November 15 // Yet another problem with Baltimore's Gun Trace Task Force

Of the many problems that have emerged since the indictments of nearly all the members of Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force, the fact that the squad’s dissolution is the driving factor in a 25 percent drop in citywide gun arrests this year could have the most lasting consequences. According to statistics reported Sunday by The Sun’s Luke Broadwater and Kevin Rector, the division of which the task force was a part has logged 277 fewer gun arrests so far this year, and the task force was only disbanded in March. In a city awash in guns and gun violence, even a momentary drop-off in gun crime enforcement could have far-reaching and deadly consequences. (Balt. Sun)

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While we’re fretting over Baltimore’s juveniles, how about fairly funding its students?

Listening to how quickly an uptick in juvenile crime has triggered calls for harsher penalties, I can’t help fuming over how slowly Maryland has responded to the institutional misdeeds that, over the decades, helped cause this problem. When the Kirwan Commission announced that it was delaying until 2018 its recommendations on how to correct years of imbalance in how Maryland funds its schools, the reaction was telling: From the public, outside of advocates for Baltimore’s under-resourced primarily African-American schools, it was crickets. From elected officials and editorial writers who ought to know better, it was excuses such as “it’s complicated,” “they’ve got to get it right,” and “they’re taking on more than just re-writing the formula.” (Brew)

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The clock keeps ticking on Hillman Garage

Annapolis’ government has shut down half of the city’s most heavily used garage perilously close to the holiday season, when the last thing downtown businesses want is for potential customers to have more trouble finding places to park. This should focus the mind of the incoming mayor and City Council on the fact that the comprehensive repair — or, more likely, replacement — of the 45-year-old Noah Hillman Parking Garage, having languished on the city’s infrastructure to-do list for years, can’t be deferred much longer. (Capital)

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Dr. Sosena Kebede: Baltimore can't jail its way out of juvenile crime crisis

I am a black professional woman who seven years ago chose to live in Baltimore city. Over the years, I have been a victim of theft and personal assault by juveniles twice, and I live with an increasing amount of fear and vigilance in a city that I love. The recent Halloween night robberies and assaults have escalated my fear for my safety because these incidents happened close to the area where I live. I was also saddened by the fact that these crimes were reportedly committed by juveniles, some of whom were identified as young girls. (Balt. Sun)

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Rodricks: Baltimore forever, a tale of two cities

It is the best of cities, it is the worst of cities. It is a city of daring, a city of despair, a city of dreams, a city of drugs, a city of quirks, a city of guns, a city unbound, a city aground. It is wholly charming and totally frustrating, full of renewal and blighted with loss. Apologies to Dickens, but I must ask: What city is this? Which Baltimore? Is this the city of construction cranes and sky-high ambitions or the moribund city bogged down with poverty, perversity and violence? I answer my own question. It is both. (Balt. Sun)

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Bill Kardash: Let's remember Buckley's campaign promises

I paid close attention to the mayoral campaign and attended most of the debates. Both Mayor Mike Pantelides and Gavin Buckley had stump speeches. The mayor’s message was well honed. Gavin’s was developed as the campaign evolved. Since we will swear Gavin in as the new mayor on Dec. 4, I thought it would be useful to remind the mayor-elect of the promises to the voters that led to his victory. Campaign promises by politicians are as common as dandelions. They are part of the patois of campaigning. They draw our interests, titillate our imaginations and appeal to our wants. (Capital)

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E.R. Shipp: A moment and movement of courage in America

With both the outing of sexual predators and the call for a cessation of violence in Baltimore catching fire as movements, one must marvel at the courage on view before us — even as the naysayers and the doubters and the haters vie for attention. Whether one is stepping into the light about painful and embarrassing matters that have generally taken place in private or offering a rather simple solution to a situation too daunting for experts to resolve, the same obstacles have had to be overcome: fear and inertia. The women and men in the vanguard of these efforts had to muster courage and then brace themselves for the sort of backlash unheard of before the advent of social media. (Balt. Sun)

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November 14 // Money in search of a mission

When Baltimore City voters approved a charter amendment last year that would set aside 3 percent of the city’s annual discretionary budget for youth programs, advocates of the measure hailed it as a long-overdue recognition that the city needed to do more to support its young people. Then a year passed and nothing much happened. Mayor Catherine Pugh dutifully put the money in her budget — and there it has sat unused ever since. Whatever changes voters may have hoped would result from the city’s new commitment to youth initiatives have failed to materialize. (Balt. Sun)

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