Ron George: Outside audits for all state departments

It is time for our state to have independent audits of all departments and agencies. The appalling misuse of federal education funding discovered earlier this year is already well known. Baltimore City and Prince George's County schools wasted over $540,000 of federal stimulus money and funds intended to educate some of our poorest populations. (Balt. Sun)

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Raining on the 'rain tax'

According to  a new report from the Maryland Public Policy Institute, Maryland’s so-called “rain tax” is poorly conceived, has been ineptly handled by some jurisdictions, and may not live up to its billing as an important weapon in the fight to clean up and save the Chesapeake Bay. The effort to address rainwater runoff as it affects the health of the Chesapeake Bay is a worthy enterprise, but this law and its implementation leave a lot to be desired. (News-Post)

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School board closed doors on its biggest decision

A few weeks ago, we criticized the school board for handling the selection of an interim schools superintendent entirely behind closed doors, without even disclosing the applicants’ names. So naturally the issue came up when board Vice President Andrew Pruski, who has announced his candidacy for the District 4 County Council seat, stopped in to meet with the Capital Gazette editorial board. Pruski defended the board’s decisions. We continue to disagree. (Capital)

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Dean Minnich: Déjà vu all over again in government

Well, they seemed to relish the tag “Fighting 59th” when they took office, but only a few of us knew it would mean fighting with each other. In case you were out of town or out of touch during the past week or so, I’m talking about our duly elected board of five Carroll County commissioners, chosen by voters to represent five separate districts of the county rather than the county at large, or some anti-government faction. They had an ugly and avoidable argument, and Commissioner Robin Frazier was at the center of it. (Carroll Co. Times)

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Joseph L. Kroart III: Decline in resort visitors can be reversed

Recently, the travel section of The Baltimore Sun published a list of 12 hot summer getaways. Surprisingly, the list did not include Ocean City. This omission should be seen as a wake-up call for the town’s leaders and stakeholders. Over the past decade or so, the family presence in Ocean City has been slowly bleeding away. (Daily Times)

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Nick Berry: Annapolis eyesores and politics galore

The mayors I know — and I chaired a large group of them in Iowa — really hate eyesores in their cities and towns. They wisely work hard to eliminate them. There are eyesores in Annapolis. The ugly, three-years-vacant former Fawcett building on Compromise Street is the one currently in the news. It’s broke and needs fixing. The former Stevens Hardware, also at City Dock, could become one. There are three in Eastport — the decrepit former Hopkins warehouse on Fourth, the fire-damaged blue building across from Ruth’s Chris, and the remains of a house at First and Severn — and one at the end of Maryland Avenue. (Capital)

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Unity needed in GOP

Republican attempts to grow representation in the state legislature in the 2014 elections has grown more difficult with recent departures, increasing the urgency for the party to come together in a unified vision and identify strong candidates capable of accomplishing the mission of giving the party a legitimate voice on state government. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Emily Scarr: Bottle bill would boost recycling in Maryland

This summer, as I enjoy Maryland's parks, outdoor dining, waterfront areas, bike trails and neighborhood walks, there's one thing that really bums me out: litter. You know what I'm talking about — the water, soda, beer and sports drink containers that litter our streets and waterways. This summer's bummer is a symptom of a much bigger problem. Nearly 1 billion recyclable beverage containers will get trashed instead of recycled in Maryland this summer alone. Our low container recycling rate has serious consequences for public health, climate pollution and our quality of life. (Balt. Sun)

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