Dan Rodricks: The might-have been of Peter Beilenson's health co-op

Leaving for a new job in his native California, Dr. Peter Beilenson, one of Maryland’s — and, particularly, Baltimore’s — most effective public servants of the last three decades, closes out his time here with frustrating irony. So rich is this irony that Beilenson could write a book about it, and he’s doing exactly that. The irony goes like this: The Trump administration, in its role as saboteur of the Affordable Care Act, is doing in the extreme exactly what the Obama administration refused to do in moderation — that is, adjust the landmark health insurance law to allow Beilenson’s masterpiece to survive. (Balt. Sun)

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Brooks Holloway: Recycle oyster shells to make the population grow

Have you ever wondered what happens to all those oyster shells left behind after a local oyster roast? Oyster shells may be ground into pavement or just thrown away, but they also can serve a better purpose: They can be recycled and made back into one of the best surfaces for juvenile oysters to grow. (Daily Times)

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August 7 // Mark Reutter: Keeping Baltimore’s water system public won’t cure its accountability problems

Spooked by indications that a private company is seeking to operate Baltimore’s water system, the City Council was set Monday night to pass a measure to keep the region’s water and sewer operations public. “Water privatization is simply unethical, immoral and dangerous,” says Rianna Eckel, an organizer for Food & Water Watch, a group that has urged Council members to make Baltimore what she calls “a public water hero.” Mayor Catherine Pugh says she supports the charter amendment, which has drawn support from municipal unions concerned about lost public-sector jobs and ministers worried about the impact of rising water rates on the elderly and poor. Ironically, the ban on privatization obscures the fact that Baltimore’s water and sewer system already operates much like a private entity with remarkably few checks and balances. (Brew)

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Busch's gambit for abortion rights amendment will reverberate for years

Maryland's fight over abortion rights has been settled for a generation. No more. By announcing a plan to put a state constitutional amendment protecting a woman's right to abortion on the 2020 ballot, House Speaker Mike Busch made sure of that. Since a 1992 referendum, Maryland law has protected the rights guaranteeing access to abortion services as spelled out by the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Abortion rights haven't been the subject of major legislation or at the center of any serious political campaign in the 25 years since then. (Capital)

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David A. Plymyer: No way to select our judges

Democracy can be messy, but Maryland's method of selecting circuit court judges is unnecessarily so. The process also is largely dysfunctional. The controversial, albeit successful, campaign run this year by Judge Mark Crooks of the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court is a case in point. (Md. Matters)

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Nikki Highsmith Vernick: Census citizenship question hurts equity efforts

“Is this person a citizen of the United States?” This simple question, which the Census Bureau is proposing to add to the 2020 census, could disrupt the once-every-10-years count of our national population. Our country already struggles to adequately count people of color and people in poverty. The citizenship question would surely decrease immigrant participation and compound the challenge of counting all Marylanders — and the census matters to Marylanders. (Balt. Sun)

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Patricia Florestano: It's time for board term limits at AACC and other two-year colleges

I am writing to support strongly Joseph Lamp's recent column on Anne Arundel Community College's board of trustees (The Capital, Aug. 2). Lamp makes a clear and articulate case for term limits for such boards. My views stem from three perspectives. First, I served as secretary of higher education during Gov Paris Glendening's administration. In that capacity, I worked with the public and private four-year universities and the two-year community colleges. (Capital)

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August 6 // James D. Fielder: Hogan administration is taking the lead in college affordability

College tuition, expenses and student debt have been steadily on the rise nationwide. Nearly 60 percent of all of our Maryland college students are graduating with thousands of dollars in student debt. To be exact, college debt is now estimated to be $1.48 trillion nationwide and the average debt in Maryland is $27,455 per student. This financial burden is often preventing Marylanders from achieving financial security by becoming a roadblock to traditional milestones like home ownership and saving for retirement. Gov. Larry Hogan has consistently made college affordability one of his administration’s top priorities and has worked with us at the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) to produce real and pragmatic solutions for our students and graduates. (Herald-Mail)

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