You Get Who You Vote For
I’m proud of the County Council for limiting Leslie Johnson’s authority by barring her from committee work and oversight of development projects in District 6. While a lot of District 6 residents may think it is unfair because they won’t have equal representation, I have little sympathy for them. That may sound callous, but I have strong reasons for feeling the way that I do.
First of all, despite being elected by their own districts, Council members are all responsible for doing what is best for the entire county. They are the highest paid Council members in the state of Maryland and have ample staff to carry out this mission. If you cannot reach out to your own district’s representative, then you should certainly reach out to another competent member of Council if you need assistance or want to express your opinion about a County issue. It is their job as public servants to help you, and your tax dollars provide generous compensation for their work.
The more important reason I cannot empathize with the frustration expressed by residents of District6 is because as Ms. Johnson said herself, you voted for her. Well, at least 6,400 of you did. Only 21 percent of registered voters even bothered to vote, so the other 79 percent have no reason to complain. Of those 21 percent who voted, but did not vote for Ms. Johnson, I do agree that you have a right to be angry. However, given the importance of your Council member’s influence over issues in your district, it requires a bit more effort than your vote to make sure the right person is elected.
There were other, more qualified individuals on the ballot who would have served you well in District 6. However, in order to overcome the name recognition and financial backing of Ms. Johnson’s husband, those other candidates needed more than your vote. They needed your financial contribution, they needed your sweat equity while you knocked on doors and made phone calls, and they needed you to make sure that the missing 79 percent got to the polls during early voting or on election day. These are the only tools that would have helped overcome the political machinery behind Ms. Johnson.
If you are still so dissatisfied, where is your outrage? Only 200 people signed the petition asking her to step aside. Nobody, to my knowledge, has made it difficult for Ms. Johnson to show up, take the oath of office, and attend Council meetings. If you were really outraged, thousands would sign the petition, hundreds would protest at her house and Council meetings, and people would make Ms. Johnson’s life so miserable that she would decide that it’s far better to resign than keep going. Right now, it’s pretty easy for her to go to work, be ignored, pick up her paycheck, and use it to pay her legal bills. That’s not her fault, that’s yours.