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Commentary

Maryland needs the American Rescue Plan

The last year has been an extraordinarily challenging time for our state. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic fallout have wreaked devastating tolls on our families, businesses and local governments. But, as always, Maryland has risen to the moment: Marylanders from east to west have stepped up in this time of crisis, and, as those fortunate to serve this extraordinary state, we have an obligation to do the same. That’s why Maryland Democrats at the state and national level have taken decisive steps to stem the pandemic and provide aid directly to those in need.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Kalman Hettleman: Will the General Assembly Be Able to Hold MSDE More Accountable?

As Elizabeth Shwe reported last week in Maryland Matters, an emergency bill introduced by Senate President Bill Ferguson requires a consultant study of the capacity of the Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland Higher Education Commission, the Maryland Department of Labor and other state agencies to carry out the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. The bill is a commendable step forward. President Ferguson has long been an outspoken critic of the management failures of MSDE, and House leaders share his frustration. And yet, the bill is unlikely to bring much near-term, much less emergency, relief at this unique moment when MSDE’s weak capacity and lack of transparency endanger COVID-19 school recovery and getting the Blueprint off to a strong start.

McDaniels: Maryland is failing at COVID vaccine racial equity

I won’t mince words: The state is failing its most vulnerable residents when it comes to protecting them from COVID-19 and foundering in its duty to ensure equitable treatment during a public health crisis. I have read all the challenges and even written about them myself. Distrust of the vaccine and the medical system in general. Obstacles to signing up for vaccine appointments and getting to them, as well. Jobs that make certain people more vulnerable to contracting the virus. Underlying health conditions that make virus exposure more dangerous. A health system that has historically practiced in inequitable treatment.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Editorial: Upgrade Maryland’s climate action plan

Polls show most Maryland residents recognize that climate change is a man-made disaster in the making. Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, has certainly acknowledged that. And so have the Democrats running the General Assembly. Yet there’s clearly been some backsliding in the effort to reverse it. A decade ago, Maryland was viewed as a leader in the nation’s war on climate change. Today, it’s more like a decent, well-meaning, middle-of-the-pack ally.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Collins: County Election Bill Could Dilute the Power of Minority Voters

House Bill 655, which deals with voting districts in county elections, is not a panacea for Charles County. The bill may have the unintended consequence of diluting the power of the community’s minority vote. In the 1990s, I served as chief counsel for the Charles County NAACP. Voter suppression and maximizing the Black community’s voting power became a priority for the chapter. Those efforts intensified after the 1998 and 2002 countywide elections.

Rodricks: Opportunity Zones might be good for investors, but what about West Baltimore?

Ben Carson, the former Johns Hopkins-based neurosurgeon who served as housing secretary in the Trump administration, showed up recently on Larry Kudlow’s new show on the Fox Business Network. During his appearance, Carson asserted, without the slightest pushback from Kudlow, that the Trump administration had ushered in “highly effective Opportunity Zones” to bring investment to distressed neighborhoods across the country.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Kurtz: The Other John King

Understandably, the news that author and activist Wes Moore is taking a serious look at running for governor created lots of buzz last week.  Novice candidates often fall on their faces, but Moore seems to have unlimited potential, with an inspiring narrative that could resonate with a huge swath of the Democratic electorate. He’s already lining up a stellar team of consultants, and despite what he says about being in an exploration phase, it seems highly likely at this stage that he will run ― and remake the Democratic race in the bargain.

Crop black businesswoman reading newspaper near modern building
Local ownership good for The Sun and Baltimore

I was born and raised in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and first came to the Baltimore area in 1970 as a student at what was then Towson State College. Those were the days of Mayor William Donald Schaefer and countless moments of athletic glory at Memorial Stadium. It was also a time where an ambitious person could find work at places like Bethlehem Steel, General Motors and Sweetheart Cup. I came to love the city and its people. But long before I lived in the Baltimore region, I had developed a deep affinity and appreciation for the city while living in Chevy Chase. This would never have happened had it not been for The Baltimore Sun.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Our Say: Maryland wants comments on a third Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Here’s ours: Nuts.

Maryland transportation planners have given the public until May 10 to offer opinions on plans to build a new Chesapeake Bay Bridge. We don’t need that long. Here’s ours: Nuts. That’s what the Maryland Transportation Authority must be if there is anyone who honestly believes this will ever happen. And that’s what the defiant response should be from area residents whose lives would be paved over by this highway builders’ fever dream. Last week, the authority released its report on the four options for the proposed third Chesapeake Bay Bridge crossing span that the public can now comment on through May 10.

Diane Butler: Left with no choice, Annapolis was right to sue oil companies over climate change

Mayor Gavin Buckley announced last week that the City of Annapolis was suing 26 oil and gas companies for damages the city has and will continue to incur due to climate change. The mayor had no other choice but to sue. A trifecta of failures — legislative, economic and ethical — have brought Annapolis, and communities everywhere, to a precarious point. The first failure was legislative: For decades, federal and state governments failed to pass legislation and enforce regulations to significantly curb greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, they gave nearly free reign, and in many cases, encouraged the worst impulses of the fossil fuel industry. Despite recent attempts by governments to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, the United States still gets approximately 80% of its energy from coal, oil and gas, and Maryland’s reliance on these non-renewables remains high.

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