Politics

  • T.J. Smith for Baltimore mayor? Ex-Police Commissioner Kevin Davis calls for spokesman to run

    Citing a need for new leadership, former Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis called for T.J. Smith, the department’s plainspoken chief spokesman who resigned last week, to run for mayor in 2020. The former commissioner compared the spokesman, who he hired from the Anne Arundel County Police Department in 2015, to Erricka Bridgeford, the charismatic co-founder of Baltimore Ceasefire. Davis called each of them a “shining light” for the city. “I was probably one of the first to say it out loud, but a lot of thoughtful people are encouraging T.J. to consider it,” Davis said afterward. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Number of Maryland voters registered as unaffiliated grows faster than those for either major party since 2014

    The number of voters registered as independents in Maryland has grown faster since the previous gubernatorial election than the tally for either major party. As of the end of September, the latest period for which the state Board of Elections provides numbers, 18 percent of voters were registered as independent — officially termed “unaffiliated.” That’s an 8 percent increase over September 2014. Democrats and Republicans each recorded 6 percent increases over the four-year period. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Q&A with County Executive Candidate Nancy Floreen

    Louis Peck sat down with the candidates for Montgomery County executive to discuss the issues and their visions for the county: You had made pretty clear that you weren’t planning to run for county executive in 2018. Was that your position until the night of the June 26 primary? Nancy Floreen: "It really was: I am not making this up. I was not planning to run. You can tell that I had not been raising money. I had been working really hard for Rose Krasnow [for county executive] and for Rushern Baker [for governor in the Democratic primary]. This is no behind-the-scenes thing." (Bethesda)Read Full Article  

  • Progressive activist Jerry Segal denied spot on Maryland's U.S. Senate ballot

    Progressive activist Jerry Segal's request to appear on Maryland's U.S. Senate ballot has been denied by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "We knew that it was a big lift for them to change the ballot at this point, but it was something that was doable," Segal said Friday. Segal had hoped to appear on the ballot representing the “Bread and Roses” party, which he said emphasizes promoting peace internationally and creating an equitable society at home. (Balt. Sun) 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

  • As Maryland leaders celebrate lower health insurance rates, they don't mention rising deductibles

    For weeks, Maryland leaders have been touting a bipartisan deal that will allow the state’s residents to pay lower premiums to buy health insurance — the first such rate reductions in years. The deal, made by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, created a reinsurance program that uses taxpayer dollars to help insurers cover the costs of expensive health care claims — and led to a recently announced reduction of premiums of up to 17 percent. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Judge consolidates antitrust lawsuits against Sinclair Broadcast

    A panel of federal judges has consolidated 17 lawsuits accusing Sinclair Broadcast Group and other media companies of scheming to artificially raise prices for local television advertisements. Cases pending in federal court in Maryland and Illinois will be combined with 15 related cases and heard in Illinois, a panel on multidistrict litigation ordered this week. “The actions commonly allege that the conspiracy was effectuated by sharing competitively sensitive information through … advertising sales teams in order to raise advertising prices to supracompetitive levels,” said the order, filed Tuesday. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Inside Pivot Creative Spaces, a co-working office opening in Catonsville

    For a decade, Lisa Kuznear has operated her bookkeeping business out of her home in Howard County. She said usually people think of working from home as a good thing because it can be free of distractions and quieter than working in an office. But, she said, “you get stagnant working at home.” That’s why when she learned about a new co-working space, Pivot Creative Spaces, in Catonsville through an advertisement online, she jumped into action. Brandon Kostinsky, founder and owner of Pivot, said that so far, five individuals have purchased memberships, including an attorney and a pet store owner. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore tech startup FactoryFour announces $5 million investment

    Baltimore tech startup FactoryFour said Friday it raised $5 million that will enable it to more quickly develop software that helps manufacturers manage production. The $5 million funding round was led by August Capital, a 20-year-old venture capital firm that invests in “breakthrough” startups in information technology. Refactor Capital, an existing FactoryFour investor, also participated in the round. FactoryFour, based in the city’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood, created a real time, customizable method for manufacturers to manage production. It’s designed to replace older software and manual spreadsheets that many company’s use. The firm has more than 35 customers in the U.S. and Europe and expects to grow to 100 clients by early next year. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Education

  • Post-U. Md. poll: Maryland parents say crowded classrooms are a problem

    More than 6 in 10 Maryland parents with children 18 or younger believe crowded classrooms are a problem in their schools, according to a new poll that also shows substantial concern about low test scores and overtesting. Even so, a majority of voters rate their county’s public schools as good or excellent, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll. Voters in some suburbs of Washington — including Montgomery, Howard and Anne Arundel counties — are especially upbeat about their schools: Roughly 8 in 10 give them positive marks. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • UMBC president: 'We need to do much more' regarding sexual assault on campus

    The University of Maryland, Baltimore County needs to do “much more” personal outreach in the aftermath of a lawsuit alleging the cover-up of sexual assaults on campus, university President Freeman Hrabowski III said Friday during an interview with The Baltimore Sun’s editorial board. “I'm saying, straight up, we need to do much more. I’m saying that, while we thought we were doing the right things with the legal side, we had not really addressed [the] human side” of Title IX, Hrabowski said. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Montgomery County upgrades vocational training

