J.H. Snider: A jury should decide on Maryland's next redistricting map

A panel of federal judges gave Maryland until March 7 to fix what it ruled was an unconstitutional gerrymander. Specifically, it directed the General Assembly to promptly adopt an acceptable map.If the legislature fails to do so, the panel will appoint an independent body to draw the map. Instead of drawing a map, the body should select among submitted maps — a good job for a redistricting jury. (Capital)

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December 11 // Four things to keep in mind about the Kirwan Commission's $4.4 billion education plan

The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education has been at work for more than two years, and the basic outlines of its recommendations for how to make Maryland’s public schools competitive on a global standard have been out for a year. But last week’s meeting, when analysts finally started to put a price tag on it all, really got people’s attention. A number like $4.4 billion has a way of doing that. Plenty of details remain to be worked out, but the raw figure is already producing some backlash from outside groups and some squeamishness among members about sending such a big ask to the governor and General Assembly. (Balt. Sun)

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What's a little coup among school board friends

It wasn’t surprising that there was an effort to change leadership on the Anne Arundel County Board of Education last week. We suggested in July that when the school members re-elected Julie Hummer and Terry Gilleland as president and vice president, they were trying to put a thumb on the scale of democracy. Both incumbents were up for election but came in second in the primary. It didn’t work, and both lost a bid to win newly created seats on an elected board gradually taking shape. Instead, they will serve out their current appointed terms. No, an attempted coup was no surprise. (Capital)

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Carl Snowden: What a year 2018 has been for change in Anne Arundel

What a year 2018 has been! As we prepare for the upcoming New Year, there have been so many things that have occurred in this year. This month marks the anniversary of Mayor Gavin Buckley's first year in office. Like newly elected County Executive Steuart Pittman, Mayor Buckley had never held public office. Both Buckley and Pittman are neophytes who have been given a mandate. Voters clearly wanted the city and county to move in a different direction. (Capital)

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Commissioners needed a fresh start

The Washington County Board of Commissioners embarked on a much-needed fresh start last week, welcoming newly elected Randy Wagner and Cort Meinelschmidt after saying goodbye to commissioners LeRoy Myers and John Barr the previous week. The old board had become largely dysfunctional, both on a personal and professional level. Myers wound up the subject of a sexual harassment suit after a business trip to South Korea. It was Myers who seemed to control the majority, and under his influence, a deal to redevelop the former Fort Ritchie military base tottered precipitously. (Herald-Mail)

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December 10 // Maryland’s audacious toll road plan could work — if done right

When Gov. Larry Hogan (R) last year proposed a $9 billion blueprint to widen the Beltway, Interstate 270 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway by building more than 100 miles of toll lanes — potentially one of the most audacious public-private partnerships in the nation — the project was attacked as politically opportunistic, a boondoggle that would wreck neighborhoods and harm the environment. Nonetheless, Mr. Hogan’s plan has advanced, impelled by one undeniable fact known to hundreds of thousands of daily commuters who crawl along those roadways day after soul-crushing day: Suburban traffic long ago outstripped highway capacity. (Wash. Post)

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David Wilson: We're open for billions

Johns Hopkins University was in the news recently as the result of a $1.8-billion gift from one of its alumni, Michael Bloomberg. When I read about the gift, I immediately emailed my friend, Hopkins President Ron Daniels, and joked that perhaps Mr. Bloomberg should have invested at least $100 million of that in Morgan State University. (Balt. Sun)

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After a mixed first year, we remain confident Buckley can deliver for Annapolis

Mayor Gavin Buckley has done some good things in his first year and some not so good. He has to do better if he wants to deliver the change he campaigned on a year ago. But we remain confident that he can deliver. Here’s why. The Democrat provided much-needed community leadership after the June 28 shooting that killed five members of the Capital Gazette staff. He rallied wider Annapolis around the survivors and this news organization, which was beneficial not just for the survivors but also for the community. We are grateful and we suspect many others are as well. More importantly, it was the kind of leadership needed for Annapolis. (Capital)

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