Dan Rodricks: Arrests are down in Baltimore, but is quality up?

An old lawyer-friend stopped me on the sidewalk Tuesday and complained that Baltimore police are not being aggressive enough. I hear that a lot. We all do. We hear that the cops are not making enough arrests, and if we only went back to the Martin O’Malley method — 100,000 arrests per year — the city would not be in the third year of a homicidal surge. To be sure, the numbers are down significantly from the days of the O’Malley ArrestFest. Taking a more targeted approach, toward violent repeat offenders, started after O’Malley became governor of Maryland and Sheila Dixon replaced him as mayor of Baltimore, and while Leonard Hamm and Fred Bealefeld served as police commissioners. (Balt. Sun)

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December 6 // Meghan Ellis and John Sebastian: Baltimore judges misinterpret new rule to mean no bail — ever

Baltimore City is losing the battle against pre-trial mass incarceration. Our jail system is simply overburdened with individuals who have not been convicted of a crime. There are two primary drivers at work here: Poor people cannot pay bail amounts that bear absolutely no relation to their income levels, and the judicial system, straining under volume, spends too little time prior to trial seriously considering whether the charges against poor people are even remotely grounded in reality. (Balt. Sun)

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Rachel Brown, Christie Chung, and Julia Sine: Baltimore continues to improperly incarcerate poor people pre-trial

In making a rule change that went into effect this summer, the Court of Appeals of Maryland deliberately intended to reform the state’s pretrial detention system by limiting the use of cash bail and its frequent effect: incarcerating non-violent defendants solely because they can’t afford the price for release while they await trial. Yet our experience as student-lawyers in our law school’s Access to Justice Clinic shows that people charged with non-violent offenses continue to be held improperly. (Balt. Sun)

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Inaugural hoopla ushers in new officials

Monday’s public inaugural ceremonies in Annapolis made a good case for taking the ceremony out of doors from now on and putting it down in front of any local residents who want to come and watch. City government is grueling public service work that makes officeholders the focus for local grievances. So was not frivolous to usher these officials in with a little morale-boosting hoopla, especially given that the taxpayers — beyond underwriting the police protection, as they do with every march in the city — were not paying for it. (Capital)

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Jon Korin: Transportation should be about choice

How do you travel from home to work? Or to school, shopping or recreation? Do you feel you have choices? Many believe a car is the only option. But for others a car is not affordable. So what are your alternatives? Do you drive, walk or bike? Do you take a train or a bus? Do you use Uber? What would you like your options to be? And how do you choose? By time, cost, convenience, safety or health? Anne Arundel County is embarking on its first Transportation Functional Master Plan, which will guide our choices over the next 20 years. You can help shape its direction. (Capital)

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December 5 // Laslo Boyd: An agenda for Democrats

Donald Trump will continue to provide lots of material to keep Democratic activists motivated in 2018. That’s not enough, however, if Democrats are going to regain control of one or both houses of Congress and make significant progress in state gubernatorial and legislative races.  Success in next year’s elections requires fighting for specific goals, not just being opposed to what the President is doing, as awful as that is. (From a Certain Point of View)

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Tom Pelton: Gambling on a Wall Street approach to managing nature

Ever since President Ronald Reagan declared that “government is not the solution to our problems, government is our problem,” Republican policymakers have been working to privatize America’s public services. The idea is that the magic of the free market is needed to improve the world around us because our elected government is inefficient and inherently suspect. So instead, we’ve seen the growth of private prisons, highways and bridges, and even municipal water systems owned by corporations. Now, here in Maryland, we are witnessing the logical flowering of that idea: Employing a Wall Street approach to managing nature. (Balt. Sun)

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Angela Haren: Md. should ban certain foam packaging

It’s that time of year — a time for leftovers. Whether it’s carryout from your favorite restaurant, a quick drive-through meal on your way between errands or a plate of leftovers from a holiday party, we carry meals in a variety of packaging. However, not all food packaging is created equal. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, more commonly known as Styrofoam, poses several unique and insidious threats to the health of our waterways and our communities. (Balt. Sun)

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