Rodricks: A visionary mayor would be nice, but focus on Baltimore’s big, fundamental problems will suffice

On Thursday, a man who runs a financial advisory looked at me and said, “You know what Baltimore needs? It needs a mayor with vision. Someone like William Donald Schaefer!” (And he said it in a way that deserved that exclamation point.) I frequently hear people of a certain age suggest that things were so much better in Baltimore in the time of Schaefer, as if that were some golden age for the city. It was no golden age. The crime rate was lower than it is today, but the city experienced huge population losses and became poorer as the suburbs developed and grew more prosperous. If there was anything golden about it, it was Schaefer’s determination to champion Baltimore even as thousands of people, many of them his generational peers, left for the counties. (Balt. Sun)

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Alternative Fact of the Week: Donald Trump, the best tree-hugger

There are any number of titles one could rightfully bestow on Donald Trump, but “environmentalist” isn’t one that comes to mind. Ever. Indeed, one of the Trump administration’s most consistent policy choices has been to favor polluters whenever and wherever possible, whether it meant withdrawing from an international climate change agreement to downsizing national monuments like Bears Ears in Utah or rolling back federal rules governing vehicle fuel efficiency or power plant emissions. So it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of unimaginable to think the day could possibly come when President Trump would dare to boast about his environmental accomplishments. As it happens, that day came on Monday. (Balt. Sun)

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DeFilippo: Can’t a Guy Change His Mind?

A fella can get attached to being mayor. That’s especially so for a guy who wasn’t looking for a promotion. The resume upgrade comes with a pay bump, around-the-clock police protection and shuttle service, lavish digs and staff, and more TV exposure than a Kardashian. What’s not to like? So Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young may change his mind about running for mayor. So what? In politics, that’s no sin. You either play or get played. To assume the job that he had thrust upon him, Young had to give up his old gig to which he’d promised to return when what he thought was the end of a temporary assignment. (Md. Matters)

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Affleck: The NCAA deserves its greedy reputation. Expanding athletic scholarships could change that

The NCAA and its member schools have long had an image problem. The public perceives them as greedy, more about the money than the players on the field or court. It’s easy to see why. The NCAA now rakes in a billion dollars a year, but for players it may as well be the 1950s, when the governing body for college sports coined the term “student-athlete” in a bid to fight insurance claims. By recently creating a group to study the issue of letting players profit from the use of their names and likenesses, the NCAA may be finally willing to address this historical income inequity while sticking to the amateur model — meaning the players wouldn’t receive salaries. (News-Post)

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Agress: BSO is a victim of Greater Baltimore's changing corporate landscape

From the ancient Greek philosopher Plato who said, “music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything,” to American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, who claims, “music in itself is healing; it’s an expression of humanity . . . no matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music,” I wonder: does everyone in Maryland really love music? The biggest news in Baltimore is the struggling Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. It seems sad that a world-class orchestra with world-class musicians and an internationally known conductor should have to reduce its season, force its members to take ongoing pay cuts and attempt to cancel their health insurance and other benefits, leaving them to picket on the sidewalk in the summer heat. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Deschenaux: Reform Md.’s budget process with a single constitutional trade

Governor Larry Hogan’s decision to withhold $245 million earmarked by the General Assembly has been front page news. These funds were dedicated to numerous worthwhile projects — school construction and the BSO among them — that the legislature had found unsupported or under supported in the budget submitted by the governor. The cost of these projects was offset within the budget total by reductions made to other programs, and total appropriations were less than the governor proposed. We go through this song and dance every few years, typically when the executive and legislative branches are controlled by different parties. (Balt. Sun)

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Hettleman: Why aren’t the Democratic candidates talking about school reform?

The dog that didn’t bark in the Democratic presidential primary debates was the national crisis in our public schools. The candidates did lots of yelping (much of it thoughtful) on a variety of other looming calamities: economic inequality, social justice, climate change and foreign relations to name a few. But does anyone think our nation can confront any of these challenges over the long haul without an electorate that is literate? Ours is not. According to the most reliable and shocking national data, only one-third of fourth and eighth grade students in public schools are reading at proficient levels. So why did the candidates, progressives and moderates alike, avoid any serious discussion of K-12 school reform? (Balt. Sun)

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Lanahan: Under Armour’s Kevin Plank should turn down the tax break

Last month, ProPublica revealed that Gov. Larry Hogan used a digital mapping error to obtain Opportunity Zone status in Port Covington, where Under Armour plans to build a new corporate campus. President Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created Opportunity Zones to offer tax incentives for investments in “economically stressed” communities. Port Covington abuts an industrial area that qualifies. According to ProPublica, the mapping mistake created a 0.001-square mile overlap between that area and the Port Covington census tract. That skinny sliver was enough for Governor Hogan to designate the land on Under Armour’s side as an Opportunity Zone. (Balt. Sun)

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