'Cracking and packing:' Tame the gerrymander

While much of the country remains focused on the recent devastation brought on Puerto Rico and Las Vegas, the nation’s political class (also known as the “swamp” in the Donald Trump era) was likely tuned to the U.S. Supreme Court this morning where justices pondered a ruling that could eventually wreak havoc on Congress and state legislatures across the country. The question? Whether there is a point at which manipulation of voting districts for the purpose of favoring one political party over another goes so far that it denies constitutional rights of voters, and if so, whether the courts can then reasonably intervene to correct that problem. (Balt. Sun)

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Annapolis council should let charter, code changes die

Some of the seven Democratic members of the City Council offer different explanations on why it’s suddenly necessary to rejigger Annapolis’ government mere weeks before an election. With at least four council members exiting in November, the seven Democratic aldermen argue now is the time to address a problem with the City Charter and code. For years, their first argument goes, the documents have failed to match up on lines of authority for the city attorney, the clerk and their respective staffs. To fix this, council members modestly propose making it clear that the city manager appoints and the council must confirm these positions. (Capital)

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Dan Rodricks: The gunfire this time

On Saturday, I was in a remote area of Maryland, surrounded by water and woods, a place so quiet that even the occasional squawk of a blue jay seemed startling. In the early afternoon, we heard gunfire — and not the single, distinct shots you might hear during deer season, but rapid-fire bursts of 10 to 15 rounds at a time. It sounded like someone taking target practice with a semi-automatic handgun or rifle. And I say that despite the speed of the rounds: It was hard to imagine anyone so quickly squeezing off each shot, which is what is required with semi-automatic firearms. (Balt. Sun)

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October 3 // Delegate Eric Luedtke: Practical solutions for schools based on facts, not ideology

There is no more sacred trust placed in us as leaders in Maryland than ensuring that the next generation of children has every opportunity to be successful in life. That Maryland has a strong public school system is unquestionable. That we also have schools that do not do an adequate job is also unquestionable. We have work to do to ensure that every Maryland child has access to a great education. It is a moral imperative placed on us that we do so. But in the face of this imperative, Gov. Hogan and his Republican allies in the General Assembly have offered only unproven right-wing pabulum about school vouchers and unregulated charter schools. (Md. Reporter)

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Peter Schmuck and Colin Campbell: Ravens could have avoided negative fan reaction to pre-game kneel with an earlier heads-up

It’s understandable that some Ravens players were frustrated by the fan response when the team took a collective knee before Sunday’s game against the Steelers, and it’s also understandable why a large part of the crowd booed before they realized the team planned to stand back up for the national anthem. That might not have happened if the team — both players and management -- had not been so coy about the plan to make a statement of unity after last week’s anthem protest in London sparked outrage among the Ravens’ fan base. (Balt. Sun)

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Christopher Muldor: The Bronx has all the same problems as Baltimore — except murders

In 1980, when bragging about “renaissance” was all the rage, the late Baltimore writer Helen J. Rizzo injected a decidedly sour note. “But until we stop treating our high crime rate as an accepted way of life,” Rizzo wrote, “Baltimore will remain a smartly gowned, coiffed and perfumed matron who hasn’t bathed in a month and whose offensiveness is readily apparent to all who come near her.” We may wonder whether Rizzo, who so masterfully captured the hollowness of “renaissance,” could have foreseen the worsening of Baltimore’s crime problem. Could she have imagined that the raw number of murders in the city would surpass that of New York City? (Balt. Sun)

 

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Everybody's wrong in Anne Arundel County teachers union dispute

It would be too easy to say one side or the other is at fault in the dispute over Sharon Moesel. Perhaps that’s why everybody is doing it. Expelled from the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County in May, the outspoken Annapolis High School teacher wants a state labor board to overturn her union’s rare decision to throw her out. The union claims Moesel used her position as an association representative at Annapolis High to further her “personal agenda.”  Moesel, a past candidate for vice president of the union, says the union wants to silence her criticism of the organization’s direction. The Schuh administration just dismisses the union action as bullying. In fact, all three are responsible for this mess. (Capital)

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October 2 // Hey, Feds: Baltimore suffers murders, not migrants

As Baltimore’s long hot summer of homicide bends toward an equally murderous fall, one might presume it’s long past time for all hands on deck. Baltimore’s police commissioner and mayor clearly understand that. Maryland’s Republican governor and top lawmakers seem to be on board, too. But this week’s raid by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement demonstrates that the Trump administration is not going to be part of the solution, it’s going to be part of the problem, with the arrest of 28 individuals targeted for immigration violations because parts of Maryland were deemed “sanctuary” jurisdictions. (Balt. Sun)

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