Politics

  • Trone Donated Another $1.5 Million in Personal Funds During Closing Weeks of Campaign

    U.S. Rep.-elect David Trone contributed another $1.5 million out of his own pocket in the final three weeks of his successful congressional bid in District 6, according to post-election disclosure reports filed late Thursday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Trone’s 11th hour infusion of cash—which included a $400,000 donation the day before the Nov. 6 election—brings his total of direct personal contributions during the course of the campaign to nearly $14.25 million, a national record for a self-funded congressional candidate. It surpasses the previous record of $13.4 million—set by Trone himself two years earlier in an unsuccessful run for the Democratic congressional nomination in neighboring District 8. (Bethesda)Read Full Article

  • ‘We have a structural problem in the Democratic Party’: Maya Rockeymoore Cummings takes helm of Maryland party

    Maryland Democrats had a largely successful election performance this November, gaining seats in the state House of Delegates and upsetting some prominent Republican county executives. But the Democratic Party got shellacked in the competition for the state’s top prize: the race for governor in which Republican Larry Hogan easily cruised to re-election. In the wake of Hogan’s victory, Democrats ousted state party Chairwoman Kathleen Matthews on Dec. 1 and elected Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, a public policy consultant, to lead them as they attempt to take back the governorship in four years. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Md. lawmakers to weigh mandate, drug prices in 2019

    Maryland legislators in the 2019 General Assembly session will consider several measures aimed at reducing health care costs and protecting the Affordable Care Act in Maryland, but it appears unlikely they will focus on a long-term plan to stabilize the state’s individual insurance market. Lawmakers will consider a state-level individual mandate, ensuring health insurance for patients with pre-existing conditions, and will address the price of prescription drugs. They may also seek to guarantee long-term funding for the reinsurance program enacted last year. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Guyton Begins Journey From State Board of Education to State Lawmaker

    Maryland State Board of Education member Michele Jenkins Guyton read her resignation letter at the end of a marathon meeting on Tuesday. She read, she said, because speaking from the heart might have made her too emotional. Her resignation is officially dated Jan. 1, but Guyton has already moved into her new role as an incoming delegate representing Baltimore County’s District 42B in the General Assembly. Guyton (D) was in Annapolis at the end of this week for freshman orientation. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Eric Gilbert: Redeveloping America’s Brownfields, A Modern Industrial Revival

    Everyone who has ever worked in, lived in, or even traveled to a major U.S. city has seen them – forlorn, abandoned plots of land sporting an unsightly mix of rotting industrial equipment and crumbling buildings – fenced off and clearly too contaminated for occupancy or use of any kind. Read Full Article

  • Chris West: Single-Payer Healthcare – Another View

    On August 6, my good friend, State Delegate Kirill Reznik, posted a blog on Center Maryland (“Single Payer Healthcare”) in which he took aim at a Baltimore Sun analysis of Ben Jealous’s proposed single-payer healthcare plan. Delegate Reznik criticized the Baltimore Sun and launched a pretty bitter partisan attack on Governor Hogan and all Maryland Republicans because they are not swooning at the prospect of socialized medicine in Maryland. Read Full Article

  • Kirill Reznik: Single Payer Healthcare

    There’s a lot of controversy over a Baltimore Sun article that says single-payer healthcare costs $24 billion, and Larry Hogan is having a field day with that misinformation.  This is what happens when you Govern by polls and slogans.  But the truth is not scary, and in fact, quite commonplace. Read Full Article

  • Aaron Tomarchio: How Kevin Kamenetz Steered Sparrows Point Toward The Future

    In 2010, during his first campaign for Baltimore County Executive, Kevin Kamenetz said something about Sparrows Point that seemed politically risky at the time: Maybe it’s time to think about a future beyond steel production. His words seemed prescient two years later when, after cycling through five owners in a decade, the steel mill closed, putting 2,200 men and women out of work.Read Full Article

Business

  • Prince George’s didn’t make Amazon’s list. But the county could still be a winner.

