July 28, 2011
Montgomery County school board officials deserve congratulations for their decision this week to allow the first charter school to open in the district. For years, board members resisted pressure to authorize charter schools, arguing they would distract from efforts to improve a school system that was already regarded as one of the best in the country. The dynamic there was the same one that has slowed the charter school movement in nearly every Maryland school district; critics complain that everywhere except Baltimore City, local officials have simply sought to avoid the competition from publicly financed but independently operated charters.
July 25, 2011
As Maryland largest and wealthiest subdivision (and often ranked among the richest in the country), Montgomery County is not usually in the business of seeking advice from its neighbors. That's not mere elitism but much collective expertise at work — a higher percentage of its residents hold post-graduate degrees than any other county in America. As a result, Rockville is home to an activist county government with a fondness for innovation and progressive policymaking. So it comes as a bit of surprise to see the same folks who usually lecture Baltimore on matters of public policy take up a rather well-worn cause about which city residents are more than a little bit familiar: a curfew on teen-agers.
July 1, 2011
The Fox News network published an opinion article entitled "An Illegal Alien's Guide to the Top Five Best Places to Live In America". As an introduction, the author (Bob Dane) stated, "When 'relocating' to the United States, it's best to avoid states that have selfishly put the interests of their legal residents ahead of yours with laws that hinder your access to jobs and benefits. But many attractive destinations remain, endorsed by millions of illegal aliens already living in each.
June 21, 2011
OK, this isn't a Howard County thing, per se, but it's close. If you take Route 108 west into Montgomery County, you'll soon encounter the Olney Theatre Center, where my wife and daughters and several family members enjoyed a production of Michael Hollinger's "Opus" on Saturday. I have to give you another disclaimer here, though: The ensemble cast includes Benjamin Evett, a professional actor (all the players are in Actors Equity) who also happens to be my wife's cousin. He and some of the other cast members came down from Boston, where they also performed the play, a fascinating study of the interpersonal dynamics in a fictional string quartet.
June 17, 2011
Sometimes life lessons are hard to swallow. If the case of Montgomery County shutting down kids selling lemonade for charity, these kids have learned a hard but valuable lesson ("Montgomery County shuts kids' lemonade stand," June 17). That lesson, kids, is if you're going to do business in Montgomery County, you need to make sure that county officials get their cut! Local residents know better. That's why they don't get hassled for gouging golf fans at $50-to-$60 a car for what would normally be illegal parking on their lawns.
June 8, 2011
Local teams may not have made it out of the regional tournament this spring, but it seems that when Howard County pools its baseball talents, it makes a pretty formidable nine. The Howard County senior all-stars won the annual Battle of the Counties Saturday, June 4, at Joe Cannon Stadium in Hanover. The team — coached by Glenelg's Dave Boteler, Mt. Hebron's Brian Culley and Reservoir's Adam Leader — lost to Baltimore County, 9-8, in eight innings in the first game, but then defeated Anne Arundel, 19-4, in the second round of games.
May 11, 2011
I am personally dismayed at the Ruxton community response to a home that will house the mentally ill under the auspices of the recent purchase of said home by the Sheppard Pratt Health System. I can imagine that some Ruxton Community members may say that it will not affect me personally so it is easy for me to be questioning the values clearly demonstrated by their community. It appears that the Ruxton Community has certain criteria that must be met in order to be able to live in their community, and having mental illness is not on their list.
May 1, 2011
Last year, Rep. Chris Van Hollen had the unenviable job of leading the House Democratic campaign operation through the party's worst election since 1938. These days, as the top-ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, the Montgomery County lawmaker is engrossed in what might qualify as an even more daunting challenge: defending Democratic spending priorities at time when the party has its smallest minority in decades. Republicans regained the House majority on promises to rein in spiraling federal budget deficits.
April 2, 2011
The House of Delegates voted 96-42 on March 24 to increase state fees on vanity license plates, car registration and birth certificates, among other things, to restore some road repair funding for local jursidictions and to restore some of the education aid cuts in Gov. Martin O'Malley's budget. The Sun's editorial page supported the decision, arguing that the fees are still relatively modest and that the benefits are worth the cost. Here's how the deleages voted: For: Michael E. Busch, (D)