Jacques Kelly: Clifton Mansion being restored to its original splendor

A thorough housecleaning of Clifton Mansion has revealed the potential inside this Northeast Baltimore treasure, marking the beginning of a long-overdue, $7 million restoration. Even now, in its early state, you could charge admission. I toured the place, the centerpiece of a city park, I had visited on numerous previous occasions and felt as if I had stepped inside for the first time. I experienced Clifton's grandeur, observed an emerging architectural pedigree and realized its potential. (Balt. Sun)

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With privatization's end comes a time to reflect, explain

Saying there's nothing more to privatize, Commissioners President Blaine Young called it a day in a optimistically toned July 8 letter to county staff, lauding a streamlined, much-less-costly, much-less-populated county government. The controversial and unfortunate decision to sell Citizens Care and Rehabilitation and Montevue Assisted Living "will be the last major change this Board will make," he wrote. Since 2009, the county workforce has been reduced by 25 percent -- one in every four staff -- through "layoffs, eliminating vacant positions and consolidating County divisions and departments and privatizing services." (News-Post)

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Dan Rodricks: Justice delayed and denied for more than 30 years

Drawn from an old transcript, this is how a Baltimore judge instructed a jury before its deliberations in a murder trial in 1967: "You, under our system, in criminal cases are at liberty to disagree with the court's interpretation of the law. You shall determine what the law is and then apply the law to the facts as you find them to be." Imagine being on that jury, invited to employ your vast legal knowledge in interpreting Maryland law in a case that could send a defendant to prison for the rest of his life. (Balt. Sun)

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Senators must work together

Today’s rare private meeting of U.S. senators could help bring members of the opposite parties together in a renewed effort toward bi-partisanship, or it could pull them apart further and make the body even more dysfunctional than it has already become. Last week, after clashes on presidential nominees heated up, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., proposed a meeting for all the senators outside the official Senate chamber. According to The Associated Press, the session likely will take place in a room where the Senate met before the current chamber was built, something the AP said “permits lawmakers to bar the public and the press.” (Carroll Co. Times)

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Ryan Gallagher: States move to ban warrentless tracking

The effort to stop law enforcement agencies in the United States from tracking people’s cellphones without a warrant has reached a new milestone. Last week Maine became the second state recently to enact a law that will force authorities to get a judge to authorize a warrant before obtaining either historic or real-time location data about a person’s movements. (Carroll Co. Times)

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A slow recovery: Statistics don't tell the whole story of pain and loss when jobs evaporate

We hear and read a lot these days about jobs, employment, the recession that according to economists ended years ago and, of course, the recovery. It’s true that jobs are not being lost at the rate they once were, but this recovery is coming in fits and starts, and it’s hardly a one-size-fits-all piece of good news. Wicomico County’s recovery is slower than it has been in Maryland overall. (Daily Times)

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Jean Marbella: When government becomes a reality show

Maybe I took those high school civics classes too seriously, but isn't there something wrong when the running for and holding of political office is indistinguishable from the kind of reality shows that you hate-watch? To wit: the tabloid heaven that is the New York election season. (Balt. Sun)

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July 12 // Replacing Waxter

Youth advocates are questioning whether the Department of Juvenile Services needs to build a new 48-bed detention facility in Carroll County for girls awaiting assignment to one of the state's juvenile treatment centers. At a time when the state should be trying to reduce the number of youths incarcerated in Maryland, they ask, why is it adding to capacity instead? That's a valid point, but the arguments against a new building are still outweighed by the need to replace the state's dilapidated current facility for girls, which is clearly at the end of its useful life and should be closed. (Balt. Sun)

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