Pearce's exit isn't end of state Web portal problem

We feel a bit sorry for Rebecca Pearce. Of course, that statement needs to be heavily qualified. When you’re an official in charge of a pivotal state program, and that program runs into major problems, embarrassing both the governor and the lieutenant governor running to succeed him, it’s a good idea to have a stack of resumes on hand. Moreover Pearce elected to take a Thanksgiving week vacation in the Cayman Islands — totally out of touch with Maryland, according to The Baltimore Sun — while her subordinates were straining to fix problems with the state’s health insurance exchange website and her boss was due to be cross-examined by skeptical state legislators. That was just stupid. (Capital)

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Fred Kelly: Safer waters — no more excuses

Thanks to my fellow citizens and the leadership of House Speaker Mike Busch and County Councilmen Chris Trumbauer, Jamie Benoit, Dick Ladd and John Grasso, our Department of Public Works now has the financial resources to stop stormwater runoff. We can finally stop the destruction of marine life and provide safer swimming waters for our families and children. No more excuses! (Capital)

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Thomas Schaller: Obamacare rollout shockingly rough

The Obama Administration's rollout of the Affordable Care Act was a disaster. The policy did not anticipate how to deal with Americans who were unceremoniously dumped from their non-employer-based health insurance plans by private insurers trying to comply with ACA's requirements. The healthcare.gov website was — and still is — hamstrung by technical glitches and bogged down by traffic; this week it was reported that the site is riddled with informational errors about applicants, their families and their coverage. Worst of all is the program's low demand: The number of Americans who signed up for coverage thus far remains well below what may be, in hindsight, too-ambitious participation targets set by the administration. (Balt. Sun)

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Mark Hofberg -- Help the environment: Eat less meat

What can I do to help the environment? As a master's student in conservation biology and environmental policy, I get this question often from my (mostly) left-leaning, but financially focused, friends. They generally understand that the environment is important, but with long work hours and an overflow "green" products and tips in the media, there is confusion about what is effective or even useful. There is a simple way to help; one that does not require wearing hemp or even scrapping your car (although that would be nice): Eat less meat. (Balt. Sun)

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Dec. 10 // Notorious, but not for prevention

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was right last week to defend Baltimore's Safe Streets program as an effective tactic for reducing gun violence, despite the fact that one of the initiative's workers was arrested recently on federal drug and firearms charges. The fact that one bad apple turned up among the dozens of people employed in the effort doesn't invalidate the need for such programs or the valuable service they perform in troubled city neighborhoods. (Balt. Sun)

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Timothy D. Armbruster: Baltimore's three tyrannies

Since coming to Baltimore nearly 35 years ago to work for the Goldseker and, later, Baltimore Community foundations, I have had the good fortune to observe and participate in the city's civic and philanthropic life during a period of profound change in the region's economic and social fortunes. And while the very difficult challenges of poverty, low educational attainment and crime are still very much with us, Baltimore's future seems, to me at least, a lot brighter than it was in I first arrived. Baltimore's ability to face successfully the social and economic challenges of creating a new economy and at the same time offering educational and employment opportunity to everyone who lives here is being constrained, however, by some deeply ingrained ways of thinking. (Balt. Sun)

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O'Malley-Brown's Obamacare debacle

"Time and ultimate success," Gov. Martin O'Malley says, will tell whether the state's approach to the implementation of the state health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare) was the right one. Time, and the much greater success of other states, have already told. Maryland's exchange website rollout was a disaster and continues to put the state's residents at a severe disadvantage when it comes to enrolling in health insurance plans. The director of the exchange resigned Friday amid reports that she had taken a seven-day vacation in the middle of the crisis, but she is far from the only one responsible. The General Assembly needs to investigate so we can get real answers about what went wrong and who is at fault. (Balt. Sun)

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Linda Norris-Waldt: Chickens, red herrings, and a $487 bargain basement deal

One of the enduring community values I’ve noticed in my three decades in Frederick County is an appreciation of what it takes to care for the environment. So I think we should all be paying attention to the $487 question. It has been interesting to watch the tactics in the recent game of chicken between our local government leaders and the state Department of the Environment over the new Maryland Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, otherwise known as the stormwater fee, or the “rain tax.” (News-Post)

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