Dan Rodricks: On Squeegee Street, smiles both ways can break through barriers

People who refer to Baltimore as “a third-world city” — I have heard from a few of them in the past few days, with regard to squeegee kids — apparently did not get the memo about the elimination of “third-world” as a description of developing countries or cities. People who use the term also strike me as oblivious to its connotation. (Balt. Sun)

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October 16 // An election reform agenda for Maryland's next governor and legislature

In Maryland, registering as an “unaffiliated” voter, the term of art for an independent, means throwing away much of your political power. Maryland law allows political parties to hold open primaries — ones in which non-party members can vote — but the Democrats have not done that in recent memory, and the Republicans did only once. Being unaffiliated means you have no say about which names appear on the November ballot, and given the lopsided partisan leanings of many districts, the primary is often the only election that counts. That means you’d have to be pretty ticked off at the two major parties to register as an unaffiliated voter, yet as The Sun’s Christine Zhang and Michael Dresser report, the number of independents is growing faster than the number of Democrats or Republicans. (Balt. Sun)

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Dan K. Morhaim: Maryland's opioid approach isn't working. Here's what could

Clearly, the efforts taken to curb the opioid death rate, however well intended, have not worked. Continuing current policies will bring the same results: more deaths, more disease, more crime and no drop in the opioid death rate. It’s time for a change. I serve on the Maryland legislature’s Joint Committee on Behavioral Health and Opioid Use Disorders, and we learned that there are a number of other steps that can be taken. Unfortunately, these have been overlooked, underfunded or — worse — misrepresented for political gain. (Balt. Sun)

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October 15 // Governor Hogan says we've tried everything to stem overdoses. Fortunately, that's not quite true.

When we asked Gov. Larry Hogan about opioids in a recent editorial board interview, he took less evident satisfaction in discussing his record than he did when we asked about education, the environment, health care or most anything else. It’s not that he’s ignored the issue — far from it. He has, in his words, “tried everything.” Maryland has devoted more resources to combating opioid abuse (if not nearly as much as advocates say is necessary). It has expanded the availability of the anti-overdose drug Narcan and persuaded the federal government to let Medicaid cover some residential drug treatment. It has taken steps to prevent the abuse of prescription painkillers, and it has established a system for coordinating the response to the epidemic across the state. (Balt. Sun)

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UMBC's president says his campus will become a leader on sexual assault. The rest of us must hold him to account.

It took a federal class action lawsuit and a high-profile protest on campus for University of Maryland Baltimore County leaders to hear what some students have been saying for years — that it doesn’t do nearly enough to prevent sexual violence or to support victims. The school’s president, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, says he and other UMBC officials have done a great deal of listening in the last few weeks, both to those who stormed his office and to other advocates, and they plan to accelerate their efforts around training for students, faculty and staff, reporting procedures and physical safety measures. (Balt. Sun)

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Jeremy Mohler: Maryland’s poor plan for public-prive partnership toll roads

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) $9 billion plan to add tolled express lanes to the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 is flawed. Maryland transportation officials are proposing to borrow the project’s cost from private investors, but they are downplaying how much more expensive it is to borrow directly from a Wall Street bank or a global corporation rather than use municipal bonds, the traditional method of financing. And they are minimizing the potential risks for Maryland residents now and in the distant future, as so-called public-private partnership contracts include pages of complex agreements that extend for decades. (Wash. Post)

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George Arlotto: Anne Arundel Schools will make a colorful stand against bullying

A month ago in this space, I wrote about our school system’s efforts to devote time in the first few days of school to building relationships – between students and students, students and staff members, and staff members and staff members – in order that everyone in our collective Anne Arundel County Public Schools family might better know and, therefore, better understand each other. The goal of those efforts was to embark on the creation and enhancement of climates of familiarity, acceptance, and, ultimately inclusion that, throughout the year, will help all of us recognize our diversity as a strength. (Capital)

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Steve Schuh: I have signed the 'no new taxes' pledge, but my opponent has not

On any evening in Anne Arundel County, families come together around the kitchen table to pay their bills. For many residents here, it can be a struggle to make ends meet. They work hard and don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck or to be nickel and dimed by their government.  One of the main reasons I ran for county executive was my concern for these families. I wanted to make Anne Arundel County a more affordable place to live by providing real tax and fee relief to every citizen.  And I am pleased to report that, in every one of our four years in office, my team has delivered on that goal. (Capital)

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