Anne Arundel County Council steers clear of trouble on towing bill

With administrators yanking on its coattails, the Anne Arundel County Council stepped back from the edge on Monday, voting 5-2 against a measure to take control of towing contracts away from county police. As police Chief Timothy Altomare noted in a guest column earlier this month, this would have made "Anne Arundel County the only county in Maryland with no direct police department oversight of its own towing program" — a drastic move justifiable only if there was widespread public dissatisfaction with how the program is run. (Capital)

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July 18 // Catherine E. Pugh: The Sun got it wrong; I am not 'undermining' drug treatment

In a recent editorial, The Baltimore Sun said I was undermining drug treatment in our city and took out of context what I have said regarding doing treatment in a more responsible way. They got it wrong. I have never said we should not do drug treatment in Baltimore City. My illustration — saying parents would likely put their drug addicted children on a plane somewhere far away for treatment — was an expression of what I believed people with the financial means would do if someone in their family was drug addicted. (Balt. Sun)

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Getting tough on gun offenders

The reasoning behind Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis’ push for enhanced mandatory minimum sentences for gun offenders has intuitive appeal. The more people carry guns on the streets of Baltimore, the more likely it is for any confrontation to turn deadly. But given the level of violence in the city, many of those who are connected with the drug trade, or who merely live in high-crime areas, may believe they need to carry guns to protect themselves. The penalties for carrying an illegal gun are relatively minor, and most of those who are convicted of the offense are given suspended sentences, so Commissioner Davis argues, a cost-benefit analysis leads too many people to conclude that the potential consequences of not carrying a gun are much greater than those of being armed. (Balt. Sun)

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Release of information would help police

The Annapolis Police Department announced last week that it had suspended an officer's police powers after allegations of "inappropriate contact" with the subject of a criminal investigation — not a huge story by any stretch of the imagination. But the fact the department made this public after the officer was suspended and an internal investigation was opened was, in itself, good news. This ought to be the standard practice not just for the Annapolis police but for other police departments. The reason for having such a policy was illustrated nicely, also last week, by a controversy over city police conduct in a prior incident. (Capital)

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George and Stephanie Zuo: Could clinical psychology save Baltimore's 'high-risk' youth?

There’s a growing sentiment in research and policymaking circles that by the time “high-risk” youth reach their mid to late teens, it may already be too late to improve their core academic and social outcomes. For many youth, truancy has become a way of life, and little can be done to change that. In our recent paper, which received the 2017 Abell Award in Urban Policy, we attempt to reverse this narrative by tackling the issue of youth violence. In particular, we analyze trends and challenges that the city has faced and showcase recent research with enormous implications for reducing youth violence in Baltimore. Here’s a summary of what we found. (Balt. Sun)

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A long history of serving

The Frederick County Chapter of the American Red Cross didn’t pass up an opportunity to mark an important milestone in its history. On April 27, it marked the 100th anniversary of its founding, and on July 9 celebrated the anniversary again by being part of the re-enactment of the Civil War Battle of Monocacy in 1864. It’s a tribute to the organizational skills, leadership, recruitment, training and enthusiasm of the volunteers that the Frederick County branch of the Red Cross has been around for so long, and even more so with the increase in similar types of organizations and competition for donations and willing workers. (News-Post)

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John W. Van de Kamp: Patronage could be a royal pain

Horatio Sharpe, it was written at the time, was a "good soldier, of good conduct." Commissioned in the king's forces in 1745, he fought to put down the Jacobite Rebellion as a member of the 20th Regiment of Foot and the King's Marines. As a lieutenant colonel, he served in the West Indies. During the French and Indian War, Sharpe commanded all British forces in Virginia and the Northwest, until Maj. Gen. Edward Braddock arrived to take overall command in North America. Sharpe was George Washington's senior commander and his friend. In 1753, Frederick Calvert, the sixth Lord Baltimore, appointed Sharpe governor of Maryland. Calvert ran Maryland from London, deriving approximately 1 million pounds per year from his proprietary colony. (Capital)

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July 17 // Laslo Boyd - A new partisan divide: Higher education

We have become increasingly used to sharp differences of opinion between Democrats and Republicans. While the 2016 Presidential Election was the most consequential demonstration that our country is deeply polarized, there are more and more examples, some of them new and surprising. The Pew Research Center conducted a poll in early June that showed fundamental differences by party affiliation in opinion about major institutions in the county. (From a Certain Point of View)

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