Yesterday as I entered an interview at work, I was greeted with the happy news that my county executive, Jack Johnson, was arrested for corruption.
Somehow, I’m not shocked.
His wife was also arrested, according to the police report she had $78,000 stuffed into her bra. I wanna know the denomination of those bills. And what size bra she was wearing. According to the US treasury site the highest denomination in circulation is the $100.00 bill. So, seriously, where the heck did she put it? She’s not a huge woman, so….where? How?
Read the link, from the conversation Mr. Johnson had with his wife right before their arrests, it was clear that there are more arrests and charges to come. Mr. Johnson was taking money from a developer for favors. He’s long been accused of diverting millions of dollars in county contracts to friends and family.
The one thing in this story that really pissed me off was our esteemed governor’s response: “sad day for Prince George’s County and for County Executive Johnson and his family.” That’s all you got, O’Malley? It’s sad? It’s reprehensible, not sad. Sad?
The last 8 years have seen a boom in development in PG. A crazy boom. There are million dollar houses built nearby. Well, they used to be a million. Now, not so much. They’ve lost a lot of their worth and many stay empty. PG is currently the foreclosure capital of Maryland. Not surprising to me. Lots of empty storefronts. Not a shocker. We’ve got ridiculously expensive housing not much in the way of affordable housing and then the bubble burst.
Our newly elected but not yet seated county executive is, according to local scuttlebutt, another in the same mold as Mr. Johnson.
My take on the corruption that infests PG county is that it’s been under one party’s rule for so long they feel like they own it, like it’s their own personal playground. The Democatic party is deeply entrenched and everywhere. It’s endlessly frustrating to be a Republican here. I say that I blame the Democratic party of PG county not because I think Democrats are necessarily corrupt nor do I think that Republicans aren’t by virtue of being Republicans. I blame the party entrenched here BECAUSE it is the party entrenched here. When the parties share power in a place everything tends to get more cleansing light. When just one party rules, corruption is more easily covered up and grown. It gets passed from one administration to another.
I keep hoping that PG will grow a viable Republican/Conservative base, if only to provide an impetus to keep everything clean. It would be a lovely thing if politicians in PG county saw it as the wonderful place it could be instead of as a place to rob.