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Johnny O gets a “zero” in first test regarding his promise to be transparent
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 11th January 2019
Was Johnny O being sworn in or swearing about the questions the Post was asking? (Photo credit: One News Page)

Folks, what you see is not always what you get.

Especially when it comes to politics. What you voted for is not always what you get.

In this particular case, the newly elected Baltimore County Executive, John Olszewski, Jr. (who prefers to be called “Johnny O”), was expected to fulfill his promises regarding transparency and open government. These issues were exemplified numerous times throughout his campaign.

Transparency and open government were vital components of this editorial piece in The Baltimore Sun, as revealed in the paragraph below:

That notion of transparency — of allowing people full access to information — has been something of a catch phrase for “outsiders” running for political office, but it is not always embraced once they are sworn in. Yet few Marylanders have more control over information such as how taxpayer dollars are collected and spent or how planning and zoning decisions are made than do people like newly sworn-in Baltimore County Executive John A. “Johnny O” Olszewski Jr. As a county’s chief executive…

There is an old idiom that states, “Actions speak louder than words.” With that in mind, The Baltimore Post decided to test Johnny O by sending him an email asking some very pertinent questions; ones that may impact taxpayers for decades.

Below is what we sent on January 8, 2019, at 1:07 PM.

Dear Ms. Kobler:

Could you please advise us on the County Executive’s stance on the sanctuary status of Baltimore County?

Will Mr. Olszewski, Jr. continue to follow the same administrative agenda as per the late County Executive Kevin Kamenetz in keeping the sanctuary status of Baltimore County?

We are also aware of the county’s $2 billion debt issue which will only increase as more illegals migrate into Baltimore County. Additionally could you please provide us with information about the number of none English speaking students in the BCPS along with the cost factor associated with this issue?

Is Mr. Olszewski, Jr. also aware of the circumstances surrounding the $78 million funding for Tradepoint Atlantic? In a recent report, TPA admitted that most of the jobs would not come from Baltimore County. The tax benefits to Baltimore County would be negligible. Another factor impacting this funding for TPA is the time frame in which the taxpayers begin to see repayment of these funds. According to the auditors report that could be as long as 34 years.

How can County Executive Olszewski, Jr. justify Baltimore County’s pledge to improve the infrastructure of a privately held company, when many of our similar issues are in decline?

Thank you for your time in this matter.

We will be going to print within the next two days.

(Publisher’s Note: The Post gave the county executive three extra days to reply. As of press time, there has been no answer. So much for transparency and open government.)

After reading our email to Johnny O about the budget issues, do you think that the Sun may have jumped to some conclusions? Check out this quote:

To his credit, Mr. Olszewski has touted a free flow of information as part of his “good government” campaign plank and pledged, among other things, to make it much easier for average Baltimore County residents to track the budget.

There is another old idiom that goes, “Open mouth, insert foot.”  

We were hoping that Johnny O would keep his promise when he said, “Government works best when people drive the conversation.”

This particular quote came from the Baltimore County News site:

The Baltimore County Commission on Fiscal Sustainability, which Olszewski created on his first day in office, is tasked with developing recommendations to improve fiscal sustainability and identify opportunities for enhanced transparency and increased public engagement in the budgeting process.

Again, notice the words, “Enhanced transparency and increased public engagement…”

The Post took a look at the members of Johnny O’s “blue-ribbon” panel and found some of the same old, same old. Why appoint a member–specifically Mr. Don Mohler, who was the former county executive and part of the late Kevin Kamenetz administration–who helped create the current fiscal crisis?

Did we also mention that Mr. Mohler’s brother, Mike, is also part of Johnny O’s administration? That is another case of outright nepotism in county government.

Another unusual name showed up in the commission list: Lester Davis. His background included serving as Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of the Office of Policy & Communications for Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young. We want to remind our readers that Johnny O held a very lucrative position in the city, as did his counterpart, Jim Smith.

To us, that smells like a little political payback.

This photo was taken during a symposium on crime sponsored by Republican Delegate Rick Metzgar, who is standing to the right of the state flag. To his right is Jack Young from the Baltimore City Council. (Photo credit: Facebook)

We are perplexed that a Baltimore City politician would be so involved in county business. The Post believes this may be the beginning of an unholy alliance with another dysfunctional government, which raises additional red flags.

Our next column on Johnny O will discuss some of his political appointments. You will see some very familiar names in that group, too.

For those taxpaying citizens who may be upset over some of the issues, you will have your chance to voice your concerns at Johnny O’s scheduled town hall meetings, which will take place in various districts around the county. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 23, at 6:30 PM at the Randallstown Community Center, 3505 Resource Drive, Randallstown, MD 21133. The councilman for that area is Julian Jones. Remember, he was the one who introduced legislation for the TPA corporate welfare loan of $78 million.

People choosing to attend any of these town hall meetings will be screened by security at the door, most likely for any kind of cream pies, rotten vegetables, or eggs.

Folks, that was a joke. We find that, if you don’t have a sense of humor, some this stuff will drive you crazy.

We will be sure to report on what happens at these meetings. Stay tuned…

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