County Council officially opposes stadium
Action described as somewhat moot' since state leaders have already voiced concerns
The Prince George's County Council formally voted today to oppose legislation regarding a study of whether to build a Major League Soccer stadium in the county.
The majority of the council had voted against the legislation two weeks ago, but Council Chairwoman Marilynn M. Bland (D-Dist. 9) of Clinton said the vote wasn't final and did not put the item on the agenda last week.
Bland, who was an early supporter of building a stadium in Landover for the D.C. United soccer franchise, voted along with the other seven council members Tuesday to send a letter to state leaders opposing the stadium, effectively killing any momentum for the project.
Councilwoman Camille Exum (D-Dist. 7) of Capitol Heights did not attend the meeting.
Members acknowledged that state leaders have already stopped action on the soccer study bill after Bland was unable to muster support from the council in recent weeks.
"This particular matter has run its course, so to speak," said Councilman Tony Knotts (D-Dist. 8) of Temple Hills, who called the council vote "somewhat moot."
The letter states that the council is officially opposed to state bills on the stadium for a variety of reasons.
"The council has not been appropriately and sufficiently advised, consulted or engaged in discussions of the proposed stadium, state legislation or amendments," states the letter approved by the group.
Unless the concerns are resolved by the state, the council will not change its opposition, the letter states.
The letter was one of two that Bland presented to the council.
A softer version the council declined to endorse enumerated the group's concerns and asked for "favorable consideration" of their concerns.
The stadium issue has roiled the council and state officials since members first took a position against it at their March 24 meeting. After the council voted against House Bill 1282 and Senate Bill 1020 that day, Bland issued a statement indicating that their position was not final.
Last week, faced with a majority in opposition, Bland called an abrupt recess, walking out on the council and more than a dozen residents who had signed up to speak against the soccer stadium.
Council members chastised Bland for the delay in taking a stand as they voted Tuesday.
"We would [normally] take our positions before, not after, Annapolis makes a decision," said Councilwoman Ingrid Turner (D-Dist. 4) of Bowie.
"This doesn't provide an impact on anything," he said. "Had it been out earlier, it would have set the tone [in Annapolis]."
Bland declined repeated requests for comment Tuesday.
House Appropriations Chairman Norman H. Conway (D-Dist. 38B) of Salisbury said last week that Bland had told him that she expected the council would change its position.
Bland's behavior in recent weeks has provoked a resident backlash. A small coalition of community groups are scheduled to protest in Upper Marlboro at noon Wednesday calling for the chairwoman to resign.
"The citizens of Prince George's County are demanding respect and accountability from our elected officials," organizer Sandra Pruitt of Mitchellville wrote.