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Commentary

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Opinion: Time to overhaul Baltimore County’s planning, development review and zoning process

You may not realize it, but Baltimore County is in the midst of a once-in-a-decade opportunity to transform the very “systems” that make county life worth living, from housing and transportation to education and environment, to economic competitiveness and equity. And what is the catalyst for this remarkable moment in time? It is the Master Plan 2030 process. State law requires that each county review its master plan at least once every 10 years. This is a chance for the county to pull together a range of stakeholders, with a special focus on residents and communities, to take stock of where we have been and to plan for where we should go — together.

 

Opinion: ‘Long covid’ may haunt 1 in 8 people — or more — for years to come

The term “long covid” came from early patients who called themselves “long-haulers” when their pandemic maladies lingered for months. It is now increasingly apparent that long covid presents a potential tidal wave of suffering — afflictions stemming from covid-19 that refuse to go away. The scope of the problem is still unknown. But a new study from the Netherlands offers important clues. In a paper published in the Lancet, Aranka Ballering and colleagues at the Lifelines Corona Research Initiative report on an effort to discover the nature and prevalence of post-covid conditions based on a large population sample.

Rodricks: Could we please enjoy the rest of the Orioles season without the Angelos family soap opera?

I have never understood people who blow it — that is, people who appear to enjoy great success and have many reasons to be happy but fritter away their bliss on irrational choices and petty grievances. I have never understood the guy who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, then used it to dig himself into a hole. Or, to deploy a baseball metaphor — because I’m addressing the Angelos family feud today — consider the guy who was born on third base and thought he hit a triple, and even then, takes too big of a lead off the bag and gets picked off. He blew it!

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Opinion: A better way for Baltimore to help its ‘squeegee kids’

Does Baltimore care about squeegee kids? That’s the most important question after a driver attacked one of them and was shot dead in return last month. Everyone in cities like Baltimore knows these kids, who live in terrible poverty and stand at stoplights and street corners and wipe the windshields of passing cars. Sadly, in the wake of this tragedy, the risk is that Baltimore will double down on failed approaches that trap squeegee kids in poverty, instead of helping them escape it. This heartbreaking incident has generally divided people along two lines. The first is the most obvious: Crack down on these kids — or even lock ’em up.

Opinion: Back to school: With experience and vaccines, it can be back to normal

For a third year, schools are opening in the presence of covid. With experience, vaccines and mitigation — plus deeper knowledge of the coronavirus itself — it should be possible to give students a lot of in-person instruction this school year, but it is vital that the lessons of the pandemic be fully absorbed. Vaccines are the key to normalcy. They are widely available, free and highly effective at protecting against severe illness and hospitalization. Yet the uptake of vaccines among K-12 students is ridiculously low.

Rodricks: In defending Trump against FBI, Maryland’s Dan Cox makes a ‘constitutionally stupid’ argument

With his degree from Regent University School of Law — currently ranked 142nd in the nation by U.S. News & World Report — and his claim of being a “constitutional attorney,” you’d think Dan Cox, the Trump-endorsed candidate for Maryland governor, would know about the supremacy clause. And I don’t mean “white supremacy clause” — just “supremacy clause,” as in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. It says the Constitution and constitutional laws that flow from it “shall be the supreme law of the land.” In other words, federal law trumps state law.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Opinion: What can be done about Baltimore’s unreliable transit?

In recent months, the resurrection of the Red Line, Baltimore’s $2.9 billion east-west light rail system that Republican Gov. Larry Hogan derailed in his first term in office, became something of a cause célèbre for Democrats seeking the primary nomination to become Maryland’s next governor. The winning candidate, Wes Moore, pitched it as part of a broader attempt to serve neglected communities. Even the Hogan administration has suggested that the light rail be considered again.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Isaacs: How to talk with other about our differences on abortion

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has split the country into joyous supporters and furious dissenters. Emotions are running high, and some protests have turned violent. Yet research shows that people on either side of the abortion rights issue can bridge their divide if they speak directly and respectfully with one another. In July 2022, former leaders of prominent abortion-rights and anti-abortion advocacy organizations in Massachusetts gathered to discuss a new documentary film series about conversations they had regularly from 1995 to 2001.

Opinion: President Biden, where is the action for Austin Tice?

Ten years. An American, a veteran U.S. Marine, a man who became a foreign correspondent so that his fellow Americans would know what was happening in Syria, has been missing for 10 years. President Joe Biden knows about Austin Tice. So did President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama. Some of them engaged; none of them with apparent results. Mr. Trump’s team said it had evidence Mr. Tice, who worked as a freelance correspondent for my company, McClatchy before his capture, was alive and sent its hostage envoy to Damascus to gather information about him.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Maryland’s best traffic-relief hope is twisting in the wind

A tidal wave of new residents and jobs is bearing down on the nation’s capital region, bringing high pressure on housing and infrastructure for the foreseeable future. “Foreseeable” is the key word because population and employment projections are available for local leaders whose most important job should be preparing to meet the predictable challenge. Yet the Potomac River has become a dividing line between Virginia officials, whose eyes are wide open, and Maryland politicians who have stuck their heads in the sand. Nowhere is that discrepancy more apparent than in transportation — and it is Maryland commuters of every age, race and ethnicity who will pay the price.

The Morning Rundown

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