When most people are convicted of tax evasion and sent to federal prison for failing to pay your income taxes, you would think that they would have learned some humility. You would think that, if they had been an elected official in an office of public trust, that they would resign their office in disgrace and never be heard from again. You would think that once you were sent to prison an your colleagues voted 6-0 to kick you off of the County Council, that you would never be heard from again. And you certainly, if you had any shred of dignity, wouldn’t go to court and spend taxpayer resources in order to regain your seat for the last 15 months of your term because you believe that the you were removed improperly.
This is the latest in a very sad, very divisive, and very pathetic chapter in Anne Arundel County history. It was in the effort to replace Jones that the County Council had to endure a very public, very divisive vote to name his successor, taking 106 ballots and making a mockery of the entire process. Now, after his replacement Pete Smith has sat on the Council for a year, Jones has successfully used the legal system to weasel his way back into a seat he does not have the honor or moral turpitude to serve in.
What’s equally troubling is the fact that neither the Anne Arundel County Democratic Party nor the Maryland Democratic Party have said one peep about their freshest elected official, who has come back from the political dead to sit on a County Council despite the fact that he has been convicted of a federal offense. Where are the calls for resignation? Where are the calls for condemnation? Where is the call for his removal? Why do you think it is appropriate for a criminal to regain his seat on the County Council through nefarious legal maneuvering.
The person who showed honor tonight was Peter Smith. I know Peter, and despite the fact that he’s a Democrat he’s good people. He did the honorable thing tonight by stepping down and not forcing the county through another protracted legal battle. While I of course hope a Republican wins the seat in 2014, at least Peter Smith handled himself with class and dignity. Something that cannot be said of Councilman Jones.
Daryl Jones is a disgrace to the Anne Arundel County Council. If he had any honor and any decency he wouldn’t be sitting on that body. Unfortunately, we know he lacks honor, decency, and the moral fortitude to do what’s right. And it’s another ugly episode in a County Government that didn’t need another one.