Politics

  • Md. lawmaker who came out as bisexual changes party affiliation

    Meagan Simonaire, the state lawmaker who came out as bisexual during a speech in the House of Delegates earlier this year, changed her party affiliation on Monday from Republican to Democrat. Simonaire, who is completing her first term in office and is not running for reelection, said she could not remain in a political party that condones what she called President Trump's "divisive rhetoric." (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • What would a second Hogan term look like? Much like the first, he says

    Gov. Larry Hogan imagines that, if re-elected, his second term in office will look much like his first. Since Hogan took office in 2014, the economy has improved, he said. He’s poured a record $25 billion into education — though required to by law — and invested in transportation and infrastructure projects across the state. Under Hogan’s administration, the number of heroin overdoses dropped 20 percent statewide and prescription drug-related deaths fell 7 percent. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Super PAC takes pro-Elrich, anti-Floreen stance

    Democratic Montgomery County executive candidate Marc Elrich now has the force of a Super PAC behind him. Progressive Maryland Liberation Alliance PAC, which is the Super PAC of the liberal group Progressive Maryland, will be working to support Elrich in the last few weeks before the Nov. 6 election, said Chairman Larry Stafford. (Bethesda)Read Full Article

  • Smith: 'Humbled and appreciative' of calls to run for mayor, but has no such plans

    Amid urging from locals including former Commissioner Kevin Davis, T.J. Smith was noncommittal on whether he plans to enter politics. Smith, who resigned last week as the top spokesman of Baltimore police, was in studio with C4. "I'm humbled and appreciative of that and now able to be a little bit more opinionated about things and I'll continue to be but I'm supporting our current administration because their success is our success," Smith said. (WBAL-radio) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Eric Gilbert: Redeveloping America’s Brownfields, A Modern Industrial Revival

    Everyone who has ever worked in, lived in, or even traveled to a major U.S. city has seen them – forlorn, abandoned plots of land sporting an unsightly mix of rotting industrial equipment and crumbling buildings – fenced off and clearly too contaminated for occupancy or use of any kind. Read Full Article

  • Chris West: Single-Payer Healthcare – Another View

    On August 6, my good friend, State Delegate Kirill Reznik, posted a blog on Center Maryland (“Single Payer Healthcare”) in which he took aim at a Baltimore Sun analysis of Ben Jealous’s proposed single-payer healthcare plan. Delegate Reznik criticized the Baltimore Sun and launched a pretty bitter partisan attack on Governor Hogan and all Maryland Republicans because they are not swooning at the prospect of socialized medicine in Maryland. Read Full Article

  • Kirill Reznik: Single Payer Healthcare

    There’s a lot of controversy over a Baltimore Sun article that says single-payer healthcare costs $24 billion, and Larry Hogan is having a field day with that misinformation.  This is what happens when you Govern by polls and slogans.  But the truth is not scary, and in fact, quite commonplace. Read Full Article

  • Aaron Tomarchio: How Kevin Kamenetz Steered Sparrows Point Toward The Future

    In 2010, during his first campaign for Baltimore County Executive, Kevin Kamenetz said something about Sparrows Point that seemed politically risky at the time: Maybe it’s time to think about a future beyond steel production. His words seemed prescient two years later when, after cycling through five owners in a decade, the steel mill closed, putting 2,200 men and women out of work.Read Full Article

Business

  • Baltimore affordable housing trust fund inches closer

    A $20 million trust fund to help build affordable housing in Baltimore moved a step closer to reality Monday. The City Council voted to move legislation to establish the fund to final approval after six months of examination and debate to find a way to help pay for low-income housing units. The trust fund is needed to help develop affordable housing units in the city as luxury apartment developments have dominated the residential landscape over the past decade. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Redevelopment of West Baltimore's Poppleton begins to take shape

    Between the Poe Homes public housing complex and the University of Maryland BioPark stand two new apartment buildings that will open soon and begin to make good on a huge and long-awaited revitalization plan for West Baltimore. Officials with New York-based La Cite Development plan to cut the ribbon Nov. 2 on the 262 apartments, the first of about 30 buildings planned in Poppleton. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • CASA de Maryland to break ground on $14M employment center in Southeast Baltimore

    CASA de Maryland will break ground Tuesday on a $14 million renovation project in Southeast Baltimore to turn the former Belnord Theater into an employment center for immigrant and minority city residents. The immigrant aid group serves about 4,000 people annually in Baltimore and has outgrown its current 3,000-square-foot space on East Fayette Street. The new 16,000-square-foot space, located a block away from William Paca Elementary School, will allow CASA to serve 11,000 people each year. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • BDC names Opportunity Zones coordinator

    The Baltimore Development Corp. has created a new position to oversee investment in Opportunity Zones, a new federal program that aims to spur development in low-income communities. Benjamin Seigel will serve as the first Baltimore Opportunity Zones Coordinator. In this role, he will act as an "information clearinghouse" by promoting development in these zones and connecting potential investors with projects. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

Education

  • In Prince George’s, a battle over whether developers must fund school construction

    In the final months of his eight-year tenure, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III is battling with the County Council over legislation that touches on two of the county’s most hotly debated issues: education and development. The back-and-forth, which led Baker to issue his third-ever veto, began last month, when the council approved a bill allowing it to waive a school facilities surcharge for some residential developers. Supporters say such waivers would spur development in areas where long-vacant buildings have frustrated lawmakers and residents alike. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Anne Arundel County school board candidate defends donation from cell tower company

