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Leggett Endorses Slots Ballot Measure

Montgomery County's top elected official today "reluctantly" endorsed a November ballot measure to legalize slot machines, reversing his long-standing opposition to state-run gambling and taking a position at odds with many of the county's other political leaders.

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) had signaled a shift earlier, but the announcement in a news release is his most definitive statement about a decision that a Leggett aide called an "excruciating dilemma."

For at least the past eight years, Leggett has spoken out against legalizing slots, but his position evolved as state and local budget problems worsened.

He said the change had come "due to the lack of other viable options, the certain impact of cuts on the poorest and most vulnerable in Montgomery County and throughout the state, and the need for additional resources."

"Reluctantly, I will cast my vote for the ballot measure," Leggett said.

By Anne Bartlett  |  September 18, 2008; 6:16 PM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow , Slots  
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What a surprise? A politician changing his position...."excrutiating". I'll buy that.....NOT!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Who will play the slots and make them a sucess? Blacks!! The poorest of the poor always looking for a score and a way to be a player. Who will benefit? Blacks!! More welefare and food stamps. Just load up the ships and ship em all back to Africa where they belong!! Where is the KKK when you need them?

Posted by: Bill Clinton | September 18, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Leggett is an idiot who should keep his mouth shut.

The guy "can't think what else to do". Is he kidding me? He could *LOWER SPENDING*

Once again, why won't the post reprint the details of his lurid trial where he was accused of behaving inappropriately with female employees?

Why won't the post ask this moron about his special toilet?

I've got to believe the people who voted for him did it out of a sense of loyalty to some misguided view of humans, not out of any sort of sense that he is competent.

He's a train wreck and a plane wreck all rolled up into a ball of stupidity.

Posted by: Leggett is an idiot | September 18, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Leggett is supporting the wrong ballot question. He should be supporting Question B which makes it more difficult for county elected officials to exceed the charter property tax limit. He gave us the biggest property tax increase in 20 years this year and will give us the biggest property tax increase in 21 years next year.

He should oppose Question A which seeks to repeal widely-approved-by-the voters prohbitions on garbage dumps and sewage sludge trenching in residential zones. If he gets re-elected look for sewage sludge trenching to begin anew and look for a new garbage dump in a residential zone when the county's garbage contract with West Virginia expires in 2012.

The main reason politicians support slots is that they want campaign contributions from slots interests.

Posted by: Robin Ficker, Broker Robin Realty | September 18, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I have no problem with politicians changing their positions on issues when new information comes to light.

But when one subverts his own self-professed morals for money or expediency, it marks him as a man who not only should not be in office, but one who should be shunned by polite society.

Posted by: gitarre | September 19, 2008 5:25 AM | Report abuse

This is disappointing as I had Leggett pegged as against slots (he probably still is on principle). This is quite a reversal and what I'm reading form it is that MoCo really is facing budget and fiscal pressures.

* A plummeting national economy...causing loss of wealth, foreclosures, job loss (HP is laying off 24,000 at once)...etc.

* The resulting loss of tax revenue.

* County residents accustomed to the highest level of quality of life (services, education, etc).

So, this is Leggetts call - he chose slots over another tax hike. Whether you like him or not, Leggett is intelligent and he does not make a call like this without the facts an analysis of the short and long term implications. This indicates how BAD things really are economically (I guess we are finding out more everyday). I still do NOT think slots will help us.

Welcome to Atlantic City, Maryland! Don't like slots...but craps and yer talking!


Posted by: Donny | September 19, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

O.K. Donny, I know the saying that whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But did you know that whatever happens in Montgomery is sent to Annapolis. We get 19 cents back for every dollar we send there. Slots will not mean there is less of an urge to fund the state by way of the assets of Montgomery Countians. Leggett asked for tax increases to fund the state "deficit" in the special session less than a year ago. Because he let the Montgomery-wants-a-tax-increase genie out of the bottle we got up to a 52.63% increase in the state income tax of which the 16% of Marylanders who live in Montgomery County pay over 60%.

Posted by: Not like Vegas | September 19, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Ah, thanks...I think.

So, "vegas" are you against slots in MD or against them?

Posted by: Donny | September 19, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Against. And politicians like Leggett who favor slots should be forced to take them in their backyards. How can we write 5 locations into the Constitution? That is idiocy.

Posted by: Not like Vegas | September 19, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Thx. Well, anything is possible, but FWIW, I am 100% in agreement with you about slots. However, I do NOT expect many elected officials to go against slots with this dismal economy and budget shortfalls. So, I hold Leggett accountible to his switch on slots, but I can't blame him anymore than others.

For that reason, I am glad voters get to decide on slots, and I expect our side to win. I wish voters and taxpayers had more direct say in large non-operational decisions for the state.


Posted by: Donny | September 19, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I just have to laugh at all the so-called "MoCo Progressives" who were frustrated with Doug Duncan and Steve Silverman and jumped onto the O'Malley and Leggett campaigns. What have we learned? O'Malley and Leggett are both unprincipled opportunists.

Posted by: So disappointed | September 19, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

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