Dan Rodricks: Kevin Kamenetz, the pragmatic progressive

In the spring of 2015, a few weeks after the Freddie Gray fires and looting that sent the Maryland National Guard to West Baltimore, I took the No. 8 bus to Towson for a talk with Kevin Kamenetz about the city’s troubles. I was surprised and encouraged by what I heard. I had considered Kamenetz to be a classic, middle-of-the-cul-de-sac suburban Democrat, more cautious about policy than he had to be. Shortly after he became Baltimore County executive in 2011, he had scoffed at the idea of the more affluent county supporting its namesake city in any way. (Balt. Sun)

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Endangered pedestrians

In Ocean City, preparations for the coming summer season are in high gear. There are the new solar-powered parking kiosks, a bus locator app (available in both Apple and Android, naturally) and a new Hyatt Place hotel on the boardwalk that’s expected to open in mid-July. But the most striking change of all is gradually rising in the center of town — a median fence in the middle of Coastal Highway extending 23 blocks from 39th to 62nd streets. That fence isn’t there to be decorative, it’s there to prevent jaywalking and is part of a $7 million project to enhance pedestrian safety. (Balt. Sun)

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Adam DeMarco: De Sousa should resign

With the recent revelation of Baltimore City Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa’s failure to file his federal tax returns for the years of 2013, 2014, and 2015, I am joining a growing list of officials and citizens alike and demand Commissioner De Sousa’s immediate suspension and resignation (“Baltimore police chief De Sousa suspended amid federal tax charges, as his lawyers criticize prosecutors,” May 11). Commissioner De Sousa’s personal failure to live up to the most basic civic responsibility is not only a lack of judgment and an act of gross negligence, but more importantly it depletes his credibility as the leader of our city’s police department. (Balt. Sun)

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Politicians and unpaid taxes

 

It is a big list. Hundreds of people in Frederick County owed more than $1.53 million in county property taxes when the county published its tax sale notice in The News-Post on April 22. But only two of those people ended up with their names and faces on the front page of the paper: County Councilman Tony Chmelik and County Councilman Kirby Delauter. If it isn’t the first rule for political candidates, it is certainly in the top five: Pay your taxes, and pay them on time. (News-Post)

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On clean energy, Salisbury professor just gets it wrong

Salisbury University finance professor Dan Ervin is unconvincing in his recent lengthy diatribe, asserting that the 21st century shift or “swerve” toward renewable sources of energy is a “bad idea” — both for the state of Maryland, and for the future of the planet. Last year, professor Ervin spoke to a large group of retired citizens at the MAC Center in Salisbury about the same topic. In that speech, and in several earlier op-ed pieces, he touted nuclear energy as the salvation for the world’s energy needs. This, despite the fact that no new nuclear facility has been built in the U.S. for more than 30 years, and France and other European nations are in the process of dismantling their nuclear plants, primarily because of safety concerns. (Daily Times)

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The arguments about downtown hotel

Most arguments concerning the proposed downtown hotel and conference center revolve around the amount of public participation in the project: How much is enough and how much is too much. A few people think the project is completely unnecessary and have generally latched on to such issues as historic preservation problems, process issues or environmental concerns. (News-Post)

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Peggy Dennis, Mark Eakin: Maryland wants to put a limit on bow-hunting antlerless deer

For the past several years, the Wildlife and Heritage Service of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has worked with the Montgomery County Council and county residents to liberalize the regulations on bow-and-arrow hunting for white-tailed deer. The “safety zone” has been decreased to 50 yards in recognition of the fact that archery hunting is safe, quiet and discreet. To date, there have been no recorded instances of a non-hunter, pet or livestock injured or killed by a bowhunter in Maryland. Sunday hunting has also been expanded. These measures are badly needed to cull the herds of deer that have taken over our stream valleys and community parks and our suburban neighborhoods and yards. (Wash. Post)

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May 11 // Kevin Kamenetz's legacy: Understanding Baltimore County's past, seeing its future

Kevin Kamentz used to joke that when he ran for County Council, he grew a mustache to look older, and when he ran for county executive, he shaved it to look younger. But more than that changed during his two-plus decades of service to Baltimore County. The young, smart and brash councilman from Pikesville became a thoughtful and, at crucial times, courageous leader of a sprawling, diverse county and a strong candidate for governor. His shocking death early Thursday morning leaves a void in the region and sharpens questions about the direction Baltimore County will take. (Balt. Sun)

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