Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Anne Arundel County Council Again Delays Filling Vacancy // English-Only Law Proposed, Withdrawn At Meeting

UPDATE: A Maryland Juice source indicates that there is more than meets the eye with the Anne Arundel vacancy story. Apparently, the race to succeed indicted County Executive John Leopold is fueling some of the madness. Our source notes: 
ANONYMOUS SOURCE: Supposedly there is a battle between two Republican members of the General Assembly, who are intertwined in the Anne Arundel Council vacancy issue. Delegate Steve Schuh and State Senator Ed Reily had been preparing to run for the term-limited Leopold seat in 2014. Leopold's indictment has sped things up. Schuh supports the African American and Reily supports the other guy.
DOUBLE-UPDATE: A Maryland Juice reader dropped an anonymous note in our e-suggestion box to clarify details about the 2014 battle for Anne Arundel County Executive:
ANONYMOUS READER: Your story about the behind the scenes lobbying for county exec is close but off. Del Steve Schuh is lobbying for [former State Senator] Mike Wagner, and his business partner Councilman Derek Fink is leading the internal effort to get Wagner on in an effort to solidify the seat for Schuh if Leopold steps down or is removed. [State Senator] Reily has only lobbied one Councilman, and that is Jerry Walker -- and he called on behalf of Schuh to recommend Wagner. When he realized that Schuh was trying to stack the deck, he stopped lobbying and to my knowledge had not lobbied any other Council Member.
Grasso is a puppet for Leopold even sticking up for him after the indictment. Ladd is a bumbling fool who the County Executive has bought with a promise to shift forward the funding for his beloved Severna Park High School if he sticks with Wagner. The other three are sticking with Pete Smith because they think he is the best candidate, and because they don't want the Indicted County Exec to get another vote on the council. Can't say that I blame them.

BACKGROUND: Last night, the Anne Arundel County Council again failed to fill the District 1 vacancy on their body. As we've noted several times, three Republicans on the body are hell-bent on preventing a qualified Marine Corps reservist, Peter Smith, from serving alongside them. He happens to be African American. The currently indicted Republican County Executive John Leopold's former aide pushed a 70-year-old white, former State Senator into the race.

The pathetic spectacle of this vacancy process has witnessed all manner of racial and ethnic slime coming from some of the GOP members of the body. Councilmember Dick Ladd called Asians "gooks," while Councilmember John Grasso referred to Glen Burnie, Maryland as a "ghetto."

LATEST STATUS: The Baltimore Sun reports that last night, the County Council again failed to fill the vacancy:
After voting four times and remaining split 3-3 along partisan lines between candidates Peter I. Smith and Michael J. Wagner, the council voted unanimously to postpone another vote.
 Moreover, the body continues to focus on strange and symbolic priorities. Republican Councilmember Jerry Walker -- who is actually allied with the Democrats in trying to appoint Peter Smith to fill the vacancy -- last night proposed and then withdrew a bill that would make English the official language of Anne Arundel County. The Sun noted:
Another hot-button issue discussed at the meeting was a bill proposed by Councilman Jerry Walker, which would declare English the official language in the county. A similar bill was passed in February in Frederick County.

Walker, a Gambrills Republican, announced that he would withdraw the bill because of recent incidents of council members using "racially charged rhetoric." Ladd recently used a racial slur at a council meeting.

"I think there's been racially charged rhetoric from not only Mr. Ladd but Mr. Grasso, and my interest in introducing the bill was not racially motivated," said Walker. "So I don't want the issues raised to be confused with my bill, which I'm afraid is happening."

Grasso has been criticized for referring to low-income housing in Glen Burnie as a "ghetto" and for discounting the importance of diversity on the council.

Walker has said he wanted to pass the bill as a deterrent to illegal immigrants.

When will the Anne Arundel hold-outs stop embarrassing themselves?

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