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Editorial: Fulfilling our duty

The Daily Record began publishing editorials on this page on May 1, 2009.

We did so because we thought it was our duty to speak out on issues important to our readers, our city and our state. We still do.

Our first editorial commended the state for holding the line on college and university in-state tuition rates for four years in a row. Our editorial last week praised the potential benefits of the acquisition of St. Joseph Medical Center by the University of Maryland Medical System.

In the intervening three-and-a-half years, we have commented on everything from pit bulls to corrupt politicians to secret meetings to the need to tear down the Mechanic Theatre and for state legislators to maintain the independence of the environmental law clinic at the University of Maryland.

We have done our best to tell truth to power and to hold public officials and institutions accountable for their actions and policies.

We have told the Maryland Court of Appeals that its pace of issuing rulings, especially while people languish in jail, is unacceptably slow. We have told that same body that its cavalier application of the state financial disclosure law to itself — allowing judges to simply write “no change” on a form year after year while the original form resides in a file cabinet far away, is disgraceful.

We have told the mayor and city council of Baltimore that they fell asleep at the switch when they were supposed to be monitoring East Baltimore Development Inc. and its progress, or lack thereof, in redeveloping a desolate, 88-acre tract near Johns Hopkins Hospital.

And we have told the governor, the Maryland General Assembly and its esteemed Senate president that they all lost their way in the weeds of casino gambling while allowing other issues to fall by the wayside.

Speaking of other issues, there are still several at the top of our list of important, unfinished business:

-Transportation funding: There is still not a penny in sight for critical needs throughout Maryland, such as the Red Line, the Blue Line, roads and bridges. Even red-state Virginia is talking about a gas tax increase. We must act.

-Downtown revitalization: A bold plan to expand the Baltimore Convention Center while building a new arena and hotel still awaits public and private funding. This would be a defining moment for our city. It needs to happen.

-EBDI: There is still so much to be done on this massive undertaking that is vital to the economic future of East Baltimore and the entire city and, most of all, to the Middle East community. This project literally is too big and too important to fail, but its success will take nothing less than the full cooperation, energy and attention of the public, private and nonprofit sectors. We wish them well.

Today marks my retirement and the end of my stewardship of this page and the page opposite. New voices will express new opinions in the weeks and months to come. But The Daily Record will remain a marketplace of ideas — yours and ours — because that is our responsibility as a newspaper.