What Are Fair Maps? And Why People Care.

By Baltimore County Coalition for Fair Maps. The results of the 2020 census justify two Majority-Black districts and one Majority-Minority district for Baltimore County in 2021. In 2000, the County’s minority population was 200,402: 26.6% Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). It was only after pressure from ACLU and NAACP that a majority-Black District – the 4th – was drawn. That was back in … Continue reading What Are Fair Maps? And Why People Care.

Fair maps a must for better representation in Baltimore County

By Peta Richkus. Ignoring the will of the people is not responsive nor accountable government. The map proposed by the Council’s Redistricting Commission flies in the face of the Constitutional right of every individual to representative government. It intentionally dilutes representation of the approximately 47% of Baltimore County’s BIPOC population. The Council should not so easily dismiss the threat (and the cost!) of legal action … Continue reading Fair maps a must for better representation in Baltimore County

Why Not Vote What You Mean?

By Peta Richkus. (In response to the Nov 20, 2020 Baltimore Sun article “Baltimore County Council rejects bill that affordable housing developer said would kill Towson project.”) The continuation of the Red Maple Place Development Hearing is next Wednesday, 12/16/2020, before a Baltimore County Administrative Law Judge. The virtual meeting is open to the public: anyone interested in testifying or presenting evidence at the hearing … Continue reading Why Not Vote What You Mean?

Make Police Accountable: Repeal LEOBR

By Peta Richkus. In early August, attorney Deborah Katz Levi, Director of Special Litigation, Baltimore City Felony Trial Division, Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD), joined approximately 100 Marylanders who spoke before the Police Reform and Accountability in Maryland Workgroup chaired by Delegate Vanessa E. Atterbeary, House Judiciary Committee Vice Chair. In 2016, the (old Baltimore) City Paper gave its “best lawyer” award to … Continue reading Make Police Accountable: Repeal LEOBR

Public Defender Urges Police Reform

By Peta Richkus. In June 2020, Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones, with Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Luke Clippinger, convened the Work Group to Address Police Reform and Accountability in Maryland. “Policing in America is broken. While we have taken a number of positive steps in Maryland, we can’t be satisfied until every citizen has confidence in their police department…. We need structural reform … Continue reading Public Defender Urges Police Reform

Baltimore County Can’t Wait for State on Police Reform

By Elizabeth Brown. This morning, August 28, 2020, Councilman Julian E. Jones, Jr. held a press conference to announce the introduction of seven distinct bills covering important aspects of police reform. After the Baltimore County Council unceremoniously tabled Jones’s earlier police reform bill, Bill 73-20, at the August 3, 2020 session, I was glad to hear that Councilman Julian E. Jones, Jr. would try again … Continue reading Baltimore County Can’t Wait for State on Police Reform

Real Police Reform Needed Now

By Peta Richkus. You might think, with a single law that applies to all 142 law enforcement agencies in Maryland (LEOBR: the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights), there would be uniformity in policing. You would be wrong. The only thing that is uniform is the lack of oversight and accountability. Because of LEOBR, those police officers who do violate their oath to “protect and … Continue reading Real Police Reform Needed Now

Hogan Wrong About Conducting November Election

By Peta Richkus. After the recommendation of the bi-partisan Board of Elections, as well as that of the Maryland Association of Election Officials, I really expected Gov. Hogan to go with the suggested hybrid election, which seemed to address all concerns: public health, capacity, security, efficiency. But no. Hogan is choosing instead to increase the dollar cost and the confusion, and to encourage more people … Continue reading Hogan Wrong About Conducting November Election

Hogan’s Good Grades Don’t Include Education

By Peta Richkus. Governor Hogan has provided some notable leadership during this coronavirus crisis. But the failures of his agencies, including the MD State Department of Education (MSDE), are also Larry Hogan’s responsibility. State Superintendent of Schools Karen B. Salmon, who had announced in December 2019 her plans to step down in June, seems to be in over her head. Never mind that tens of thousands … Continue reading Hogan’s Good Grades Don’t Include Education

State Retirees’ Rx Drug Benefit Redux

By Peta Richkus. Older retirees from State service remain in a hellacious limbo about their futures. Thanks only to a federal court injunction, and the handful of employees and their attorney who filed for it (Thank you, Ken Fitch, Deborah Heim, Mary Frye, and Deborah Holloway Hill, Esq.), Medicare-eligible State retirees continue to receive their prescription drug benefit. But for how long? Unfortunately, many legislators, … Continue reading State Retirees’ Rx Drug Benefit Redux