Don DeArmon: But we’ve always done it this way...

“The turnout was ridiculous,” said Election Supervisor Stuart Harvey, commenting on the 14 percent participation rate by city of Frederick voters in the September primary election. But is higher turnout a desirable goal? One school of thought says that “casual” voters should not be encouraged, that only “committed” voters who are closely following municipal issues should vote. However, for those of us who think that more participation in a democracy is a good thing, it’s not too soon to start discussing changes in the municipal election process or in Frederick city government itself that might increase citizen interest and lead to better voter turnout. (News-Post)

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Hal Riedl: When judges can talk politics and policy

If you visit the website of the Baltimore City Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), you will be greeted by the bold heading, “Working to enhance public safety and reduce crime.” The first sentence that follows reads, “Our members and agencies work cooperatively to enhance public safety, reduce crime and to advance the fair and timely disposition of criminal cases.” Ever since September of 1999, the CJCC’s chairman has been the judge-in-charge of the criminal docket of the Baltimore City Circuit Court. Judge Charles Peters, the current judge-in-charge, is the seventh in an unbroken line of succession. (Balt. Sun)

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Alex Obriecht: Baltimore needs bicycle and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure as soon as possible

Forty years ago I opened up a bicycle retail store in Baltimore. A few years later when the North Central Rail Trail (now the Torrey C. Brown Trail) was proposed, I became involved in bicycle advocacy. Since then I have involved myself in all many aspects of advocating for the safe and enjoyable use of the bicycle in the Baltimore area, in the state of Maryland and across the country. About 12 years ago I began speaking of the need to develop bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure if municipalities wished to enjoy the growth opportunities that would be realized by the implementation of this critical infrastructure (“Is Baltimore bike-friendly enough for Amazon?,” Sept. 22). (Balt. Sun)

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September 29 // Laslo Boyd: Larry Hogan paving his path to the 2018 election

Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland had a major campaign event last week. With all the trappings of a political rally, he revealed his “plan” to spend $9 billion to widen three of the State’s major highways. Hogan’s announcement needs to be seen more as a multi-layered bid for reelection than a major transportation policy initiative. (From a Certain Point of View)

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Sen. Thomas M. "Mac" Middleton: Maryland workers need paid sick leave, not another study

When Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the General Assembly’s paid sick leave bill last May, he announced the creation of a task force to “better understand access to paid leave policies.” Here’s the issue: what the governor is suggesting has already been done. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I worked diligently and continuously with all stakeholders, including advocates, businesses and my colleagues on both sides of the political aisle to craft the Healthy Working Families Act (HB1). For two years, I personally reached out to Governor Hogan to join these conversations – and the governor and members of his administration never accepted the offer to meet with us. (Balt. Sun)

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Gov. Larry Hogan, Attorney General Brian Frosh know where wind is blowing

In a perfect world, state officials wouldn't have to go to court to make the federal government — specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency — enforce the law and get power plants in upwind states to control emissions. The EPA shouldn't need such prompting. But this is a less-than-perfect world and Marylanders have to breathe in it. So, a six-month response period having come and gone with no peep from the EPA, Gov. Larry Hogan was right in directing state Attorney General Brian Frosh to sue the federal agency. (Capital)

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Montgomery County considers risking thousands of jobs

Like congressional Republicans who attack studies showing how many people would lose health insurance if they repealed Obamacare, some Democratic lawmakers are in denial when it comes to the likely impact of a sharp increase in the minimum wage. A case in point is Montgomery County, where a majority of the all-Democratic County Council is pushing for a 30 percent minimum-wage hike, despite evidence it would cost thousands of jobs. (Wash. Post)

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The cost of demagoguery in Harford County

The dispute about the Old Trail housing development in Harford County’s Joppatowne community ought to be a simple matter of a disagreement between a builder and local officials over permits and stormwater plans. But instead, it’s the subject of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit in federal court, thanks to the unfortunate coincidence that the development is now being marketed as a retirement community for a particular sect of Muslims, and it happens to be in Maryland’s 7th Legislative District, home to the infamous duo of demagogues, Dels. (Balt. Sun)

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