Tag: montgomery county

Montgomery County Effectively Decriminalizes Marijuana

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marijuana-dbc04668ba596d1d11bbfdcab899d5bdcf6b293a-s6-c30

Today marks the first day that marijuana is decriminalized in Baltimore, but don’t just go smoking a joint in the middle of the street–unless you’re in Montgomery County, that is.

Purple Line Could Be Jeopardized by Bill Demanding Holocaust Reparations

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Photo by Phil Scott.
Photo by Phil Scott.

What do you do when a French rail company that transported 76,000 Holocaust victims to concentration camp — and has never paid reparations — bids on a $6 billion contract to operate Maryland’s light rail Purple Line? Del. Kirill Reznik (D-Montgomery) sponsored a bill that would force Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF), the majority owner of Keolis North America, to pay reparations before being considered for the contract.

Unfortunately, that bill could violate the Federal Transit Administration’s rule “against imposing conditions on a single bidder.” That means federal funding for the project (up to $900 million) could be lost.

Rail Company with a Dubious Holocaust History Bids on Light Rail Contract

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In 2011, Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a law that requires rail companies bidding on jobs in Maryland to disclose their ties to the Holocaust. At the time, Paris-based Keolis, whose majority owner Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français “historians say was paid to transport nearly 77,000 Jews and other Holocaust victims during World War II,” was bidding to operate MARC trains.

That same year, the company issued a formal apology for its role in the Holocaust, while maintaining that its trains were seized by Nazis during the occupation.

Now, Keolis is again bidding on a Maryland contract, this time to build and operate the light rail Purple Line. The Washington Post notes that the deal — valued at $6 billion — would be one of the state’s biggest contracts ever.

For some, the company’s connection to the Holocaust may seem abstract, but at least one Baltimore resident can recall actually escaping from an SNCF rail-car. Leo Bretholz, 92, finds it “reprehensible” that “this company, which put me on a deportation train bound for Auschwitz and demanded payment to do so, to now seek public contracts — paid for by my tax dollars — while steadfastly refusing to pay reparations and to do what is morally right.”

Gubernatorial Hopeful Mizeur Supports Legalizing Pot

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via WBALTV
Del. Heather Mizeur via WBALTV

I bet Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Douglas F. Gansler figured he had the libertine vote all wrapped up after it was revealed that he had not only condoned but helped to fund an at least moderately debauched week-long party for his high school senior son and 11 of his classmates. But opponent Del. Heather Mizeur has upped the party-animal ante by announcing Tuesday that she supports legalizing marijuana for adults 21-and-up in Maryland.

Mizeur says that the regulation and taxation of the drug could generate, like, over $100 million annually in revenue for the state. She figures that’s enough to ensure every Maryland child has access to prekindergarten educational programs or whatever.

Which is, like, so dank of her.

Vote Early, Often, and Under the Name of Your Deceased Mother

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voting-booth

In a weird instance of synchronicity, two Maryland women are accused of voting illegally in the 2012 presidential election on behalf of their dead mothers.

Elsie Virginia Schildt of Frederick County allegedly filled out an absentee ballot in her mother’s name. Linda Earlette Wells of Montgomery County is accused of casting a fraudulent provisional ballot after reactivating her mother’s dormant voter registration.

How the Recession Has (Sorta, Barely) Helped Baltimore’s Population Problem

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baltimore-skyline

Two weeks ago we celebrated a minor victory in Baltimore City’s population battle when government number crunchers informed us that from July 2011 to July 2012 Baltimore turned around over six decades of population decline and experienced 0.2 percent growth. An article in the Baltimore Sun explains why we partly have the recession to thank for that.

A New Thing to Freak Out About (Or Not): Crime Flash Mobs

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Writing in the Daily Beast earlier this year, Megan McArdle sounded the alarm for a very 21st-century new fear:  criminal flash mobs. “Apparently, that’s a thing now,”she notes, after learning of a string of 7-Elevens in and around Baltimore and Montgomery Counties that had been mobbed by teenagers who stole stuff, then fled the store.

Six-Year-Olds Suspended for Making Imaginary Guns with their Fingers

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imaginary-gun

At last week’s gun policy summit at Johns Hopkins, public health figures and politicians got together to come up with suggestions for reducing gun violence in America. Those included things like banning high-capacity magazines, mandating background checks, and reinstating the ban on assault weapons. But there was one glaring hole in the experts’ recommendations:  the threat of six year-olds making gun shapes with their fingers.

Nine Marylanders Make Forbes Billionaires List

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Courtesy Citybizlist – Led by Ted Lerner’s $3.9 billion, nine Marylanders made this year’s Forbes 400, the publication’s annual list of the wealthiest 400 Americans.

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