We received some Facebook photos from a concerned citizen; those photos showed Johnny O making an appearance at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium to watch the Baltimore Ravens play the Chiefs.
In true football fashion, we’re throwing the challenge flag and asking for a “booth review” to get some answers.
Considering the serious and mounting problems facing Baltimore County and its citizens, the Post felt the County Executive’s trip to an out-of-state football game may have been a little bit over the top.
For one, the photograph was taken right on the sideline. In the background, you can clearly see Ravens coach John Harbaugh talking to an NFL official.
We began to wonder how many taxpaying constituents could get that kind of on-field access. Such perks usually require $$$ or deep connections.
Per our “due diligence policy,” we sent the following email to Johnny O asking about his KC trip:
Who invited Mr. Olszewski to the game?
How did Johnny O travel to the game?
Who paid for the trip?
How did Mr. Olszewski get privileged access to the sidelines?
Who accompanied the county executive during this trip?
We received the following reply:
The county executive traveled to Kansas City with friends. He paid for himself and no taxpayer dollars were used.
While we’re glad that our tax dollars were not spent on the trip, we’re still more than a bit dismayed about Johnny O being all smiles on the sideline of an away game.
Honestly, when you look at the bigger picture, does he really have a lot to smile about?
There are quite a few serious problems facing the Olszewski administration:
- An exploding crime rate
- A crumbling infrastructure in our schools and highways
- A fiscal crisis that will further erode the county’s ability to fund many critical items
With Baltimore County already facing an $80 million budget shortfall, we felt it was–at the very least–in poor taste for Mr. Olszewski to flaunt either the money or connections required to publicize his NFL sideline access.
But Baltimore County isn’t just facing a fiscal crisis. We also have an educational crisis that hits right at the heart of Johnny O’s commitment to a “Better Baltimore County.”
The recent publication of the Maryland PARCC test scores give pause for concern, as pointed out by the Baltimore Sun:
Baltimore County math scores took one of the largest nose dives in the state, with a nearly 4 percentage point drop in grades three through eight since last year. Overall, only 26.5% of its students passed the math test in elementary and middle school. The test is scored on a scale of 1-5, with four and five considered passing.
And there are other educational issues facing the Olszewski administration. One of the more pressing problems is school bus transportation, which we wrote about previously.
It should be noted that Johnny O made education a priority in his campaign to become County Executive:
To wind down our challenge, we ask one final question:
While not funded by the taxpayers directly, was Johnny O’s sideline access at all influenced by the $78 million loan the county made to Tradepoint Atlantic, which is partly owned by Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti?
As the old saying goes, “Inquiring minds want to know.”
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