Leslie Johnson determined to keep council seat until October
Prince George's County Council member Leslie Johnson has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit witness and evidence tampering, which is part of that federal corruption probe involving her husband, former County Executive Jack Johnson. She'll have to give up her council seat, but not before her sentencing in October.
While the Maryland state law is a little fuzzy on the timing, it definitely requires that she forfeit her seat after she begins her sentence, which is scheduled for mid-October. The question now is whether she'll feel forced to resign earlier than that – either because it's difficult to do her job effectively, representing her constituents in District 6, around Mitchellville, when everybody knows she's a lame duck, or because it's such an embarrassment to the county to have a sitting council member that admitted committing a federal felony.
"She seems determined to stay on," says McCartney. 'She made a point yesterday that she wants to continue serving those in need. I think another reason is to collect about $2,800 in salary that she'd get during that three and a half months. She and her husband need the money, if only to pay off all their legal bills. And I think whether she feels forced to resign will depend a lot on whether there’s a strong and continuing wave of public pressure on her to step down early."
There was an important step yesterday when County Executive Rushern Baker urged her to resign, says McCartney. This was necessary to restore pride and optimism. At least three members of the county council have also called for her to step down, but they’re mostly people who have criticized her in the past. And it’s not yet a majority of the nine-member council.
Virginia poll shows McDonnell with a popularity ranking
A poll out this week shows Virignia Gov. Bob McDonnell with a very high popularity ranking – a 2 to 1 approval rating.
"I think the main thing that he's done is that he hasn't really offending anybody," McCartney says. "The poll showed that the voters liked him personally by a considerably bigger margin that they actually liked his policies. But on a substantive front, he is also seen as doing a good job on a number of issues, and on especially handling the budget in difficult economic times. I mean, you'll remember that a couple of his main legislative priorities failed, notably his signature issue of privatizing the state liquor stores in order to raise money for transportation. The state legislature would not approve that. He also did not succeed in overhauling the state employees' retirement system to save money. But he did push through nearly $3 billion in borrowing to raise money to fix roads and to support mass transit. And he's overseeing cuts in state spending of billions of dollars – either $4 billion or $6 billion, depending on who’s counting, and balance the budget without raising taxes."
Poll shows more than half of Americans think U.S. should stay out of Libya
Another poll from Quinnipiac University revealed that 55 percent of respondents think the U.S. had no business being in Afghanistan, and 60 percent said we shouldn’t be involved in Libya.
"I think it's remarkable that there's so much opposition to military intervention oversees in Virginia,” says McCartney. "The Pentagon is based in Virginia. It has the very large Hampton Roads Naval Bases. And it's got either the highest or one of the highest veterans in the country. And I think that poll shows in military households, along with the rest of the public, overall were both against involvement with Afghanistan and Libya."