May 5, 2013
As we recently celebrated the 45th anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act, it is significant to note that the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan regions are among the most segregated in America. Last month, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law recently reported on a study showing that Maryland's public school system is among the most segregated in the nation. The report, conducted by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, revealed that more than half of the state's black students attended schools with minority enrollments between 90 percent and 100 percent during the 2010-2011 school year, up from 33 percent in 1989.
April 29, 2013
Anne Arundel County's proposed stormwater fee provided newly appointed County Executive Laura Neuman with her first leadership test, and she failed. Her veto puts the county at risk of sanctions if it does not enact a fee structure by July 1, yet she appears to have no plan for complying with state and federal requirements for reducing the polluted stormwater that is washing into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The County Council should override her reckless decision without delay.
April 26, 2013
A lawyer for John Joseph Merzbacher, a former Catholic school teacher imprisoned for raping a student decades ago, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case after a federal appeals court rejected an earlier argument that he should be set free. In a 21-page petition, Merzbacher's attorney H. Mark Stichel asks the high court to resolve several legal questions, including whether a defendant's claim that he would have taken a plea deal if offered, even while proclaiming his innocence, demonstrates a "reasonable probability" that he would have followed through.
April 25, 2013
BOGOTA - Colombian lawmakers on Wednesday rejected a polarizing bill to allow same-sex marriage in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation, as hundreds of people took to the streets to demonstrate for and against the measure. The bill was rejected by 51 out of 102 lawmakers in the Senate - with 17 in favor. The negative vote was widely expected, given that lawmakers from the ruling coalition had made an alliance to oppose the initiative. Several hundred people rallied in Bogota's main colonial square as lawmakers debated the proposal to allow people of the same sex to marry.
April 22, 2013
A 19-year-old naturalized American citizen is accused of committing a crime of violence in the United States, and a gaggle of elected officials are urging for him to be treated as an enemy combatant and placed in the hands of the military. Not just the usual right-wing suspects but Rep. Peter King, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John McCain are leading the chorus. Thankfully, President Barack Obama did not listen, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged in his hospital bed today by federal officials with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property.
April 16, 2013
It's the kind of decision that can be lost in the shuffle of more flashy public policy discussions, but the decision last week by leadership at Harford Community College to reject eight bids on a major construction project is the kind of thing more public-funded enterprises should do more regularly. In this instance, the college budgeted $17.423 million for construction of a new building for the Nursing and Allied Health program at the school. Nursing is, and long has been, a cornerstone of community college offerings, particularly at Harford, so it makes perfect sense that HCC would be growing to accommodate such a program.