I felt I needed to see the job description for the Prince George’s County, County Executive for myself so I could know the difference between what Jack Johnson did and what he was actually supposed to do. Unlike a lot of the columnists and newscasters, both liberal and conservative, I’m not here scolding the county for its past votes for Jack or to ask how could you LET this happen? I mean really, I was born and raised in Washington, “this bitch set me up”, DC. Newsflash for media: There is enough voting for the lesser evil in all our pasts. Please take this time to erase that smug look from your face.
As best as I can understand from the Prince George’s County charter, the County Executive is charged with writing the county’s annual and semi-annual report, the financial report for the County and its executive branch, and reporting to the County Council as needed. The County Executive recommends legislation to the council, makes sure official documents are signed, enforces laws, and here’s where things probably get sticky for Jack Johnson and those soon to be shackled with him: the County Executive appoints members of all boards and commissions subject to confirmation by the Council. So good old Jack appointed persons to positions that would be amenable to his method of dealing with developers.
There are quite a few people going down on the Jack Johnson ship, and to that I say let the ship sink. The current ship a sail is the S.S. Rushern Baker and its crew will not assume the guilt associated with the sinking of the Jackson. The media’s puritan posture over the Jack Johnson debacle is a joke anyway. When did the media become such purveyors of high moral standards?
Prince Georgians pay taxes, work, invest, and yes, vote. Turns out Prince Georgians voted for a pretty crummy guy. So definitely, I will be party to the condemnation of Jack Johnson’s conduct but I won’t, as a resident, be chastised by the media as if I was party to his crime or have my ability to self govern questioned because of a dirty politician.
Did anyone tell the people of Chicago they’d better vote better when the political machines were running? West Virginians haven’t been sent to time out for the deeds of their corrupt officials. How about Louisiana, which ranked highest among U.S. states in corruption convictions per capita between 1998-2007? In any of theses instances, do you recall the residents being routinely blamed for the crimes of their elected officials?
The media’s stance on Prince George’s residents ability to govern themselves brings to mind a political cartoon I remember seeing from Thomas Nast who was renowned for being anti-slavery, pro Lincoln, an innovator and front-runner for his time and age but still capable of the cartoon image here.
And before you, my dear reader, recoil at my “playing the race card,” consider the facts: political corruption, under the table deals, pay-for-play, political appointments/jobs as reward for faithful service and kept secrets, all go on in Fairfax County, Washington, DC, Frederick MD, Ocean City, Annapolis, just about everywhere in this politically charged region. But only in Prince George’s County are the residents as culpable as the officials who perpetrate these crimes.