Bessemer City Council tries electronic bingo again

By Alan Collins

BESSEMER, AL (WBRC) - For the third time, the Bessemer City Council has passed an electronic bingo ordinance.

The council approved the new ordinance Tuesday on a 4-3 vote, a margin still short of overriding a veto promised by Bessemer Mayor Ed May, who has vetoed previous council attempts to legalize electronic bingo in Bessemer.  Supporters of the ordinance said the city is losing money to other cities where electronic bingo is being played.

"Bessemer could use the money because our constituents are going to those cities playing bingo," Jesse Matthews, city councilman said.

But not everyone on the council agree.

"It's legally and morally wrong," Jimmy Stephens, city councilman said. "They are trying to circumvent our state laws with a local ordinance."

Mayor May on Tuesday questioned the motives of those council members who voted for the ordinance.

"There was always a question in my mind, there may be some councilors in Bessemer may have bene compromised," May said.

The mayor's allegation drew strong reaction from some councilors.

"He should know better," Louise Alexander, city councilwoman said. "I've not compromised myself in any way. I haven't taken anything from anybody. I don't think other council members have taken anything."

"He is supposed to be a man of God, would talk about his brothers and sisters as such, not knowing the facts, I don't understand that," Earl Cochran, city council president, said.

May has ten days to veto the ordinance. If he does so, five councilors would have to vote yes to override his veto.

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