The Google fiber deadline is today

Cities across the country will be turning in their applications Friday to Google as they seek to be picked for the company's ultra-high speed broadband network. Center Maryland's Tom Loveland (also CEO of Mind Over Machines) is Baltimore's volunteer "Google Czar." Now is the time for everyone who supports this initiative to show their support for Google picking Baltimore as one of the trial locations to deploy 1 Gbps, fiber optic connections directly to people's homes. Become a Facebook fan. Follow the effort on Twitter. Put yourself on the map and your company's logo on the list of supporters at www.bmorefiber.com. Check out the latest show of support -- a letter from Senators Cardin and Mikulski sent to Google yesterday. Google is judging cities on everything from the creativity of their ideas, to the level of support from residents, businesses and others. Center Maryland sees this as an amazing opportunity, not... Continue reading
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With stormwater deal in jeopardy, House moves to impose compromise through legislation

By Tom LoBianco As the deadline for tougher new environmental regulations nears, lawmakers are resorting to a last-ditch attempt to push through a compromise that would ease the rules for developers and relieve the concerns of many county officials. The latest strategy takes the compromise stormwater regulations, currently locked in a joint General Assembly committee, and amends them to a House bill which had been introduced in case environmentalists, developers and county officials had been unable to reach a compromise. Supporters have about two weeks to get the new stormwater measure to the governor’s desk. Environmentalists, developers and lawmakers appeared to break an impasse earlier this year when they extended deadlines for complying with the new stormwater regulations and outlined alternatives for builders. The compromise measure was submitted as an emergency regulation two weeks ago, but it has been tied up in the General Assembly’s Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: How to Make Prince George’s County King

More than 1,000 Prince George’s County residents chose to spend the first day of spring indoors, rather than outside in the glorious weather. They came together at the invitation of the Prince George’s County Planning Board, to sketch out their vision for the future of the county. It was a beautiful scene, something to give all Prince George’s residents pride in their community and faith in their neighbors. Among the laudable priorities voiced at the meeting: better schools, less crime, more high-end places to shop, green jobs, and so on. Nothing fancy. Just basic quality of life issues. But can this vision ever become reality? That, more than anything, is a political question. Despite the presence of some talented and civic-minded individuals in public office, Prince George’s politics is plagued by dysfunction from top to bottom. From eight years of Jack Johnson’s “meh” administration in Upper Marlboro, to endless, pointless turf... Continue reading
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Developers warn of economic costs of tough stormwater rules, say compromise can help ease the burden

By Tom LoBianco A little more than a week ago, developers, environmental advocates and lawmakers hammered out a tepid compromise to ease Maryland into a tough new set of environmental restrictions on development. Now that measure is locked in a committee run by an ardent liberal lawmaker, and in attempt to break free the compromise, one of the state’s most powerful developers’ lobbying groups unleashed a study blasting stormwater regulations as bad for the economy and workers in the construction industry. And environmentalists, who feel like they gave up a lot to developers in the negotiating process, are now angry with what they say are excessive political tactics. The report is a reminder of how devastating unchecked environmental rules would be for the economy, said Thomas M. Farasy, president of the Maryland State Builders Association, which commissioned the study. The study blasts the stricter stormwater regulations set to take effect in... Continue reading
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Raising the alcohol tax is long overdue -- and would help our most vulnerable citizens

By Stephen Morgan Once again this year, Maryland legislators are debating an increase in the state’s alcohol tax in what has become an annual ritual in Annapolis. The basic facts in this debate have changed little since it began nearly a decade ago: • The last time Maryland increased the tax on alcohol was in 1955 for distilled spirits and 1972 for beer and wine. That tax currently amounts to about a cent a drink for beer and two cents for wine and distilled spirits – rates that are among the lowest in the nation. • Even during times of economic growth, services and programs for persons with developmental disabilities have been drastically underfunded. These individuals need basic services, from in-home support and employment programs to respite care and transportation, in order to remain with their families and in their communities. The waiting list for these essential services has now grown... Continue reading
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