Letter: I’m voting Johnny O for Baltimore County executive. Here’s why…
Posted by Peta N. Richkus on 29th October 2018
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—– By: Peta N. Richkus —–

Johnny Olszewski, Jr., Democratic candidate for Baltimore County executive.  Photo Source: Candidate’s Social Media Campaign Page

My personal position on the Baltimore County tradition of pay-to-play has been made crystal clear in other venues, and directly to John Olszewski, Jr. It must stop. We will be watching.

Should “Johnny O” be elected County Executive, it will be a test of his character and his campaign pledges whether he will resist the many pressures that will be brought to bear. Alan Zukerberg’s Letter to the Editor (https://thebaltimorepost.com/letter-why-im-voting-for-al-redmer-for-baltimore-county-executive) lays out all the issues that concern me also. But I have hope that Olszewski will measure up, and I continue to be encouraged by so many engaged and vocal civic-minded citizens who will be monitoring and verifying his actions and those of his administration.

Like David Plymyer in his Op-Ed in the Sun (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-op-1015-redmer-discrimination-20181012-story.html), I could not vote for someone who uses racially-charged language and false descriptions of important policy issues to inflame fear and resentment among some voters for his own political gain. But more than that, Al Redmer is the kind of “old school” politician who ignores the requirements of his office, the needs of the people he is supposed to serve, and flaunts the law because he can, and he has, with no significant consequences.

His social media campaign, headed by a graduate of the masterful Hogan PR Machine, has done a good job of scrubbing his internet trail, but traditional media archives document that:

Al Redmer plays fast and loose with his time sheets. (I am personally acquainted with state agency time sheets and Redmer’s excuses for not releasing his are not credible.)

Redmer failed, as head of the Maryland Insurance Administration (responsible for regulating the state’s insurance companies and producers and for investigating complaints consumers have about their insurance coverage), to defend area victims of Tropical Storm Isabel against flood insurance providers, in stark contrast with other affected states who found ways to support their citizens facing similar insurance claims nightmares (and shortly after his predecessor, Steven B. Larsen, released a report saying the insurance commissioner can and should take aggressive action to make sure companies that sell flood insurance settle claims fairly, noting that federal law does not preclude state insurance commissioners from regulating the companies that sell flood policies).

Redmer, although in public service for almost 30 years and so in a position to know better, has violated Maryland election law more than once. You can “Google” it.

Maryland taxpayers deserve a full-time insurance commissioner to stand up to the insurance industry, advocate for Maryland taxpayers, and fight for fair rates. We have NOT had that in Al Redmer. Baltimore County residents deserve a County Executive with personal integrity and concrete plans for the future of a better Baltimore County. Al Redmer does NOT offer either.

So, I am voting for “Johnny O.”

 

– Peta N. Richkus, Towson

Peta N. Richkus was Secretary of the Maryland Department of General Services (1999–2003) and Port Commissioner, Maryland Port Administration (2008–2014).