Politics

  • Emails show BSO management suggested Hogan message with state funding, urging financial fix

    Even as he sought more state funding, the CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra asked Gov. Larry Hogan to deliver the money with a scripted message calling on BSO management to quickly take steps to fix the orchestra’s finances, emails obtained by The Baltimore Sun show. With the BSO in dire fiscal straits, CEO Peter Kjome had proposed cutting musicians’ salaries roughly 20 percent and the length of the season from a year to 40 weeks. The management locked out the 75 players on June 17 as both sides attempt to negotiate a new contract. Musicians say Kjome’s communication with the Hogan administration shows an attempt to provide political cover in the management’s dispute with labor. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • A decade after being robbed at gunpoint, Baltimore’s city council president speaks out for assailant in court

    City Council President Brandon Scott was just 25, fresh into his career as a community liaison at City Hall and eager to take on the violence-plagued world around him, when that world came knocking in the form of two teenage boys with a gun. “Kick that s--- out,” one said, demanding Scott hand over his cellphone as he walked home with his dog one September night in 2009. In a Baltimore courtroom on Monday, Scott said the decade-old robbery was a “life-changing” event for him. He’d grown up in Park Heights and had seen shootings and dead bodies before, he said, but this was personal. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article 

  • Is the Ultimate ‘Purple’ County Undergoing a Sea Change?

    On a recent rainy night in Annapolis, hundreds of people were crammed into two steamy rooms in the Asbury United Methodist Church on West Street to air their grievances about gun violence and the shoddy condition of public housing units in the city. Tension filled the air. Leaders of the group Anne Arundel Community Together, a relatively new coalition of church, community and progressive leaders, issued a series of demands to the handful of elected officials in attendance. Democrat Steuart Pittman, six months on the job as Anne Arundel’s county executive, stepped forward to receive them. “I used to do community organizing,” he told the crowd, “but you guys are so much better. I’ve got tears in my eyes.” (Md. Matters)Read Full Article  

  • Lobbying Shop Adds Ex-State Senator, Other Strategists

    A top-earning Annapolis lobbying firm is adding new muscle – including a prominent former state senator. Perry, White, Ross & Jacobson announced Thursday that former Anne Arundel County Sen. James “Ed” DeGrange Sr. (D) and Prince George’s County government senior official Brad Frome are joining the firm. PWRJ also recently added former state Senate staffer MaeAnna Hassell. DeGrange served in the Senate for 20 years before retiring in 2018, rising to become chairman of the Capital Budget and the Public Safety and Transportation & Environment subcommittees. DeGrange has also served on the Anne Arundel County Council and the Maryland Lottery Commission. (Md. Matters)Read Full Article  

Center Maryland

Business

  • Maryland poised to see positive job growth as automation takes over

    There has been plenty of national worry about robots or computers taking over jobs that used to be held by human workers, as automated technology has made its way into industries like manufacturing. Maryland and the Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) region at large is in good shape to weather the wave of automation expected to pervade the U.S. workforce in the coming decade. Maryland may experience about 681,000 job displacements due to increased automation, equivalent to a rate of about 21.5%, by 2030, according to a new report from research and consulting firm McKinsey & Co. That is below the national anticipated displacement rate of 23%. Read Full Article 

  • Maryland can manufacturer says tariffs have hurt its bottom line

    Steel tariffs have cost a Maryland manufacturer millions of dollars and forced it to cut dozens of jobs, the company’s CEO said. Independent Can Company says the tariffs cost it $1 million last year and, along with lost business, will account for another $2 million hit this year. The Trump administration last year imposed tariffs of 25% on steel imported from foreign countries, steel that is essential to the Belcamp-company’s finished products. “The industry is hurting by this,” said Rick Huether, Independent Can’s president and CEO. “There’s work that I’m blessed that we are picking up new stuff from other people. If it weren’t for that it wouldn’t be good.” (Daily Record)Read Full Article  

