Todd Oppenheim: Mosby’s marijuana policy: More “virtue signaling” than meaningful?

When a prosecutors’ office announces that, as a matter of course, it’s not going to pursue any type of drug case, let alone marijuana possession cases, that’s cause for celebration. Take it from someone who’s been mired in Baltimore’s “war on drugs” for the last 15 years, working as an attorney in the Public Defender’s Office representing its chief target: poor black people. The war’s lack of effectiveness in reducing either drug use or crime – along with its grossly disproportionate impact on the families I help represent – makes the battle a costly bust. (Brew)

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Let Northam govern

As a 70-year-old, African-American female, I have seen a lot and done a lot. Who among us can say he or she has never done anything to offend anyone's culture? Let any politician who has nothing for which to repent cast the first stone. For those of us African Americans who are so self-righteous about blackface, how many of us played cowboys and Indians with war paint on our faces? How many of us imitated Tonto of “The Lone Ranger” TV fame? How many "Indians" did we shoot with our six-shooters (Balt. Sun)

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Petula Dvorak: The real-time impact of hate is easy to see at U-Md.

Hatred ripples fast and wide, and that’s a part of our increasingly toxic national conversation we can’t deny. For a lesson on how this works, let’s take a look at the College Park campus of the University of Maryland. No, I’m not talking about the old yearbook photos of Terps in blackface that were all over Twitter last weekend, just a week after Virginia’s people-in-blackface scandal that now includes the governor, attorney general and the state Senate majority leader. I’m talking about today, when the number of black freshmen settling in to study at the university has dropped dramatically since things got increasingly ugly on campus, as they did across America. And the bigwigs at College Park know it. (Wash. Post)

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Districts that make sense

The Maryland General Assembly has an opportunity to show true leadership and pass meaningful legislation to create a nonpartisan redistricting commission in the 2019 session. The League of Women Voters has consistently supported efforts to find a less partisan way to draw district lines. Leagues around the nation, in both red and blue states, have stood up to the party in charge to advocate for a more fair and open process for drawing district maps. A 2017 Goucher poll revealed that nearly three quarters of Marylanders favor the drawing of election districts by an independent commission rather than lawmakers. (News-Post)

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Legislators should approve proposals opening judges' records to public scrutiny and allowing cameras in courtroom

The Maryland judiciary clearly would prefer that the public only have a limited understanding of what it does. Just look at the evidence. In trying to update the rules for public disclosure through Maryland Judiciary Case Search, the online search tool for court filings, a panel recommended last year that the names of police officers be hidden in online court records. The panel backtracked in the face of widespread criticism. Recorded transcripts of courtroom proceedings in Anne Arundel County have shifted from being available immediately in a law library “listening room,” to available only by ordering for a recording — a process that can take days, if not longer. (Capital)

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Next Baltimore police commissioner needs a new strategy

Mayor Catherine Pugh’s pick for Baltimore police commissioner — newly retired New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison — officially assumes his role this week and kicks off a series of community meetings ahead of a vote on his nomination. While he has been widely praised as a solid choice, and a particular improvement over the mayor’s first pick, it may be time to pause and think about the path forward for the beleaguered department. (Balt. Sun)

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Quinn Lester: Say 'no' to Hopkins' private police

Johns Hopkins President Ron Daniels has frequently cited the “brazenness” of crime as justification for a private police force at JHU, but even more brazen is Hopkins’ disingenuous PR campaign. Mr. Daniels and his PR team recognized that last year’s initiative failed partly due to its sudden announcement to community members, and they are now doing all they can to present a façade of community collaboration. However, they have yet to acknowledge many community criticisms of creating the force in the first place, such as no real community accountability mechanisms, unclear boundaries of where Hopkins police would operate, and the perception that Hopkins lives matter more than all Baltimoreans’. (Balt. Sun)

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Why left and right both get the meaning of academic freedom wrong

When historians write about the rise of academic freedom in the United States, they usually describe a movement championed by left-leaning intellectuals. But in recent years, the cause has also gained a significant following on the right, making it the rallying cry for people on both sides of the political divide. What academic freedom stands for in 2019 is not, however, what it stood for 100 years ago. Calls for academic freedom have become a partisan affair. (Wash. Post)

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