Politics

  • Will Baltimore County raise taxes for first time in decades? Some think it's necessary to fill budget hole.

    Johnny Olszewski Jr. delivered an upbeat message on the campaign trail, promising a fresh approach to governing as Baltimore County executive. Now in office, he is traveling around the county telling a more sobering story. Confronted with an $81 million budget gap, Olszewski is wrapping up a series of town hall meetings where he has told residents of challenging times ahead. After making bold promises about county schools — 20 percent raises for teachers, three new high schools, and pre-kindergarten for all families — the county executive says he’s trying to figure out how to fill the hole before he delivers his first budget plan this spring. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Wicomico County Executive, Council At Odds

    Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver is calling on Council President John Cannon to step down from his position, highlighting the discord between the two branches and a letter from the council critical of the county’s chief elected official. Culver sent a letter to Cannon on Monday requesting he step down as council president, citing distrust in his leadership and attempts to interfere with executive functions. The letter appears to be fueled by comments members of the council made in a work session last week. (Dispatch) Read Full Article

  • More than 40 percent of Baltimore Police officers don't feel comfortable making proactive arrests, survey says

    Of the 362 Baltimore Police officers who participated in a recent survey, more than 40 percent said they don’t feel comfortable making proactive arrests. The voluntary survey conducted by Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer at the end of 2018 was sent via department email to police department leadership, officers and civilian members who responded anonymously. The short questionnaire asked basic biographical information, including their ages and how long the respondents had served on the force, and questions about overall morale. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Student charged with wiretapping after livestreaming meeting at Maryland Rep. Harris' office, prosecutors say

    A Salisbury University student has been charged with illegal wiretapping after prosecutors say he streamed a meeting with a congressional staffer for Maryland Rep. Andy Harris to Facebook Live without permission. Jake Burdett, 20, was charged last week with two felony counts of making an illegal recording and distributing the video filmed during a Maryland Marijuana Justice rally at Harris’s Salisbury office in October, according to a news release from the state prosecutor’s office. Marijuana legalization protesters have long tangled with Harris, who in 2014 worked to block full legalization of the drug in the District of Columbia. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Dave Anderson: How to break the government shutdown impasse

    The impasse in the dispute over the government shutdown and the border wall is an immensely complicated policy and political problem that pits two sides against each other who have diametrically opposed perspectives about the best path forward for the country.Read Full Article

  • Peter Auchincloss: The Wizard and The Werewolf - A Reminiscence From Damian O’Doherty

    Peter Auchincloss rolled into my office 20 minutes early for a meeting, carrying several giant, black 3-ring binders. “Peter, the infrastructure team can’t handle another set of binders,” I said sardonically. “You are the only guy that reads, ranks, and prioritizes anymore. The rest of us just Facebook.”Read Full Article

  • Don Mohler reflects on Kevin Kamenetz, Gone Too Soon

    There were two months to go until the election. On May 8, 2018, Kevin Kamenetz had just finished filming 14 hours of television commercials that we were all sure would propel him to the Democratic gubernatorial nomination on June 26. And then two days later on May 10, the phone rang shortly after 2 a.m.  When the phone rings at that hour, it is never good news.Read Full Article

  • 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

Business

  • Port Covington developer starts seeking city approval for market, apartment buildings

    Developers of the proposed $5.5 billion Port Covington project in South Baltimore began seeking design approval Thursday from a city architectural review board for the first set of buildings that could break ground late this year and open in 2021. The first phase will contain two residential buildings with a combined 366 units and space for amenities and retail shops. Another building, the Rye Street Market, is a four-story, mixed-use complex with an open-air market and food hall, shops, offices and event space. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says he's talked with Amazon officials after company pulls out of New York headquarters

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday that he has talked with Amazon officials following the company's decision to back out of building part of its East Coast headquarters in New York City. Amazon last year selected the New York City borough of Queens and Northern Virginia for the two locations where the e-commerce giant would construct two offices with a total of 50,000 employees as part of its HQ2 project. Maryland — like many other states — scrambled to snare what was being touted as one of the nation’s biggest economic development opportunities. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • A Gaithersburg biotech is raising millions to treat nicotine-related diseases — and help smokers quit

    Matt Kalnik wants to make smoking less addictive. His clinical-stage company, Gaithersburg-based Antidote Therapeutics Inc., is developing a drug that would diminish the effects of nicotine in the body — to both treat diseases worsened by nicotine and help smokers quit. The businesses is looking to raise between $5 million and $10 million to run over the next two years and get its lead candidate to clinical trials. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Google CEO says it will spend $13B on U.S. expansion this year, including Virginia

    Google will spend more than $13 billion on U.S. data centers and offices in 2019, CEO Sundar Pichai said Wednesday, marking "the second year in a row we’ll be growing faster outside of the Bay Area than in it." "These new investments will give us the capacity to hire tens of thousands of employees, and enable the creation of more than 10,000 new construction jobs in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia," Pichai wrote in a blog post. (Wash. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

Education

  • Watchdog blasts Education Department for sloppy oversight of loan-servicing contractors

    The Education Department’s Federal Student Aid office has failed to keep watch over the contractors servicing its $1.4 trillion portfolio of student loans, a lapse that may be costing taxpayers, the federal agency’s inspector general said in a scathing audit issued Thursday. Companies such as Navient, Great Lakes and FedLoan Servicing are paid millions of dollars by the federal government to collect student loan payments, guide people through the thicket of repayment options and help borrowers avert default. Critics of these loan servicers say they are not doing enough to stem rising delinquencies and defaults, accusing them of providing inconsistent information and mishandling borrower accounts. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Kirwan Commission Members Air Misgivings as Interim Report Is Released

