Councilman Dan Johnson has made fools of the entire Metro Council.
And yet this debacle over sexual harassment claims made by Councilwoman Jessica Green and an aide of Councilwoman Angela Leet has highlighted a glaring deficiency in the rules that govern the council.
But first… let me get some shit off my chest from the top.
Dan Johnson knows what he did.
He isn’t ashamed of it, and while he says his plea agreement isn’t an admission of guilt, he also said this to WDRB on Thursday evening: “I still say I did nothing wrong, but actually some of those instances happened just like they said they did. So if that’s the case, I guess I did something wrong. But I didn’t do it.”
Pardon, as my eyes roll right the fuck out of my head. What does that even mean? I’ll tell you what it means.
It means that Johnson is a twisted pervert who believes that mishandling women, disrespecting women and throwing it back in the faces of women does not make him feel bad. He knows that he did something, but what the hell is our problem to feel that it was wrong.
How can someone like this still exist in 2017? Why is he like this?
Because fuck you, Titty Brigade. He doesn’t care how you feel, what you think or what happens to you. If you’re a black member of this group, he cares even less. Who is going to listen to the ravings of an angry black woman?
Jessica Green said she felt silenced by this.
If this city is smart, it had better listen to all the women saying Dan Johnson is a cancer. It had better listen to this angry black woman. Get your house in order.
(Just days after the plea deal was accepted, Johnson has been accused of violating it by being at City Hall minutes before he is allowed on the property. As we went to press, a panel was to be deliberating his fate.)
The next elections are going to be brutal.
Dan Johnson joined the Board of Alderman 25 years ago. In that time, he’s had no shortage of controversies, from shady real estate deals, to bad checks, to allegations of him dropping his drawers and letting his hands wander to places they don’t belong.
After the debacle of his “removal trial,” Louisville is stuck with Dan Johnson.
The law is the conundrum and apparently the cause of this hearing ending in a sweet deal for Johnson and not his removal. The state statutes are not written to help deter misbehaving city council members. It seems like they are written to protect the hides of anyone elected to public office.
When any citizen or elected officials commits a crime, they should face repercussions. Under the current laws that govern the state of Kentucky, including Metro Council, it would take an act of a deity, or a lot of public dollars and time, to remove an offending member.
I’m not an attorney, but what’s being reported is that basically the council had few options to deal with Johnson. Either he stayed on by signing the agreement, which limits his exposure to other council members, or he might have stayed until the end of his term and with no limits but with the opportunity to appeal any decision.
Yep, it’s bullshit.
And here’s the bigger bullshit. Council President David Yates stated during the trial that if Johnson committed another transgression, then he was out. That’s not exactly true. According to item No. 10 in the agreement, “Dan Johnson agrees that any intentional or accidental exposure of his genitals or buttock(s) will result in review by the triumvirate established under paragraph thirteen.”
That triumvirate was to include a council member chosen by the charging committee, one chosen by the respondent and one chosen by Yates.
Guess who’s given Dan Johnson so many free passes already? Yates.
Why should we trust him?
Before the final vote, he made what was essentially a threat to the council. Basically, Yates told the council, either Johnson was given the deal, or he was allowed to drag out the case past his time in office and could appeal. Scary, Scary words.
What Yates didn’t do, but should have done better, is prepare all of the council members with a quality understanding of how the laws were going to work and be applied in this matter. He sent them all emails that, apparently, they were supposed to interpret on their own, but that did not prepare them before the day of the meeting. After a two-hour recess during which Yates finally clued in the council, and the crazed speech by Johnson lawyer Thomas McAdams about apologies… it all seemed like a game of manipulation.
Because of this foolery and legal loopholes, some councilwomen felt forced to turn their backs on their sister members and vote to allow Johnson to stay. And some councilwomen, Barbara Shanklin, I’m looking at you, felt genuine sympathy to poor, poor handsy Dan.
But it’s bigger than Dan and bigger than these incidents. I realize this.
The first woman, Hattie E. Hoffman, was elected to the Louisville Board of Alderman in 1929. The council now has 12 female members, almost half. That there was no policy to address sexual harassment before this summer is outrageous. This is 2017 and, surely, Dan Johnson’s rear isn’t the first to be exposed to women who’d rather stare at road kill.
So now there’s a policy in place that sadly offers no recourse to the women who’ve already been hurt by Johnson.
Shame on you, Louisville. What took you so long to catch up? Never mind, don’t answer that. You were exposed. You didn’t arrive at this decision on your own.
That Louisville Metro Council was so ill-prepared, that this charade was allowed to continue so long, that the victims of Johnson’s disgusting behavior have an admission of guilt and can do nothing about it, speaks volumes about where we are as a society.
Oh, and before I forget, Johnson sees all of this as a reason for him to seek higher elected office because, as he also told WDRB, “I certainly am pretty well known.” Chew on that. Maybe, he’ll find his perfect shade of handsy harasser orange. •11-