What Poor Kids Get From Farmers’ Markets

Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's plan to use $10,000 in private foundation grants to fund a program designed to help low-income families stretch their food stamp benefits undoubtedly will help many of those struggling to make ends meet in the wake of this month's cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. Under the mayor's proposal, food stamp recipients will be able to get up to $10 extra a week if they use their EBT (electronic benefits transfer) cards at city farmers' markets. It doesn't make up for the $40 poor families will lose every month as a result of the cut in federal benefits, nor does it eliminate the difficulty many of them face in accessing and affording the fresh, local and healthy food available at farmers' markets. But at a time when many parents are struggling to put food on the table, every little bit helps. (Balt. Sun)

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Tim Rowland: Crime-Free Housing Law Could Be Very Unpopular Among Criminals

So Hagerstown is considering an ordinance that, as I understand it, will make it unlawful to be unlawful. But withhold your judgment, because it almost makes sense in a Hagerstown kind of way. The law in question would make it illegal for landlords to rent residential property without a Crime Free Housing License. The Crime Free Housing License would require landlords to include language in the lease “prohibiting tenants and their guests from engaging in or facilitating criminal activity,” according to accounts. Jeepers, you mean it’s really that simple? All this murder, arson, rape, destruction of property and drug trafficking can be eliminated just as easily as prohibiting pets? (Herald-Mail)

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Jenn Topper and S. Derek Turner: Something’s Happening To Local News

So far this year, 223 local TV stations have changed hands. This is the biggest wave of media consolidation ever — and it's all happening in small and mid-level markets, involving companies most people have never heard of. Leading this wave is Hunt Valley-based Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair alone is behind seven deals this year, including a $985-million deal to buy nine stations from Allbritton Communications. But it's not alone; other media companies are also racing to gobble up stations. (Balt. Sun)

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An Election With A Message

While is it generally unwise to read too much into local elections from a handful of states, Tuesday's results produced a message writ too large to ignore. If Republicans want to win over swing voters, they'll need to produce candidates more like New Jersey's pragmatic Chris Christie than Virginia's tea party darling, Ken Cuccinelli II. (Balt. Sun)

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Paul Foer: End Of The Road For ‘Cohenocracy’?

It looks like the ‘’Cohenocracy’’ just got a colonoscopy. Mayor Josh Cohen, who took office as a city alderman, then left for the County Council and then vacated that position to run for mayor, is trailing in close election results. Assuming that sticks, the unabated 12 years of unbridled growth in taxes and government largesse may well be halted. Although partisan local elections should end, it is a shame Republicans posed no candidates in five wards and could only muster a young and untested candidate to challenge the Cohenocracy. But the tables have been turned in this powerful office if Mike Pantelides holds on — and the host of Cohenocratic patrons working as bureaucrats at City Hall will themselves face extinction. (Capital)

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Annapolis Ward 6 Candidate Conn Blames ‘Machine’ Politics For His Loss

Machine politics has no place in a small town like Annapolis. Our representative government should consist of men and women drawn from the neighborhoods where they live. They should know their neighbors and be in tune with their concerns. Unfortunately, Annapolis does have a thriving and highly successful political machine, a machine that ratified boundaries for our ward, Ward 6, that are among the most gerrymandered in the nation. (Capital)

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Nov. 6 // City should delay smart meter vote

There is no question that Baltimore needs to improve its water billing system. Chronic errors have produced thousands of inaccurate bills with mistakes totaling millions of dollars. That said, we urge the Board of Estimates to delay its decision on whether to award a contract for installing new smart meters to Washington state-based Itron Inc. A protest letter filed by the losing bidder, Columbia-based Dynis LLC, raises some substantial questions about the process that should be answered before the city moves forward. (Balt. Sun)

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Rain tax, Part II

Frederick County is destined to have a “rain tax” to meet the demands of its upcoming state-enforced stormwater permit. Just what that permit’s requirements will cost county property taxpayers is still to be determined. One thing is certain, it won’t be the 1 cent per eligible property taxpayer that the Board of County Commissioners set earlier this year when confronted with the requirement. (News-Post)

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