Recent blog posts

Josh Kurtz: Meet the New Bossie

CLEVELAND – Spend just a little time with Maryland’s delegates to the Republican National Convention this week and it’s plainly apparent that this is not your father’s state GOP. Gone are stalwarts like Ellen Sauerbrey and Joyce Terhes and Audrey Scott. Louis Pope, who has held a variety of leadership posts for the state GOP over two decades, is headed out the door. So is party Chairwoman Diana Waterman. Old-time Republican liberals like Howie Denis and Connie Morella? Nowhere to be found. Heck, it’s not really Gov. Larry Hogan’s party, either. He may have shaken up Maryland’s political equilibrium with his upset victory two years ago, but he has yet to seize control of the state GOP or attempt to build it. And, of course, he is nowhere in evidence here at the convention, a self-imposed exile of political self-preservation. Andy Harris, the state’s lone Republican member of Congress, is ideologically... Continue reading
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Michael W. Davis: Setting the Record Straight on the Future of Downtown Columbia

When I attended the Howard County Council public hearing on July 14 regarding the pending TIF legislation, I was struck by a few common misunderstandings that were being discussed by some of the people providing testimony. Having been active in the Howard County civic and legal communities for over 30 years, I would like to address a few points for clarification. The TIF is not a taxpayer giveaway to Howard Hughes.  It might be better to think about it as a joint venture.  While Howard Hughes and other property owners are poised to invest the initial $618,000,000 of what will total $2.2 billion into Downtown Columbia, the County is only investing the increased tax dollars that will flow from the Hughes' investment in order to jumpstart the process.   No Taxpayer Responsibility.  The taxpayers of Howard County will not be responsible for paying for the TIF.  As set forth in the preamble to... Continue reading
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Dr. Leana Wen: The Case for Investing in the Public’s Health

Later this month, leaders from both major parties will convene for their national conventions to officially determine their respective candidates for President and Vice President. They will also formally adopt their party platforms that will guide their visions for our nation's future. A few weeks ago, I had the distinct opportunity to speak before the Democratic National Committee’s Platform Drafting Committee, chaired by our own Congressman Elijah Cummings, to make the case for why public health should not just have a seat at the table, but be leading the conversation on driving the future of our country. This is my testimony: Good afternoon, Chairman Cummings and members of the Platform Drafting Committee. I am here as the Health Commissioner of Baltimore City to speak about the health threats faced by communities across America. In the ER, I see patients who are desperately seeking help for drug addiction and mental illness. They know they need... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Convention-al Wisdom, Part 2

It was awkward, to say the least, when three potential 2002 candidates for governor – Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger, and Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan – bumped into each other early one morning in the fitness room at the Marina del Rey Marriott during the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. “We can run together,” Ruppersberger suggested, in an effort to break the tension. All three were in L.A. to cheer the party’s presidential nominee, Al Gore. But all were also there to bond with Maryland delegates and other political people who had traveled cross-country for the spectacle, and promote their potential statewide bids. Duncan, for example, sponsored a luncheon for the Maryland delegation at a kosher dairy restaurant not far from Beverly Hills, owned by Stephen Spielberg’s mother – who happens to be the mother-in-law of Duncan’s former top aide, Jerry Pasternak. Duncan... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Convention-al Wisdom

Much is being made of Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision not to support the Republicans’ toxic presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump. And make no mistake: it is a big deal any time a high-ranking elected official like Hogan refuses to back his party’s presidential nominee. But the development didn’t necessarily warrant the breathless coverage it initially received. It’s not as if Hogan’s decision is going to affect Trump’s dim prospects in Maryland. And the impact on Hogan’s reelection in 2018 – despite the grumbling in some conservative quarters – is probably minimal. The way Hogan disclosed his plans, though, says a lot about the man. Hogan revealed his decision to eschew Trump in a peevish response to a reporter’s question. The guy has only been in office for 18 months, but I don’t think I’ve used the word “peevish” so often in connection with any other Maryland governor. It has become his... Continue reading
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