- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 2, 2002

When Prince George's County voters go to the polls on Tuesday to elect a new county executive, they'll have the opportunity to choose between two starkly different visions of the county's future: The one offered by Audrey Scott, the lone Republican on the Democrat-dominated council; and State's Attorney Jack Johnson, the Democratic Party nominee and prohibitive favorite in a county where Democrats hold a 5-1 registration advantage.
Although Mrs. Scott, our choice to replace outgoing County Executive Wayne Curry, is a decided underdog in her campaign against Mr. Johnson, her impressive background (more than 30 years of experience in federal and county government and the private sector) makes her a candidate worthy of serious consideration. Mrs. Scott also is a former three-time mayor of Bowie, and she served as deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the Reagan and Bush I administrations.
During her eight years on the County Council, Mrs. Scott has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with her Democratic colleagues to get the essential business of government done. For example, in 1994, Gov.-elect Parris Glendening delivered a parting surprise a deficit well in excess of $100 million. So, Mrs. Scott joined Mr. Curry and her Democratic colleagues on the council in devising a plan to clean up the fiscal mess left by Mr. Glendening.
Mrs. Scott's Democratic colleagues elected her vice chairman of the council, where she is the liaison to the school board. Unsurprisingly, the main focus of her campaign is education. She supports charter schools and vouchers. She also opposes repealing TRIM, the voter-approved property-tax limit for county residents.
Like Mrs. Scott, Mr. Johnson deserves credit for his opposition to getting rid of TRIM. But, Mr. Johnson (who also makes education a centerpiece of his campaign) does not support publicly financed school vouchers. And he wants Annapolis to send more money to the county for school construction and other education-related costs. He has put forward some positive-sounding ideas on ways to improve vital public services like police and transportation, but is vague about the cost or funding sources.
But, by far, the most troubling concern we have about Mr. Johnson's leadership abilities is the poisonous relationship between the state's attorney and the county police. No doubt, there are rogue cops who give the entire force a bad name. Mr. Johnson's problem is that, every time he has brought cops accused of such behavior to trial, they've walked.
Our choice is clear: The Washington Times endorses Audrey Scott for Prince George's County executive.

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