Harpool: Access to capital will help level the playing field for minority-owned businesses

The signs that America is in the midst of a violent and crippling pandemic are as visible as the mask on your face. They’re also clearly seen through the pain felt by many of us due to the illness or death of a loved one. Simultaneously, the broader community has come more recently to acknowledge structural racism in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others at the hands of police. But sadly, a less apparent loss and more unnoticed story may be the sudden disappearances of thousands of Black and Latino businesses, which will be realized when the pall is lifted. (Balt Bus Journal)

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Gov. Hogan’s pandemic response ‘erratic’

Gov. Larry Hogan’s erratic leadership throughout the COVID-19 health crisis has caused immense stress on families and businesses across the state. His most recent press conferences pressuring school systems to reopen in person, and moving the state to Stage 3 without a vaccine or treatment are just two examples. More importantly, the governor has refused to put in place more supports for families. (Balt Sun)

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Baltimore Mayor Young took away water bill protections when residents needed them most

There were no tweets or press events, but in early July, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young signed an executive order to indefinitely block implementation of the Water Accountability and Equity Act (WAEA), which would have opened a new income-based affordability program and a fairer billing dispute process to all residents. Evidently the mayor thinks that Baltimore residents will be better off in a pandemic without these unanimously passed legislative reforms even as the city plans to raise the water rate by another 10% on October 1. (Balt Sun)

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A simple act to combat systemic racism: planting a tree

We’ve been told repeatedly during the pandemic that the safest way to socialize is outside. But in the dog days of summer, in a city in particular, outside is often the last place one wants to be. Temperatures can vary by as much as 20 degrees from one urban area to the next, depending on the level of tree cover and paved surfaces. Not surprisingly, the tonier areas are greener, and therefore cooler, and the lower-income sections are covered in heat-amplifying concrete. So, while money may not grow on trees, it certainly correlates. (Balt Sun)

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Joe Biden is the only one trying to act like a president

When President Trump began laying the blame for unrest occurring in a few cities at the feet of the Democratic presidential nominee, referring to the alleged horrors of “Joe Biden’s America,” many found it odd. After all, Biden is not president at the moment; if we’re living in anyone’s America, surely it’s Trump’s. But what if he was unintentionally telling the truth? What if Trump is, in some crucial ways, not the president at all, and Biden is stepping in to fill the void where a normal president would be? (Wash Post)

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John Gartner, Baltimore psychologist, takes his ‘duty to warn’ about Trump to film

A new documentary film both fascinating and frightening gives Baltimore-based psychotherapist John Gartner and a supporting cast of mental health professionals ample opportunity to make their case that Donald Trump is psychologically unfit to be president of the republic. Its title, “#UNFIT: The Psychology of Donald Trump,” suggests a polemic, and there were many moments when I thought Michael Moore had directed the film. (He didn’t; Dan Partland did.) (Balt Sun)

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Trump overexposed and underwhelming

Here are two interesting political straws in the wind: According to a recent poll in the Military Times, active duty service members favor Joe Biden over Boss Trump in the upcoming election, 41-37. Given that a poll on the same date in 2016 showed Trump favored by 20 points over Hillary Clinton, this looks like a significant shift. (Star Dem)

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Putting the brakes on Baltimore transit: Is there an exit plan? Shared sacrifice?

Given the uncertain state of Maryland’s transportation finances, this week’s announcement by the Maryland Transit Administration that the state agency proposes to substantially reduce transit service does not come as a complete surprise. The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly worsened an already stretched-thin state Transportation Trust Fund and emergency federal relief funds are quickly running out. But the circumstances don’t make the prospect of a “20% overall service reduction” in local bus routes any less painful for Baltimore and its neighboring counties.(Balt Sun)

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