The Bonfire of the Inanities in District 31

Last year I wrote about the war of words between State Senator Bryan Simonaire and disgraced former County Executive John Leopold. The two were fighting about all sorts of important things, like Leopold’s position on the school board, alleged ethics violations, and all sorts of other topics. The feud goes back to at least 2012 when Simonaire objected to Leopold’s attempt to get taxpayers to pay for Leopold’s legal fees.

This month, their feud has continued in the most modern way possible, still being fought in the pages of the Capital Letters to the Editor section.

On October 8th, Simonaire wrote to the Capital in response to Leopold’s attempt at a political resurrection:

If a politician also does inappropriate, but noncriminal, behavior while in office, a lawsuit is brought against the county, not the politician. The financial responsibility of the civil case squarely remains with the county. Unbelievably, politicians are given immunity and held financially harmless for their actions.

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However, as I have publicly requested for years, Mr. Leopold should do the honorable thing and reimburse the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the county paid on his behalf for his inappropriate actions and civil lawsuits.

Why should you, the taxpayer, have to foot the bill for a politician’s wrong actions?

Most people believe in forgiveness, including me, but there are consequences to one’s actions. If my child apologized for breaking a lamp while roughhousing, of course, I would forgive. However, you can be sure the replacement cost would come out of his or her allowance.

It is called accountability, which is missing so much in government these days.

Leopold served his prison sentence for his crimes, but he has never been held accountable for the huge lawsuits brought against the county for his other actions.

Some politicians always seem be asking for something.

Instead of asking for your vote, maybe he should start by concentrating on giving back your money.

A noble gesture to be sure, but not exactly one done out of the goodness of Simonaire’s heart considering that Leopold has openly discussed challenging Simonaire in the 2018 Republican Primary.

Leopold, who in 50 years as a professional politician has never not written a letter to the editor in response, wrote a letter to the editor in response that ran yesterday:

Hearing the footsteps of a possible political challenge, state Sen. Bryan Simonaire (The Capital, Oct. 8) responds with false accusations, stating erroneously that county taxpayers were compelled to “pay huge settlement costs” on my behalf.

Simonaire tried unsuccessfully to change state law regarding employee accountability in civil suits, but his bills were rejected by his colleagues because they would have unfairly penalized government employees who were falsely accused. I indicated publicly at the time the civil suits were filed that if there was a judgment against me, I would pay the costs involved.

The federal court dismissed one of the two wrongful termination suits filed against me, and my successor settled the other case without my input or consent. The federal court removed me as a defendant in this case, and there was, in my opinion, a wealth of evidence to enable the county to prevail if this case had gone to trial.

It should be noted that I paid my own legal bills in the Carl Snowden and American Civil Liberties Union civil case. The plaintiffs asked for approximately $400,000 in attorney fees, but the court denied the plaintiffs’ request in its entirety. The court ruled that the plaintiffs met none of the requirements to be considered “a prevailing party.”

Neither man exactly has the advantage as to who

The fact that two “leaders” are having a cat fight in the pages of the local paper is beyond useless and probably indicative of the inane campaign that the two would actually wind up running against each other. Leopold’s sordid history is well known, and calling him “ethically and morally challenged” might be the most polite way to describe him. As I wrote last month, Leopold is “a crook, hoisted on his own petard, and resigned in disgrace thanks to his own actions.” And Simonaire’s a Senator who hardly has a record to boast of in Annapolis. He’s best known best for breaking his term limits pledge (he pledged to serve two terms, is currently in his third, and is planning to run for a fourth) and for being more interested in filing legislation that will get his name in the paper (see exhibit A and exhibit B among others). He’s certainly more interested in chasing headlines than defending his conservatism, and that’s before we ever get to his support of junk science bills like this one.

Residents of District 31, such a myself, look like we are going to be treated to a Republican State Senate primary that will be less of a clash of ideas and policies and more of a clash of egos and inanities. We deserve better than this.

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