Josh Spiegel: Amazon Is Tearing Us Apart

As Amazon prepares to build its second headquarters, Josh Spiegel has some thoughts on why Maryland should pass on this lucrative opportunity. (WBAL)

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Katie Lautar, Miriam Avins: Protect the forest patches that protect Baltimore

Recent news that Baltimore’s tree canopy — the proportion of the city shaded by trees — has expanded from 27 percent to 28 percent is wonderful, and is thanks to the dedicated work of TreeBaltimore and its partners. But the target is 40 percent, and if we don’t take steps to protect our forest patches from development and the harm caused by invasive plants, we will lose this modest gain. Since 2012, when Baltimore Green Space and our partners started researching Baltimore’s forest patches outside parks, which account for up to 20 percent of Baltimore’s tree canopy, we’ve had the opportunity to correct a number of assumptions — from residents, policymakers and funders — about the woods in Baltimore. (Balt. Sun)

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October 17 // Barry Rascovar: ‘Free’ tuition isn’t free

Talk on the far left about “free” college tuition got a boost last week from an acolyte of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the foremost proponent of this marvelous-sounding idea. Benjamin Jealous, former head of the NAACP who is running for governor, told a group of college students and progressive activists, to no one’s surprise, that his gubernatorial pitch includes free education for Marylanders at the state’s public colleges and universities. Naturally, in this Trumpian world of headlines without facts to back them up, Jealous later admitted he had no cost estimate, didn’t know who might be eligible for the program and had no details on how such a proposal would work. (Md. Reporter)

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Baltimore police patrol schedule puts the public — and officers — at risk

The Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police’s argument in favor of keeping the disastrous four days on, three days off shift schedule, goes something like this: Officers need the four/three schedule so they can recuperate from all the mandatory overtime they’re working because of the four/three schedule. Absurd? Yes, but that’s the status after the union voted overwhelmingly last week to reject a contract with raises for the officers — and without the top Pugh administration priority of allowing civilians on police trial boards — largely because of a proposed change to that schedule. (Balt. Sun)

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Does Baltimore have the resolve to house the homeless?

During her campaign for mayor last year, candidate Catherine Pugh promised to develop solutions to the problem of homelessness that has bedeviled Baltimore City for decades. Advocates estimate that on any given night some 2,600 people are sleeping on the streets, where their visibility makes their plight all but impossible to ignore. Yet despite some laudable past efforts, the city has never managed to permanently shelter its poorest residents or to address the dire consequences to which they’re subject as a result of having no place to call home. (Balt. Sun)

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John W. Van de Kamp: Memorialize the Maryland 400 at State House

At 2 a.m. on Aug. 18, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney stepped down from his pedestal on the east side of our State House. He is a missing person few miss. The judge’s pedestal, covered by a green tarpaulin, needs to disappear immediately. We deserve to see the perfectly balanced facade of the oldest State House in the United States unencumbered by any obstacle. (Capital)

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October 16 // Laslo Boyd: Donald Trump’s Destructive Rampage

This President of the United States likes breaking things. He particularly likes breaking things that have former president Barack Obama’s name on them. Last week may have been the most destructive ever. Up to now. But, of course, you’ve heard that before. Ever since Donald Trump took office, we have struggled to understand what motivates him. Observers have offered a variety of psychological labels, a range of metaphors, a cacophony of adjectives. After his most recent burst of executive orders, tweets and public declarations, the image that seems most apt is of a bull in a china shop. (fromacertainpointofview)

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Parochialism continues to cripple Metro

Among the problems that beset Metro is the stark fact that top officials from its three regional partners, Maryland, Virginia and the District, are strangers to one another. In recent conversations about the transit system, a prominent Virginia elected official mangled the names of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and D.C. Council member Jack Evans, who chairs the Metro board. A top aide to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he’d never heard of D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson. And a senior District official involved with Metro said he’d never met or spoken with Maryland’s transportation secretary. Add to those symptoms of Metro’s dysfunction the fact that any jurisdiction on the Metro board can veto decisions favored by the other two, and you have a recipe for gridlock. (Wash. Post)

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