MACO: Alcohol and politics are a recipe for disaster
Source: Scandalous Behavior?
There is a main thoroughfare off of I-695 on the east side of Baltimore County called Merritt Boulevard—this stretch of road is dedicated to the late Delegate John Arnick in recognition of his 35 years of public service.
I mention this because the similarities between what Delegate Arnick and the County Council after the MACO scandal hold a striking similarity. You see, alcohol was part of the equation that cost Mr. Arnick an appointment to become a District Court Judge.
As for what happens to our Council members, time will tell.
Anyway, here are some quotes taken from the Washington Post that sum up the events of Mr. Arnick’s downfall:
“…when a female lawyer told the Senate Executive Nominations Committee that, during a dinner in 1992, Mr. Arnick had made racial and ethnic jokes and called women liars and other derogatory terms.”
“Mr. Arnick, who was ‘well known for salty language and flamboyant behavior in the Annapolis bar scene,’ according to The Post.”
So, now that the history lesson is over, allow me to tell the story of what took place at the MACO (MD Association of Counties) Conference, which was held in Cambridge in January.
It all started, as I alluded to in my last blog, when I received a phone call from a top and reliable source, who told me of an incident that took place on Friday, January 8. On that date, members of the County Council and the County Executive were in attendance at a dinner party.
What happened at that party is disturbing, both for the event itself and for the aftermath.
I told the source that I would need more information in order to write the article. So, I started to make phone calls. One Council member told me—off the record, of course—that there was drinking and partying going on during the event.
At that point, knowing that there was a party that involved alcohol, my experience as a retired cop who was the alcohol testing supervisor gave me the suspicion that I was at least on the right track. But I still needed someone to verify another shocking alleged part of the evening—a male Council member touched a female Council member in an inappropriate way, I was told.
I will let that one sink in for a moment.
Over the past several months, I have floated different facts and ideas back and forth with my sources. These included interviewing the staff at the hotel and offering anonymity to those who spoke the truth.
As with any issue of this nature, which involves quite a few different people, I figured that someone at the event would come forward and reveal exactly what happened. After all, someone out there was bound to have a conscience and, therefore, want to do the right thing.
By the way, I want to note that, despite all of the queries I sent out to the various Council members, only one called me right away with the truth. Councilman Wade Kach called and said he did not attend the event, as he was with his family that weekend.
It was heartening to hear from someone who wanted the record set straight. I applaud Councilman Kach for his truthfulness and the timely manner in which he responded.
Unfortunately, that was not my experience with the rest of the Council. I have published a series of e-mails detailing my questions, which garnered almost a complete lack of response from any politician present at the MACO event. Read this link to my page where the e-mails are listed involving members of the council.
At that point, I did what I always do. I popped in my newest version of the movie “All the President’s Men” and kept digging for the truth. I stayed in constant contact with my sources to check every detail. After all, I needed to make sure that all of the “i’s” were dotted and the “t’s” were crossed.
I noticed right away that no one, with the exception of Councilman Kach, had anything to say. Pretty much anyone with some common sense would ask why this was the case. How hard is it to tell the truth?
Apparently, it is a lot more difficult for those in elected office that one would suspect.
Let me just say for the record that I understand that, if those involved did tell the truth, it could impact their whole careers. There was obviously a lot to lose. So, just like with Watergate, the lips were sealed and the wagons circled.
Realizing that it was not going to be easy to break that silence, I focused on a variety of methods to get the truth.
You see, if you dig long enough, you will eventually find what you’re looking for. After my exhaustive efforts, I received a phone call from someone who had nothing to gain by lying, so the truth was told. And this version of the events matched all of my other sources and their accounts of the events.
Here is what I have pieced together, based on months of investigating:
Three names were mentioned as party goers: Cathy Bevins, David Marks, and Todd Crandell.
My sources say that Councilman Marks became intoxicated and “inappropriately touched” Councilwoman Bevins. (Blogger’s note: The words used by my sources to describe the touching were much more elaborate, but I will digress.)
According to the sources, the touching incident led to some heated words between Marks and Bevins, after which Councilman Marks allegedly got into another heated discussion with the County Executive.
How serious is this matter? Consider the ways you could categorize “inappropriate touching” and you may get an answer. This is subject many women take seriously, and the consequences can be dire.
What is even more serious is the blatant cover up that followed.
With the story now out in the open, I have to wonder about a few things:
• Why did those involved remain silent? Was it to protect their own political careers, or the career of their colleague?
• Why did Councilman Tom Quirk tell me that he left early when sources said he was plying Councilman Marks with drinks at the bar?
• Why, in the six months since the incident, has nobody heard one word about this except in this blog? Is everyone so afraid to cross the Council members?
To say that the events are disturbing to me as a taxpayer is an understatement. Remember, these people took an oath of office. To totally disregard that oath is a complete breach of trust—a breach that the voters should remember come election time.
To make matters worse, I have heard from people in the community who voiced their disappointment over trusting both Councilwoman Bevins and Councilman Marks.
In conclusion, no one can say that I did not give the members of the Council and the County Executive every chance to respond to the allegations. They all remained silent on the matter, which was their choice.
By the way, as a final nail in the political coffin, the MACO event in question was a taxpayer-funded party.
Frankly, I can think of much better ways to spend our money.