John Olszewski, Jr.–or Johnny O, as he prefers to be called–has made “transparency” the hallmark of his campaign to become the next Baltimore County Executive.
However, since the word “transparency” has several different meanings, but we will provide a definition as it is applied to government:
Openness, accountability, and honesty define government transparency. In a free Society, transparency is government’s obligation to share information with citizens. It is at the heart of how citizens hold their public officials accountable.
Come to think of it, we wrote about a very similar issue in our last article:
For the record, Mr. Aaron Tomarchio honored his commitment and sent the Fort Howard Civic Association an actual link to the TIF document. We should mention that Baltimore County, and more specifically Mr. Will Anderson, demanded “an act of Congress” (in the form of a formal Public Information request) to share that document.
TPA is holding a meeting tonight (October 18, 2018) during which the TIF financing will be discussed. Anyone attending will not have sufficient time to review the documents pertaining to the $150 million in tax credits for this private enterprise.
The link to the TIF financing document can be found at the end of this column.
Prior to publishing our last article, The Baltimore Post sent Johnny O the following email:
Dear Mr. Olszewski:
Do you support TIF financing for Tradepoint Atlantic and if so how does this benefit the taxpayers of Baltimore County?
Please consider this query for the record.
We will be going to publication this Wednesday, October 17, 2018.
Thank you for your time in this matter.
As a seasoned politician who is touting his experience in these types of major expenditures of taxpayer funds, one would think that Johnny O would jump at the chance to answer this very important question.
However, that was not the case for any of our three attempts to get a response from the candidate.
Maybe the issue became yet another hot-button similar to the scheduled debate that was to be held at the North Point Government Center. You may remember that four days before the event Johnny O became Johnny “No-show.”
So why does Johnny O continue to make “transparency” part of his campaign initiative when he chooses not to be transparent?
The issue at hand is whether Johnny O supports using our tax dollars to fund TPA’s infrastructure and transportation so private industry can move forward without any financial risk. We think the voters at the very least should have this information before choosing our next political leaders.
With TPA holding a meeting tonight to discuss the TIF financing issue, how can anyone begin to understand the game unless the rules are provided to the players? If you’re engaged in a game of poker and have to place a bet, would you do so without being able to look at the cards you’re dealt?
The cards TPA is dealing impact the community with low-wage and unskilled jobs. If you take the time to do the math, you will find the average income for these jobs is somewhere around the $35,000 range.
What’s $35,000 get you in today’s economy? Not a whole lot if you look at this Baltimore County living wage calculator.
When viewing the living wage calculator pay special attention to the section that deals with – Typical Annual Salaries.
Back during the days of the Bethlehem steelworker, they were making about $24 an hour in 1984. That’s a far cry from the $15 an hour the workers bad TPA can expect. And that on top of the 30,000 tractor-trailers per day running through the 7th District creating traffic mayhem and pollution and you can begin to see the impact of the TIF financing.
We keep asking the same question time and time again and that is why do we as taxpayers have to ingratiate the bottom line of billionaires with our tax dollars. That one question alone may be the sole reason why Johnny O keeps taking the fifth on this particular issue.
Here is an interesting video that adds credence to the wage issues according to the TIF documentation:
A few tips in viewing and searching the below file. If you’re looking for a specific item, such as information about wages, security, infrastructure, etc., hit “Control F” and type in the specific term to highlight that term throughout the document.
Good luck and good reading.