Reporter’s Notebook – Post-Thanksgiving edition

I hope you all enjoyed the past few days of the Thanksgiving holiday break. Route 1 Reporter is getting back into the swing of things, but first let’s rundown all the news that did take place during our truncated holiday week. While it happened late in the week, the hire of Mount Rainier’s new economic development coordinator is one of the bigger stories to come out of last week. Mount Rainier has been lagging behind some of its other Route 1 corridor communities when it comes to economic development, and there’s an uncertain effort underway – technically – to annex major commercial areas in Chillum into Mount Rainier. Those issues will fall to the new guy in short order.

Reporter’s Notebook: Busy week ahead as Thanksgiving looms

While it may be a short, feast-filled week for most of us, there’s a lot of news ahead as local governments get affairs in order as the winter season rolls in. But first up, let’s run down the big stories of the past week:

Our top story looked at Amazon’s decision to split its second headquarters between New York City and Crystal City, Virginia, with a focus on how the decision may impact Prince George’s County. The good news: Amazon’s decision to locate in Crystal City will likely impact Prince George’s County less heavily than other communities closer in to “National Landing.” The bad news: Prince George’s County will still be impacted, with an increase in the expected numbers of new residents to move here. How that will shake out remains to be seen.

Reporter’s Notebook – Election wrap-up & looking ahead

Hey everyone; Thanks again for your continued patronage of Route 1 Reporter. The “Progress Report,” which I relaunched last week, is now just going to be folded into the existing Reporter’s Notebook updates, which I’ve been using to provide topical updates of a more ephemeral nature gathered from tibdits heard out on the beat. Anyway, on to the news. The biggest political news of the past week was the election, of course, which – statewide – saw Gov. Larry Hogan handily best Ben Jealous to secure a second-term in Annapolis, the first Republican to do so in ages. In Prince George’s County, the biggest races were decided months ago during the primary.

Progress Report – Election day is (nearly) upon us

Hello everyone! I’d like to thank you all for your continued support of Route 1 Reporter. I am resurrecting the weekly progress reports to give you all updates on the news that’s bubbling up in the week ahead, my coverage plans for the coming week, and a rundown of the stories from the previous week. It’s all to help you stay engaged with the important policy and development news that impacts Prince George’s County and its Route 1 communities. Last week’s top stories:
Last week might not have had a lot of council meetings going on, but there was still a lot of news to go around.

Opinion: Hyattsville campaign finance tweaks leave voters in the dark

Hyattsville’s proposed campaign finance rules erode transparency and open the city’s elections to fraud and abuse. The proposed rules should be amended to mandate all candidates submit some form of financial disclosure, regardless of campaign size, at some point during or after the election season. Under current law, all Hyattsville City Council candidates must file three campaign finance disclosure reports, one at the start of, one near the end of, and one after the campaign season. As written, the proposed campaign finance rules would exempt any candidate from financial disclosure reporting so long as they filed an affidavit saying they do not expect to raise or spend more than $1,000 during their campaign. If it had been applied over the past three election cycles, more than half of all candidates – 20 out of 37 – would have been eligible to exempt themselves from campaign finance reporting.

A photo, taken from the center lane of the Baltimore Avenue-slash-Route 1 corridor looking directly south from the intersection of Oglethorpe Street and Baltimore Avenue, shows an urban vista. The green hills of Bladensburg are in the far distance, set against a cloudy evening sky and above a ribbon of roadway. Nearer to the photographer, an urban streetscape reveals row-houses and mid-rise commercial buildings south of Madison Street set against tree-lined sidewalks. Light traffic is seen on the roadway.

Month two progress report: Route 1 Reporter evolves

It’s been a while since I’ve given you all an update on the scene behind-the-scenes at Route 1 Reporter. Part of that is because I’ve simply been so busy getting into the meat of the beat. But I’ve also been busy making tweaks to the site and its paywall infrastructure, some more visible than others. Here’s the rundown:
Introducing the “honor-system” group subscription rate
By popular demand, Route 1 Reporter has launched a new monthly subscription rate package intended for households, non-profits, city councils, government agencies and other entities that want to share Route 1 Reporter’s content internally. This idea was actually the brainchild of a local government official who felt guilty about copying, pasting and sharing Route 1 Reporter articles by email with a small group of local government executives while only paying the individual subscription rate, which does not permit this type of article sharing.

Route 1 Reporter wants your opinions

Calling all opinionated Prince Georgians: Route 1 Reporter wants to publish your thoughts. First allow me to re-introduce myself: My name is Michael Theis, editor, publisher, writer, typesetter, newsroom page and all-around one-man-band behind Route 1 Reporter. Since launched in late May 2018, I have focused on local government policy issues in the city halls dotting the Baltimore and Rhode Island Avenue Route 1 corridors between Eastern Avenue and the Beltway. Since this is a paywalled site, generating a large number of page views is not as important to me as is growing and maintaining a community of subscribers. As a result, I’ve tried to practice slow journalism – the act of producing fewer, but longer and more-well developed stories worth the price of admission.

Week two progress report: Developing a beat

City council meetings are easy to cover, for the most part. You go to them, there is an agenda of things that people will talk about, it is usually accompanied by extensive documentation of the things to be discussed, and you write about what the people at the meetings talked the longest about. All the research is done for you and the quotes are served on a silver platter. On weeks with a lot of council meetings up and down the Route 1 corridor, my cup overfloweth with stories. This past week was a challenge, owing to the end of the month slowdown in council schedules, but I managed to find my own news stories that helped to drive the cycle.