Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker continues to invoke very cautious language when commenting on the Council’s struggle to figure out how to handle embattled Councilwoman Leslie Johnson (D-District 6).
This week the Council took steps to further curtail Johnson’s influence, denying her the customary privilege of helping steer development projects in her sprawling, mid-county district. The move follows her November arrest on charges that she and her husband, former Executive Jack Johnson, destroyed evidence and tampered with witnesses, charges the Johnsons deny.
Baker (D) was asked repeatedly on NewsTalk today whether he supports the Council’s move, but he sidestepped the issue each time, declining to get involved in the Council’s internal affairs and saying he wants the county to be less parochial and more broad-minded in how it views development.
He said he moved to replace the county’s alternate representative on the Metro board because of concerns that Marcel Solomon missed more than his share of meetings. He wants Solomon’s replacement to be a regular transit user and someone who can help steer development to the areas surrounding the county’s Metro stations, with no current or future ties to such projects.
He also talked about steps he’s taking to close a project budget shortfall, promote jobs, create an Office of the Inspector General to root about fraud, and avoid a cut in state education aid.
Part 1 of our interview with Mr. Baker can be seen today at 4pm and 6pm on TBD TV. Part 2 is here:
We also talked about the quality of the District’s drinking water with DC Water GM George Hawkins, who downplayed the likelihood that residents and visitors are being exposed to excess levels of lead or chromium. We also talked about the impact cold weather is having on the city’s aging network of underground pipes. Our interview with Hawkins can be seen later today, at the times mentioned above.
Lastly, we talked with state Sen. Alex Mooney of Frederick County. Mooney, a surprise loser in November, has just been elected chairman of the Maryland Republican Party. He conceded it’s going to take time for his party to become more relevant, particularly in the wake of losses the GOP suffered in the state Senate and former Governor Bob Ehrlich’s unsuccessful bid to defeat Gov. O’Malley.
Mooney’s defeat may open the door to the legalization of gay marriage in Maryland, because he’ll no longer be a “no” vote on the influential Judicial Proceedings Committee. He refused to condemn efforts to give gays the opportunity to marry. And he appeared to reject the notion that the party will have to tolerate moderates if it is to win in certain parts of the state.
Friday at 10am: The annual DC “Kids Count” report
Monday at 10am: President Obama’s December to remember