Josh Kurtz: A Man in Full (Almost)

A glorious week with no news -- far enough away from civilization that the technology wouldn’t allow news consumption even if I wanted it to -- and upon plugging back in I discover that Martin O’Malley has all but declared his candidacy for president. I first hear of this from my friend Steven, an e-book publisher in Florida but an old political hand. Steven’s email comes with a simple subject line -- ? -- and a link to a Time magazine interview with O’Malley from the National Governors Association conference in Milwaukee, in which our governor outlines his rationale for a White House bid -- and says he’s closing in on a decision to run. I interpret the question mark in Steven’s email as an entreaty to explain -- explain why a guy he’s barely heard of thinks he’s qualified to lead the free world. So, Steven and readers, let me try.

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Donald Fry: Ten reasons to welcome Baltimore’s Red Line

Baltimore’s Red Line is in position to receive federal funding, putting the region within sight of achieving the comprehensive, connected rail transit envisioned more than 40 years ago.   Countering a smattering of media commentary by a small contingent of Red Line opponents, there are at least 10 good reasons for the widespread support of the project.

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Laslo Boyd: Governing Baltimore County

No property tax rate increases in a quarter century. No increases in the local piggyback income tax rate in 21 years. The highest bond-rating category available to a county government. Two well regarded predecessors with reputations for good management of the county budget. How do you follow acts like those? For a start, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has a background similar to Dutch Ruppersberger and Jim Smith; all three are lawyers and former members of County Council. And when you talk to Kamenetz, it’s not surprising that he begins by listing the things that he’s done to improve efficiency and the organization of County Government.

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Vincent DeMarco, President of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative

Vincent DeMarco, President of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, discusses Maryland's success in expanding affordable health care programs. DeMarco also talks about different ways that the state has created sources of funding to pay for the expansion.

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Donald Fry: Value of city-owned hotel must be viewed in context

Recent media reports have raised fears that that the city-owned Hilton Baltimore is about to become a major fiscal drag on Baltimore City.  Though the hotel’s operating revenues have not yet been sufficient to cover its debt-service, it’s way too early to panic.

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Inside the Headlines: Dr. Thomas Hyde, COO, Lieber Institute of Brain Development -- VIDEO

Dr. Thomas Hyde, COO, Lieber Institute of Brain Development, talks about cutting edge research underway at the institute located in the $1.8 billion dollar East Baltimore Bio Park  under development by East Baltimore Development Inc. The institute has recently expanded its space by 13,000 sq.ft. as they hire 15 to 20 more scientists to bring their team to nearly 100. Hyde discusses the potential for Baltimore to become a research and manufacturing hub for clinical advances and pharmaceuticals for the treatment of schizophrenia and related developmental brain disorders.

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Josh Kurtz: Frederick the Great

Ground zero for Maryland politics -- right now and maybe next year? Try Frederick. The city of Frederick is seeing a free-for-all race for mayor this year, with an unbelievable array of storylines, characters and resentments. And in 2014, Frederick County may play host to the most competitive general election race in the entire state, as voters choose their first-ever county executive. The two contests are very much related -- and in fact, the highly-anticipated race for county executive is largely on hold pending the outcome of the city elections this fall. Frederick has undergone enormous change over the last several years -- politically, economically and socially -- and more is coming.

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Donald Fry: Bringing compromise back to the legislative process

Maryland Congressman John Delaney was one of 30 newly-elected lawmakers who last March voiced frustration over Congressional “gridlock and dysfunction” and urged leaders of both parties to stop the partisan battles and negotiate “responsible compromise” to address the nation’s challenges. 

The ranks of the disenchanted in Washington, D.C. appear to be growing. Last week, Delaney was among 81 Congressional participants in a bipartisan “Problem-Solvers Coalition” that proposed nine specific actions to break Capitol Hill gridlock and to “make government work.”

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