Enough is enough for the people of the state of Maryland.
The revelation that Richard Stewart, one of the appointees to the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Commission pleaded guilty last week to tax evasion was bad enough. The idea that Governor O'Malley and his staff were unaware of the fact that Stewart entered a guilty plea a week ago, and even more, in public statements, oblivious to the fact that Stewart was even under investigation is worse. Now, word on the street might be that Governor O'Malley and his staff may have known about the allegation and did nothing about it is really the straw that broke the camel's back, at least for me.
This is one of the more disturbing stories that I have seen in quite some time; Martin O'Malley appointed a tax fraud to help draw our Congressional and Legislative District lines. The fact that a crook helped in this process is mind-boggling to me. Do the people of Maryland have any way of being certain that Richard Stewart was fair, above-board, and honest in his dealings with the Redistricting Advisory Committee? If somebody has defrauded the government of taxes, surely they are capable of making deals with special interests to be their champion on this committee yes? That's not to accuse Stewart or anybody else of doing that, but now it is certainly not out of the realm of suspicion given Stewart's guilty plea.
Complicating matters even more is the fact that the fact that Stewart is a member of the Maryland Stadium Authority. Think about the number of contracts that the MSA hands out on a yearly basis. Just this month, the Stadium Authority dealt with renovations at Camden Yards, building a new stadium for D.C. United in the D.C. suburbs, and selling $102 million worth of bonds. So not only does Stewart have a hand in drawing our reapportionment map, he's got a pipeline right to the trough of state spending, leading to the potential of even further corruption.
And that's to say nothing of the far reaching corruption that was uncovered at the State Highway Administration.
Let's face it: nobody is paying much attention in the O'Malley Administration.
Since his re-election to the Governor's Office last year, Martin O'Malley seems to be spending less and less time focusing on his day job as the Governor of Maryland. He is completely consumed, it would appear, with being the chairman of the Democratic Governor's Association. Sure, he airdrops in every once in a while for big stuff, such as the Plan Maryland debacle. He will call for tax increases, and he will run down opponents to his big government liberalism. But it has become plain as day that Martin O'Malley has mentally checked out of anything resembling the pertinent details of running this state. Martin O'Malley is too busy launching his 2016 Presidential Campaign to worry too much about the details of running a state.
And that's where the problem really comes in. Let's face it, finding out that Richard Stewart was a tax fraud took Steve Kolbe a mere Google search to discover. You would think that the Administration would've put at least that much effort into appointing somebody to help draw the legislative districts that would define our state for the next ten years, especially knowing that the Congressional and Legislative districts were almost certain to wind up in court.
If the O'Malley Administration is punting on the level of effort it takes to accomplish the simple things, what important things are being completely overlooked by this administration? It seems that O'Malley and company are too busy measuring the drapes at the White House and jetting off to the next campaign stop to notice that corruption is rampant in their administration.
And therein lies the rub. Maryland is currently struggling with a number of problems without having an absentee Governor. Stewart is a tax cheat. Ulysses Currie just skated by on corruption chargers. Tiffany Alston has been charged with stealing from her campaign. The culture of corruption in Annapolis is continuing to spiral out of control. Meanwhile, the people of Maryland are continuing to suffer from an economic climate that is not conducive to job creation, job creation, or economic prosperity for Maryland's middle and working class families. Simultaneously, it seems like only the politically connected are getting tax breaks and government subsidies, as we have seen with O'Malley's Offshore Wind Plan and other examples of rampant corporatism in Maryland. The kind of corporatism you generally find with political corruption.
Maryland has far too many problems to have questions right now about the propriety of its government leaders (hence the ethics program that we have previously discussed). The fact that Maryland has an absentee Governor who does not have his hand on the ship of state is particularly problematic in that type of situation. What Maryland needs right now is not a third-rate Irish rock singer who thinks that he wants to be President of the United States. We need somebody who is going to actually fulfill the Constitutional duties assigned to the office of the Governor. And Martin O'Malley doesn't seem to want to do that.
The time for leadership is now, and Martin O'Malley should show some leadership and let Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, who actually seems like he wouldn't mind having the job, take over and try to see what one can do as Governor when it's your primary focus. At this point, given his record, given his ability to focus on details, and given the fact that his day job is keeping him away from his true dream of running for President of the United States, I call on Martin O'Malley to resign the office of Governor of Maryland immediately.
The job of Governor of Maryland, both in this culture of corruption and in the current economic climate, is far too important to be left in the hands of somebody so disinterested in executing it. Therefore, it is in both the best interest of the people of Maryland as well as the current Governor for him to step aside and allow somebody else to lead our state.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Enough is enough for the people of the state of Maryland.