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District 1 Resident: 'Old Boy Network' Has To Stop

While some residents hold strong opinions about the two remaining candidates, most said they are simply frustrated that their district has been without representation for more than a month.

Since Daryl Jones  following his tax evasion conviction, District 1 Anne Arundel County residents have been without a County Council representative.

The remaining six members of the council , creating angst among residents who worry that their concerns will not be heard as the council begins discussions on key issues.

“We have no representation. What’s with that?” said Jim Thomas, a retired Army colonel and Hanover resident. “I think this whole political game, it all seems to put the needs of the people on the back seat. What’s a community if it doesn’t have leadership? I just think things are crazy.”

The council has gone through more than 100 rounds of votes but has been deadlocked, with three council members supporting , and three supporting  The council is scheduled to meet again Monday.

Delegate Pam Beidle (D-Linthicum), who preceded Jones on the council, said she was “embarrassed” by the whole affair.

“We could have had a councilman almost a month ago, and they wouldn’t be wasting energy on this,” Beidle said. “They could be focused on other things.”

Beidle said her biggest concern is that the council will soon enter the often sticky negotiations involving the county budget. She said she would push for a new councilman to be selected even if Jones succeeded in legal efforts to return to his seat once he is released from jail in June.  

“Regardless [of what happens with Jones' motion], we're without a councilman,” Beidle said. “That means that through budget season, we’re going to be without representation. I have a real problem with that.”

Many residents placed blame not with the council, but with the county charter, which does not outline a specific procedure for breaking a tie vote, or any real mechanism to force the county to reach an agreement.

“You'd think that since they're at a standstill, they'd let the people of [the] district vote,” Jenny Campbell of Severn said.

Among residents of the district, there is support for both Smith and Wagner. For some, they respect Wagner’s previous time as a state senator and view him as a well-regarded businessman.

Others, however, saw Smith as a better option because of his youth, military service and desire to seek reelection if he is selected.

“Peter Smith should be given a shot. The guy seems to be very well-respected,” Thomas said. “The old boy network has got to stop. I have nothing against Wagner. He’s been around a while, but just because he’s the owner of  and has been a state senator, that’s no reason to ride that coattail.”

Thomas and Beidle both pointed to the issue of maintaining diversity, as Smith and Jones are black.

“The African-American community will be very disheartened if [the council] ignores this guy,” Thomas said.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to correct the party affiliation of Delegate Pam Beidle. She is a Democrat.

Amy Leahy March 17, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Jim Thomas (quoted in the article) - I agree with you about Peter Smith. His heart is in the right place. And it's egregious that the remaining council members would think it's ok for the residents of District 1 to be without representation, especially during 'Budget Season'.
John Smith March 17, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Amy, you are flat out wrong. Read the court documents. What Jones did is inexcusable, he should have disclosed this to the voters before the last election, and he should have resigned immediately upon conviction. But please keep the facts straight. It was not a felony, it was not tax evasion, and it was not a conviction for failure to pay his taxes. Many, many, many people fail to pay their taxes on time without obtaining lawful extensions, and if the federal government wants to make an example out of you (and they rightfully did so in Jones' case), you can in fact go to federal prison for this misdemeanor.
John Thomas March 18, 2012 at 12:03 PM
ok my question is why was Jones not charged with a felony ?
John Smith March 18, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Felony tax evasion is mmore difficult to prove, I.e. Someone willfully and fraudulently understates their income or writes off false expenses. If the Feds had such evidence with Jones I'm sure they would have indicted him for it. A failure to file charge means you didn't file your return on time and failure to pay means you didn't pay your taxes on time. Both happen all the time and most often people just pay a penalty. When it is egregious or a public figure the IRS wants to maKe an example of they will seek jail time. Both apply to Jones who presumably didn't pay on time eithe, even though he wasn't charged with failure to pay. But both are a far lesser offense than fraudulent tax evasion.
John Thomas March 18, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Jones broke the law for 6 years straight. I think he should be charged with evasion.

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