    A county school board candidate’s campaign contributions have reignited tensions over cellphone towers, ahead of a forum for District 5 nominees. Current board vice president Terry Gilleland accepted a $500 contribution from cellphone tower company Milestone Tower Limited Partnership III in January, according to campaign finance documents. Gilleland said the company made the contribution out of support for his platform. (Capital) Read Full Article

  • Maryland’s second JA Finance Park to open Tuesday in Silver Spring school

    Less than a week after the ribbon cutting for the Thomas Edison High School of Technology, the school will be highlighted again this week as a key feature of the technical school holds its grand opening. The Junior Achievement Finance Park, located on the third floor of the high school, will officially open Tuesday with a 3 p.m. ceremony. (Bethesda)Read Full Article

  • FCC board of trustees chair says she didn’t know about Burmaster’s alleged history of abuse

    Frederick Community College President Elizabeth “Libby” Burmaster has a history of behavioral allegations dating back to 1994, a recent investigation by The Frederick News-Post found. Numerous parents, families, teachers and faculty members have complained over the years, but these complaints did not surface when the FCC search committee was researching and selecting a new president in 2014. (News-Post) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Baltimore City Council tightens restrictions on lobbyists, require forms go online

    The Baltimore City Council passed legislation Monday that would tighten restrictions on lobbyists and require the ethics board to post lobbying disclosure forms online. “Our city is taking steps towards becoming more transparent and open,” said the bill’s lead sponsor, Councilman Zeke Cohen, who represents Southeast Baltimore. “This legislation places Baltimore at the forefront of lobbying reform.” (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore City Council votes for 'Complete Streets' legislation to push public transit, bike lanes

    Baltimore lawmakers voted unanimously Monday to back new “complete streets" legislation aimed at requiring the city's transportation department to provide more bike lanes, sidewalks and public transit options. The legislation, sponsored by City Councilman Ryan Dorsey, is designed to pressure city planners to avoid the practice of years past when they designed a city for cars over other forms of transit. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore County Council nixes tax on mobile home residents

    Members of the Baltimore County Council voted Monday to abolish a tax of up to $240 per year levied on residents of mobile homes. Council members voted 5-2 to eliminate the tax, which was instituted in the 1950s as a way to capture revenue from people who moved to the area for short-term work. Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, a Middle River Democrat, who has several mobile home communities in her eastside district, argued that the tax has long outlived its intended purpose. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Anne Arundel Council wraps up its work, passes new ethics rules

    The Anne Arundel County Council passed legislation Monday night that changes public ethics laws and increases staffing of the county crisis response teams. The public ethics bill and increases to the crisis response staffing were passed unanimously. The increased staffing will cost about $470,000 annually. Debate on each piece of legislation was minimal as the council had discussed the issues at previous meetings. (Capital) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • An election reform agenda for Maryland's next governor and legislature

    In Maryland, registering as an “unaffiliated” voter, the term of art for an independent, means throwing away much of your political power. Maryland law allows political parties to hold open primaries — ones in which non-party members can vote — but the Democrats have not done that in recent memory, and the Republicans did only once. Being unaffiliated means you have no say about which names appear on the November ballot, and given the lopsided partisan leanings of many districts, the primary is often the only election that counts. That means you’d have to be pretty ticked off at the two major parties to register as an unaffiliated voter, yet as The Sun’s Christine Zhang and Michael Dresser report, the number of independents is growing faster than the number of Democrats or Republicans. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Dan K. Morhaim: Maryland's opioid approach isn't working. Here's what could

    Clearly, the efforts taken to curb the opioid death rate, however well intended, have not worked. Continuing current policies will bring the same results: more deaths, more disease, more crime and no drop in the opioid death rate. It’s time for a change. I serve on the Maryland legislature’s Joint Committee on Behavioral Health and Opioid Use Disorders, and we learned that there are a number of other steps that can be taken. Unfortunately, these have been overlooked, underfunded or — worse — misrepresented for political gain. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • October 15 // Governor Hogan says we've tried everything to stem overdoses. Fortunately, that's not quite true.

    When we asked Gov. Larry Hogan about opioids in a recent editorial board interview, he took less evident satisfaction in discussing his record than he did when we asked about education, the environment, health care or most anything else. It’s not that he’s ignored the issue — far from it. He has, in his words, “tried everything.” Maryland has devoted more resources to combating opioid abuse (if not nearly as much as advocates say is necessary). It has expanded the availability of the anti-overdose drug Narcan and persuaded the federal government to let Medicaid cover some residential drug treatment. It has taken steps to prevent the abuse of prescription painkillers, and it has established a system for coordinating the response to the epidemic across the state. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • UMBC's president says his campus will become a leader on sexual assault. The rest of us must hold him to account.

    It took a federal class action lawsuit and a high-profile protest on campus for University of Maryland Baltimore County leaders to hear what some students have been saying for years — that it doesn’t do nearly enough to prevent sexual violence or to support victims. The school’s president, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, says he and other UMBC officials have done a great deal of listening in the last few weeks, both to those who stormed his office and to other advocates, and they plan to accelerate their efforts around training for students, faculty and staff, reporting procedures and physical safety measures. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article