Carl Snowden: Anne Arundel County Circuit Court membership will change

The difference between a "movement" and a "moment" is commitment and sacrifice. A couple of weeks ago scores of protesters stood in front of the Annapolis courthouse on Church Circle in driving rain, protesting the lack of diversity on the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. They pointed out that no African-American woman and no Latino or Asian has served on this court in its 366-year history. Whether the governor was a Democrat or a Republican, whether he was liberal or conservative, black women and other minorities have been excluded from the bench — period. (Capital)

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Walter Olson: Howard County's anti-sugar campaign is no example for the rest of the country

Many public health advocates feel you need to be nudged for your own good, by law if necessary, into making better choices about what to eat and drink. Have you heard about their latest triumph, the Howard County Miracle? NPR reported on it in March: "A three-year campaign in Howard County, Md., aimed at curbing the community's sweet tooth led to a significant decline in sales of sugary drinks." The public-private effort "led to a 20 percent decrease in sales of soda and a 15 percent decline in fruit drink sales between January 2013 and December 2015," as reported by local grocery stores. (Examiner)

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David Prater: Baltimore public housing plan needs scrutiny, oversight

The $27 million renovation and reopening of the city's Allendale public apartment complex was described as "hallelujah" moment by Carol Payne, the Director of the Baltimore Region for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. But a hallelujah moment for whom? Should public housing residents and applicants really be praising a program that turns publicly held assets over to private entities with practically no accountability to the low-income seniors and people with disabilities who will reside in these units? (Balt. Sun)

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May 22 // Eastport muddle spotlights planning woes

When the Eastport Landing project came up, Mayor Mike Pantelides, visiting Capital Gazette offices last week to talk with reporters and editors, seemed resigned. The city code governing how much residential density is permitted at the Eastport Shopping Center site, Pantelides said, is so "vague and ambiguous" that any of the interpretations advanced by multiple attorneys could hold up in court. The upshot, he said, is that "somebody's going to get sued." Either the developers will sue to uphold the calculations they were told they could use in 2015 — which allow for 127 apartments, along with commercial and retail use — or residents will sue to uphold a competing reading of the code that cuts the number of apartments in half. (Capital)

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Jerry Cothran: Blame Baltimore's politicians for its shrinking population

It's clear that Baltimore has a number of systemic government issues, including mismanagement, that have resulted in a decades-long exodus out of the city. From 1970 to 2000, Baltimore's total population declined nearly 30 percent. That hemorrhaging of population continues, as evidenced by more than 6,700 people leaving in the 12 months that ended in July 2016. Christopher B. Summers, CEO of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, has offered a plausible causal effect: Baltimore's exceedingly high tax rates, which are about twice as high as other counties across the state. (Balt. Sun)

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Hogan unlikely to budge feds on NextGen

Gov. Larry Hogan might be considered late to the anti-NextGen party, at least by homeowners who live under the approaches to BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and have spent much of the last two years watching their walls vibrate and trying to ward off migraines from ceaseless airplane noise. But it was actually nearly a year ago that the Maryland Aviation Administration concluded that the new GPS-based traffic-routing procedures of the Federal Aviation Administration's Next Generation Air Transportation System don't comply with the FAA-approved state noise-abatement program. The state agency asked the FAA to go back to the old air traffic patterns until it can get the bugs out of NextGen. Now Hogan has weighed in. (Capital)

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Barry Rascovar: Maryland’s gets mixed economic messages from feds

Talk about sending mixed messages, the latest jobs report for Maryland can be read as good news or the precursor of bad economic news. Maryland added 3,500 jobs in April. That’s good, right? Well, yes, but remember in March Maryland lost 7,900 jobs. Want another mixed message? Maryland’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.3%. That’s a disturbing sign, small though it may be. It indicates more people who had dropped out of even trying to find a job are once again seeking work. A larger pool of job-seekers could keep the unemployment rate in Maryland on an upward path. Yet it’s a good sign that Maryland’s jobless rate remains a notch below the national unemployment rate of 4.4%. (Md. Reporter)

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Rick Hutzell: Annapolis needs early voting -- and won't be able to get it until 2021

Annapolis will go to the polls on Sept. 19 and Nov. 7. It's not soon enough for me, and it shouldn't be soon enough for you. Most importantly, it should not be soon enough for Mayor Mike Pantelides and members of the City Council. That's because seven years after Maryland started early voting, Annapolis still holds one-day elections. (Capital)

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