Politics

  • Baltimore County Council OKs $78M help for Tradepoint Atlantic

    The Baltimore County Council voted Monday evening to give Tradepoint Atlantic up to $78 million to build roads, water lines and sewer pipes at the old Bethehem Steel mill in Sparrows Point that the company is redeveloping. Council members approved the deal unanimously, with multiple members saying they were comfortable spending the money because they’re confident it will help lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs. “I’m very excited tonight,” said Councilman Todd Crandell, a Dundalk Republican whose district includes Sparrows Point. “This is an investment that our district has been starving for for a long, long time and it’s coming to fruition.” (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Hogan taps Schulz to replace Gill at Commerce

    Maryland Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation Secretary Kelly Schulz will take over as the new head of the state Department of Commerce. The appointment, announced by Gov. Larry Hogan Monday afternoon, is the first change in cabinet leadership for the Republican who is entering his second term. Schulz, a Republican and former delegate from Frederick County, has led the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation since February 2015. She will replace Mike Gill, the current secretary of the Department of Commerce, beginning Jan. 1. Her appointment is subject to confirmation by the Maryland Senate. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Incoming chairman of U.S. House intelligence committee to address Maryland Democrats

    U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the incoming chairman of the House intelligence committee, will deliver the keynote address at the Maryland Democratic Party’s annual legislative luncheon on Jan. 8. Schiff, of California, has indicated the committee would seek to examine ties between Russia and the businesses of President Donald Trump and his family. “Congressman Schiff has a front-row seat to the Trump administration’s harmful policies and I can think of no one better to remind Democrats of what’s at stake as we enter the 2019 legislative session and begin preparing for the 2020 presidential elections,” Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings said in a statement. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Does Marc Elrich Have an Inner Circle?

    On a recent Sunday afternoon, Marc B. Elrich (D), now the new Montgomery County executive, spilled out of his favorite Takoma Park eatery, Mark’s Kitchen, with a group of contemporaries. “These are my SDS friends,” Elrich told a couple of acquaintances who were on their way into the restaurant, referring to the Students for Democratic Society protest group Elrich belonged to when he attended the University of Maryland. The 69-year-old former teacher’s history of activism is well documented – and it informs his worldview and his governing philosophy. It’s part of what sets him apart from most other high-ranking Maryland politicians. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Don Mohler reflects on Kevin Kamenetz, Gone Too Soon

    There were two months to go until the election. On May 8, 2018, Kevin Kamenetz had just finished filming 14 hours of television commercials that we were all sure would propel him to the Democratic gubernatorial nomination on June 26. And then two days later on May 10, the phone rang shortly after 2 a.m.  When the phone rings at that hour, it is never good news.Read Full Article

  • 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

Business

  • Baltimore County Council approves $78M for Tradepoint Atlantic infrastructure

    The Baltimore County Council unanimously approved a $78 million grant Monday night to fund infrastructure at the 3,100-acre Tradepoint Atlantic development. The deal is a shift from the $150 million tax increment financing request Tradepoint had proposed earlier this year. Under the grant, $34 million would go toward road construction and up to $44 million would pay for water and sewer extensions at the former Sparrows Point steel mill site in Dundalk. "This is such an important project for Sparrows Point, Dundalk and eastern Baltimore County," said Will Anderson, Baltimore County economic development chair, in testimony before the council during its regular meeting in Towson. (Balt. Bus. Journal)Read Full Article

  • Maryland Chamber pushing for lower corporate taxes

    The Maryland Chamber of Commerce is hoping it can lobby lawmakers to lower the state's corporate income tax rate. Heading into the General Assembly's upcoming legislative session in January, the Maryland Chamber has made tax reform its top priority. The chamber is focusing on taxes because the 2017 federal overhaul could cost Maryland businesses about $571 million at the local level over the next five years. In particular, the chamber wants Maryland to lower its state corporate income tax rate from 8.25 percent to 7 percent. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Watermen: Open Anne Arundel oyster sanctuaries to harvesting

    Herring Bay near Deale has eight historic oyster bars, all of them protected from harvesting because the area is an oyster sanctuary. But some commercial watermen say working small sanctuaries like Herring Bay could be better for the oysters, water, and people in the long run. Bill Scerbo, president of the Anne Arundel Watermen’s Association, wants to see sanctuaries like those in county waters reopened to commercial fishing. They say right now oysters in some low-salinity sanctuaries, like Herring Bay, aren’t reproducing naturally. “A lot of oysters have died of old age up here and haven’t been replaced,” the Shady Side resident said. (Capital) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore neighborhood investment fund set to launch; $52 million to back building and business projects

    Baltimore’s spending board is set to take the final steps to create a $52 million fund designed to back building projects and businesses in city neighborhoods that for decades have struggled to secure investment. Mayor Catherine Pugh said the Neighborhood Impact Investment Fund is the latest initiative backed by her administration to steer money to areas that have been overlooked, even as hotels, offices and apartment towers have risen on Baltimore’s waterfront with help of public subsidies. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Education

  • Johns Hopkins continues to lead in research spending among the nation's universities

    Johns Hopkins University spent more than a billion dollars more on research and development than the next big spender among research universities to top the National Science Foundation’s annual list for the 39th consecutive year. Hopkins spent $2.56 billion, well ahead of the No. 2 spender, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, which spent $1.5 billion, and the University of California, San Francisco, which spent $1.4 billion. Hopkins’ position is due in large part to the inclusion of $1.47 billion in spending by the Applied Physics Laboratory, a university affiliated nonprofit center that supports federal agencies. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Growing interest: FCPS seeks local farms for school lunch initiative

