SPLIT IN MARYLAND GOP CONTINUES AS LEADERS SEEK TO REBUILD: Former Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele’s absence from the Oct. 12 “Salute to Gov. Bob Ehrlich” fundraiser underscores issues facing a party eager to move forward — largely by emphasizing fundraising and grassroots organizing — but yet to reconcile with former stalwarts such as Steele and conservative commentator Linda Chavez, who feel estranged because party leaders continue to embrace the polarizing figure of former President Donald Trump. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.
STATE TRANSPORTATION GETS NEAR FAILING GRADE: The state that often leads the pack in areas like median household income and quality of schools is nearly failing when it comes to transportation, a local advocacy organization says. The Central Maryland Transportation Alliance just released its latest report card for the state, giving it a D+ overall, with failing grades in affordability and connectivity to jobs via transit. The policy analyst and advocacy organization dished out five C’s — the state’s highest grade this year — across 12 different areas. Daniel Zawodny/The Baltimore Banner.
O’s LEASE DEAL INCLUDES REMOVING SEATS FOR MORE ‘SOCIAL SPACES:’ The Orioles’ wish list for Camden Yards includes removing upper deck seats in various locations and creating more “social spaces,” according to an exhibit included as part of the team’s just-announced lease agreement. The plan would include taking out an unspecified number of left field upper deck seats to accommodate social spaces and a “relocated and expanded Kids’ Zone,” the exhibit says. Jeff Barker and Hayes Gardner/The Baltimore Sun.
- It’s unclear when crews can start working on the upgrades — the first round of borrowing would have to happen by July 1, 2025. The full lease outlines a few of the things the ballclub hopes to accomplish, such as added social spaces, renovated clubhouses, and new video boards and sound systems. Danielle Allentuck/The Baltimore Banner.
OP-ED: MARYLANDERS WIN WITH ORIOLES LEASE DEAL: From day one, lease negotiations centered on three goals. First and foremost, we had to show a commitment to using taxpayer money responsibly. Second, we wanted to strike an agreement that creates winners on and off the field. Third, we had to keep the Orioles in Baltimore for the long term. Our final deal reflects all three priorities. Gov. Wes Moore/The Baltimore Sun.
RURAL COMMUNITIES FACE SOLAR FIRMS, STATE GOALS: As state law requires an increased amount of renewable energy, solar developers are seeking agricultural land to help meet the goal. Some rural counties are reluctant to see the ag land ceded, especially when it conflicts with their local jurisdictions’ planning. And the Maryland Public Service Commission that signs off on the large-scale solar projects has had procedures left over from the days of coal. Dwight Weingarten/The Hagerstown Herald Mail.
MARYLAND’s AGGRESSIVE GOALS TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE: As Maryland officials put the finishing touches on a plan for how the state should hit its aggressive goals for combating climate change, an adjacent report from a longstanding advisory body offers some clues on what the final recommendations might include. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
POLITICAL NOTES: LOBBYIST MOVES; COX & TRUMP; CARDIN REACTS: A “name” partner of one of Annapolis’ most high-powered lobbying firms is moving on to start a government relations practice at one of the top PR shops in Maryland. Former Del. Dan Cox, one of several Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for the 6th District congressional seat, continues to hew closely to former President Trump, even though that posture hurt him in the general election. U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D) said this week that he was “angry” and “disappointed” after news reports that one of his former aides filmed a sex tape in a Senate hearing room. Josh Kurtz and Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.
CARROLL ED BOARD SEEKS TO DEFINE ‘SEXUALLY EXPLICIT CONTENT:’ Carroll County’s Board of Education is asking community members to comment on proposed revisions to the school system’s policy on selection, evaluation and adoption of instructional materials. The revisions seek to define “sexually explicit content,” in order to ensure such content is not included in school materials. Molly Fellin Spence and Thomas Goodwin Smith/The Carroll County Times.
FREDERICK COUNCIL REJECTS SUGARLOAF DEVELOPMENT LIMITS: After years of debate over the county’s approach to regulating land use in the area around Sugarloaf Mountain, the Frederick County Council on Tuesday rejected on a 5-2 vote the proposed Sugarloaf Rural Heritage Overlay Zoning District. Ceoli Jacoby/The Frederick News Post.
- Stronghold Inc., the nonprofit entity that owns the 3,400-acre mountain and surrounding 20,000 acres, wants to manage the property without further government regulation and sought an exemption from the plan. Danny Nguyen/The Washington Post.
PANDEMIC BOOSTED B’MORE ECONOMY, BUT IT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE: Baltimore saw massive economic growth last year. Why? Because of the pandemic. While much of the world dealt with economic stress, Baltimore’s economy benefited from the stress on the global supply chain, experts say. But experts warn that kind of growth might not be sustainable. Ramsey Archibald/The Baltimore Banner.
ECONOMIST MAG PRES TO LEAD BALTIMORE BANNER: Bob Cohn served as president of two prominent media companies with a combined 300 years of distinguished history — first, the Atlantic, and now, the Economist, a global affairs magazine with subscribers in more than 200 countries. But in February, he will turn his focus to his own backyard of Baltimore as the chief executive of the Baltimore Banner, a nonprofit digital news outfit aiming to become an industry model for high-quality local journalism. Elahe Izadi/The Washington Post.
- Chosen by the nonprofit’s board after a five-month national search, Cohn, a longtime Montgomery County resident, played a vital role in the digital transformation of The Atlantic and has driven increases in revenue at both news magazines. Liz Bowie/The Baltimore Banner.