Finding a silver lining in a pandemic

In a conventional war, if you know where the enemy is you know where to take a stand. Famous front lines have even gone down in history — Gettysburg, Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge. This war against the coronavirus is different though. Early on New York’s Gov. Cuomo told us, “The front line battle Is going to be hospitals and the soldiers in this fight are our health care professionals.” To this day when I see doctors and nurses decontaminating at the end of a grueling shift like disaster workers at Chernobyl, I am stunned by their heroism under fire — I just hope Congress creates a special medal for first responders.  (Balt Sun)

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Maryland Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights: an impediment to accountability | COMMENTARY

The 9-5 vote this month by a state House of Delegates work group to recommend repealing Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights may seem incremental, one step in a long, uncertain road ahead. But given strong police union pushback and the failure in past years to even do so much as meaningfully reform the problematic statute, it could be monumental. State lawmakers have never before endorsed rescinding the law, which critics frequently blame for protecting the jobs of cops who’ve committed misconduct and have no business on the force — not even after Freddie Gray was fatally injured while in Baltimore police custody in 2015. (Balt Sun)

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Janet Holbrook: What role should partisan politics play in Anne Arundel school board election?

After this election, the Anne Arundel County Board of Education will be entirely composed of elected members for the first time. Four seats were filled in 2018 (districts 1, 4, 5 and 7) and three seats (districts 2, 3 and 6) will be filled by this year’s winners. Prior to this change in the County Charter, the Governor appointed the members. There are many reasons to support an elected school board. Intuitively it sounds like an elected board would be more accountable to the citizens. (Cap Gazette)

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Maryland voters can balance the budget process

Voters have the opportunity this election to make Maryland government far more democratic and responsive to the people. This year’s first statewide ballot issue, Question 1, would make a much-needed adjustment in the state Constitution to provide a better balance of budget authority between the governor and the General Assembly while maintaining the requirement of a balanced and fiscally sound budget. Passing Question 1 is an essential change that would give more people a voice in how we allocate precious state resources. (Balt Sun)

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The signs point toward an uptick in political violence | COMMENTARY

A 42-year-old Frederick man is now in the national spotlight for behavior that can best be described as monstrous. In an act captured on a doorbell security camera, he is alleged to have recently delivered a letter threatening to beat presidential nominee Joe Biden and rape running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, telling the homeowners who had posted a Biden-Harris sign that he and his ilk “ are the ones with those scary guns” and that there were plans to come after those who supported the Democratic ticket. James Dale Reed was arrested in the incident and is being held without bail on charges filed by the U.S. Secret Service. (Balt Sun)

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Liberals are scared that Trump could win just like in 2016. But this isn’t 2016.

The 2016 election lives loudly in everybody right now. On the Trumpian right, “the polls were wrong before” isn’t merely an observation, it’s a catechism. And on the anti-Trumpian left, it’s a constant source of anxiety bordering on panic. It’s making a lot of folks a little crazy.My friend John Podhoretz, conservative editor of Commentary Magazine, pointed this out to me a few months ago. He lives in New York City, surrounded by Upper West Side liberals prone to flights of jangly rage if you suggest that Joe Biden has the race in the bag. (Balt Sun)

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Baltimore tax on e-cigarettes could be a lifesaver

People running for political office don’t normally promise to raise taxes, but the proposal now being pushed by Council President Brandon Scott, the Democratic nominee for Baltimore mayor, has broad appeal — and for good reason. This week, he introduced legislation that would impose a hefty 30% tax on electronic cigarettes, vape pens and similar devices, which is the exact same rate that Montgomery County has charged since it became one of the first jurisdictions in the nation to impose a tax on vaping products in 2015. (Balt Sun)

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Don’t call it a spy plane

As the new executive director of the Community Support Program, derisively known as the entity that manages “the eye in the sky” or “the spy plane" in Baltimore, I bring a long track record of public service, advocating for progressive causes, and bridge building. The lessons that I’ve learned over the course of my career have often come from seemingly unlikely sources. News of actor Chadwick Boseman’s passing, for example, hit me like a ton of bricks. The roles he played during his far-too-short life — from Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to baseball great Jackie Robinson — were more than iconic, with enormous cultural significance; they were also sources of enormous pride.