Thursday, March 22, 2012

LINKS (Thursday LINKS)

A lot of things to link to today, and not much to say otherwise. So let's get right to the...


There is little more frustrating in life than battling a bureaucracy.  Baltimore City residents have been forced to engage in half-decade long battles against the City water department over thousands of dollars in individual over-charges for what may sometimes be an $80 bill.  If that does not strike horror into your spine, you have lived a charmed life indeed.

I was not aware that the penalties for possessing 7 grams or less of marijuana in Maryland were as significant as they are.  Under current law, you can be sentenced to up to a year in prison and a $500 fine.  A proposed law would reduce the maximum sentence to 90 days, under the auspices of curtailing the right to a jury trial. I've been watching a documentary series on the National Geographic channel about the legalization of medical marijuana in Colorado and the attempts of some to recriminalize the substance.  The show is interesting because it seems to simultaneously confirm the idea that these laws are Trojan horses for recreational use, while also showing just how much the drug can help those with chronic pain live a normal life.  Long time readers know that I generally disagree with the "war on drugs", but I think the legalization of marijuana is going through a slow shift into reality.  Similar players will take similar parts, but the law will most likely follow popular sentiment...and the Nucky Thompson's of the modern world will have to find a new business.

Mitt Romney's speech in Arbutus ended up having more significance than originally expected, although by the time he got to the important parts, most people had left.  Notably, one of Mr. Romney's campaign staff had referred to the candidate's primary positions as an "Etch A Sketch" that could be reset for the general election.  Yikes.  After concluding his planned remarks and a Q&A session, Romney retook the stage to say that he will "run as a conservative."  I sometimes wonder if the GOP in Maryland is more conservative than in other states, simply due to the fact that it often is not responsible with running anything, wherein moderation can sometimes be compulsory.  Then again, I don't think the Maryland Dems could be considered "moderate" and they've been running the show for quite some time.

Mayor SRB has doubled her property tax auditor staff in a "billing integrity" program to root out "fraud and errors."  Translation: The City is going to make sure it receives every penny it is owed.

You may recall a link from two weeks ago where the lawyer for the Anne Arundel County Council basically said "pick someone already" to help bolster the Council's defense in the suit by removed member Daryl Jones.  Well shortly after filling Mr. Jones's seat, the presiding judge ruled that the Council acted within its powers to remove a sitting Council-person.  Seems like a much more efficient system than the Board of Ed.

Howard County Rec and Park has an online survey about how their offerings are used and understood by the community.  Hopefully this data will be helpful to distinguishing CA from HoCo, which is a perilous conversation for anyone who dare try.  As an added bonus, there are three prizes for randomly drawn participants. 

Featured Blog Post of the Day: Lisa B gives a run down of the most recent BoE Candidates Forum at the St. John's Community Association.  On a related note, I think "infinity and beyond" needs to be used more often in political speeches. 

That's all for today.  Apparently, I am still in my funk from the weekend.  I will have to shake it off for tonight's CA Board meeting, during which we will discuss the proposed legislation that would remove CA from the Homeowners Association Act and place it in a separate category under the law. 

Have a great Thursday doing what you love!