A quiet Sunday, so I did a little catching up online, reading the Web site of WTOP Newsradio in Washington, D.C., the last place I worked before starting life anew in Hawaii. One of their local stories was the indictment on criminal charges of the county executive in Anne Arundel County, Md., where I grew up. It sounded familiar.
In the 1970s, starting in my teens, I did news on a couple of radio stations in Annapolis, Md., which in addition to being the capital of Maryland is also the Anne Arundel county seat. I covered County Executive Joe Alton, arrested on political corruption charges. He did time. Alton was a nice guy apart from the illegal cash donations he put in the trunk of his car.
After reading about the indictment of the current executive, John R. Leopold, I read some Hawaii blogs I like - Ian Lind posted video of one of his cats nuzzling him and biting his nose - and was surprised to find a reference to the same John R. Leopold on Damon Tucker's blog. I hadn't realized that before he moved to Maryland, Leopold was in the Hawaii Legislature from 1970, the year I broke into radio in Annapolis while entering my senior year in high school, to 1978, by which time I was in D.C. working for the Mutual Broadcasting System and Joe Alton was out of prison.
Leopold, 69, isn't accused of political corruption in the usual sense; he's accused of using his county police protection squad to take him to sexual assignations. His travails are playing out against a background of public disgust with politicians, since a member of the Anne Arundel County Council just reported to prison on a tax violation, and the county executive of neighboring Prince George's County has been sentenced to prison in a bribery scheme.