Five funerals later, we've got regrets for our absent friends

The funerals are over. We said goodbye to John McNamara on Tuesday at the University of Maryland. In the 13 days since the rampage in the Capital Gazette offices that killed John, Rebecca Smith, Wendi Winters, Gerald Fischman and Rob Hiaasen, family, friends and colleagues have gathered to say a final farewell. We have many regrets, but perhaps none greater than this one: We regret we didn’t know our friends better. Whether you work with someone for 26 years or six months, a job friendship often comes with some boundaries. They’re usually set by mutual agreement, often unspoken but acknowledged. (Capital)

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July 10 // Wendi Winters should be nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom

It should come as a surprise to no one who knew Wendi Winters that she was a fighter. To those who knew her as an organizer of blood drives, a Girl Scout Leader, an active member of her church, it also probably won’t be a shock that she took part in a unique adult education opportunity. Wendi took a course in active shooter training. As Danielle Ohl reported Sunday, that training saved one life and may have saved five others who survived the violent rampage in Capital Gazette offices on June 28. We don’t know how nominations for the Presidential Medal of Freedom get started. But if there were ever a case to be made for a newspaper reporter to win one posthumously, Wendi deserves that honor. (Capital)

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You know how they say every vote counts? Apparently, it's true.

It is not difficult to lose faith in the power of voting. Gerrymandering, dark money campaign contributions and voter suppression efforts have done their share to shake faith in democracy in this country. It’s a big reason why turnout at the polls has been miserably low all over the United States and why U.S. voter turnout lags most of its democratic and developed peers around the world. But if anyone needs to be reminded that every vote counts — that a handful of votes can turn an election — they need only look to last week’s Maryland primary where, after the dust settled, there are at least three races that came down to the slimmest of margins. (Balt. Sun)

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Monthly City Council meetings on police overtime are about 15 years overdue

There was something very familiar about the news last month that the Baltimore City Council had to approve a $21 million appropriation to cover police department overtime far in excess of what was budgeted. Perhaps it was because The Sun had run essentially the same story a year before when the department was blowing through almost $1 million in overtime spending every week en route to a final tally that was tens of millions more than the $17 million the council had approved for that purpose. (Balt. Sun)

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Carl Snowden: State needs to investigate BWI fire department and SHA complaints

Last month, Gov. Larry Hogan and the Board of Public Works unanimously approved a settlement involving the black deputy chief of the BWI fire department. Deputy Chief Gregory Lawerence had sued the State of Maryland for racial discrimination three times and has won all three cases. These lawsuits have occurred over a seven-year period. It seems to me that Deputy Lawrence’s cases indicate that there is a need to have an independent review of the BWI Fire Department and the State Highway Administration. (Capital)

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Sedrick Smith: Tears for Taylor Hayes, the 7 year old shot in Baltimore

I cried last night for someone else’s child. My twin daughters are 8. Like every parent, I think my daughters are the most intelligent, beautiful girls in the world. And they are. And that's why I started to cry. I’ve never met Taylor Hayes or her family, and I can’t even begin to imagine the heartache they must feel after their precious child was shot riding in the back seat of a car. But I do know what its like to be the parent of a smart beautiful little black girl, two times over, and I know that nothing matters more to me than them. (Balt. Sun)

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July 9 // Leana S. Wen: Trump's family planning dystopia

Imagine that you have diabetes. You go to your local health center for information about treatment. Your doctor examines you, then tells you that you can take either take a “miracle” pill or try a “special” diet. “I was on insulin before,” you say. “It’s what I came to you for.” “I can’t prescribe you insulin,” your doctor responds. “The law says I have to stick to these other options.” You’re confused. Insulin is considered standard medical care, and there is no evidence for either this so-called miracle pill or special diet. This dystopian scenario isn’t the beginning of a sci-fi movie. It could soon be the reality in the U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a rallying call to opponents of abortion, encouraging them to the polls to elect conservative lawmakers. (Balt. Sun)

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George L. Leventhal: Montgomery County’s first public campaign finance effort fell short

In 2014, the Montgomery County Council adopted an experiment in democracy, to be tested in the 2018 election. Public campaign financing was supposed to open opportunities for a more diverse, grass-roots pool of candidates and reduce the influence of big money. Candidates who opted into the program agreed to forego contributions from corporations, political action committees and labor unions, and to limit individual donations to no more than $150 per contributor. In return, they received a generous match from a public fund appropriated through the county budget. A similar program was adopted by the Howard County Council for implementation in 2022. Now that the primary election (which usually is decisive in determining winners in heavily Democratic Montgomery) is over, how did the experiment work? (Wash. Post)

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