Rawlings-Blake: No regrets on the Grand Prix

Three years ago, I declared that the Grand Prix of Baltimore would be a game changer for our city. Now that the race has ended for the foreseeable future, many have asked if I regret that statement. The answer is no. My goal in supporting the Grand Prix was to boost Baltimore's tourism industry over a traditionally slow Labor Day weekend and to present a positive image of our city to the world. For three years, the Grand Prix of Baltimore did exactly that. (Balt. Sun)

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So if you can't succeed, secede?

Secession, of course, is a ridiculous idea, not just because it’s impossible, but because the areas feeling persecuted are, in fact, dependent on tax revenue and economic activity generated in more populous areas. But the grievances are hardly imaginary, and the feeling of political impotence is rooted in reality. Our suggestion is that a grass-roots effort to eliminate gerrymandering — by taking the power to draw lines away from politicians, and giving it to nonpartisan expert committees bound by simple rules — makes more sense than daydreaming about secession. Though you have to admit the latter idea is entertaining. (Capital)

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Tim Rowland: Don't mess with Maryland

There are three things Texas Gov. Rick Perry hates about the state of Maryland: taxes, regulations and ... and. Uh. Oh dear. Um. Boy is this awkward. It’s right on the tip of my tongue. I’m just, I can’t — is my time up yet? (Herald-Mail)

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Time for city's voters to pull the reins

In our system, even if politicians make the noise, voters hold the reins — and it’s a pity so many spend more time complaining about government than they do tugging at those reins. When the results for Tuesday’s Annapolis city primary election are tallied, it will be considered dandy if 25 percent of the city’s registered voters came to the polls — it was 23 percent four years ago and dipped to under 11 percent in 2005. That’s pathetic in a small city where a lot of people claim to be worried about the direction of government. (Capital)

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Cameras on cops

Over the years there have any number of citizen complaints about police use of excessive force and other misconduct, including some high-profile cases where suspects died while in custody. But too often investigations into such complaints end in a situation where it's the witnesses' word against the officers', leaving neither side feeling that justice has been done. That's why we were intrigued by Baltimore City Del. Frank Conaway Jr.'s proposal last week to require police in Maryland to wear tiny cameras that record all their interactions with the public. (Balt. Sun)

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Charm City Express

Believe it or not, but Amtrak is the most energy-efficient form of motorized transportation available in the United States, according to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory report released this summer. Indeed, the comparison isn't really all that close, with passenger rail beating out the nation's cars, trucks and airlines handily. That fuel efficiency, and the fact that Amtrak and other forms of rail transportation also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, don't often get the attention they deserve. (Balt. Sun)

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Mall's swan song may include screams

When the city of Frederick decided to pave the way for a third Wal-Mart, we expected the former crown jewel of the Golden Mile — Frederick Towne Mall — to go down, ignominiously, to the wrecking ball. As far as we know, that’s still the plan, but it seems that there may be one last gasp — and perhaps some screams of horror as well — in the grand old edifice. That’s if film director Eduardo Sanchez’s plans to set his horror film “Maulers” in the now-deserted, cavernous structure come together. Is this perfect or what?  (News-Post)

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Eugene Fidell: The Naval Academy sex assault hearing should be the last of its kind

The latest high-profile military justice case to come out of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis merits nationwide attention. In a nutshell, it involves allegations of sexual assault of a female midshipman by several members of the Academy football team. Liquor seems to have played a pivotal role. The case raises a host of issues, such as the facilitation of drinking by athletes at what amounts to an off-campus fraternity house. (Balt. Sun)

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