Kurt Riegel: Ward 2 residents need stronger voice

Annapolis is a great town. It’s compact and full of great people, activities, history and beauty. And we have a delightfully quirky sense of humor. Where else can you find an annual declaration of war between neighborhoods? An across-the-creek tug of war? A 0.05K race? A mayor who missed a deadline and had to walk a pirate ship’s plank? A kerfuffle over backyard hens that morphed into an art project that installed decorated chickens all over town? Good city government is serious business for serious people, but we need a bit of fun as we make it happen. I honor our people, our traditions, our accomplishments, also recognizing that we can make our city better. That’s why I’m running. (Capital)

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Commissioners should keep open mind about K-8

It was in April 2015 that the Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously not to include funding for a proposed kindergarten through eighth grade building in its five-year Capital Improvement Plan, one of the first dominoes to fall that led to the controversial process to close three schools — North Carroll High, New Windsor Middle and Charles Carroll Elementary — later that same year. On Thursday, Oct. 19, the commissioners are expected to discuss and possibly make a decision regarding the Board of Education’s requested changes to its Capital Improvement Plan, which again is requesting a K-8 school. (Carr. Co. Times)

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October 18 // Hey Amazon, if you lived here, you could live here

As economic development officials in Maryland (and more or less everyplace else in North America) finish their pitches this week for Amazon’s HQ2 project and the 50,000 jobs projected to come with it, we’d like to add one final point in Baltimore’s favor the company might want to consider. Amazon laid out its specifications for a new second-home-town, including a positive business climate, access to a highly skilled workforce, excellent quality of life, strong transportation infrastructure and so on. We’ve made the case before for why Baltimore fits the bill, as have boosters of cities from coast to coast. (Balt. Sun)

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Washington-Baltimore maglev is high tech, but not highly probable

After decades holding down a spot on the wish lists of area politicians, the idea of a magnetic levitation train system between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore has advanced as far as a meeting on Monday at Arundel High School at which transportation officials displayed maps of projected routes. We suppose this is a substantial development, although a lot of the county residents at Monday’s meeting clearly wouldn’t call it progress. We give officials credit for gathering feedback and keeping the public posted on the reduction of possible routes from six to three. But we have a hard time imagining a maglev system materializing anytime in the next five, 10 or even 15 years. (Capital)

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John Wells: Dominion shouldn't get permit for Cove Point

If your safety were on the line, would you rather be told a deliberate big lie or that the liar was simply in error? Dominion Energy recently revised estimates for emissions of dangerous volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, at its Cove Point liquefied natural gas facility upward by a factor of eight. Instead of 15,000 potentially leaky equipment components, as originally reported, the correct number is more like 162,000. Dominion now claims that actually it cannot accurately measure VOCs, and proposes to be exempted from any numerical targets. How can any previous assertions about risk be right when Dominion doesn’t even know what equipment it has? (Capital)

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Josh Spiegel: Amazon Is Tearing Us Apart

As Amazon prepares to build its second headquarters, Josh Spiegel has some thoughts on why Maryland should pass on this lucrative opportunity. (WBAL)

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Katie Lautar, Miriam Avins: Protect the forest patches that protect Baltimore

Recent news that Baltimore’s tree canopy — the proportion of the city shaded by trees — has expanded from 27 percent to 28 percent is wonderful, and is thanks to the dedicated work of TreeBaltimore and its partners. But the target is 40 percent, and if we don’t take steps to protect our forest patches from development and the harm caused by invasive plants, we will lose this modest gain. Since 2012, when Baltimore Green Space and our partners started researching Baltimore’s forest patches outside parks, which account for up to 20 percent of Baltimore’s tree canopy, we’ve had the opportunity to correct a number of assumptions — from residents, policymakers and funders — about the woods in Baltimore. (Balt. Sun)

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October 17 // Barry Rascovar: ‘Free’ tuition isn’t free

Talk on the far left about “free” college tuition got a boost last week from an acolyte of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the foremost proponent of this marvelous-sounding idea. Benjamin Jealous, former head of the NAACP who is running for governor, told a group of college students and progressive activists, to no one’s surprise, that his gubernatorial pitch includes free education for Marylanders at the state’s public colleges and universities. Naturally, in this Trumpian world of headlines without facts to back them up, Jealous later admitted he had no cost estimate, didn’t know who might be eligible for the program and had no details on how such a proposal would work. (Md. Reporter)

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