and one Republican support Mr. Smith (and keeping the council all male with one black).

Lastly, Hometown Annapolis highlights the crass anti-democratic perspective guiding Councilmember Grass (the guy who thinks Glen Burnie is a "ghetto"). In an article discussing how District 1 constituents are now under-served with the extended vacancy on the Council, GOP Councilmember Grasso admits that political calculations trump constituent service in his mind:
Both Walker and Benoit, both Smith supporters, took turns lambasting Grasso for comments he made after Tuesday’s meeting. Grasso said the absence of Jones, a Democrat, is a win-win for taxpayers and gives the Republicans on the council an edge during budget negotiations.

“It can stay six,” said Grasso, who’s backing Wagner.

That’s ridiculous, Benoit said.

“It just shows that some of my colleagues don’t have any interest in getting a representative on the council unless it’s to serve their political interests,” he said.

What year is it again?

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