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In the Media: Frustration at Unplowed Streets; City Council Votes for Youth Fund

Baltimore after a storm in 2010.
Jonathan Julian
Baltimore after a storm in 2010.

A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From the Baltimore Sun: Marylanders on Unplowed Streets Go From Frustrated to Angry

"It's not that Grace Mudrick hasn't seen any plows since the snow stopped falling Saturday night. She's seen them, repeatedly scraping Northern Parkway clean.

"But her street, Woodcrest Avenue, just blocks to the north of that Baltimore thoroughfare, remains snowed-in and unplowed.

"'What's the point of going up and down Northern Parkway?' the Mount Washington woman asked. 'I would literally have to push my car through 30 inches of snow three and a half blocks to get there.'

"What began as annoyance over streets going unplowed after the weekend's record-breaking snowfall is increasingly turning into anger and even fear. Residents say they worry that first responders won't be able to get to them in an emergency. They point to a fire on an impassable street in Highlandtown on Monday night that displaced at least five families. No one was injured.

"What is the plan?' Mudrick asked. 'Don't tell me to be patient. Is there a map with a schedule of when streets are going to be plowed?'

"Officials have given only a vague explanation of how they determine the order of plowing. They say proximity to schools and calls to police, fire and 311 are factors."

Full Article

From the Baltimore Sun: City Council Votes to Create $30 Million ‘Youth Fund’ in Baltimore

"Over the objections of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the city Finance Department, the Baltimore City Council voted Tuesday to approve a charter amendment that would lock city government into spending millions more annually on programs that benefit children and teens.

"The legislation sponsored by Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young would direct 3 percent of the city's discretionary spending to youth initiatives. The council's budget analysts say it would produce about $30 million more annually for programs such as privately run recreation centers and fitness activities.

"'We either invest in our youth now or we pay later,' Young said. 'If you look at the costs of incarceration, what I'm asking for isn't very much. It's just the right thing to do.'

"Rawlings-Blake is considering a veto. Her finance director estimates that the legislation would produce just $11 million more for youth programs. But even then, Finance Director Henry J. Raymond wrote to the council, dedicating revenue for "a specific purpose, no matter how worthwhile it may be, begins to undermine sound financial management, puts core services at risk, and is not the best way to achieve the City Council's goals."

Full Article

From the Washington Post: Hogan Proposing Independent Redistricting, Tougher Opiod Laws

"Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Tuesday proposed creating a nonpartisan redistricting panel to draw Maryland’s legislative and congressional districts, a change that would strip that power from the legislature and the governor’s office.

"Hogan also proposed legislation to help the state crack down on a growing epidemic of opiod addiction by changing the state’s gang laws to be more like federal racketeering statutes and by eventually requiring doctors and ­pharmacists to use the state’s ­prescription-monitoring database to ensure they are not over-prescribing narcotics.

"The redistricting proposal — which will be formally introduced in the legislature Wednesday — would require an amendment to the state constitution. The change would have to be approved both by the Democratic-majority legislature and by voters.

"Democratic legislative leaders have vowed to resist such redistricting changes, saying they prefer to wait for national redistricting reform that would also affect states where Republicans control the legislatures."

Full Article