May 22 // Eastport muddle spotlights planning woes

When the Eastport Landing project came up, Mayor Mike Pantelides, visiting Capital Gazette offices last week to talk with reporters and editors, seemed resigned. The city code governing how much residential density is permitted at the Eastport Shopping Center site, Pantelides said, is so "vague and ambiguous" that any of the interpretations advanced by multiple attorneys could hold up in court. The upshot, he said, is that "somebody's going to get sued." Either the developers will sue to uphold the calculations they were told they could use in 2015 — which allow for 127 apartments, along with commercial and retail use — or residents will sue to uphold a competing reading of the code that cuts the number of apartments in half. (Capital)

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Jerry Cothran: Blame Baltimore's politicians for its shrinking population

It's clear that Baltimore has a number of systemic government issues, including mismanagement, that have resulted in a decades-long exodus out of the city. From 1970 to 2000, Baltimore's total population declined nearly 30 percent. That hemorrhaging of population continues, as evidenced by more than 6,700 people leaving in the 12 months that ended in July 2016. Christopher B. Summers, CEO of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, has offered a plausible causal effect: Baltimore's exceedingly high tax rates, which are about twice as high as other counties across the state. (Balt. Sun)

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Hogan unlikely to budge feds on NextGen

Gov. Larry Hogan might be considered late to the anti-NextGen party, at least by homeowners who live under the approaches to BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and have spent much of the last two years watching their walls vibrate and trying to ward off migraines from ceaseless airplane noise. But it was actually nearly a year ago that the Maryland Aviation Administration concluded that the new GPS-based traffic-routing procedures of the Federal Aviation Administration's Next Generation Air Transportation System don't comply with the FAA-approved state noise-abatement program. The state agency asked the FAA to go back to the old air traffic patterns until it can get the bugs out of NextGen. Now Hogan has weighed in. (Capital)

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Barry Rascovar: Maryland’s gets mixed economic messages from feds

Talk about sending mixed messages, the latest jobs report for Maryland can be read as good news or the precursor of bad economic news. Maryland added 3,500 jobs in April. That’s good, right? Well, yes, but remember in March Maryland lost 7,900 jobs. Want another mixed message? Maryland’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.3%. That’s a disturbing sign, small though it may be. It indicates more people who had dropped out of even trying to find a job are once again seeking work. A larger pool of job-seekers could keep the unemployment rate in Maryland on an upward path. Yet it’s a good sign that Maryland’s jobless rate remains a notch below the national unemployment rate of 4.4%. (Md. Reporter)

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Rick Hutzell: Annapolis needs early voting -- and won't be able to get it until 2021

Annapolis will go to the polls on Sept. 19 and Nov. 7. It's not soon enough for me, and it shouldn't be soon enough for you. Most importantly, it should not be soon enough for Mayor Mike Pantelides and members of the City Council. That's because seven years after Maryland started early voting, Annapolis still holds one-day elections. (Capital)

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G. Jefferson Price III: The next FBI head should have the ethics of the original: Charles Bonaparte of Baltimore

The nation will be well-served if the next individual selected to run the Federal Bureau of Investigation embodies the same high character as the first founder of the agency. That man was a Baltimorean whose courage, integrity and honesty would be profound in this day and age and were quite extraordinary for a man in his place and time in history more than a century ago. His name was Charles Joseph Bonaparte. (Balt. Sun)

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May 19 // Speed cameras: Revenue source or safety device?

Mayor Catherine Pugh's acknowledgment that she views the return of speed cameras to Baltimore's streets, at least in part, as a revenue generator surely doesn't sit well with those who got faulty tickets under the city's old system. Some might also share Comptroller Joan Pratt's concern that the new contract for red light cameras is going to a renamed version of the same company that previously ran the error-prone speed cameras. (Balt. Sun)

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State ponders price of Preakness tradition

Preakness day is a grand occasion for Marylanders, even those who hardly qualify as even casual fans of horse-racing. On Saturday we can all revel in Baltimore playing host to the second leg of thoroughbred racing's fabled Triple Crown, as part of a tradition that actually goes back two years before the establishment of the Kentucky Derby. But how much is the state willing to pay to keep the Preakness Stakes not just in Maryland but at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course? The Stronach Group, which owns not just Pimlico but the nicer and better situated Laurel Park, keeps hinting it would like to move the famed race to the latter venue. (Capital)

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