Jean Marbella: For City Councilman, crime is not a distant issue

Growing up in Park Heights during the crack-ridden 1990s, Brandon Scott used to wash cars at his uncle's shop, where some of the customers were drug dealers — and unlikely sources of advice for the high school track star who would grow up to become a city councilman. "I had one guy tell me as I was going off to St. Mary's [College], 'If I had a chance to do it again, I would have taken that football scholarship,'" he remembers. "'Forget about this money.'" The following year, the man was shot dead. (Balt. Sun)

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Daniel Webster: To reduce Baltimore's gun violence, invest in strategies that work

The recent spike in shootings in Baltimore and the city's endemically high rate of violent crime underscore why reducing gun violence must be the top priority for city officials. Violence exacts an enormous toll on Baltimore beyond the direct costs from the deaths, disability, medical care, law enforcement and prisons. (Balt. Sun)

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Uncertainty like that facing Wicomico County's regional airport control tower is not healthy for business

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that air traffic towers (including the tower at Salisbury-Ocean City: Wicomico Regional Airport) that were threatened with closure as a result of sequestration will continue operating at least until September 2014. That is, in a sense, good news for area residents and businesses, as well as those whose livelihoods depend on the airport. But the fact that the airport tower’s continued funding is still an issue is disturbing. (Daily Times)

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Noel Levy: WBAL needs to tell the truth about climate change

I was disturbed to read in The Baltimore Sun that WBAL (Channel 11) meteorologist Tony Pann regularly denies human-induced climate change is even happening, let alone that it is impacting our weather. I'm joining other Baltimore-area residents to call on WBAL to publicly correct Mr. Pann's misinformation and ensure that their entire news team begins reporting the facts about climate change and its impact on our weather. (Balt. Sun)

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Ehrlich: What it will take to get the GOP on board with immigration reform

Attempting to narrow America's immigration debate down to an easily understood set of issues is no easy task. But that's why The Sun pays me the big bucks. So, with no further caveats, I offer comprehensive immigration reform in 800 words, more or less. (Balt. Sun)

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Downside to legalized marijuana

States that have enacted or considered enacting laws decriminalizing marijuana use should also consider the impact that will come from more people using the drug, and the problems that may come with that. Maryland has essentially decriminalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, but usually there are efforts each year to totally decriminalize it, such as was done in Colorado or Washington state. (Carroll Co. Times)

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Dee Hodges: Focusing on the wrong threat to the bay

Dozens of Maryland taxes have been increased during the six years that Martin O'Malley has been governor, but perhaps none better epitomizes the state's propensity to raise taxes for the sake of it than the stormwater management fees — better known as the "rain tax" — that went into effect for residents of the state's 10 largest counties and Baltimore City on Monday. The idea is to lower Maryland's stormwater runoff into the Chesapeake Bay as required by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of its bay cleanup plan. The problem is it is projected to cost a lot of money, $14.8 billion by 2025. (Balt. Sun)

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Changes to downtown hardly a new idea

Downtown Annapolis has been studied more than any other part of the county. A gem like this fires the imaginations of consultants and preservationists who unfortunately leave us with more dreams than usable ideas. Annapolis is not a showcase for dreams; it is a living city. Most recently, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a cadre of well-intentioned volunteers have offered yet another design for the city’s future. (Capital)

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