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December 5, 2011

Arundel Council blocks public comments on Jones

Daryl D. Jones, the Anne Arundel County Councilman who begins serving a five-month stint in federal prison next month, made no announcement on his political future at Monday night’s council meeting.

But some county residents wanted to talk about it.

Karen Delimater, a Pasadena resident and frequent attendee of council meetings, attempted to speak about the Severn Democrat’s impending incarceration during a portion of the meeting that was open to wide-ranging public comment, but was prevented from speaking on the matter.

“It’s the elephant in the room,” said Delimater. “Or perhaps, we should call it the Democrat in the room.”

And with that, newly appointed Council Chairman Derek Fink, a Pasadena Republican, banged his gavel.

“Ma’am, I’m sorry,” said Fink. “This is not the right place for this.”

Delimater attempted to continue her remarks, but Fink again pounded his gavel.

“Well, there’s your government,” said Delimater, as she walked back to her seat.

Jones was sentenced in November to five months in prison on a single charge of failing to file a tax return. Jones, a two-term councilman, was first elected to the council in 2006.

Because the county charter is silent on the issue, the council has no power to remove Jones and the decision on whether to resign or stay on the council is entirely up to Jones. Monday’s council meeting was the first since Jones was sentenced.

Later in the meeting, when another resident addressed the council and criticized Fink, Councilman Jamie Benoit, a Crownsville Democrat, rebuffed the speaker.

Councilman John J. Grasso, a Glen Burnie Republican, who is one of two Republican councilmen that has called for Jones to resign, defended the residents.

“It’s called freedom of speech,” said Grasso. “You’re welcome to say anything you want to say. My feeling is, if you’re not man enough to take it, it’s time to resign."


Posted by Nicole Fuller at 8:45 PM | | Comments (2)
        

Comments

John Grasso is the only man on the Anne Arundel County Council with the nerve to stand up for county residents regardless of political party, and to allow people to speak their mind. Every day he makes me more proud that I voted for him. Fink, on the other hand, should be ashamed (though I know he won't be) and needs to RESIGN if he has the gall to impinge on peoples' freedom of speech - even if it DOES hurt one of his pals.

John Grasso is the only man on the Anne Arundel County Council with the nerve to stand up for county residents regardless of political party, and to allow people to speak their mind. Every day he makes me more proud that I voted for him. Fink, on the other hand, should be ashamed (though I know he won't be) and needs to RESIGN if he has the gall to impinge on peoples' freedom of speech - even if it DOES hurt one of his pals.

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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