    As Frederick County farmers plan next year’s crops, some are pushing for more produce. Frederick County Public Schools, in cooperation with two local food advocacy organizations, has spent the past year exploring the feasibility of adding more locally and Maryland-grown fruits and vegetables to school lunches. Where they’re finding shortages, however, is in farmers who will commit ground to cafeteria staples. (News-Post) Read Full Article

  • New Center Supports Baltimore County Teachers By Providing School Supplies At No Cost

    Baltimore County teachers are getting a school supply boost, with a look inside the new resource center that saves educators money, while stocking classroom. Shelves full of much-needed school supplies are waiting for Baltimore County teachers at a new no-cost resource center. The center will open early next year and give educators things like notebooks and backpacks to share with students. A lot of classroom supplies like this Baltimore County teachers buy out of pocket, but starting early next year, they’ll be able to shop these shelves at no cost. (WJZ-CBS) Read Full Article

  • Some Prince George’s school board members want Skins to tap Kaepernick

    Some school board members in Prince George’s County are standing behind NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, urging the Washington Redskins to give him a chance to get back in the game. Seven of the 14 Prince George’s County School Board members expressed support for Colin Kaepernick not just on the field but as a community leader, in a letter sent to the Washington Redskins on Thursday. As the Redskins deal with multiple injuries among players, several board members are asking the team to give Kaepernick an immediate tryout and wrote: “Giving Kaepernick an opportunity would send an even more powerful message today to our community and our students; that a person can peacefully protest for causes that they believe in and not be punished for it even though they are otherwise qualified for the position.” (WTOP) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Maryland taking steps aimed at addressing climate change

    While the Trump administration’s report last month detailing the effects of rising global temperatures said Maryland had begun feeling the consequences of climate change, lawmakers and state agencies already are taking steps aimed at combating it. From 1901 to 2016, the global average temperature has increased by about 1.8 degrees, according to the report, and “without significant reductions” in emissions of greenhouse gases, the annual average global temperatures could increase by 9 degrees by the end of this century. Those 1.8 degrees have resulted in documented issues in Maryland, including, but not limited to, warmer weather, rising sea levels and poorer air quality. (Capital) Read Full Article

  • Council President says Baltimore police seem to be 'stonewalling' auditors

    Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young said Monday it appeared that the police department was “stonewalling” city auditors looking into the agency’s performance at attracting new recruits. Auditor Audrey Askew told members of a city commission that oversees her work that the police department hadn’t supplied information to back up claimed recruitment performance, that officials were at times not returning her calls and that the department had not signed a formal engagement letter with the auditors. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • County executive names 29-year department veteran as Howard County's first female fire chief

    When Christine Uhlhorn was in kindergarten and was asked to draw a picture of what she wanted to do when she grew up, she drew a firetruck. “My family has over 250 years in the fire service,” said Uhlhorn, 50. “I never questioned it. There was nothing else I ever wanted to do.” Uhlhorn, a third generation firefighter, was named Monday by County Executive Calvin Ball as the new fire chief of Howard County’s Department Fire and Rescue Services. She becomes the county’s first female career fire chief, and said she was “beyond humbled” to be chosen. (Ho. Co. Times) Read Full Article

  • Farmers cheer Trump water rollback as environmentalists worry about Chesapeake Bay impact

    Farmers, environmentalists and politicians on the Eastern Shore are split in their response to the Trump Administration's proposal to scale back protections for small streams and wetlands across the U.S. The revised rule, referred to as "Waters of the U.S." or WOTUS, governs which waters the federal government has a right to protect and permit under the 1972 Clean Water Act. The move would remove Obama-era expansions of federal water quality protections. (Daily Times)Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Bernard C. "Jack" Young: A 'more just water system' in Baltimore

    Last month, Baltimore voters overwhelmingly approved my charter amendment to ban privatizing our water and sewer systems and to declare them as permanently public assets of the city. In passing Question E on the ballot, we became the first major city in the country to prevent profiteering corporations from taking over our water. We did this because in Baltimore we know water is a necessity and a vital human right. With this momentous victory, the public has entrusted me and my fellow public officials with providing the leadership and stewardship to solve the water problems currently confronting our city. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • The ruling striking down Obamacare probably won't stand, but Maryland shouldn't take any chances

    Many expect that a Texas judge’s ruling Friday that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional will be overturned on appeal. The reason for that is that it’s flat-out nuts. It posits that because the Supreme Court previously upheld the law’s individual mandate under Congress’ taxation powers, it became unconstitutional when Congress eliminated penalties for violating it as part of last year’s tax cuts, and therefore the entire law — not just the parts related to the mandate, like the guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions but also the expansion of Medicaid and even a requirement that restaurants post calorie counts on menus — must be struck down as well. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Politics will play a role in spending increased school construction funds

    There is a roadmap for school construction projects, generated by an outside consultant based on information from Anne Arundel Public Schools. We’ve just misplaced it. The problem with the facilities utilization study by MGT of America is that things got scrambled under former county executive Steve Schuh, who wanted to build six new high schools over two terms. He only made it to one — one school and one term. But it was that political direction that pushed construction of a Crofton high school ahead of several other projects, including three dilapidated elementary schools and the massive renovation of Old Mill High School. (Capital)Read Full Article

  • Don Fry: Future Employment Centers Need Transit Access

    Greater Baltimore Committee president and CEO Don Fry says in a commentary that local and state officials need a plan to connect two burgeoning employment centers in the Baltimore area. Gov. Larry Hogan's decision to scrap the Red Line was a "body blow" to Baltimore, Fry said. As more businesses move into Tradepoint Atlantic--the site of the former Sparrows Point steel mill--and Port Covington, Fry says a plan must be in place to ensure Baltimoreans can reach those opportunities. (WBAL) Read Full Article