Rodricks: A third Chesapeake Bay bridge is no road to the future

I clipped and saved two warnings that experts in vastly different fields made during the past year because, considered together, they reveal the challenges we face and the choices we have to make. And they provide the kind of irony I would find amusing if the situation were not so grim. First warning: If humans continue to emit greenhouse gases at the current rate, Earth’s atmosphere will warm to disastrous levels as soon as 2040. Second warning: Without adding a third crossing, motorists on the current spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge could see daily 13-mile backups as soon as 2040. (Balt. Sun)

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High-speed trains too costly for U.S. taxpayers

Your recent editorial ("Better than flying,” Feb. 19) supporting the Green New Deal's idea of replacing air travel with high-speed train travel was insubstantial and contained weak arguments. People (usually politicians) have been proposing high-speed trains for many years, usually in the form of magnetic levitation technology. This form of train is used in the California plan which has recently been significantly cut back because of rapidly increasing costs.  Paying for such a long distance, high-speed form of transportation is the main reason we do not have such trains in the United States. High-speed trains do exist in smaller, more densely populated countries where the government has more involvement in transportation systems. (Balt. Sun)

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It won't be easy, but Baltimore can find alternatives to the Wheelabrator incinerator

The Baltimore City Council displayed good intentions in voting unanimously to beef up emissions limits on the Wheelabrator trash incinerator, the city’s biggest source of industrial air pollution. The city has long grappled with high rates of asthma, especially among children and in low-income, minority neighborhoods. Health advocates have said chemicals the incinerator spews into the sky trigger that and other respiratory diseases, and whatever we can do to address those health disparities is good. (Balt. Sun)

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County executives should not have the power to cut school budgets

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski's commentary on Baltimore County’s budget crisis and the stated need for the schools to cut their budget illustrates why county control of the school system's funding should be ended (“Baltimore County executive: school budget can be trimmed without affecting teacher pay,” Feb. 19). There are obvious conflicting priorities here. Schools need a dedicated funding source. Schools should receive a dedicated portion of local taxes, and state funding can address wealth inequities between districts. If schools need more funding, let them ask the voters for additional funding through property tax or income tax increases. (Balt. Sun)

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Physician-assisted suicide is immoral

Assisted or unassisted suicide is still suicide, and its purpose is to end someone’s life. It is basically playing God to determine when someone dies. Doctors who engage in this practice are assisting in a form of murder (“Hopkins doctor: Physician-assisted suicide is unethical and dangerous,” Feb. 19). It is wrong to take a person’s life before their natural death. Back in the 1990s, my late wife Leye, who had multiple sclerosis and used a scooter to get around, belonged to a disability advocacy group called ADAPT. (Balt. Sun)

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No shortage of racism

I read with considerable anger and outrage Herb Cromwell's commentary, “I should have known about blackface” (Feb. 17). Blackface is as oppressive and offensive as any other form of anti-black behavior. Whites should already know this. Now at the age of 76, I have never been surprised by the ignorance and stupidity upon which white supremacy and anti-black racism rest in this place called America. What is so disconcerting is that so many liberal racist whites — some of whom have existed in a "white bubble,” as Mr. Cromwell admits — still feel comfortable articulating their ignorance to the world. (Balt. Sun)

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Johnny Olszewski: Baltimore County executive: schools budget can be trimmed without affecting teacher pay

I am a teacher. I don’t work in a classroom anymore, but my days teaching at Patapsco High School have shaped me into the person I am today. They shape the kind of county executive I want to be. They are the reason I ran for this office in the first place. I will never turn my back on the teachers of Baltimore County. I want to give them everything they need and deserve to educate our students effectively. But I also have a responsibility to tell county residents the truth — even when that truth is uncomfortable. (Balt. Sun)

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Higher taxes and fees are coming. How high will they go?

County Executive Steuart Pittman has signaled clearly he believes Anne Arundel County’s needs outstrip its current resources. Through seven planned town hall-style meetings set to start next week, he will ask for the public’s help in deciding on the priorities, how much more revenue is needed to accomplish them and how fast the county should raise it. Several previous administrations have been fundamentally opposed to asking this question. The foundation of that belief has been the voter-imposed tax revenue cap. (Capital)

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