The Daily Record: What we can learn from the Port Covington deal and TIFs

Editor’s note: The following commentary appeared on TheDailyRecord.org on September 22, 2016. With the Baltimore City Council’s approval of the public financing package for the proposed Port Covington project, Sagamore Development Co. can move forward with final permitting approvals and activating the engineers, bulldozers and construction crews. There is still...
Read More...

The Daily Record: A turning point for transformative change?

Editor’s note: The following commentary appeared on TheDailyRecord.com on August 18, 2016. If for some reason you missed the recent release of the U.S. Department of Justice’s report from a 15-month investigation of the Baltimore Police Department, it can be summed up this way: The findings are damning and, in more than a few respects, appalling. As chapter and verse of the report makes abundantly clear, systemic patterns of excessive … Continue reading

Center Maryland: Timing not right for $15 per hour minimum wage in Baltimore

Editor’s note: The following commentary appeared on CenterMaryland.org on June 17, 2016. A month ago I wrote in Center Maryland about a proposal before the Baltimore City Council to raise the minimum wage in Baltimore to $15 per hour and concerns that the wage increase wouldn’t address two serious city issues: chronic unemployment and a work skills gap. Since then the Greater Baltimore Committee, business owners and other private sector … Continue reading

Center Maryland: Police are not alone in fight to stop gun violence in Baltimore

Editor’s note: The following commentary appeared on CenterMaryland.org on June 10, 2016. By Donald C. Fry On Memorial Day five people were shot in broad daylight during a cookout in front of a home near Greenmount Avenue in North Baltimore. Thankfully, the victims, aged 25-60, survived the attack. When the suspect was arrested he had not one but two guns in his possession, said T.J. Smith, a spokesman for the Baltimore … Continue reading

Center Maryland: A budget debate: Balancing the investment in education versus public safety

Editor’s note: The following commentary appeared on CenterMaryland.org on June 3, 2016. By Donald C. Fry The school year is beginning to wind down and thoughts of summer vacations are on the minds of many, so talking about education funding and budgets may not be high on anyone’s priority list. But a lively debate in Baltimore’s City Hall earlier this week over the amount of money included in the mayor’s proposed … Continue reading

Center Maryland: Governor Hogan makes good call to chart streamlining of government

Editor’s note: The following commentary appeared on CenterMaryland.org on May 24, 2016. By Donald C. Fry Governor Larry Hogan’s recent decision to establish a new commission in the executive branch to update, reorganize and streamline state government bureaucracy was a very good call indeed. The governor should be applauded for recognizing the importance of taking a hard look at the government’s existing structure and operations, and exploring possible ways to improve … Continue reading

The Daily Record: A turning point for the Howard Street Tunnel

Editor’s note: The following commentary appeared on TheDailyRecord.com on May 20, 2016. By Donald C. Fry The Howard Street Tunnel, which runs through the heart of downtown Baltimore, is 1.7 miles long and offers freight trains about 19.5 feet of clearance. One single track runs through it. So when it comes to the rail network in the Baltimore area, the tunnel — physically speaking — is one small link in a rather extensive system. … Continue reading

Center Maryland: The myths and realities of TIFs

Editor’s note: The following commentary appeared on CenterMaryland.org on May 13, 2016. By Donald C. Fry Earlier this week the Baltimore City Board of Finance unanimously approved a $535 million tax increment financing, or TIF, for the proposed redevelopment of Port Covington, more than 200 acres of mostlyempty industrial land that Sagamore Development Company wants to remake into a bustling hub of homes, stores, waterfront parks and a new headquarters campus … Continue reading

Center Maryland: A $15 minimum wage and the law of unintended consequences

Editor’s note: The following commentary appeared on CenterMaryland.org on April 22, 2016. By Donald C. Fry Back in the 1930s a Harvard-trained sociologist named Robert K. Merton published a paper that examined why deliberate acts intended to cause change (typically intended for the good) sometimes result in unintended (bad) outcomes. The result of Merton’s work has since been referred to as the “law of unintended consequences.” More than a few books on … Continue reading

The Daily Record: A glimmer of hope for Penn Station

Editor’s note: The following commentary appeared on TheDailyRecord.com on April 15, 2016. By Donald C. Fry When it comes to customer traffic for rail service, Baltimore’s Penn Station sits pretty high on the list. In fact, it’s the eighth-busiest in the Amtrak network with about 1.1 million riders a year coming and going from the station, many of them commuters shuttling between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and other stops along the Northeast Corridor. But … Continue reading