    Ellie Schell would grow fidgety during her daily stretch of classes at Blake High School in suburban Maryland, her mind wandering as English, history and science lessons plodded along. Then she enrolled in cosmetology, a three-year program in Montgomery County Public Schools that kept her engaged as she learned to style hair, manicure nails and consult with clients. The classes helped the 16-year-old focus her energy. She found herself opening up and asking teachers more questions — skills, Schell said, that benefited the rest of her studies. During the official unveiling last week of the rebuilt $119.7 million Thomas Edison High School of Technology, Schell courted prospective students amid rows of salon styling stations. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Prince George’s County hires new chief operating officer for school system

    Prince George’s County has hired a chief operating officer for the school system, tapping an administrator from the county government for the high-level post. Barry L. Stanton, deputy chief administrative officer for public infrastructure in the administration of Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), is slated to start in the school system position Monday. He will earn $224,550 a year. Selected by Monica Goldson, interim chief executive of the school system, Stanton will oversee food services, security, transportation, school boundaries, purchasing, capital programs and other areas. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Opioid overdoses in Maryland increased 14.8 percent in first six months of 2018

    The number of opioid-related overdoses in Maryland increased 14.8 percent in the first half of the year as public health officials and others continue to struggle to get a handle on the epidemic. Most of the deaths were related to the powerful opioid fentanyl, which is often added to heroin and even cocaine to boost their effects without the user knowing. Opioid overdoses accounted for most of the state’s intoxication deaths, killing 1,185 people from January to June, compared to 1,032 during the same period last year, according to data released Friday by the Maryland Department of Health. The total number of people who died from intoxication deaths was 1,325, a 12 percent increase over the last year. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • City analysis finds proposed exemptions would cost affordable housing trust find $1.15 million

    Just two weeks ago, housing activists joined Mayor Catherine E. Pugh at City Hall to celebrate a hard-won agreement that she called “historic” — an eventual $20 million annual commitment to affordable housing, funded in part by new excise taxes on real estate transactions of more than $1 million. But those activists said this week that last-minute proposals to exempt some of those big-ticket transactions from the new taxes threatened to diminish the size of that commitment — although it was unclear by how much. A City Council committee passed the exemptions Sept. 27, a day after Pugh’s event, and the full council will vote on them Monday. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Amid scandals and instability, leaders see hope in next commissioner

    Police reform advocates hope Baltimore’s next police commissioner can resolve the “infighting” and “political turmoil” cited by recent high-level departures who described significant dysfunction within the department. The recent departures are “recognized as ‘good apples’ and they are leaving and saying they don’t want to be a part of this. That’s telling you that we haven’t progressed,” said Ray Kelly, a longtime community advocate who has been lobbying for policing reforms in the city. “We don’t have a department willing to move forward and political infrastructure to move forward,” he said. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Wendi Winters among 6 to be awarded for contributions to Anne Arundel arts community

    Slain Capital Gazette reporter and editor Wendi Winters and five others will be awarded for their contributions to the arts community in Anne Arundel County next week. Winters and five county residents — Laurie Hays, Joann Vaughan, Lisa Sherwood, Joe Vitek and Robert Benson — will receive an Annie Award on Wednesday for their “significant and lasting contributions to the local arts community,” the awards group wrote in a statement. (Capital)Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Governor Hogan says we've tried everything to stem overdoses. Fortunately, that's not quite true.

    When we asked Gov. Larry Hogan about opioids in a recent editorial board interview, he took less evident satisfaction in discussing his record than he did when we asked about education, the environment, health care or most anything else. It’s not that he’s ignored the issue — far from it. He has, in his words, “tried everything.” Maryland has devoted more resources to combating opioid abuse (if not nearly as much as advocates say is necessary). It has expanded the availability of the anti-overdose drug Narcan and persuaded the federal government to let Medicaid cover some residential drug treatment. It has taken steps to prevent the abuse of prescription painkillers, and it has established a system for coordinating the response to the epidemic across the state. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • UMBC's president says his campus will become a leader on sexual assault. The rest of us must hold him to account.

    It took a federal class action lawsuit and a high-profile protest on campus for University of Maryland Baltimore County leaders to hear what some students have been saying for years — that it doesn’t do nearly enough to prevent sexual violence or to support victims. The school’s president, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, says he and other UMBC officials have done a great deal of listening in the last few weeks, both to those who stormed his office and to other advocates, and they plan to accelerate their efforts around training for students, faculty and staff, reporting procedures and physical safety measures. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Jeremy Mohler: Maryland’s poor plan for public-prive partnership toll roads

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) $9 billion plan to add tolled express lanes to the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 is flawed. Maryland transportation officials are proposing to borrow the project’s cost from private investors, but they are downplaying how much more expensive it is to borrow directly from a Wall Street bank or a global corporation rather than use municipal bonds, the traditional method of financing. And they are minimizing the potential risks for Maryland residents now and in the distant future, as so-called public-private partnership contracts include pages of complex agreements that extend for decades. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • George Arlotto: Anne Arundel Schools will make a colorful stand against bullying

    A month ago in this space, I wrote about our school system’s efforts to devote time in the first few days of school to building relationships – between students and students, students and staff members, and staff members and staff members – in order that everyone in our collective Anne Arundel County Public Schools family might better know and, therefore, better understand each other. The goal of those efforts was to embark on the creation and enhancement of climates of familiarity, acceptance, and, ultimately inclusion that, throughout the year, will help all of us recognize our diversity as a strength. (Capital)Read Full Article