Dan Rodricks: Stepping up in post-Freddie Gray Baltimore

After the vandalism and arson that erupted on the day of Freddie Gray's funeral, there was a lot of talk about stepping up. Big Baltimore institutions and businesses volunteered or were asked to increase their commitments to help the city deal with some of the chronic problems laid bare by the unrest of April 2015. Before I go on, a word about those words, "laid bare." Don Norris, director of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, stopped me last year when he heard the phrase during a podcast recording. Norris said, and I agreed, that the phrase was cringeworthy. The idea that the April rioting had "laid bare" something we didn't know about — poverty, unemployment, lack of opportunities, tension between police and citizens — was just foolish. (Balt. Sun)

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Krist Boardman: “I hope more Democrats will support the Hogan-Szeliga measure and make fair elections a reality in Maryland”

Surprise! I am supporting Delegate Kathy Szeliga and Governor Larry Hogan in their legislative effort to form a non-partisan commission to address the gerrymandering mess that is in Maryland politics. This comes from a Democrat (me) who is a member of the Harford County Democratic Central Committee (I am not speaking for them!). If you look at the First, Second and Third Congressional Districts in Maryland, you will see how shamefully those districts have been gerrymandered. (Dagger)

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Leigh Yeatts: Embracing a clean economic future with solar in Frederick County

Thirty-two percent of Maryland’s economy is agriculture-based. Here in Frederick County, that number is much higher. The county is home to 1,300 farms and more than 181,000 acres of farmland, producing nearly $100 million of agricultural products annually. Tapping just 1.5 percent of that land for responsible, thoughtful solar development would diversify the farming community’s revenue streams, control local energy costs, add jobs to the local economy, generate local tax revenue and meet sustainability targets. By setting aside just a small portion of land for solar development, Frederick County can become a leader in clean energy while also diversifying its economy. (News-Post)

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March 10 // Ronald J. Daniels, Ronald R. Peterson: We need strong Baltimore public schools

In the past year, we've seen first-hand the extraordinary impact of Baltimore's public schools. We have heard the first class of students at P-TECH at Dunbar High School dreaming about their future careers in health care. We have watched teachers at Barclay Elementary/Middle open the world of computer science to young children. And we've seen visionary principals channeling their creative ideas into classrooms and curricula. The value of Baltimore City Public Schools can sometimes be overshadowed by debate about the causes, fixes and fault lines in the current budget gap. (Balt. Sun)

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Tera W. Hunter: Slaves weren't immigrants. They were property.

Were enslaved Africans “immigrants” to the United States? Dr. Ben Carson, the new secretary of housing and urban development, said so in his first speech to the agency this week. Carson’s impulse to homogenize our diverse origins lumps everyone together, without making important distinctions about the different pathways that dictated people’s arrivals. The conditions under which individuals and groups came here on their own accord, or were brought here against their will, have had monumental consequences for our life chances and the evolution of our rights as citizens. (Wash. Post)

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Good riddance, plainclothes

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis says the era of plainclothes policing in Baltimore is over. It's about time. The commissioner made the move in the wake of federal indictments of seven plainclothes officers who were supposed to be part of an aggressive effort to get guns and violent criminals off the streets but who, according to prosecutors, were robbing and extorting residents, filing false reports and collecting overtime when they weren't working. But, he added, such units have long exhibited a "cutting corners mindset" that made them subject to a disproportionate share of complaints. He wasn't kidding. (Balt. Sun)

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For Baltimore’s top cop, a self-inflicted wound

It would be better if Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis lit a candle and did not curse the darkness. But instead of illuminating the problems of his own institution he has blasted the Baltimore city courts and the State’s Attorney’s Office. (Daily Record)

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David Plymyer: Baltimore youth fund off to a rough start

It will be easy to spend the money from the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund established last year by an amendment to the city charter. It will be a challenge, however, to spend it in a manner that achieves the fund's goal of materially improving the lives of young people in the city's poorer neighborhoods — particularly through a process already tainted by politics and racially charged rhetoric. (Balt. Sun)

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