Steuart Pittman: The Tone-Deaf Wealthy Horseman
We’ve seen a stunning example the last two days of just how out of touch wealthy horseman Steuart Pittman is.
Yesterday, the Anne Arundel County Executive launched what he calls Open Arundel. The website describes itself as ” a collection of tools and resources developed to empower our residents with information. Our mission is to make Anne Arundel County The Best Place – For All, so please use the resources on this website to gain insights and provide us with feedback on how we can improve our work.”
If this sounds a lot like former Governor Martin O’Malley’s CitiState and StateStat gimmicks, you’re right. We have covered both CityStat and StateStat extensively at Red Maryland, the most hilarious of which is the fact that the organization running CitiStat and responsible for holding city agencies accountable to their goals in Baltimore couldn’t meet its own performance goals.
While the existence of Open Arundel will never be the existential game-changer that Pittman thinks it is, while it will never help local government “move past partisan competition and earn the trust of the people” as Pittman thinks it will, it is a county accomplishment. And Pittman celebrated with this favorite kind of a celebration; a dorky video in front of a green screen. This one featuring a……virtual-ribbon cutting.
Anne Arundel County has 500 cases of COVID-19, and Steuart Pittman took time from addressing that and the county’s budget shortfalls (more on that in a minute) by making sure to film a celebratory video featuring confetti.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can tell you that with people sick with a terrible illness and the state economy shut down for the fourth week in a row, I’m not in the mood for confetti. Especially not to celebrate the launch of a superficial website that will never help an incompetent manager like Steuart Pittman accomplish anything.
Weirdly, Pittman’s confetti isn’t even the worse thing he as done this week. On Thursday, Pittman acknowledged that the county is looking at a $63 million budget shortfall. That’s understandable given the current economic climate. Pittman also (surprisingly) announced that no taxes increases were planned. So far so good.
This is where it went off the rails:
“People still owe their property taxes when they lose their jobs,” Pittman said in the video conference with The Capital and other news organizations. “That’s a real burden on family when they are losing income but they still have their house and they have to pay the taxes on it.”
Obviously people are going to owe their taxes still. But what could possibly possess an elected official to say something so callous, so tone-deaf as this? Pittman could just as easily have said “Yeah life sucks, give me your money.” The general tone of Pittman’s off-handed comment was:
One local businessman who heard the comments told Red Maryland simply that “Pittman is an ass.”
Two days in a row now Steuart Pittman has shown how incredibly tone-deaf he is when it comes to the struggles of Anne Arundel County residents. This isn’t really a surprise, considering he has already raised taxes on working people once and threatened to do it again. But it’s as if Pittman wants to accentuate the fact that he is, in fact, a wealthy horseman. We get it; Pittman’s salary as county executive is guaranteed, Pittman lives in a 6,000 square foot house worth over a million dollars, on 280 acres, in the wealthiest part of the county. Seriously, we get it; Pittman is rich and has nothing in common with the middle-class and the working people of Anne Arundel County. But when he goes on a self-congratulatory rant about a website in the middle of a decimated economy, it shows how out of touch he has with people worried if they’re going to have a job tomorrow. When he makes statements about people having to pay their taxes anyway it shows a complete and total lack of empathy, as if the fact that because is loaded and has plenty of money has completely warped him.
Once again, wealthy horseman Steuart Pittman has shown us he is not fit to lead.