Oh, John Leopold, you are currently by far the most ridiculous County Executive and/or Mayor in Maryland since Prince George’s Jack Johnson and Mayor Sheila Dixon. Thank you for picking up the slack of comedic ethic violations in their absence! Friday, it was announced that the two-term Republican Anne Arundel County Executive is under indictment for using his county police protection officers to assist him with his tawdry affair with a former employee (after years of his sexual harassment of multiple female county employees), Constance Casalena, as well as illegally removing Democratic yard signs in the 2010 election.
It’s amusing to ponder that if Leopold wasn’t, well himself, he would have been (at least on paper) a logical GOP contender for Governor in 2014. He was once the Hawaii State Director of Planned Parenthood. Besides his polluting via throwing his opponents’ yard signs into ravines, his environmental record is not bad. He would still have undoubtedly lost handedly against any of the extremely qualified potential Democratic candidates. But instead, he has always seemed content with abusing his current power and schtupping (or at least trying to) female County employees. Say what you will about Former Governor Eliot Spitzer, but at least he kept it out of the workplace. Former President Clinton is somewhere thinking, “Johnny, did you not learn anything from me, seriously guy?“ That is, if he knew or cared whom Leopold is.
I personally don’t care what politicians, or people in general, do in their private lives. In the words of the late Congressman “Big” Tim Sullivan (D-NY), “If my neighbor is hungry, I feed him*, but I keep my nose out of his business.” I refuse to judge a person on his or her impulses. I’m certainly no saint by any means. I will laugh at their expense when the story is funny though. However, using public funds & government personnel to do so is abominable. Using county police to ensure that his girlfriend that he lives with and his mistress didn’t meet when he was in the hospital is even more appalling. Worst though is his ordering his police protection service to pull up yard signs of his Democratic opponent, Joanna Conti, in the 2010 election. And it’s people like the AA County Exec that are exactly why we have sexual harassment in the work-place laws. I also can’t help but wonder, why didn’t Leopald and Ms. Casalena just use her place or get a sleazy motel room instead of a car while parked in a secluded area? Seriously, why would anyone after high school regularly use a car if they didn’t have to? He might call himself a small government conservative, yet he couldn’t have the decency to use private funds for his private life, really?
There is a more serious issue here. With the state trying to shift the responsibility of paying hundreds of millions of dollars in teachers’ pensions to the counties, now more than ever is not the time to waste county tax dollars on frivolous abuses. Many oppose this shift, as most jurisdictions cannot afford the additional expenditures, including Anne Arundel. This county is certainly more financially solvent than others, but only barely. Somewhere right now in Glen Burnie or Annapolis or elsewhere, there is a former civil servant who lost his or her job in the last year or two allegedly as an act of fiscal responsibility. We now know that at least one person lost their job so the County Executive could fund his election law violations and private affair with county taxes.
The good people of Hawaii should count it a blessing that 55% of them voted against Leopold when he ran to be their Governor in the 1978 election. In 1980, their then GOP State Senate Leader, Wadsworth Yee publicly said that he was not to be trusted. So in 1981, he “carpet-bagged” it to the “Free State”, and later moved to Anne Arundel in March of ‘82. He was then elected to the House of Delegates that November. I hope his carpetbag had aloha flowers on it. It might had taken Maryland 30 years to figure out what it took the “Aloha State” figured out in 12, but we will be saying aloha, in the goodbye sense, to Leopold soon enough. Regardless as to if he is convicted on all or any charges, forced to resign, or gets off (not in his usual way) scot-free and terms out, Leopold’s two-state and 42 year political career is done. Thanks for the laughs, Johnny, and know this is what your meager legacy will be.
* Should anyone want to help feed their neighbors, please join us to volunteer at Terra Café on the corner of 25th St & Saint Paul St on Sunday March 11th at 10am, and every 2nd Sunday. As part of the Neighbors Without Walls (NWOW) initiative, we make and distribute brown bags (anywhere between 100-500 so far and growing) of meals and toiletries to Baltimore’s homeless population. Please donate food to make sandwiches, clothing, or toiletries, and join us in making the packets. Please message me if you would like more details. Your altruism will not be forgotten.