Caroline Griffin: Baltimore is too easy on animal abusers

Eight years have passed since the brutal death of a dog named Phoenix, who was soaked in accelerant and set alight in broad daylight. The crime prompted then-Mayor Sheila Dixon to appoint an animal welfare task force, which continues to meet, but now in the form of a permanent commission. While Baltimore has made great strides in investigating these cases, which require coordination among animal control, the police department, and BARCS Animal Shelter, too many animal abusers in Baltimore City continue to get off scot-free. The failure to competently prosecute these cases and obtain meaningful sentences can have sobering repercussions. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

County initiates a good customer-service idea

Perhaps the old saying should actually be: April showers bring May potholes. All right, that's poetic license: Potholes, created by winter's hard freezes, appear well before May. Still, spring is always high pothole season. A lot of residents, perhaps just after they schedule an appointment at an auto repair shop, will be trying to reach the county Department of Public Works. That, in turn, means the county's 311 phone system, which has been operating for a while but had its official launch a week ago, is coming at an apt time. The idea is to give county residents one simple phone number to remember for all county services, ranging from lost pets to missed trash collections. (Capital)

Read Full Article

April 12 // In 2018, it's Hogan's race to lose

Gov. Larry Hogan emerged from the 2017 General Assembly session upbeat about what he had just accomplished. And why not? He came into the year with the most ambitious legislative package of his term, touching on a wide variety of issues beyond the economic and taxation themes that animated his campaign, including proposals dealing with the environment, public health, education, ethics and even paid sick leave for workers. He notched wins on much of his agenda — particularly given his willingness to declare victory even when Democrats in the General Assembly substantially re-write his proposals. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Glass half full, half empty for craft brewers

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot says he’s committed to reforming the state’s hodgepodge of laws governing its brewing industry. After the wide swings that marked this year’s legislative session in Annapolis, Franchot’s announcement is the best news yet. To be sure, the session could have ended a lot worse than it did. After the House of Delegates last month passed a bill that seemed to squarely accommodate the interests of wholesalers and distributors, it was left to the Senate to claw back some gains for craft brewers. (News-Post)

Read Full Article

Harold S. Ginsberg: A path to the governor's mansion for Ben Jealous

Former NAACP President Ben Jealous has indicated that he will compete for Maryland's Democratic gubernatorial nomination and the right to square off against Larry Hogan in next year's general election. Mr. Jealous faces a daunting task. In order to take on the "deeply popular" Republican, he'll have to beat a slate of other Democrats while likely facing staunch opposition from Maryland's Democratic Party. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

David Placher: Baltimore's bloated City Council

With Baltimore City's population continuing to evaporate and its never-ending annual budget cliffhangers, it is reasonable for voters to re-evaluate the arbitrary size of the 15-member City Council. In November 2018, voters may get an opportunity to reduce it to an 11-member body if 10,000 city voters sign the petition for the issue to be voted on in the general election. This plan may place pressure on the large and expensive City Council to show voters that its current structure is needed and that it can generate fresh ideas and pass bills that reduce the high crime rate, slash the burdensome property tax rate and help reform the mismanaged public school system. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Minor Sinclair, Solomon Iyobosa Omo-Osagie II, and Leila Borrero Krouse: Come to the table, Perdue

This much we know about working on the poultry processing line: It's not for the faint of heart. Conditions are arduous, cold, noisy, humid, slippery and dangerous. But that's about all everyone can agree on. Many of us have grave concerns about how the companies actually treat workers. We believe the pay is too low, safety measures are inadequate and workers often do not feel free to speak out about problems they see in the plants. When we voice these concerns, companies respond that everything is fine. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

The violent legacy of Freddie Gray

Healing is preferable to hurting but much harder to achieve. That’s the lesson in Baltimore two years after the death of Freddie Gray, whose death in police custody set off riots and mayhem. Faced with a choice between escalating crime and aggressive policing, the city has spurned the advice of the Trump administration and stuck with a strategy that promises more pain and heartbreak. (Wash. Times)

Read Full Article