Can Hogan lead the GOP sanity caucus in his second term?

Gov. Larry Hogan spent much of his re-election bid fending off complaints from Democrats that he wasn’t opposing President Donald Trump forcefully enough. Hardly a day went by when one candidate or another wasn’t after him to denounce his fellow Republican about something — his treatment of immigrants, climate change, health care, tax policy, race relations, you name it. Mr. Hogan sometimes did rebuke the president — usually calmly — but just as often, he would shrug off the complaints and say he was focused on Maryland, not what’s going on in Washington. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Jeb Bush inauguration invitation a 'blunder' by Larry Hogan

Gov. Larry Hogan made an inauguration blunder by inviting the divisive former Florida governor Jeb Bush to deliver a speech in front of many Marylanders who will likely detest Mr. Bush’s politics. While Mr. Bush was governor — from Jan. 5, 1999 to Jan. 2007 — he pushed priorities that aligned with the more conservative wing of the Catholic Church and used scorched-earth tactics to achieve them. He was able to escape political punishment for his controversial decisions because Republicans controlled the Florida legislature and many of its members shared Mr. Bush’s views. Luckily, Maryland’s politics prevent Mr. Hogan from being Mr. Bush. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Transit-oriented development coming to Baltimore too

Sun reporter Meredith Cohn presents a well-written review of transit oriented development in Owings Mills, but what about Baltimore City, where the planning department has carefully researched and the City Council has enacted extensive zoning legislation for such development (“Transit-oriented developments could reshape Baltimore's commuting landscape, but hurdles remain,” Jan. 14)? The most logical and exciting locale — Station North Arts District — has been designated with the city’s most intensive zoning. It’s an area where Amtrak meets bike lanes, where buses to New York converge with municipal transit and light rail. It’s a place where artists, students, business folks, residents and the vast traveling public cross paths every day. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Gregory Tucker: How to ensure the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra stays a ‘major-league team’

A generation or two still cringe at the memory of the famed Baltimore Colts sneaking-off in the dark of night more than 30 years ago, like a suddenly disinterested lover -- leaving behind feelings of rejection, resentment and regret -- and all for a new suitor in Indianapolis, of all places. Well, it’s about to happen again, but this time in the bright light of day. What has long been hailed as Baltimore’s “other major league team” is about to risk losing its major-league status. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Directors, of which I was a member until this past June, has decided that Baltimore and Maryland can no longer afford a major league symphony orchestra, given what are real and persistent financial challenges. (Wash. Post)

Read Full Article

Time is past due for a Anne Arundel to get a health officer

A survey of Anne Arundel County Health Department employees found they have a morale problem. They believe they aren’t paid enough. People leave for better-paying jobs. They’re worried that a wave of retirements will drain the collective wisdom from the place. They’re concerned that too much focus on today’s crisis leaves them vulnerable to the next crisis. Ideas based on science and experience in the field are shelved because of politics. In short, they’re just like everyone else who works in an organization with multiple levels of authority and control — any bureaucracy. (Capital)

Read Full Article

Stephen J.K. Walters: Too many ideas are 'off the table' in Baltimore

During a past mayoral election, I learned an important lesson following a local radio interview. My book on urban revitalization was just out, and I was quizzed about my argument that if impoverished cities like Baltimore want healthy economies for their residents, they need to encourage investment — and that a necessary condition for doing so is a property tax rate that is competitive with those of rival jurisdictions. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Uncertainty for county school system

Frederick County Public Schools is going through some challenging times, with turnover on the Board of Education and significant uncertainty about the funding of the district for the coming year. This should all work out well, but you are going to see a lot of headlines in The News-Post about the twists and turns the system’s leadership will be taking. The finances are the first issue. Superintendent Terry Alban has written a fiscal 2020 budget that recommends spending $20.1 million more than the currently anticipated funding. Alban is projecting the county contribution at the “maintenance of effort” level required by state law. (News-Post)

Read Full Article

Tom Horton: How can we understand a Chesapeake Bay we’ve never seen?

“Why will you ask for other glories when you have soft crabs?” — Oliver Wendell Holmes, chiding Baltimore in an 1860 essay Nowadays, around 350 million to 450 million blue crabs inhabit Chesapeake Bay, according to accurate surveys. That’s not harvests, mind you, but all crabs — soft and hard, from thumbnail size up. It supports fishing that both watermen and chicken-neckers are fairly happy with. But how happy should we be? Should we expect more in our quest to restore the estuary’s health? (Bay Journal-Md. Reporter)

Read Full Article