Monthly Archives: June 2015

Who Maryland law protects — and who it doesn’t

“Internal records related to a police officer’s misconduct cannot be disclosed to the public and are exempt from the Maryland Public Information Act, the Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.” The ruling applies whether or not charges of misconduct are found to be true: the court found the law “does not differentiate between ‘sustained’ and ‘unsustained’ complaints” [Mark Puente, Baltimore Sun]

The law is there to protect misbehaving public employees. Don’t you wish it were there to protect you?

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In miniature, June 18

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Frederick County: beware “affordable housing”

There’s currently a buzz for our county to back more “affordable housing” construction, as an exaction from developers or otherwise. But Tom Coale, who ran as a liberal Democrat for the legislature from Howard County last year, points out a huge drawback with many such schemes:

We all love the idea of affordable housing, little a, little h. But homeowners who buy into Affordable Housing units, big A, big H, are trapped in financial purgatory. ‘Deed restrictions’ on the resale of the property, that may run for as long as 99 years, prevent them from building wealth from the asset. That means one of the core reasons for purchasing a home, and not renting, is absent. Meanwhile, all of the burdens of home-ownership remain.

A scheme introduced by County Council member Jessica Fitzwater (D) would (among other changes) earmark some rentals as legally obliged to stay affordable for 99 years instead of 25. Policies like these have not worked in other parts of Maryland, and we should be wary of them here.

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In miniature, June 12

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Western Maryland in the Whiskey Rebellion

“In the ensuing 1794 Whiskey Rebellion…the locus for noncompliance and violence against tax agents was largely western Pennsylvania, but not entirely. Early local newspapers reported disturbances, such as the erection of 1776-style townsquare liberty poles, in Cumberland, Hagerstown, and Middletown….At one point, even Frederick was tense — rumor had ‘the Whiskey Boys’ headed that way, to empty its state arsenal of weapons.” — James H. Bready, “Maryland Rye: A Whiskey the Nation Long Fancied — But Now Has Let Vanish,” Maryland Historical Magazine, Winter 1990. “To a legion of fanciers, the best Maryland Rye was on a par with whatever else might be nominated as the ne plus ultra of American whiskey.”

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