Opinion: Why I am not totally convinced that the Emergency Legislation to correct the Howard County Citizens Election fund is guaranteed to pass on February 7th

This is an opinion post from Scott E this morning about the Howard County Citizens’ Election Fund. You can watch the video or read the text below:

Text from the video (with important links):

I had hoped that after the introduction of Howard County Council Bill CB 11-2022 last night I would have this warm and fuzzy that the issue with the Citizens’ Election Fund was nearly behind us. I did not wake up this morning with that warm and fuzzy feeling.

Look, I am first to admit that I sometimes read way too much into what is written or said at times…especially when it comes to elected officials or candidates for office. I think that comes from watching, following and writing about them for as long as I have on the Blog.

I should be totally confident that CB 11-2022 will pass unanimously and the current issues with the Citizens’ Election Fund in Howard County will be fixed on February 7th. All five Councilmembers are signed on as cosponsors of the legislation at the request of the County Executive. So this is a slam dunk…right? To be honest I still have concerns.

First, Councilmember Christiana Rigby. She requested an opinion from the Howard County Ethics Commission as to whether or not she could vote on this legislation.

Here is a short video clip from Public Testimony Session on January 18th (from the video clip):

Councilmember Rigby:  “…I’ve requested an advisory opinion from the Howard County Ethics Commission to determine whether or not Howard County Ethics Law allows me to vote on this legislation that’s currently before us. So at this point, whether or not there’s a conflict of interest in my voting for this legislation is for the Howard County Ethics Commission to determine.”

I believe that this was expected to be done on January 25th. I checked and these are done in Closed Session so the public (you and I) do not know what was said or if an opinion has been provided as of today or if an opinion will be provided by February 7th. I have checked social media for an update and I have not seen one as of this morning. So that could still be a wild card in what happens with CB 11-2022.

You can watch the entire public hearing on January 18th here: https://howardcounty.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=4829

Second, Councilmember Opel Jones. He said something just before the start of the Emergency Legislative Session on January 26 that caught my attention. There was a back and forth about starting the meeting without Councilmember Liz Walsh in attendance for that meeting.

This is what caught my attention during that discussion (from the video clips):

Councilmember Jones: “…does everyone want to reconvene at 7:00..

Councilmember Yungmann: “WHY?”

Councilmember Jones: I was under the impression she was the 3rd of three Councilmembers that wanted this Emergency Legislative Session”

That was the thing to me…she was the 3rd of three Councilmembers that wanted the session…so it was not unanimous to want to have this session last evening?

After more back and forth between Councilmembers Yungmann and Jones about a start time…Councilmember Jones repeated that statement…

Councilmember Jones: “Totally understood. I was just under the impression that the three council members who called this meeting…”

Again, maybe I am reading too much into what was said…but dang if it did not get my “spidey-senses tingling” when I heard that back and forth.

You can see the full discussion in this video from January 26th: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMyPb1KwjB8&t=366s

Hopefully I am wrong and everything goes as planned and this legislation passes 5 to 0 and the County Executive signs it right away and we can move on from this subject and on to whatever comes up next this election cycle.

Look, I am betting some of my readers are done with me reporting on this topic. I know I am close to being done with this topic. There is one sure fire way for me to stop my regular reporting and opinion articles and videos like this…once I know for sure and without question that there are at least four votes for this legislation. Something tangible, like statements of support or more specifically…statements that votes FOR CB 11-2022 will happen on the 7th…that will have me moving on from this topic and on to other things on my to do list.

Right now I am planning to live stream the public hearing on CB 11-2022 on February 7th at 6:00pm. If you want to listen in and comment…be sure to check out the Blog social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Twitch TV…links provided in the Blog post this morning.

If you have thoughts…think I am crazy for reading too much into this…or agree with me…let me know in the comments on social media or on the Blog.

Scott E

2 comments

  1. I agree with you, Liz Walsh absence and Rigsby hesitation for legal opinion is suspect.

    We need this in our Election cycle to keep developers from buying elections and candidates.

    On another topic. Why hasn’t Calvin Ball held public hearings on the Public Naming Commission? We need a public process in place so Calvin can stop naming buildings based on his contributors. Ed Cochran Administration supported Jim Crow laws in the County public facilities .

    Like

  2. Thank you Scott for keeping a watch on this important issue. Howard County has a history of excellent governance. We have to be vigilant in order to keep it that way.

    Like

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