Conference Reading: NCSHA Washington Report

In an otherwise thoughtful overview of the housing crisis and the various proposals to address it from Democrats running for president, Vox’s Matthew Iglesias concludes, “There’s no particular reason the real estate problems facing writers in a handful of expensive coastal cities should dominate the national policy conversation,” and so, “housing looks more like a niche state and local issue that happens to be salient in the country’s main media and political circles … likely as it should be.” As the current frontrunner among the Democrats might say, “What a bunch of malarkey.” In fact, 54 million people live in rural areas that the USDA says have a “most severe need” or “moderately severe need” for the production of more affordable rental housing. (NCSHA)

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Conference Reading: Inequities in Opportunity and Achievement in Maryland

"Maryland has long prided itself on its education system. A deeper look at the data, however, shows that statewide averages mask deep inequities in opportunity for certain groups of students. These gaps in opportunity lead to gaps in achievement between students of color and White students, as well as between low-income students and higher income students. What’s more, racial inequities persist among students of similar family income levels. To be clear, these disparities are a reflection of how we organize our schools and shortchange certain students when it comes to critical educational opportunities/resources from early childhood through high school." (Ed Trust)

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Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative of Maryland Reached Hundreds of Residents Across The State With Educational Trailer Featuring Signs of Substance Misuse

The Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Maryland teamed up with its partners to bring the RALI CARES interactive trailer to locations across the state in an effort to help educate parents and adults on the warning signs of teenage substance misuse.

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Conference Reading: Google invests $50 million to build low-income housing in the Bay Area

Google on Wednesday invested $50 million to build low-income homes around the Bay Area, taking a step toward fulfilling the lofty $1 billion housing promise the tech titan made last month. The Mountain View-based search giant will invest the money in Housing Trust Silicon Valley’s TECH Fund — a program launched in 2017 that uses money from local companies and large organizations to fund affordable housing. Google’s $50 million contribution marks the fund’s largest investment to date, and comes as Bay Area tech companies increasingly are attempting to help mitigate the housing shortage that has driven prices sky-high across the Bay Area. It’s a crisis those tech companies often are blamed for helping to create, as they flood the region with high-paying jobs that drive up housing demand and prices. (Mercury News)

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Conference Reading: Democrats Hear the ‘Yes in My Backyard’ Message

Last week, Amy Klobuchar became the latest Democratic presidential hopeful to say out loud that cities and towns need to let people build more housing. She joined Cory Booker, Julián Castro, and Elizabeth Warren in proposing a more active federal role in getting state and local governments to loosen zoning rules—a topic that, up to now, has not figured prominently in campaigns for the White House. The four candidates are demonstrating how much traction the YIMBY movement—the “yes in my backyard” campaign to roll back bans on new houses and apartments—has gained in Democratic policy circles. They and other Democratic candidates are sending an important message: A housing crunch in metro areas where tens of millions of Americans live is the kind of problem a president should worry about. (Atlantic)

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Port Discovery Children’s Museum unveils cargo ship exhibit with support from Ports America Chesapeake

This summer, Port Discovery Children’s Museum reopened its doors to its newest exhibit, The Port, which highlights the importance of the Port of Baltimore to the region. The exhibit was developed through the support of private and public financial commitments, including a $50,000 grant from Ports America Chesapeake and Steamship Trade Association Charitable Legacy.

“People from around the world come together at the Port,” said Port Discovery Vice President of Development and Communications Jennifer Bedon. “The exhibit is like a metaphor—kids across the community are playing side by side and all working together to get something from here to there.”

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Report: The Unintended Consequences of Impact Fees in Baltimore County

Baltimore County has an opportunity to appeal to young professional families, including people who presently live in high-rent city apartments.  That would expand the county’s tax base, stimulate commercial activity, and help rebalance the county demographically. However, proposed tax and development fee increases could induce many young people to opt for residences in other counties.  That would serve to limit Baltimore County’s tax base growth, and hurt the local construction industry, local retailers and other commercial enterprises. Proposed impact fees would also potentially impact the pace of commercial development, resulting in even more burden placed on shrinking numbers of prime age workers/households.  Such outcomes would be inconsistent with long-term investment in infrastructure, including schools.

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Cailey Locklair - MDRA Op-Ed

The Maryland Retailers Association supports the firm stance Governor Hogan and the Maryland legislature took against selling Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, or “ENDS,” to minors. Maryland retailers provide adult smokers access to healthier and safer alternatives to cigarettes, and these products were never intended to encourage teen smoking. We believe ENDS products should not be marketed towards children, and will continue to fight for common sense measures against this practice.

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