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Commentary

Frank DeFilippo: Politics Is About Connectivity, And Biden’s Speech Made Contact

It’s great to once again have a president who can read. Comparisons suck, to roughly paraphrase Shakespeare. President Biden is no Barack Obama, nor does he need to be. The salient point is that neither is he a Donald Trump, which is important in the battle for literacy in the nation. We learn by example and experience. Trump was no role model.

As Anne Arundel moves to police body cameras, policy and training will be key

As we welcome the 91st recruit class of the Anne Arundel County Police Department into our community, the sweeping police reform legislation that recently passed in the General Assembly will change how police interact with the public across the state of Maryland. As new recruits start field training, they will be taught under new guidelines that emphasize renewed police accountability. In practice, the sweeping reforms will not be so difficult for new recruits because it will be all they know. On the other hand, durable and sustainable change will be difficult to maintain as police veterans may struggle and find the sweeping reforms particularly challenging.

And now, some budget fundamentals. Are taxes going up in Anne Arundel?

As the Anne Arundel County Council begins weeks-long deliberation of the $1.876 million budget County Executive Steuart Pittman has proposed, there is bound to be some confusion about what constitutes a tax increase. Some of this is political; there already are three declared or possible Republican candidates for county executive. But much of it has to do with the complicated nature of public sector finance and the unique history of taxes in this county.

Amtrak at 50: Biden is on the right track: High-speed rail merits greater attention

Last week, to mark Amtrak’s 50th year, President Joe Biden visited Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station to talk about U.S. passenger rail’s “bright” future with high-speed passenger rail. His proposed infrastructure legislation, the American Jobs Plan, commits $80 billion for rail service, much of it toward Amtrak. As a longtime Amtrak passenger himself, the president recalled fondly how fast and convenient the Wilmington-to-D.C. run was for him during his years in the U.S. Senate, as he totaled 7,000 round trips and more than 1 million miles on the rail.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
This is how we help kids failing school because of the pandemic

School systems throughout Maryland, and the country for that matter, face a daunting task over the coming months to get students who have fallen behind during the pandemic back on the learning track. Failing grades have tripled in some cases amid virtual learning and the stress COVID-19 has put on students and their families. Students of all backgrounds are struggling, but especially those who faced challenges before the pandemic. But this is not the time to hold students back a grade, punishing them for the extraordinary crisis we find ourselves in, through no fault of our own.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
How Maryland can help make affordable rental housing more accessible in Baltimore

Maryland leaders must think bigger to solve the problem of housing security in Baltimore. Removing the obstacle to accessing decent, affordable rental housing created by security deposit requirements is an example. Racial discrimination written into government policy began the chain of events that led to a shortage of affordable rental housing in Baltimore. It will take government policy and a substantial public investment to end it.

Maryland’s disastrous session for policing and public safety

As I began the 2021 legislative session, I expressed optimism about working together in a bipartisan fashion. The first weeks of the legislative session began well with the Maryland Senate unanimously passing Governor Hogan’s COVID Relief Act, which included more than $1.2 billion in targeted tax relief for small businesses and stimulus payments for low-income Marylanders. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, of which I am a member, spent weeks working on police reform legislation.

Unconstitutional debt and future generations

Earlier this week, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. asked Congress to raise taxes and increase borrowing so his administration can spend $2.3 trillion — on top of the $1.9 trillion Congress authorized two months ago for so-called COVID relief — for thousands of projects he calls “infrastructure.” All this is in addition to the $2 trillion that the government borrows annually these days just to make ends meet. These are serious numbers of dollars, the repayment of which will have seriously unpleasant consequences for future generations of Americans.

This was captured well waiting for the doctor who was busy at the time
DeMarco: Biden’s proposal to make enhanced ACA premium subsidies permanent is a ‘game changer’

Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative President Vincent DeMarco said President Joe Biden’s proposal to make enhanced Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium subsidies provided through the American Rescue Plan Act permanent would, if implemented, be a “game-changer” for millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Marylanders with regard to health care affordability. Biden introduced a proposal in an address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday evening. “Let’s make that provision permanent so their premiums don’t go back up,” the president said.

Why are the liberals of Takoma Park suing to protect a piece of asphalt?

Takoma Park is one of those places rich for snark. An enclave of families, hippies and Washington’s do-gooders who cleanse their souls of government work at hot yoga and nourish their morality at the natural food co-op, the suburb of D.C. declared itself a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the 1980s and recently gave their 16-year-olds the right to vote in city elections. “Sure, The People’s Republic of Takoma Park,” said Andrew Strongin, a 54-year-old attorney who buzzes over to the co-op on his bumble-bee-yellow scooter. “It’s who we are.”

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