Pugh's war on corner stores

Mayor Catherine Pugh raised a lot of eyebrows around town when she targeted businesses for criticism during a West Baltimore photo-op on Tuesday. While touring the area around the intersection of Pennsylvania and North avenues with an entourage of police, city officials and reporters, she insisted to the cashier of one corner store that he should close at 9 p.m. rather than 11:30 at night. At another, she called for the Health Department to move up its next inspection date. She told the owner of another that he needed new rugs and called his store a “hell hole.” (Balt. Sun)

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Bobby Zirkin: Md. legislation focuses on violent repeat offenders

Let these numbers sink in: 343 murders, 1,000-plus non-fatal shootings, one year: 2017. My friend’s family was a part of those statistics; his 5-year-old grandson was shot to death last year, just one of the 343. Let that number sink in too: 5 years old. Now, look at just this month: 29 murders in three weeks of April 2018. Baltimore is the most violent city in the entire nation — not exactly what we would like to be known for. This is an emergency of epic proportions. (Balt. Sun)

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Katherine Tracy: Md. must prioritize worker health and safety

With Gov. Larry Hogan's focus on putting Marylanders to work and ensuring our state is "open for business," worker health and safety should be a top priority. But when it comes to protecting the health and safety of the 2.5 million workers across our state, the main cop on the beat, the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) division, is exhibiting lackluster performance. (Balt. Sun)

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Morgan Pardue-Kim and Gilby Kim: Columbia neighborhood centers key to city's values

Our family was shocked at the news that the Board of Directors at the Columbia Association (CA), the managing organization of Columbia, Md., had received a proposal to close more than half of all neighborhood centers. This news only came to our attention because our oldest son attends a preschool in one of those neighborhood centers. (Balt. Sun)

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April 25 // Ben Cardin: We need a secretary of state critically. I still won’t vote for Mike Pompeo.

Do we need a confirmed secretary of state? Of course. Should the Senate confirm any nominee a president puts forward for consideration on that principle alone? Absolutely not. Despite the Republican Senate leadership’s attempts to conduct as little oversight as possible on many of Trump’s nominees, each one deserves careful scrutiny as we fulfill the constitutional requirement of “advice and consent.” Many have pointed to CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s public service — in uniform, in Congress and in our intelligence service — as a qualification to serve as our nation’s top diplomat. I applaud that public service, too, but it is not enough to guarantee he is the right person to serve in the position for which he has been nominated. (Wash. Post)

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Hogan and the Dems are stuck in the polls. Here's what somebody needs to do to break through.

Gov. Larry Hogan just had what was probably his best legislative session, working with Democrats to solve big problems on issues like health care and bolstering his pro-business image with a massive effort to woo Amazon’s second headquarters to the state. His approval rating ticked up eight points in the latest Goucher Poll to an impressive 69 percent. Yet on head-to-head matchups with the seven major Democrats looking to block his path to re-election, he still hovers around 45 percent support. (Balt. Sun)

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Brad Phillip: Maryland finally recognizes the value of community college

During the final minutes of Maryland’s legislative session, the General Assembly approved House Bill 16, which establishes the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship, a $15 million, need-based financial assistance program for students attending community colleges. While the legislation does not provide universal access to a community college for recent high school graduates like laws that other states have enacted, it shows that Maryland legislators are beginning to realize the value of community colleges. (Balt. Sun)

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Liz Cornish: Baltimore needs a citywide approach to street design

Baltimore’s Department of Transportation needs comprehensive policy reform and cultural change. This is the aim of the Complete Streets bill introduced by City Councilman Ryan Dorsey, set to have its first hearing Wednesday. By addressing the design of streets with city-wide policy, Complete Streets puts the responsibility on decision makers to improve safety for all, rather than forcing individual communities to fight for safety, street by street. (Balt. Sun)

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