William C. Smith Jr.: Pittman is right to focus on effective crime fighting

My friend and colleague, Del. Sid Saab recently published an open letter expressing his discontent with Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman’s decision to end the County’s participation in the 287(g)-immigration program. I have a great deal of respect for Del. Saab and have worked across the aisle with him on numerous occasions. But it should come as no surprise that, despite the congenial nature of our relationship, we tend to disagree on policy more than we agree — this is one such occasion. (Capital)

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Can Hogan lead the GOP sanity caucus in his second term?

Gov. Larry Hogan spent much of his re-election bid fending off complaints from Democrats that he wasn’t opposing President Donald Trump forcefully enough. Hardly a day went by when one candidate or another wasn’t after him to denounce his fellow Republican about something — his treatment of immigrants, climate change, health care, tax policy, race relations, you name it. Mr. Hogan sometimes did rebuke the president — usually calmly — but just as often, he would shrug off the complaints and say he was focused on Maryland, not what’s going on in Washington. (Balt. Sun)

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Jeb Bush inauguration invitation a 'blunder' by Larry Hogan

Gov. Larry Hogan made an inauguration blunder by inviting the divisive former Florida governor Jeb Bush to deliver a speech in front of many Marylanders who will likely detest Mr. Bush’s politics. While Mr. Bush was governor — from Jan. 5, 1999 to Jan. 2007 — he pushed priorities that aligned with the more conservative wing of the Catholic Church and used scorched-earth tactics to achieve them. He was able to escape political punishment for his controversial decisions because Republicans controlled the Florida legislature and many of its members shared Mr. Bush’s views. Luckily, Maryland’s politics prevent Mr. Hogan from being Mr. Bush. (Balt. Sun)

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Transit-oriented development coming to Baltimore too

Sun reporter Meredith Cohn presents a well-written review of transit oriented development in Owings Mills, but what about Baltimore City, where the planning department has carefully researched and the City Council has enacted extensive zoning legislation for such development (“Transit-oriented developments could reshape Baltimore's commuting landscape, but hurdles remain,” Jan. 14)? The most logical and exciting locale — Station North Arts District — has been designated with the city’s most intensive zoning. It’s an area where Amtrak meets bike lanes, where buses to New York converge with municipal transit and light rail. It’s a place where artists, students, business folks, residents and the vast traveling public cross paths every day. (Balt. Sun)

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Gregory Tucker: How to ensure the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra stays a ‘major-league team’

A generation or two still cringe at the memory of the famed Baltimore Colts sneaking-off in the dark of night more than 30 years ago, like a suddenly disinterested lover -- leaving behind feelings of rejection, resentment and regret -- and all for a new suitor in Indianapolis, of all places. Well, it’s about to happen again, but this time in the bright light of day. What has long been hailed as Baltimore’s “other major league team” is about to risk losing its major-league status. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Directors, of which I was a member until this past June, has decided that Baltimore and Maryland can no longer afford a major league symphony orchestra, given what are real and persistent financial challenges. (Wash. Post)

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Time is past due for a Anne Arundel to get a health officer

A survey of Anne Arundel County Health Department employees found they have a morale problem. They believe they aren’t paid enough. People leave for better-paying jobs. They’re worried that a wave of retirements will drain the collective wisdom from the place. They’re concerned that too much focus on today’s crisis leaves them vulnerable to the next crisis. Ideas based on science and experience in the field are shelved because of politics. In short, they’re just like everyone else who works in an organization with multiple levels of authority and control — any bureaucracy. (Capital)

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Commentary: Don Fry Says Recent Announcements Give Reason For Optimism In Crime Fight

Don Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, says this week was one of good news for Baltimore City's fight against violent crime. Fry, who recently went to New Orleans and heard from Commissioner-designate Michael Harrison, said his leadership is key to fighting violent crime and rooting out rogue officers. "I was impressed by his efforts to bring about transformational change in the police department," Fry said. He also cheered initiatives and proposals by Gov. Larry Hogan to provide law enforcement and prosecutors with more tools to go after repeat violent offenders. (WBAL-TV)

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Why Prince George’s County Schools are rethinking discipline policies

Creating an environment that includes structure, love and discipline is my guiding principle at home as a parent and in the classroom as an educator and administrator. Striking the right balance of discipline — one that is firm yet fair — is a challenge for educators and parents alike. This balance is crucial because these decisions affect the culture of our schools and the students within them. Yet, educators too often view discipline as a means of keeping schools safe and not as an opportunity for intervention. (Wash. Post)

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