LGBTQ executive order threatens legality of Baltimore's minority set aside program

An executive order signed by Mayor Catherine Pugh that opens up the city’s minority set-aside program to enterprises owned by those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer was celebrated by LGBTQ advocates, who said it would open the door to millions of dollars in potential business and lead to the creation of new jobs. We certainly applaud the intent. But the way it was done could put the whole minority business program in jeopardy. Such programs are meant to ensure minority and women-owned companies get a fair share of city business, but municipalities have to conduct disparity studies to prove groups are being discriminated against before they can legally create them. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Ellen Moyer: Annapolis Mayor Buckley still learning the nature of public service

Mayor Gavin Buckley’s assessment of his first year in office was an interesting puff piece (The Capital, Dec. 4). The mayor did run into some hurdles which could have been avoided with a bit more understanding of the nature of public service. The mayor has charm and a good sense of humor that has carried him forward on any number of endeavors throughout his life. He is an entrepreneur whose basic modus operandi is to pursue an idea and “get it done.” Public service is a bit different, to get it done requires collaboration and cooperation and thinking together on the how of things, listening to a variety of others with a variety of experiences in governing. (Capital)

Read Full Article

Jimmy DeButts: Steuart Pittman must deliver greater transparency to Anne Arundel government

The honeymoon’s over, Steuart Pittman. Budget season is rapidly approaching. Time to shake off the backslaps and get down to business. Pittman has hundreds of decisions to make as he finds his footing as Anne Arundel County’s 10th executive. He’ll make personnel changes and realign the county’s budgeting priorities. As he prepares to deliver his blueprint for county spending in fiscal year 2020 — which likely will top $1.6 billion — Pittman should make transparency his top priority. His first two initiatives should be implementing an easy-to-navigate online system that allows residents to review all actions related to development and spending. (Capital)

Read Full Article

December 7 // Brian Griffiths: Hogan's redistricting commission could force Democrats' hand

Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan threw down the gauntlet on redistricting. To support a federal court decision that Maryland’s congressional districts violated the First Amendment rights of Maryland voters, Hogan announced that he was appointing a nine-member, non-partisan redistricting commission to redraw the unconstitutional districts. The commission will bring together three Democrats, three Republicans, and three unaffiliated voters. For the first time, redistricting will need a true multipartisan consensus. This is absolutely the right thing to do. (Capital)

Read Full Article

Baltimore County probably needs to raise taxes, and voters will accept it — if Olszewski does this first

Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr. may not have explicitly promised not to raise taxes if elected, but he certainly campaigned with a full awareness that even hinting at the necessity of it would be electoral suicide. Ever since the epithet “Taxmussen” made Dennis Rasmussen a one-term executive in 1990, maintaining the income and property tax rates has been the foundational principle of county politics.Yet Mr. Olszewski also realized that county voters want more than what they’re getting out of the local government. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Peter Schmuck: New Maryland coach Michael Locksley gets a poignant endorsement — from Jordan McNair's father

The introduction of Michael Locksley as Maryland’s new head football coach was accompanied by much fanfare. The band played. The cheerleaders cheered. A large crowd of boosters, former players and various well-wishers applauded as he took the stage at the newly renovated Cole Field House. Perhaps the most important face in that crowd stood inconspicuously on the edge of the gathering, offering a tacit endorsement of the man who was chosen to lead the Terrapin football program out of the saddest period in its history. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Carol Park: Lessons from Asia for the Northeast Maglev

In China, a bullet train crash in the city of Wenzhou in 2011 killed 40 people. The crash was blamed on poor design and mismanagement. In Taiwan, the bullet train system rang up $1.5 billion in losses over seven years, requiring a $1 billion government bailout. In South Korea, a high speed rail line connecting Seoul to Incheon closed in 2018 after just four years of service because 77 percent of seats were unoccupied. Across the Pacific Ocean, supporters of “Maglev” in the United States are gearing up to create an American version of the Asian rail disasters. Maglev enthusiasts have been pushing the project despite warnings of significant risks, just like the supporters of the bullet train did in Asia. (Daily Record)

Read Full Article

Board of Education should aim high in request for positions

One day after being sworn into office, the three new members of the Carroll County Board of Education got their first taste of the job they’ve been elected to do when Carroll County Public Schools’ staff provided a preliminary look at the school system’s fiscal year 2020 budget. With so many new faces and personalities on both the Board of Education and the school system’s primary funding body, the Board of County Commissioners, to say nothing of the news schools superintendent, it will make for an intriguing budgeting season this spring. Already among the BOE’s new members and the two who are midway through their terms, there seems to be some disagreement over how much funding the school system should request. (Carr. Co. Times)

Read Full Article