February 7 // What does the Pa. redistricting case mean for Maryland? More hypocrisy.

The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand a state court ruling ordering Pennsylvania to draw new congressional districts doesn’t have any direct legal impact on Maryland’s own contested and convoluted maps. The Pennsylvania case was decided solely on the basis of that state’s constitution, not federal law or the U.S. Constitution, and that appears to be the reason why Justice Samuel Alito declined to have the federal high court take up the case. Maryland’s Declaration of Rights does have some language similar to that which plaintiffs relied on in the Pennsylvania case, but the challenge to Maryland’s lines that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this spring is being argued on the basis of alleged violations of the federal Constitution’s First Amendment protections of speech and assembly. There are simply no tea leaves to read here. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Ocean City finds wind turbines too gauche

In Ocean City, there’s a boardwalk “odditorium” with authentic shrunken heads, two-headed animals and a fake shark plunging through the second floor. Down the street, there are two dead malls and surf shops selling t-shirts with obscene logos, and there’s even been a major legal battle over topless sunbathing. Amid all this, members of the Ocean City Council were focused this week on the possibility that planned off-shore wind turbines might be visible, under certain weather conditions, from the beach, and that they would absolutely devastate the resort’s ability to attract tourists. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

E.R. Shipp: Law enforcement on trial in Baltimore and D.C.

The Baltimore City Police Department is its own worst enemy. Those at the top speak about protecting and serving while — through winks-and-nods or sheer incompetence — they condone those in the rank and file who are all about self-serving and terrorizing. And in Washington, an increasingly desperate President Donald Trump is doing all that he can to undermine the rule of law. The FBI is currently in the presidential crosshairs, as he tries to tweet the American public into believing the agency is thoroughly corrupt and, more particularly, out to get him. What are we to make of all this, especially those of us inclined through experience to be wary of law enforcement institutions? (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Dan Rodricks: Dragging Baltimore Police Det. Sean Suiter's name into the mud

They said beautiful things about Sean Suiter at his funeral — his children, the Baltimore police commissioner, the mayor, the governor of Maryland, and a fellow detective named Jonathan Jones. Jones quoted the 23rd Psalm: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Then he added this: “As homicide detectives, we go through the valley, we stay in the valley, and we bring those out of the valley who are sometimes lost. ... Sean was the epitome of that.” “Lost” is a good word for where we are now with this horrible story, and it’s where we have been for almost three months: clueless about why a Baltimore homicide detective was killed, and who killed him. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Medical cannabis providing industrial, job growth in Carroll County

When it was announced that medical marijuana was coming to Maryland, and later that Carroll County would be home to a licensed grower and, eventually, a pair of dispensaries, there was much gnashing of teeth and concern about how it may adversely affect the community. Roughly six months after Grassroots Cannabis opened its nondescript medical cannabis growing facility on a stretch of Taneytown Pike, several county leaders, including a few skeptics, now recognize the benefits of the new industry in Carroll County. (Carr. Co. Times)

Read Full Article

Kristen DeBoy Caminiti: Let's put current residents first

When we moved to the Crofton-Gambrills area in 2006, my husband and I were newly married and thrilled to be buying our first home in such a family-friendly area, knowing we would soon have children. We lived here before Nantucket Elementary School existed. I have watched as, within a year of being built, Nantucket Elementary had to add trailers to house its students. It later added a kindergarten wing as it grew into one of the largest elementary schools in the county. That change and others have improved our quality of life and made things safer. But others have decreased safety and made the area a more difficult place to live. (Capital)

Read Full Article

February 6 // If there's one thing Baltimore doesn't need, it's cops with a shaky sense of the law and Constitution

You don’t need to have read the entire 164-page 2016 Department of Justice report on the Baltimore Police Department to see why sending cops out onto the streets with a shaky sense of the law and Constitution is a bad idea. You don’t even need to make it past the second sentence: “After engaging in a thorough investigation, initiated at the request of the City of Baltimore and BPD, the Department of Justice concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that BPD engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal law.” (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Buckley's opening moves on development promising

Then-candidate Gavin Buckley promised to get city residents around the table to discuss development issues. So far as we can remember, he didn’t say “get them out of their trenches and around a table,” but considering the way land-use controversies play out in Annapolis, he might as well have put it that way. The city’s disheveled process lends itself to disputes whose duration is exceeded only by their complexity and bitterness, with predictable damage to Annapolis’ reputation as a place for doing business. (Capital)

Read Full Article