  • GBC opens nominations for Bridging the Gap Achievement Awards

    The Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) has opened the nomination period for its annual Bridging the Gap Achievement Awards, which recognize minority and women-owned businesses in the Baltimore region. In addition, the GBC has created three new award categories — Diversity in Leadership, Community Impact and Mentorship — to recognize the important contributions such enterprises are making to the communities and regional and state economy, and to acknowledge majority companies who support their success.  Three existing award categories, Successful Women or Minority-owned Business, Innovative Partnership or Strategic Alliance, and President’s Award, will continue in 2019. (Daily Record) Read Full Article    

  • Giant Food president tapped to lead Stop & Shop supermarket chain

    Ahold Delhaize USA, the Dutch parent company of Stop & Shop, is tapping Giant Food President Gordon Reid as the new president of the Quincy, Massachusetts-based supermarket chain. Landover-based Giant Food is another U.S. supermarket chain owned by Ahold Delhaize. Reid will start as the new Stop & Shop president in late July. Ira Kress, Giant's senior vice president of operations, is taking over as interim president. Mark McGowan, the current president of Stop & Shop, “has made the decision to leave the organization,” Ahold Delhaize said in a release. He will stay at Stop & Shop in an advisory role through the end of the year at the company’s request, the company said. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

Education

  • Audit: Maryland Dept. Did Not Properly Store Data For 1.4 Million Students

    The Maryland State Department of Education "inappropriately stored" personal information of 1.4 million students and more than 230,000 teachers, leaving them vulnerable to potential bad actors, according to an audit published earlier this month. "As of June 29, 2018, we determined that separate databases for statewide student and teacher identity information held 1,430,940 unique student names and social security numbers and 233,130 unique teacher names and [social security numbers] respectively; all stored in clear text," the audit said. "In addition, we noted that this sensitive PII was not adequately protected by other substantial mitigating controls such as the use of data loss prevention software." (Ed. Week)Read Full Article  

  • Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announces smaller scope of potential school system audit

    Howard County Executive Calvin Ball last week announced a more narrow scope of his request for a performance audit of the school system. The narrowed scope, to be completed by the Maryland State Department of Education, would look into the Howard County Public School System’s health and dental fund; budgeting and actual expenditure variance; personnel cost development; and supplemental income and non-salary benefits. The narrowed scope is “based on an HCPSS commitment to share other information that may also generate cost-saving opportunities,” according to a July 12 news release. Ball and the school system administration have had collaborative, ongoing dialogue on how best to define the scope of the audit since it was proposed last month. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article    

  • Kurt Schmoke wants to create a ‘City University of Baltimore.’ Can it be done?

    University of Baltimore President Kurt Schmoke is proposing three of the city’s institutions of higher education be restructured in a style similar to the City University of New York, an idea he acknowledged is politically divisive but believes could strengthen the schools and benefit students. Nearly 60 years ago, the New York State Legislature formally established the CUNY system — uniting several municipal colleges into an integrated system that’s grown to include two dozen campuses. Schmoke is suggesting the University of Baltimore, Baltimore City Community College and Coppin State University follow suit, together becoming what he’s dubbed the City University of Baltimore. “With collaboration,” Schmoke said, “we could serve this community much better.” (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Study: Maryland charter students’ gains outpace those at traditional schools; black, Hispanic pupils benefit most

    A new study has found that students at Maryland charter schools, especially those who are black or Hispanic, have on average made greater academic progress than their counterparts in traditional public schools. While the study noted deficiencies in about a third of charter schools, the student gains were the equivalent of them getting about an extra month of learning over the typical 180-day school year, according to Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, or CREDO. For black and Hispanic students, the progress was even more pronounced. Black charter students, for example, made math gains equivalent to 47 extra days of learning, while Hispanic children’s advances in reading represented 77 additional days of learning. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • As next round of negotiations looms, BSO claims 2018 audit raises doubts over financial viability of orchestra

    The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announced Monday that the results of an audit for the last fiscal year raises doubts that the BSO will remain financially viable for the next twelve months. “The audit report on the BSO’s finances for the year ended Aug. 31, 2018 notes that there is substantial uncertainty about the BSO’s ability to continue as a going concern,” according to a symphony press release.  The release said the auditors’ conclusions are “based in part upon concerns the BSO will be unable to meet its contributed revenue and earned revenue forecasts while efforts continue to reach agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.” (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article    

