Another day, another delay for Anne Arundel council
At the end of the night, Anne Arundel County Council members pointed to their own numbers -- and not those on the clock -- to justify their latest delay in voting on slots zoning legislation.
Under the county charter, the council cannot act past midnight. And after listening to nearly four hours of public testimony Monday night, the midnight hour was fast approaching.
But of greater concern, members said, was the fact that only four of seven council seats were filled.
Two of the three absences were expected. Joshua J. Cohen (D-Annapolis) was sworn in earlier in the day as the new mayor of Annapolis. And C. Edward Middlebrooks (R-Severn) announced last week that he would recuse himself from consideration of a zoning bill that would allow a slots casino at Arundel Mills mall.
It was not anticipated that Tricia L. Johnson (R-Davidsonville) would be missing as well. Audience members were told that she was at the hospital, apparently for a heart-related issue.
Once public testimony had ended Monday night, slots supporters and opponents on the council agreed that they should wait until Dec. 21 to vote. By then, Cohen's replacement should be seated, and Johnson is likely to be back.
"At this moment, about half of Anne Arundel County is not represented," said Councilman James Benoit (D-Crownsville), a slots opponent.
"It pains me to think we're going to drag this on even longer," said Councilman Ronald C. Dillon Jr. (R-Pasadena), a slots supporter, who also supported a motion to postpone.
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