Lost year in fight against gun crime

Focusing on illegal guns and violent repeat offenders is the right strategy, but the city's execution has been seriously flawed in recent years. The fact that homicides in Baltimore City reached a four-year high last year — 234 as of Tuesday afternoon — can hardly come as a surprise to anyone who has witnessed the steady increase in murders since 2011. What did come as surprise to many was city Police Commissioner Anthony Batts' response Monday night to a television interviewer's question about what police can do about it. (Balt. Sun)

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Greg Couturier: A plea for moral imagination

The public outcry against the proposed construction of a $70-million juvenile jail in Baltimore City over the past several years — and the subsequent halting of that plan — sent a strong message to the governor, as well as juvenile services personnel statewide, that throwing money at the problem of juvenile crime just isn't going to cut it any more. (Balt. Sun)

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Tom Zirpoli: Make caring for poor a priority

A response I recently received about the government helping the poor is that being a Christian refers to individual giving, not government giving. I find this point of view interesting. We, the collective of individual Americans, are the government. The money that the government spends on our behalf is our money. Our government officials are elected by us to be our representatives, including in how our money is spent. We influence these decisions by our votes and by our voices. When we vote for people who cut assistance to the poor we are exercising our choice for how we wish our money to be spent. This is clearly an expression of our personal values. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Michael Corbin: Urban schools are still segregated

"Why do no white kids go to school here?" A 14-year-old ninth-grader asked me this question earlier this semester about the school she attends and where I teach. Smart and genuinely curious, she asked the question without any of that world-weary irony and moral casuistry that often attends questions from teenagers and, more generally, questions about school segregation in present day America. (Balt. Sun)

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Rick Hutzell: Today, I can't be proven wrong

On Jan. 1, nothing is set in stone for 2014. It’s a chance to cut loose with predictions. Today, I can’t be proven wrong. Tomorrow, Scarlett, is another day. Two weeks from now, candidates will file their first campaign finance reports. The big story will be how much money County Executive Laura Neuman has pulled together with fundraisers such as the one hosted by developer Mitch Weber. (Capital)

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McCartney: 2014 predictions for the Washington region

A year ago in this space, I correctly predicted that Terry McAuliffe would win Virginia’s governorship in 2013 and Ike Leggett would decide to seek a third term as Montgomery County executive. Preen, preen. Regrettably, I also forecast that District Mayor Vince Gray would be indicted and Washington’s professional football team would win 10 games. Oops. As usual, my crystal ball yielded more misses than scores. Undaunted, I again offer a series of predictions for 2014 about events in the Washington region. (Wash. Post)

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Dec. 30 // Maryland’s tilted campaign playing field

Maryland's Swiss cheese campaign finance rules are looking more cavity-riddled than ever. The Board of Elections decreed recently that Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, as a state official, is barred from raising money for his gubernatorial campaign for three months starting Jan. 8, while the General Assembly is in session. However, the board ruled that no such prohibition applies to Mr. Brown’s running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, who may continue to rake in cash from lobbyists and special interests to his heart’s content. (Wash. Post)

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Blue Maryland gets more liberal

Maryland has long been a heavily Democratic state, but 2013 may have cemented its status as a truly liberal one. The two things were not always synonymous. Though Democrats have dominated the legislature and governor's mansion for decades, the party's caucus has traditionally been ideologically diverse, with healthy doses elected officials who voiced relatively conservative fiscal and social views. (Balt. Sun)

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