Friday, February 17, 2012

Synopsis of Last Night's Council Meeting

The process started at 7pm. Going in alphabetic order, the Council first interviewed Lewis Bracey for the seat vacated by the now imprisoned Daryl Jones. Each sitting Councilman then asked all ten hopefuls a barrage of questions. For instance, John Grasso specifically requested each one to define diversity. Meanwhile, Jamie Benoit sought details about their respective experiences. By the time Steven Wyatt concluded this process at 9:45, most assumed District 1 would soon have a new representative in Annapolis. By midnight, the Council dismissed without agreeing on a victor.

To earn the coveted seat, a candidate needed support from four of the six Councilmen. After the first roll call, Marine Lieutenant Peter Smith secured votes from Jamie Benoit, Chris Trumbauer and Jerry Walker. Meanwhile, Derek Fink and John Grasso endorsed former Senator Michael Wagner. Moreover, Dick Ladd lent his support to Richard Forgo, a former primary opponent of Daryl Jones. By the next roll call, Mr. Ladd changed directions and joined Fink and Grasso in supporting Wagner. After almost 2 hours and approximately 100 subsequent roll calls, none of the Councilmen would budge on their guy.

At times, the debate got heated. Often defiant and confrontational during the entire process, Mr. Grasso suggested they stay all night if needed and concluded that such a tactic would ultimately end the stalemate. Meanwhile, Chris Trumbauer got visibly annoyed when Grasso challenged his support for Mr. Smith. “I am not going to be bullied, Mr. Grasso”, stated Trumbauer, suggesting such tactics worked against the ultimate goal of selecting a successor for Jones.

Later, Jerry Walker questioned why Mr. Wagner attempted to buy tickets to Dick Ladd’s fundraiser just days before this hearing. Calling the actions “unethical”, Mr. Walker openly questioned the motive behind such a tactic. Mr. Ladd immediately dismissed the allegations, explaining he returned the donations once the matter got brought to his attention.

With no winner established, the Council agreed to reconvene on Tuesday, February 21st, at 2:00pm.


  1. I completely agree with Mr. Trumbauer's opinion about Mr. Grasso's behavior. He was loud, obnoxious, confrontational, and rude to the other council members. He was also brusque with several of the candidates, including (ironically) Mr. Wagner. For example, instead of letting a candidate give a full answer, he would say "Yes or no, just get to the point".

  2. My purpose is to make sure everyone is informed.

    I can’t explain the frustration I feel for this Council. I’ve done some research over this process and it seems to be cut and dry to me. While I respect Mr. Wagner’s past contributions, there are many questions of his candidacy that leaves wondering why he’s made it this far.

    Fact 1 – Mr. Wagner attempted to donate money to Councilman Ladd – the same Councilman who continues to support him. This screams of ethics violation especially considering the environment we are in right now.
    Fact 2 – Mr. Wagner has donated thousands to John Leopold’s campaign. Since our County Executive is under indictment, wouldn’t we want someone who will be impartial and not tied to this legal situation?
    Fact 3 – Mr. Wagner isn’t going to pursue the seat in 2014. He has stated that it leaves him free to break with party line voting and he has nothing to lose. However, don’t we want someone who will be accountable to the voters of district 1?
    Fact 4 – He was asked by someone in the current administration to get in the race with the anticipation of him getting 4 votes. However, Mr. Walker must not have got the memo on that plan. Councilman Walker, thank you for your leadership on this issue.

    Now, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I assure you that if Mr. Smith had any of those issues, he would not be in this race or have the support he’s been able to maintain. I have researched the background on both appointees, and it is clear that Mr. Smith has a very capable resume if not better than Mr. Wagner. As a card carrying Republican, I have to say that I am ashamed of Ladd, Grasso, and Fink’s attempt to place Wagner in this seat when the Democratic party has made their stance known since this is a Democratic seat that has to be filled. If the roles were reversed, I would not stand for 3 Dems telling me who the best republican person is to fill a seat. If the rumors are true, shame on those 3 for putting themselves and their careers first. Everyone knows that Mr. Fink was Mr. Shue’s campaign manager. If the CE steps down, it is evident who they would like to place in that position. I think Mr. Shue would be a great CE, but at what cost are we willing to make that happen. Shouldn’t our integrity be more valued? Mr. Fink, as the chair, your leadership has been non-existent with this issue. I had so much hope for you when you ran, but it is clear that you lack substance and the ability to stay above the fray. Mr. Smith, whatever happens, I hope to see you back in 2014 and this republican will be the first to donate to your campaign. Too bad you’re not a Republican because we would have fought for you. Anyone who serves this country has my respect. Mr. Wagner, shame on you. If you had any decency you would step aside as you have been compromised. For those that are encouraging you to stay in, shame on them. I have been to Michael’s Eight Ave once, and I am positive it will be my last. Anne Arundel County has a black eye because of this and the other ongoing political mischief taking place. It just goes to show you the self interest that comes from Leopold, Ladd, Fink, Grasso and anyone who is advising them.