    The long-awaited interim report of the Commission for Innovation and Excellence in Education was released this week. In 150 pages, the commission spells out its broad hopes for change in Maryland education, recommendations that were crafted during more than 75 meetings and work sessions: raising academic standards to match those in the top-performing countries, creating new policies to attract highly qualified high school graduates into teaching careers, building career and technical education programs, and providing the resources that low-income and special needs children will need to perform far above current levels. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

  • Washington County Public Schools-backed 'reportable offenses' bill advances

    Local school officials want to know when students charged with “reportable offenses” in another jurisdiction are transferred to Washington County. Last year, legislation to require notification died in House and Senate committees. This year, the measure has crossed its first hurdle: surviving scrutiny by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Sen. Andrew Serafini, R-Washington, sponsored the bill on behalf of Washington County Public Schools. It now goes to the full Senate for consideration. A companion bill in the House by Del. Paul Corderman, R-Washington, is scheduled for a hearing next week in the Judiciary Committee. (Herald Mail) Read Full Article

  • Congress to fund D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant program despite Trump cut

    Congress has included $40 million for the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant program in its appropriations bills, despite the Trump administration having erased the program in its budget proposal. “I am grateful to our Democratic House and Senate appropriators and leadership, who were able to maintain our D.C. priorities in the bill, even though our members were in the minority when the bill was negotiated last year,” D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s non-voting representative in Congress, said Thursday in a press release. (Wash. Times) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Where will the trash go? Baltimore and surrounding counties consider alternatives if incinerator closes

    After the Baltimore City Council passed clean air legislation Monday that could force a large trash incinerator to shut down, officials in the city and surrounding counties began considering how to dispose of their garbage if they are no longer able to burn it. The Wheelabrator Baltimore waste-to-energy plant near Russell Street and Interstate 95 processes more than 700,000 tons of trash every year — about half of that trash comes from Baltimore city households and nearly 40 percent from Baltimore County. The rest comes from Howard and Anne Arundel counties, other Maryland jurisdictions and out of state. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Mosby announces that commercials, billboards will encourage witnesses in Baltimore to testify in court

    Pledging more help for the victims and witnesses of crimes, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Thursday a series of TV and radio commercials intended to encourage people to come to court and testify. Mosby said billboards will also carry her message across the city. “It’s outrageous when an 83-year-old senior can be shot in the street, broad daylight, and nobody wants to come forward,” Mosby said. In Baltimore, police and prosecutors have long been hindered in their crime fight by a street culture of “no snitching.” (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • FTA threatens to withhold $1.6B from region, including Purple Line funding, if Metro restores late-night service

    The Federal Transit Administration has threatened to withhold up to $1.6 billion in transit funding from the Washington region, including federal money for construction of Maryland’s Purple Line, if Metro restores late-night service as District officials are pushing, board members were told Thursday. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans and D.C.'s other voting board member, Corbett A. Price, are leading an effort to restore the service hours Metro cut beginning with its SafeTrack rebuilding effort in 2016, contending the agency has had ample time since then to catch up on maintenance. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore County judge approves Towson Station development plan

    A Baltimore County administrative law judge ruled last week that the Towson Station development can move forward. Judge Lawrence Stahl ruled on Feb. 8 that developer Caves Valley Partners can proceed with the controversial retail development at the corner of York Road and Bosley Avenue, according to a written decision. “I believe that the Developer’s extensive and expert driven presentation met and exceeded the ‘guidance’ provided for development in the [Downtown Towson] district,” Stahl wrote in his decision, referring to the zoning district that encompasses the property. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Now that we've reflected on the Parkland shooting, we should consider Baltimore's every day

    Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the devastating massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where an expelled student shot to death 17 people — 14 of them children — and injured 17 more. It was the deadliest attack ever on an American high school. Presidents past and present recognized the significance of the day on Twitter, the New York Times featured thoughtful interviews with nine survivors, and schools across Florida held a moment of silence at 10:17 a.m. to remember the dead. That’s as it should be. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Editorial Advisory Board: Let judges have their voice

    Baltimore City judges have been criticized by public officials, including the governor, for decisions they have made in criminal cases. We have written editorials both defending and criticizing judges. In all of the controversies regarding Baltimore City judges and their decisions, one voice has been silent – that of the judge whose decision is the subject of criticism. That is not a coincidence. The Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits a judge from making a public comment on a case. In 2007 the American Bar Association revised its Model Code of Judicial Conduct. Rule 2.10(E) of the Model Code allows a judge to respond to allegations in the media concerning the judge’s conduct in a matter. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore teacher: 'Our city is slaughtering black children'

    Last week, a student asked me where he could purchase AR-500 steel plates. “Why?” I asked him with my eyebrow raised. I studied his face. He wasn’t joking, he was scared. “For a bullet proof vest,” he responded. “I have everything but the plates.” “Are things really that bad where you stay?” I already knew the answer. “I need to get the f--- out of Baltimore,” he said, glancing nervously around the room. Conversations like this happen every day in classrooms across the city. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Stop coddling the Frederick Douglass kids and send them back to school

    In relation to the story about the shooting at Douglas High School, what am I missing (“Douglass shooting no reason to revisit arming school police?” Feb. 12)? The year was 1973. We were sitting in French class at Western High School with Mrs. Weinholtz as the teacher. An announcement came over the intercom for teachers to put children in the classrooms and to lock the doors. We had no idea what was going on. Was there a rapist in the building? A murderer? A fight? We were mildly concerned, mostly curious. We looked out of the windows overlooking the quadrangle and saw about five or six cops with their guns drawn and ready to shoot. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article