December 5 // Laslo Boyd: An agenda for Democrats

Donald Trump will continue to provide lots of material to keep Democratic activists motivated in 2018. That’s not enough, however, if Democrats are going to regain control of one or both houses of Congress and make significant progress in state gubernatorial and legislative races.  Success in next year’s elections requires fighting for specific goals, not just being opposed to what the President is doing, as awful as that is. (From a Certain Point of View)

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Tom Pelton: Gambling on a Wall Street approach to managing nature

Ever since President Ronald Reagan declared that “government is not the solution to our problems, government is our problem,” Republican policymakers have been working to privatize America’s public services. The idea is that the magic of the free market is needed to improve the world around us because our elected government is inefficient and inherently suspect. So instead, we’ve seen the growth of private prisons, highways and bridges, and even municipal water systems owned by corporations. Now, here in Maryland, we are witnessing the logical flowering of that idea: Employing a Wall Street approach to managing nature. (Balt. Sun)

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Angela Haren: Md. should ban certain foam packaging

It’s that time of year — a time for leftovers. Whether it’s carryout from your favorite restaurant, a quick drive-through meal on your way between errands or a plate of leftovers from a holiday party, we carry meals in a variety of packaging. However, not all food packaging is created equal. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, more commonly known as Styrofoam, poses several unique and insidious threats to the health of our waterways and our communities. (Balt. Sun)

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December 4 // Getting the whole story on Det. Sean Suiter's killing

Mayor Catherine Pugh says the editorial in the Sunday Sun about Police Commissioner Kevin Davis’ request that the FBI take the lead in the investigation of Det. Sean Suiter’s killing is inaccurate. In case you missed it, we said it is imperative for the FBI to become the public face of the investigation because the confounding nature of the case coupled with the revelation that Suiter was to be a witness in a trial related to a massive corruption scandal in the Baltimore Police was leading to public distrust of the police department’s objectivity. Mr. Davis’ assertion that FBI and Department of Justice were possibly keeping city police in the dark about aspects of the investigation only made that situation worse, we argued. (Balt. Sun)

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FBI needs to take the lead on Det. Sean Suiter investigation

It has been more than two weeks since Det. Sean Suiter was killed in a violence-ridden West Baltimore neighborhood, and police have not identified, much less apprehended, a suspect. A possibly unprecedented $215,000 reward has made no difference. Meanwhile, with every passing day, new and confounding details emerge about Suiter’s role as a witness to the federal corruption case that is roiling the Baltimore Police Department. Add in some unusual details about the circumstances of his death — the radio still clutched in his left hand despite what police say was a life-and-death struggle, the lack of any surveillance video showing a possible suspect fleeing the scene — and you’ve got a recipe for skepticism, at best, and the flowering of conspiracy theories at worst. (Balt. Sun)

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Tom Horton: Gov. Hogan is enabling costly urban sprawl in Maryland by upending 'Smart Growth'

If you’re not yet worried about Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s abandonment of Smart Growth, you might want to read a new study on how Dumb Growth could cost Frederick County taxpayers some half a billion bucks.   First, a brief Smart Growth primer (which was once available on the Maryland Department of Planning’s website — until the website and department became a joke under Hogan): Smart Growth is the antithesis of sprawl, which is development outside areas planned and built for growth. Sprawl gobbles open space, increases air and water pollution, and costs more in new services than it ever offsets with taxes from new residents. (Daily Times)

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Franklin Lance: Does anyone care about West Baltimore?

In April of 2015, Baltimore City's civil unrest made international news. Immediately following, a flurry of meetings was called by elected officials, philanthropic organizations and faith based groups to discuss change. There was a huge push to rebuild what was lost and make up for the decades of inequality that fueled the unrest. But two years later, nothing really has changed. The major difference now is that the national news cameras have left, and the groups who rushed to organize have again turned their backs on West Baltimore. Does anyone really give a damn about us? (Balt. Sun)

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Dan Rodricks: Are you an ex-offender looking for a fresh start? Call this number

And so we begin again. With Baltimore beleaguered by crime and violence, I return today to an informal public-service initiative that lived in this space between 10 and 12 years ago. It began in June 2005 with an open letter to the drug dealers of Baltimore, asking them to consider getting out of that life and offering them some help with the journey. I gathered information about training and employment programs, apprenticeships, and companies willing to hire ex-offenders. Maybe 20 businesses contacted me to whisper that they were willing to do so, so long as neither their employees nor their customers knew about it. (Balt. Sun)

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