Local climate of opinion is also important

A persistent delusion about the U.S. system is that everything important in American life stems from the planning and direction of the great and good inside the Capital Beltway. Everyone else, this notion holds, is just engaged in a gigantic game of follow the leader. But in general, the major decisions affecting quality of life in your neighborhood are being made by officials a lot closer than Washington, a lot more accessible and much more aware of what their constituents want and need. (Capital)

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June 12 // Walter Vasquez: City officials' repeated decisions to undercut projects bad for business

As a member of the business community and founder of Annapolitans for Responsible Development, I am extremely concerned that the city's handling of the Eastport Landing and Crystal Spring projects sends a clear message: Annapolis is bad for business. Businesses rely on the city to interpret and enforce its laws in a fair and impartial manner. But how can any business make plans when the city can't be trusted to interpret and uphold the code currently on the books? With the Eastport Landing project, the city issued guidance on the allowable density for the Eastport Shopping Plaza in 2014. The project partners, land owners, engineers and architects then spent more than two years planning and making adjustments to the project based on that guidance. (Capital)

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Pugh's call to action

It’s about time that Mayor Catherine Pugh issued a public call to action to end Baltimore’s horrific pace of violence. What we are experiencing is not a blip but evidence of a breakdown in the social order that has only accelerated in the two years since the riots sparked by Freddie Gray’s death. We need, as Mayor Pugh says, everyone in the city to do more to combat violent crime. But we also need an all-hands-on-deck approach to helping the police department do its job. (Balt. Sun)

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Grasso confuses chairmanship and censorship

The County Council is obligated to listen to public comment on the measures it considers. But no one expects its meetings to be unlimited free-speech zones. There are rules. Signs and banners aren't allowed in the council chambers, public statements are generally limited to two minutes each, and personal, defamatory and profane remarks are barred. The chairman — currently Councilman John Grasso — is charged with keeping the meetings decorous and orderly. Even so, last week, when the council's agenda included a resolution condemning racism, Grasso went over the line, twisting the rules to bar remarks that might embarrass Councilman Michael Peroutka. The decision prompted shouting matches at the meeting and complaints by audience members who said, with some merit, that they were being censored. (Capital)

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A new superintendent for BCPS

If the Baltimore County school board was looking for a change of pace after Superintendent Dallas Dance's surprise announcement this spring that he would leave the system, they got it in Verletta White — at least superficially. He came to the superintendent position as a 30-year-old geyser of ideas, short on classroom experience and new to Maryland, much less Baltimore County. She became interim superintendent after spending virtually her entire life in the system, starting when she was a student at Woodmoor Elementary School and carrying through every level as a student, teacher and administrator. She is calm, poised and extremely diplomatic. (Balt. Sun)

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Rascovar: Non-political redistricting is Mission Impossible

Holy mackerel! Can you believe this? Former Gov. Martin O’Malley has admitted politics played a big role in re-drawing Maryland’s congressional districts after the 2010 Census. The state’s major newspapers and good-government groups went bananas. Editorial writers had a field day denouncing O’Malley and other Democratic leaders for this dastardly admission. Politics determining the shape of new congressional districts? What is this state coming to? Why it’s almost un-American! Exactly which alternative universe are these people living in? Politics and re-districting have been wrapped tightly together since the nation’s formative years. (Md. Reporter)

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Dan Rodricks: Anti-violence program Operation Ceasefire another city fail

In the annals of Baltimore's long, frustrating battle against violent crime, Operation Ceasefire was introduced with much fanfare — and a startup cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars — in 2014. But the operation appears to have been a failure. The once-promising Ceasefire is apparently kaput. I say "apparently," because getting information from city officials about this successful-almost-everywhere-but-Baltimore program has been a weirdly difficult challenge. (Balt. Sun)

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Why Hogan should join the climate alliance

In general, we’ve had our fill of the press releases from Democratic gubernatorial candidates demanding that Gov. Larry Hogan denounce whatever it is that President Donald Trump just did. We get it; they’re trying to tie our very popular Republican governor to our profoundly unpopular Republican president. But what do they want, a weekly press conference so Mr. Hogan can list all the things the president has done that caused him horror/embarrassment/disgust in the previous seven days? We certainly hope the Democrats have more to say to voters than that. (Balt. Sun)

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