"Embarrassing, frustrating and disrespectful." That's how some describe what happened at a special called meeting of the Long Beach Board of Alderman Thursday evening.
The board was to vote on whether to cancel a non-binding referendum set for Tuesday of next week. That referendum asks Long Beach citizens if they favor or oppose casino gambling in their city. But the vote that was supposed to happen, never came.
The room was filled with Long Beach residents. The mayor was there and so were three of the seven aldermen. But to take a vote, you need four aldermen - a quorum. Since they had only three, no vote could be taken.
It also means this was never an official meeting. But the discussion that did happen, wasn't pretty. Eventually, the discussion turned into an argument with a former alderman criticizing a current board member.
"You can come back from Baton Rouge and make a meeting like this, but you can't represent your own ward. You are here to stop casinos and you, you #@!*," one audience member said to former Long Beach Alderman Tim Pierce.
Moments after that everybody apparently decided enough was enough and they left. After the meeting, we asked Alderman Charles Boggs if the heated discussion accomplished anything.
"Probably just stirred the pot a little bit more," Boggs said. "It made me angry and I am struggling for it not to impact my decision."
"If there is no quorum tomorrow, I will not stay around and listen to the bickering back and forth," Mayor Billy Skellie said.
If there is no quorum Friday, or any other day a special meeting is called, then no vote can be taken. That means the referendum would go on as scheduled Tuesday.
We were not able to reach any of the absent board members to ask why they did not come to Thursday's meeting.