Color me Unimpressed

The defense put up by some Anne Arundel County legislators as to why they need to stay in Annapolis during the General Assembly session is lame:

Del. Virginia P. Clagett lives a 16-mile drive from Annapolis, in the community of West River in southern Anne Arundel County. For the 90-day annual legislative session in the capital, the Democrat lodges a few yards from the State House, at the historic Governor Calvert House….

….Clagett spent $10,556 in public money on hotel costs last year, while Costa spent $110.88 according to a list of state travel expenses, part of the nearly $130,000 in reimbursement that Anne Arundel County lawmakers sought for mileage, food, lodging and conventions in 2007.

“I don’t think I could function … if I didn’t have that ability to be here late at night, early in the morning, no matter the weather or the traffic,” said Clagett, 64, a member of the House of Delegates leadership. “I don’t think my family would want me to.”

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It’s a 32-mile round trip for Clagett. My round-trip to and from work is three times longer. I don’t see anybody volunteering to let me spend the night near work. Clagett’s excuse is unconscionable: if you can’t function after a 16-mile drive, get the hell out of the General Assembly, please.

What’s even funnier to me is the fact that who comes to the legislators defense but…..Common Cause?:

Ryan O’Donnell, executive director of Common Cause Maryland, called the stipends and reimbursements provided to lawmakers “a legitimate use of money for doing their jobs.”

“Annapolis is enough of a fraternity like it is,” O’Donnell said. “We don’t want lawmakers eating ramen noodles and living in dorm rooms.”

Seriously? Does O’Donnell really think legislators who live twenty minutes away are going to eat ramen and live in dorms? Is this character that ignorant?

As I said before, it’s perfectly legitimate to have legislators from the farthest reaches of our state be reimbursed for lodging, but to have the legislators from Anne Arundel County to exploit the taxpayers like this should be seen as nothing more than a violation of public trust and embarrassingly poor judgment.


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