  • Coming Soon to Howard County Government: Healthier Vending Machines

    Howard County government is trying to bring more nutrition to nibbling by staff members and guests. The county is seeking bids now for healthy vending machines in county buildings. In line with a law passed by the county council in 2015, the new vending machines on Howard County government property will include at least 75 percent healthy snacks and drinks. Drinks will include water, fruit and vegetable juices, and non-fat and low-fat milk. Snacks will include no trans-fat, no more than 200 calories per package, and less than 35 percent of calories from fat. The law also requires healthier foods and drinks at youth-oriented county government programs. (Md. Matters)Read Full Article  

  • BPD Sgt. Bill Shiflett Injured, Two Dead In Shooting At Baltimore Methadone Clinic — Latest

    Two people are dead, including the suspect, and two people, including a Baltimore City police sergeant, were injured in a shooting at a drug rehabilitation center in Baltimore Monday morning. Police responded to a report of an active shooter situation at a methadone clinic in the 2100 block of Maryland Avenue around 7:09 a.m. When officers arrived they were told by people outside that there was a person inside with a gun who had fired shots inside the building.  The officers entered the building and encountered an armed person, who they told to drop the weapon, but instead, the suspect opened fire on the officers. (WJZ-TV)Read Full Article    

  • Baltimore drug treatment center where fatal shooting occurred is highly regarded and the oldest in Maryland

    The addiction treatment center where two people were killed, including the gunman, and two more were wounded in a shooting Monday is the state’s oldest such center — and regulators say it’s a good one with a solid safety record. Man Alive, on Maryland Avenue in Charles North, opened 50 years ago and has grown into a center regarded for its range of services for mental health and substance use disorders, including art therapy. The center even earned some national attention in 2016 when then-U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy lauded its comprehensive approach to addiction after visiting it as part of a national tour of facilities to better understand the opioid epidemic. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article  

Commentary

  • Editorial: Trump is making Republicans the party of white nationalism. Does anybody in the GOP care?

    Most Americans are probably appalled by President Donald Trump’s now-infamous Sabbath day tweet calling on four freshman women of color to “go back” to their countries, which he described as “broken” and “crime infested.” Given that three of the four were born in the United States and all are U.S. citizens, this can only be interpreted as one thing — unadulterated racism. And just in case anyone thought this was a slip of the thumbs, he was back at it Monday, calling on “Radical Left Congresswomen [to] apologize to our Country.” So please spare us from portraying this as a matter of Democrats perceiving xenophobia, which is like attributing the morning’s sunrise to popular opinion. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article  

  • Smedick: Md. lagging behind on climate action

    Last week, we witnessed flash floods barrel through the state, even opening a sink hole large enough to swallow a light rail station in downtown Baltimore. Despite warnings from the scientific community that these storms will become more frequent and the passage of bills like the Clean Energy Jobs Act, Maryland is lagging when it comes to comprehensive, ambitious climate action policies, programs and plans. With over 3,000 miles of coastline, and projections putting Baltimore under a foot and a half of water in 30 years, Maryland simply cannot wait to act on climate. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article  

  • An open letter to Jack Young: Open up police brutality settlements to scrutiny

    To the Honorable Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Mayor of the City of Baltimore: I have a proposal that could help you and the city. Your statement last week that you are considering a run for mayor in the 2020 election was met with considerable skepticism. It appears that there are doubts about your leadership abilities that you need to overcome. Some people scoffed at your claim that you are being encouraged to run because of your performance in office thus far, citing your lackluster handling of the disastrous ransomware attack as well as the water outage calamities at Poe Homes and now on Howard Street. (Brew) Read Full Article

  • Schmoke: Creating a ‘City University for Baltimore’

    Public higher education institutions in Baltimore City need to be restructured to serve more effectively the educational and economic needs of the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland. The time has come to create a new governance structure involving the University of Baltimore (UB), Coppin State University and Baltimore City Community College (BCCC). The resulting entity would become the City University of Baltimore. I reach this conclusion after viewing higher education in Baltimore from a unique perspective. Having served as mayor of Baltimore, president of UB and chairman of the Board of Trustees of BCCC, I recognize that these institutions have a significant impact on the quality of life in the city and the state. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article