Editorial: A new era

One of our favorite lines from one of our favorite movies comes from the 1982 cop-and-convict movie, “48 Hrs.” It’s become a classic American saying, and you’ve probably heard or read it many times and are familiar with it, even if you didn’t know where it comes from. While in the company of San Francisco Police Inspector Jack Cates (Nick Nolte), temporarily-freed prisoner Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) shakes down a bar while trying to find the whereabouts of the thug who killed Cates’ partner. Hammond plucks a cowboy hat off the bar owner’s head and puts it on his own, sticks a toothpick into his mouth and says, “There’s a new sheriff in town ... and his name is Reggie Hammond.” (Times-News)

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Braverman, Holleman: Baltimore’s unemployment problem

It’s a new year and our city continues to struggle with crushing poverty and heart-breaking homicide rates. Nearly everyone agrees that an important way forward is to increase Baltimore residents’ access to good-paying jobs. Agreement on the need for jobs, however, isn’t enough. With mayoral and City Council campaigns underway, now is the time for a concrete plan. The good news is that the city’s official unemployment rate has fallen dramatically since the Great Recession. In October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate was close to 5%, compared to close to 12% in February 2010. (Balt. Sun)

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Editorial: LNG by rail: A disaster waiting to happen

Nearly seven years ago, a small town in the Canadian province of Quebec suffered a disaster of historic proportions when an unattended freight train slipped down a hill and tank cars loaded with crude oil derailed in the downtown. Much of Lac-Mégantic was reduced to embers, consumed by fire and explosions with 30 buildings destroyed and 47 people dead in the half-mile blast radius. It was one of the worst rail disasters in that nation’s history, and a mere 600 miles from Maryland. Now, imagine that instead of crude oil, those tank cars were filled with volatile natural gas that has been cooled to liquid form. The resulting conflagration could have been even worse. (Balt. Sun)

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Editorial: Let’s hope commissioner’s call for women to run in 2022 is heeded

The five men who make up the 61st Board of Commissioners spoke Tuesday during the annual State of the County event put on by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and, by and large, stuck to territory they’d previously staked out. Important, if familiar, topics were discussed. One surprise came at the end of the speech made by Commissioner Eric Bouchat, R-District 4, when he called upon the women of Carroll County to begin considering a run for the Board of County Commissioners the next time the five seats are up for election, in 2022. His request was met with sustained applause, coming in a year when the nation is celebrating the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote via the 19th Amendment. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Editorial: Charter government helping the county in Annapolis

It is fair to ask if the switch from the commission form of government to the county executive and council five years ago has changed the profile of Frederick County in the state capital, but the answer is blazingly obvious. Of course it has. Frederick County, under County Executive Jan Gardner, now speaks with one voice in Annapolis, and that one voice was popularly elected by a direct vote of the people. For the political class in the State House, that changes everything. The capital is the place in Maryland where, more than any other, political power is appreciated and recognized. (News Post)

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Zurawik: Sinclair’s WBFF leading the way in defining Baltimore’s mayoral debate on TV

The exchange between mayoral candidates T.J. Smith, a former Baltimore Police Department spokesman, and City Council President Brandon Scott was real, raw and revealing. bLast week, during a “City in Crisis" town hall on WBFF, Mr. Scott was answering an audience member’s question about campaign finance reform by saying he and the City Council are already working on it.  “Yeah, but you haven’t funded it,” Mr. Smith interrupted, citing the necessity of public money to make such reform work. “Haven’t funded it. Haven’t funded it. Still haven’t funded it ... Twelve years on the council, and you haven’t funded it,” Mr. Smith insisted, talking over his opponent’s answer until Mr. Scott could no longer ignore him. (Balt. Sun)

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Stubblefield: Is Montgomery as Progressive as Everyone Thinks It Is?

With everything that has been going on with the Montgomery County Public Schools boundary analysis study and people being shocked at the racist and classist vitriol being hurled about, I just wanted to say these attitudes have always been there. While I do not speak for the black community in Montgomery County, my experiences as a black man in the county inform my views not only on the attitudes but also my thoughts on the boundary study. (Md. Matters)

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McCray: Increased cigarette tax will stop youth from smoking

We’ve all seen the alarming headlines about the e-cigarette epidemic among our nation’s youth — but not every Marylander realizes the extent of this problem in our own backyard. A recent survey from the Maryland Department of Health, found that 23% of Maryland high school students are using e-cigarettes, which can become a “gateway” to other tobacco products for many teens. (Balt. Sun)

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