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The Minimum Wage, Baltimore’s Curfew, Remington Development Plans, & Changes At The BDC

Bret Jaspers

Governor Martin O'Malley was joined in Bethesda yesterday by US Labor Secretary Tom Perez – where they called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. What’s been called one of the strictest curfew laws in the nation goes into effect tonight in Baltimore. Plans for a development in Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood are moving forward. Baltimore City Councilman Bill Cole is set to take the helm of the Baltimore Development Corporation, after current President and CEO Brenda McKenzie steps down. Plus: MD’s limited sales tax holiday starts Sunday, airfare at BWI, Russell Neverdon’s campaign to be the next Baltimore City State's Attorney, former Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele mulls a return to MD politics, and more.

O’Malley, Perez Call For Higher Federal Minimum Wage: Governor Martin O'Malley was joined in Bethesda yesterday by US Labor Secretary Tom Perez – where they called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. Before becoming US Labor Secretary, Perez was Maryland’s Labor Secretary, under O’Malley… and as the Washington Post reports, the governor said “no president’s ever picked a better labor secretary” at yesterday’s meeting. President Obama wants the nationwide minimum wage raised to $10.10 an hour, the same level General Assembly approved for Maryland’s minimum earlier this year. Over the next few years, the state’s rate will gradually go up, and reach $10.10 an hour in 2018.

O’Malley’s PAC Urges Letter-Writing Campaign: As the crisis at the US/Mexico border continues, Governor Martin O’Malley is calling on Congress to allow some of the immigrant children to stay in the US. Yesterday, O’Malley’s political action committee urged people to launch a letter writing campaign, to urge Congress not to fast-track deportations of the thousands of unaccompanied minors who’ve crossed the border in recent months. As the Baltimore Sun reports, O’Malley’s PAC offers a form letter, which includes the line “we should not send these kids back without a chance for them to make a case that they fled their country from fear of violence.” O’Malley has called the situation a “humanitarian crisis.”

Baltimore’s Curfew: Baltimore City’s new curfew law goes into effect tonight; a law that’s been called one of the strictest in the nation. Under it, children younger than 14 years old are required to be home by 9pm year-round. Teens 14 to 16 years have to be home by 10pm on school nights, and 11pm on other nights. The American Civil Liberties Union continues to raise questions about the curfew; mainly, they want the city to clarify how its police officers will enforce it. As the Baltimore Sun reports, the ACLU has sent a public information request to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts and the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice seeking copies of written guidance provided to police and any data tracking of what happens to those stopped under the curfew law.

At BDC, McKenzie Exits & Cole Enters: Brenda McKenzie will be leaving as President and CEO of the Baltimore Development Corporation, the city’s economic development agency, after nearly two years on the job. She says she’s stepping down for what she calls personal and family reasons. Her last day on the job will be on August 21. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has picked Councilman Bill Cole as her replacement. Cole says the new position will offer him a unique opportunity to help Baltimore grow… that adding he sees Baltimore as a city on the rise. Cole has long been seen as an ally of the mayor; helping bring the Baltimore Grand Prix to town as well as backing the controversial tax incentive package for the Harbor Point project. A committee to replace Cole on the City Council will be organized once he officially takes the helm at the BDC. There’s more here from the Daily Recordandhere from the Baltimore Sun.

Plans For Remington Development Advance: Plans for a development in Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood are moving forward. The Daily Record reports that the Baltimore Planning Commission has backed staff approval for the design and designation for a planned unit development needed for Seawall Development Corporation to build the mixed-use Remington Row. The development would feature a new 5-story building on the west side of the 2700 block of Remington Avenue. It would house 15-thousand square feet of retail space, 35-thousand square feet of office space, and 108 apartments. No opposition to the development was raised during yesterday’s hearing, at which letters of support from City Councilman Carl Stokes and Councilwoman Mary Pat Clark were received. To move forward, the City Council will have to approve the planned unit development… and before that can happen, a traffic impact study will need to be conducted.

Election 2014: Who Is Russell Neverdon? Though the primary is over, the race is still on for Baltimore City State's Attorney. WYPR's Joel McCord and P. Kenneth Burns talk about the background and platform of an independent candidate, local defense attorney Russell Neverdon. It’s this morning’s look Inside Maryland Politics.

BWI’s Domestic Airfares: Folks who fly out of BWI continue to pay less for their flights than most air travelers in the US. The US Transportation Department’s quarterly report on domestic airfares shows that only 16 of the nation’s biggest airports have lower average fares than BWI. And as the Baltimore Business Journal reports, the average domestic fare at BWI is down slightly from this time last year.

MD’s Limited Sales Tax Holiday: Maryland's limited sales tax holiday starts this weekend and bargain seekers say it's the prime time to get back-to-school clothing. The statewide-event gives shoppers a six-percent savings on qualifying apparel and footwear priced at 100-dollars or less. The sales tax holiday begins Sunday and runs through the 16th. And there’s a list of which items are exempt – and which aren’t – here.

Plans For Urban Park Beneath The JFX: A Baltimore non-profit is talking with the state about leasing three-acres of land under the JFX with hopes of turning it into the world's largest urban park. The Section One Project is putting together designs for the unique project, which would utilize space under the elevated interstate near Howard Street. The group's proposal will include a skate park, space for live performances, shipping container retail spaces and 60-thousand square feet of paintable surfaces for urban artists. The Baltimore Business Journal has more.

MICA To Offer Filmmaking Graduate Program: The Maryland Institute College of Art will be offering a filmmaking graduate program with an emphasis on the business side of the industry come 2015. MICA's film faculty is launching the new two-year program after getting feedback from graduates that they were well-trained for making movies but totally unprepared for the intricate business aspects of filmmaking. The Baltimore Business Journal has more.

Steele Mulls Return To MD Politics: Former Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele says he might make another foray into Maryland politics. The Republican Steele served as Lieutenant Governor under Bob Ehrlich; he then ran an unsuccessful bid for US Senate, and followed that up with a stint as chairman of the Republican National Committee. The Washington Post reports that Steele thinks GOP gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan has a “very good chance” of beating Democratic nominee Anthony Brown… and that he “wants to be a part of” a Republican renaissance in Maryland that could follow. Steele isn’t saying what office he’d pursue; simply saying QUOTE “as we go forward, I’ll see what’s out there.”

School Bus Ambushed: A Baltimore city school bus was ambushed yesterday afternoon in the 700-block of West Lexington Street. Police say the bus with no passengers was parked when a group of juveniles assaulted the driver inside the vehicle. The suspects then took off with the bus, taking it around the block before they returned it to the original scene and fled. Three of the juveniles are now in police custody. The Baltimore Sun has more.

Baltimore Football: the Ravens won last night’s pre-season opener, beating the San Francisco 49ers 23 to 3. The two teams will hold joint practices tomorrow, Sunday, and Monday.

Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles also won their game yesterday, taking down the Toronto Blue Jays 2 to 1. The O’s will be back at Camden Yards tonight, where they’ll play against the St. Louis Cardinals, in a game set to start at 7:05pm.

Washington Baseball: the Washington Nationals won their game against the New York Mets yesterday; the score there: 5 to 3.

WYPR's Morning Edition news anchor Ashley Sterner serves up the latest Maryland news and weather every weekday morning, delightfully interspersed with the occasional snarky comment.