Development plan recycles poverty in in Baltimore

Recently I was at a developers meeting along with The Community Builders’ senior project manager, Patrick Wagner, who gave an update about their “Marshall Gardens” development in Druid Heights. Since 2015, the public has been aware of a proposal by The Community Builders, a non-profit development corporation, to develop city-owned land to build mixed-income housing. According to a Baltimore Business Journal article, The Community Builders purchased the land for “$149, or $1 per property, because the developer's investment will help eliminate blight, promote economic development by generating tax income and improve the surrounding community [by replacing] the 149 properties with high quality, mixed-income housing. The project will create 90 new mixed-income rental townhouses and apartments.” (Balt. Sun)

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Ferries could prove worse for Chesapeake Bay than a new bridge

Dan Rodricks’ alternative to Gov. Larry Hogan’s expensive idea for another bridge across the Chesapeake Bay is not the environmental juggernaut he touts (“With electric ferries, Maryland won’t need a third bay bridge,” March 8). In fact, Governor Hogan’s plan may result in a healthier bay than Mr. Rodricks’ push for multitudes of electric ferries crisscrossing at multiple departure and arrival points up and down the estuary. (Balt. Sun)

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ACLU school funding lawsuit isn't a 'threat,' it's a reminder that Maryland is violating its own constitution

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller bristled at the news last week that the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland is seeking to reopen a decades-old lawsuit over the adequacy of state funding for Baltimore City Schools. “We don’t respond well to threats,” he huffed from the dais in the Senate chamber. He went on to suggest he did not much appreciate the thousands of teachers and other supporters who plan to gather on Lawyers Mall outside the State House tonight to demand adequate funding for schools. “We’re not going to be responding to lawsuits or mass rallies,” he said. (Balt. Sun)

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As Feds ignore student debt crisis, states like Md. step in

More than 44 million Americans owe more than $1.5 trillion dollars in student debt. A student loan borrower defaults every 28 seconds — more than 1 million each year, nationwide. Last year, three times as many Americans defaulted on a student loan as lost a home to foreclosure. Millions of Americans are anxiously trying to deal with the consequences of student debt, including hundreds of thousands of people across Maryland. The student loan borrowers here are teachers, nurses, service members and veterans — young and old, urban and rural, black and white. In Maryland alone, more than three-quarters of a million borrowers, including more than 115,000 people in Maryland’s rural communities, now owe more than $32 billion in student loan debt. (Balt. Sun)

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Poverty measures don't reflect reality, educational needs

In a recent discussion about concentrated poverty and our public schools, a colleague mentioned that, “poverty was going down anyway,” in an attempt to de-emphasize the need for greater education funding. And he’s not wrong. Poverty in America has decreased some since the 2008 economic crash, dropping to 12.3 percent in 2017 from 13.2 percent a decade earlier. But there are still millions of Americans — and thousands right here in Maryland — struggling under the weight and strain of economic disparity, many of them children. And official definitions of poverty often don’t reflect the reality of day to day life. (Balt. Sun)

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Md's BDS law prevents discrimination against Israel

Maryland’s anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) law opposing discriminatory commercial boycotts against Israel is being challenged in court, with incorrect suggestions that it violates the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech. The pro-Israel community fully supports the First Amendment of the Constitution. Anti-BDS laws are narrowly tailored anti-discrimination laws similar to many other anti-discrimination laws that protect women, racial minorities and LGBTQ individuals, among other categories of people. All of these laws highlight the critical distinction between commercial activity and the exercise of free speech, which comes into sharp focus in the course of carrying out the government’s obligation to protect classes of people from discrimination. (Balt. Sun)

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As Maryland considers allowing medically assisted suicide, readers add to emotional debate

With legislation legalizing medically-assisted suicide advancing through Maryland’s General Assembly, we asked readers what they would say to those deciding. In support: Ending suffering, upholding dignity. Don't be angry or enraged that medical suicide gets legalized. Be angry and enraged that you didn't do things you could actually control. Spend what time you have supporting them. — Joe Norman. As humans we don't want dying animals to suffer, so we "put them down." Why do humans have to suffer when THEY'RE dying? — Samantha Porter. (Balt. Sun)

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Electric ferries in Md.: an idea worth exploring

I read Dan Rodricks’ recent column regarding ferries with great interest (“With electric ferries, Maryland won’t need a third bay bridge,” March 8). His proposed use of an electric ferry fleet to provide multiple bay crossings in the place of a new bridge offers several benefits. Modern electric ferries would be clean alternative to diesel ships at the same time they are moving hundreds of non-running cars and trucks across the Chesapeake Bay. Operating multiple ferries from various locations along the bay spreads the traffic away from traditional choke points. (Balt. Sun)

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