    Prince George’s officials felt snubbed when their county was the lone jurisdiction in the Washington region not picked as a finalist for Amazon’s second headquarters. Now, though, they say Prince George’s could be the “lucky loser” of the retailing giant’s move to Crystal City. The abundance of Metro stations and low housing prices in the county, which is home to the state’s flagship university, could attract new employees and businesses that Amazon will bring. But experts say that to best capi­tal­ize on opportunities presented by Amazon’s second headquarters, Prince George’s must make a concerted effort that includes marketing, improving its schools and boosting workforce development. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Maryland cannabis industry plans to fight potential ad ban in General Assembly

    The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission voted unanimously Thursday to pass new advertising regulations for the state's burgeoning industry which would prevent marijuana advertising on billboards, radio and television and in print media. The new ad rules would also heavily restrict online advertising. But before going to effect, the rules must first be heard and reviewed by a joint committee in the Maryland General Assembly, and industry stakeholders plan to fight the measure in the coming legislative session. Ultimately, the regulations would impact the 102 growing, processing and dispensary businesses currently online in the state, as well as the more than 35 businesses still awaiting final licensure. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • After Lofts at Eastport Landing approval, appeals loom

    After months of mediation with an Annapolis residents group, the Lofts at Eastport Landing project is moving forward with a new application. Some still wish it weren’t. The Annapolis Department of Planning and Zoning recently approved the site design plan for the project, a mixed residential and commercial development that seeks to refresh the Eastport Shopping Center. The project is scaled back from its original density — a result of mediation with the city and the Concerned Citizens of Eastport over the design of the redevelopment. (Capital) Read Full Article

  • ‘This place is full of old stories’: Historical Maryland diner is slated to become a marijuana dispensary

    At the lunch counter of Laurel’s Tastee Diner, waitresses and cooks recognize the regulars taking a seat on the blue stools next to the gold-speckled countertop. “George! Where you been?” waitress and cashier Donna Rock asked as she cleaned a booth. “Dead? Jail?” Rock hadn’t seen the elderly, white-haired man — one of her most loyal customers — in a month. He quietly sipped coffee from a 1950s-style mug, then responded. “Jail” he said, eliciting chuckles. It’s that connection of humor and compassion, developed over four decades between customers and staff, that residents fear will be lost in a plan that would turn the diner into a medical marijuana dispensary. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

Education

  • Millennials join the school board, not long after high school

    The millennial generation has arrived in school board politics. Maybe not in great numbers, and not everywhere. But surely in one Maryland school system, where millennials once again make up a majority of elected board members. In Prince George’s County, five of nine elected members are in their 20s. All grew up in the county and graduated from its schools. They don’t have children,but they say they are deeply connected to the classrooms they once learned in. Several have been among the board’s most outspoken members. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • How the Kirwan Commission report could affect Anne Arundel County

    A looming $4.4 billion recommended spending increase on education in Maryland means Anne Arundel County could see increases in teacher raises and prekindergarten funding, but state and local lawmakers will be bending budgets to meet those demands. The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education met Thursday to debate a $4.4 billion increase in public education spending. The commission — nicknamed the Kirwan Commission for its chair William “Brit” Kirwan — was created in 2016 after a report showed Maryland schools were underfunded by about $2.9 billion. (Capital) Read Full Article

  • Hopkins president sets out to garner community support for a university police force

    Clipboard in hand, the president of Johns Hopkins knocked on rowhouse doors in East Baltimore on Saturday to hear how residents feel about the university’s revived plan to establish a police force for its three city campuses, including the vast medical complex several blocks to the south. “I’m Ron Daniels, the president of Johns Hopkins,” he said as he and members of Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, the influential coalition of churches and community groups, approached homeowners along the 1400 block of N. Eden St. Other BUILD members conducted surveys nearby — an effort to measure local sentiment about a Hopkins police force, something that community leaders said the university should have done when it first raised the idea. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • School board president narrowly keeps seat after members reconsider voting policy

    A contentious, hour-long discussion at last Wednesday’s school board meeting roused concerns about an outdated policy that governs officer elections, and nearly unseated the board’s president. Julie Hummer almost lost her seat after District 33 member Eric Grannon called upon the board to bypass board policy and elect a new president. Board policy states that new officers — the president and vice president — are elected every July. (Capital) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Baltimore, like other U.S. cities, sees declines in homicides in 2018

