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Commentary

Steiner: Maryland police must stop playing ICE

Sara Medrano, a Latina grandmother and Frederick County resident, was driving her daughter and two grandchildren to pick up laundry detergent on her way to work when a Frederick County sheriff’s deputy pulled her over, purportedly for a “broken” taillight — that was working just fine — and detained her. In Medrano’s words: “I was so scared thinking that this stop would be the last moment I would have with my grandchildren and my daughter.” The only reason for this stop? The color of her skin.

Stacey Abrams: Our democracy faced a near-death experience. Here’s how to revive it.

The violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, coupled with ongoing threats to election officials, election workers and lawmakers at all levels, represent unprecedented attacks on the foundations of our democracy. Certainly, President Donald Trump and others in his party who inspired the attacks must be held accountable through all available means. But accountability alone will not be nearly enough. Only meaningful reforms can undo the damage done — and establish a government that is truly representative of the people. The next real test of our democracy comes now.

Rodricks: In the midst of the muck, Maryland’s Steny Hoyer stands up for decency

It was in a Senate hearing room in Washington in 1954 when the bow-tied Boston attorney Joseph Welch asserted “a sense of decency” as an American ideal. In the early 1950s, in the midst of the Cold War, Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin had almost single-handedly created a second red scare by claiming, with little evidence, that the federal government and Army had been infiltrated with communist sympathizers. His obsession was the “deep state” of the Eisenhower era.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Weeks without a paycheck: Baltimore fiasco hurts workers, city’s reputation

Baltimore workers are in a tizzy, and they have every reason to be. The city has botched a move from paper paychecks to an electronic payroll system that has left hundreds of employees shortchanged or not paid at all. The mistakes have continued several weeks after the city transitioned to Workday software in an effort to bring its payroll system into the current century.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Vaccinated Montgomery County teachers should be in the classroom

ABCs, 123s. Sitting in a circle and waiting your turn. Keeping your hands to yourself. Not taking your neighbor’s belongings and absolutely no cutting ahead in line. Beyond basic classroom rules, these are the life lessons that teachers impart to our kids each and every day in schools across the country. Some of these rules are about fairness and right and wrong, and others are about how a person’s actions can affect the good of the group. Teachers start these lessons early and recite them often because these are all critical concepts about being part of a community and they are the foundations upon which a school is run and society prospers.

Hathaway and Orr: Maryland must end the sale of flavored tobacco

Every year, 7,500 Marylanders die due to smoking-related illnesses – the leading cause of preventable death in the state. Unfortunately, there is a significant racial disparity among these deaths: Black Americans are more likely to die from tobacco-related causes than any other race or ethnic group. Flavored tobacco products and, in particular, menthol cigarettes are a major contributor to this disparity. The Maryland General Assembly can save lives and end this racial health inequity, benefiting our economy. It’s time they seize this opportunity and right this wrong.

Another year starts violently in Baltimore. Roca keeps knocking on doors to try to save lives.

The gauge we hate but cannot ignore shows that 2021 is already worse than 2020. There were 29 homicides in Baltimore by Wednesday; that’s one more than at the same time last year. All but six of those killings were by gun. On top of that, 51 other people were wounded, and that represents 10 more nonfatal shootings than police recorded by Feb. 3, 2020. There were no killings on Dec. 8, the day Brandon Scott took office as Baltimore’s new mayor. But there have been 56 homicide victims since then, including the Safe Streets peacemaker Dante Barksdale.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
‘Normalcy’ is still a long ways off, despite COVID vaccine rollout

To say we were overjoyed after we were each vaccinated against COVID-19 would be an understatement. As two physicians, one of whom works in the ER and the other of whom works in the medical wards and ICUs, we had spent our shifts watching COVID ravage our patients and worrying that we would contract the virus ourselves. This vaccine marks, to date, the best weapon available to turn the tide against this virus. However, as the vaccine begins to be rolled out to the general public, we do want to remind everyone that this vaccine, while incredible, will not end the threat that COVID poses overnight.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Alcohol tax hike: A penny that saves lives

Last week in the Maryland Senate and this week in the House of Delegates lawmakers were treated to a parade of bar and liquor store owners and distributors warning them that a proposal to spend $14-to-$22 million more a year to improve access to health care in disadvantaged communities would either severely hurt them or, in some cases, drive them out of business entirely. Why? Because the legislation in question, the Maryland Health Equity Resource Act, would be financed by a 1 cent increase this fall in Maryland’s alcohol sales tax. No longer would buyers of alcoholic beverages pay 9 cents on the dollar; it would rise to 10 cents — although for restaurants and bars, the higher tax would not kick in until October of 2023. That penny, many decried, would be the proverbial tipping point for their strained hospitality industry.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Here’s how Comcast could be a better community partner in Baltimore

Many businesses have struggled during the pandemic, but not Comcast. In fact, cable companies have been one of the bright spots in the economy as so many people are stuck at home for work, school and entertainment. Just look at Comcast’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, released last week, for proof. The company beat analyst estimates and added 11 million subscribers to its new Peacock streaming service, along with 538,000 high-speed internet customers.

Read More: Baltimore Sun

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