Opinion: Is Johnny O. Becoming a Centrist?

Johnny Olszewski Jr., the Baltimore County executive. Baltimore County Government photo

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski proposed a progressive agenda during his candidacy. However, during his first term, two pending decisions include public-private partnerships and a less-than-progressive nominee for police chief. Prince George’s County, my previous home county, has also proposed school construction through P3s. Del. Alonzo Washington spoke to this as the District 22 delegation visited the Greenbelt City Council on May 13.

As a person involved in fighting for-profit, corporate interests, I firmly believe that the private sector does not have the best interests of the public at heart, but rather their own bottom lines. P3s serve only to satisfy the desires of business owners, developers and shareholders who do not reside in Baltimore County. P3s are anything but progressive.

Secondly, County Executive “Johnny O” nominated Melissa Hyatt to become the new police chief in Baltimore County. Hyatt is the former Baltimore City Police colonel and head of Johns Hopkins University security. She has been a force behind the armed private police coming to the university, medical campuses and surrounding communities that have rejected additional occupying forces with no accountability. Students have forced negotiations with the JHU president.

Additionally, Hyatt was an incident commander in 2015 during the uprising following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody, which was ruled a homicide. She has managed several large-scale events, such as the uprising, the Baltimore Marathon and others.

Residents of Baltimore County and progressive groups, including Our Revolution who endorsed and campaigned for Olszewski, ought to hold the Baltimore county executive to his campaign pledges. There was a clear reason that they did not campaign for and elect candidates such as Jim Brochin, much less someone like Al Redmer.

Baltimore County residents deserve the progress that candidate Johnny O promised.

–RENAUD DE’AUNDRÉ BROWN

The writer is a member of Baltimore County Green Party.

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