    After spiking over the past few years, homicide rates in cities across the U.S. appear to be on track to fall this year, according to a recent New York Times report. The Times’ Thursday story cited improvements this year in Baltimore and 65 other cities with populations over 250,000. The figures are notable after a 23 percent increase in murders nationally between 2014 and 2016. The story noted that homicides are down “substantially in cities like Baltimore; Charlotte, N.C.; Louisville, Ky.; and Memphis,” which all experienced large increases since 2014. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Chesapeake debris cleanup presses on, months after storms

    A half-submerged tree trunk bobbed in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. From his perch several hundred feet away aboard a small barge, John Gallagher began giving orders to his crew. Not much needed to be said. By now, the actions of the other three men had become almost automatic. “Here’s a good example of what the debris looks like in here,” said Gallagher, head of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ hydrographic operations. “This is right off the channel.” (Md. Reporter-Bay Journal) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore City Council delegation in Texas for closed-door meetings on police commissioner nominee

    A delegation of four Baltimore City Council members and two staffers is in Texas for private meetings as part of the council’s vetting of police commissioner nominee Joel Fitzgerald. The group arrived Sunday and returns late Tuesday. Lester Davis, a spokesman for Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, said the delegation expects to meet with about 30 leaders of the community in Fort Worth, where Fitzgerald is chief of police. They will be a mix of critics and people who have worked closely with Fitzgerald, Davis said. “The delegation is going with an open mind,” he said. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Federal judge to decide whether to freeze Ocean City topless ban

    A federal judge will decide whether to halt Ocean City’s prohibition of women going topless at the beach until a lawsuit is resolved over the ban. Five women sued the city in January after its leaders passed an emergency ordinance banning public nudity. The women are asking a federal judge to stop the town from enforcing its ban until they can resolve their lawsuit. They argued over the injunction Friday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. “I’ve never heard of somebody being harmed at the beach by the female breast,” Devon Jacob, an attorney for the women, told the judge. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Maryland’s audacious toll road plan could work — if done right

    When Gov. Larry Hogan (R) last year proposed a $9 billion blueprint to widen the Beltway, Interstate 270 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway by building more than 100 miles of toll lanes — potentially one of the most audacious public-private partnerships in the nation — the project was attacked as politically opportunistic, a boondoggle that would wreck neighborhoods and harm the environment. Nonetheless, Mr. Hogan’s plan has advanced, impelled by one undeniable fact known to hundreds of thousands of daily commuters who crawl along those roadways day after soul-crushing day: Suburban traffic long ago outstripped highway capacity. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • David Wilson: We're open for billions

    Johns Hopkins University was in the news recently as the result of a $1.8-billion gift from one of its alumni, Michael Bloomberg. When I read about the gift, I immediately emailed my friend, Hopkins President Ron Daniels, and joked that perhaps Mr. Bloomberg should have invested at least $100 million of that in Morgan State University. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • After a mixed first year, we remain confident Buckley can deliver for Annapolis

    Mayor Gavin Buckley has done some good things in his first year and some not so good. He has to do better if he wants to deliver the change he campaigned on a year ago. But we remain confident that he can deliver. Here’s why. The Democrat provided much-needed community leadership after the June 28 shooting that killed five members of the Capital Gazette staff. He rallied wider Annapolis around the survivors and this news organization, which was beneficial not just for the survivors but also for the community. We are grateful and we suspect many others are as well. More importantly, it was the kind of leadership needed for Annapolis. (Capital)Read Full Article

  • Let's be careful about stigmatizing the homeless after stabbing death of Harford woman

    It would be easy to turn our backs. To ignore the cardboard signs pleading for assistance, keep our windows tightly closed and lock the doors, and our hearts. To stare ahead as if we don’t see those less fortunate than us on the street corners. This is doubtless even more the case after Jacquelyn Smith of Harford County was killed after giving money to a woman in East Baltimore who held a sign asking for help for her baby. A man appeared shortly afterward and tried to grab the 54-year-old’s wallet. Police said he stabbed her after a struggle. The suspects are still at large. The incident has understandably sparked outrage. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article