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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Threat of fine is premature

A threat by the state Attorney General’s office to fine Carroll up to $10,000 per day because the county didn’t implement a new tax to pay for stormwater management is a bit of heavy-handedness that is both unnecessary and unjustified. In 2012, the general assembly passed a law requiring the state’s nine largest counties and Baltimore City to establish a watershed protection and restoration program that includes a tax on impervious surfaces. Opponents have dubbed the law the “rain tax.” (Carroll Co. Times)

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Immigrant licensing plan a smart option

Good public policy can seem counterintuitive. A number of Daily Times readers find it unfathomable that the state of Maryland would allow undocumented persons to hold a driver’s license. The state expects to issue about 135,000 learner’s permits and driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants over the next five years. That this is necessary, and the smartest possible move, reflects the utter failure of the federal government to come to grips with the presence of about 11 million undocumented persons in the United States. Because their status has not been resolved, these immigrants are forced to live in the shadows, part of the economy and civic life but also apart from it. (Daily Times)

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