Another round in the Hogan-teachers union feud

Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement that he will not sign Maryland’s proposed plan to implement the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act — the Obama era successor to No Child Left Behind — got him some swift criticism from the Maryland teachers union and its allies, including a claim from one of his prospective 2018 opponents that he is the “anti-public education governor.” The critics claim that he is putting some $250 million in federal funding for Maryland schools at risk and aligning himself with the extreme school privatization agenda of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore County police brutality: What's the standard?

Thirty minutes. That’s approximately how long it took a Baltimore County jury last week to acquit on all charges Christopher M. Spivey, the 29-year-old police officer charged with kicking and spitting on 20-year-old Diamontae Tyquan Farrar after he led police on a chase with a stolen car and then fled on foot in the Liberty Road area back in January. And they didn’t just acquit him. After the verdict was announced, a number of jurors congratulated him. They thanked him for his service. And here’s the topper. After it was all over, a representative of the local police union chastised Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger for ever bringing charges in the first place. (Balt. Sun)

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Anne Arundel County's anti-racism initiative is promising

After centuries of painfully slow progress, most of America has reached a point at which naked racial bigotry is socially unacceptable.  Yet there’s a temptation to cynicism when a government official announces an anti-racism program. With a little effort, you can assemble people to talk about how they abhor racism and embrace diversity. It’s harder to make any sort of measurable progress, or even come up with a way to measure progress. Nonetheless, we applaud County Executive Steve Schuh’s announcement of the Anne Arundel United community initiative, a constructive and promising response to some disturbing recent events. (Capital)

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September 18 // Brian Griffiths: Lobbyist has history of self-interested crusades

Last week Maryland Matters reported that lobbyist Vinny DeMarco is making expansion of Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard his focus for the 2018 General Assembly session. Under the RPS, if I put a solar array on my roof to power my house, the power generated qualifies for a renewable energy credit. I then sell the credit to the electric company, which uses it to satisfy the RPS mandate. Ratepayers bear the cost through higher electric bills. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. signed the original modest RPS into law in 2004. Martin O’Malley accelerated it to 20 percent by 2022. In the last legislative session, Democrats overrode Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto and pushed the RPS to 25 percent by 2020. (Capital)

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C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger: Medicaid cuts shift burdens to states

Thanks to massive grassroots mobilization efforts, our state narrowly averted disaster when Congress failed to pass any version of Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal that would have restructured Medicaid and left thousands of my constituents without health care coverage. Stopping health care repeal was a huge victory, but the fight is not over yet. Even deeper cuts to Medicaid have been proposed in the 2018 budget resolution, which would slash health care by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years to pay for billions in tax breaks to the rich and corporations over that same period. I worry that these cuts would not only have a devastating impact on families in my district but that they would have dangerous long-term consequences for state budgets and our local economy. (Balt. Sun)

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Claudia Diamond: Wanted -- women candidates in Md.'s 41st District

OK, I’ll admit it: I have precinct envy. I live in Maryland’s 41st legislative district, one of six state legislative districts located in Baltimore. It spans the city from North Charles Street in the east to Route 40 in the west. It’s an eclectic mix of neighborhoods, including Park Heights, which is smack in the middle, with Edmonson Village and Roland Park as the bookends. In 2018, the 41st , like most districts in Maryland, will elect one state senator and three delegates. The 41st, however, is electorally-challenged right now. (Balt. Sun)

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David Warnock: A 'Pugh Plan' for economic revitalization in Baltimore

Baltimore needs a “Pugh Plan” for economic revitalization of Baltimore now. While crime is top of mind in Baltimore, we are simply not going to police our way to prosperity. In addition, despite all the good work of grant makers, we will also not create a robust job creating economy off philanthropy alone. Baltimore has suffered badly from expedient responses when we need real long-term solutions. We need a real plan for career education, job creation and economic equity. Interest rates remain at historic lows, and our ability to finance transformative projects is unlikely to improve. We need it now and an activist Mayor Pugh to implement the plan. (Balt. Sun)

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Christine Real de Azua, Anne Vorce: Trees and taxpayers should beware the Purple Line

The $5.6 billion Purple Line contract signed by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) saddles Maryland with a 40 percent increase in long-term debt — probably the largest in the state’s history. Taxpayers and trees beware: Exorbitant price is but the tip of the iceberg of the Purple Line’s harm and costs to taxpayers, area commuters, our environment and transit itself. The capital cost alone — $150 million per mile — is far higher than the costs for other comparable light-rail systems. The Maryland Transit Administration found that bus rapid transit alternatives would have been more cost-effective but chose light rail anyway. (Wash. Post)

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