TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY RAY LAHOOD will try to make peace Wednesday between the key players in the Metrorail extension to Washington Dulles International Airport, The Washington Post reports. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board has voted for an underground station that would cost about $300 million more than the above-ground station favored by state and local authorities. Mr. LaHood offered to intervene and said last week that he hopes to come out of the meeting in his Southeast Washington office with “an agreement on a way forward.” It is unclear, however, whether Mr. LaHood can mend rifts in what is a fragile coalition of regional partners with competing interests.
ENTREPRENEURS EAGER TO GROW OR SELL MARIJUANA in the District of Columbia are touting their business acumen, green thumbs, or desire to aid the ill and dying in applications submitted to the city, The Washington Times reports. With names such as “District of Cannabis” and “Jahrock,” the groups include nonprofit activists from Northwest Washington, a rabbi from the Takoma neighborhood and a well-known attorney who represented the “D.C. Madam.” Several applicants, such as the women behind Jahrock, speak openly and enthusiastically about their prospects, while others refuse to show their cards while they compete for permits for 10 cultivation centers and five dispensaries.
OPPONENTS OF A LAW ALLOWING MANY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS in Maryland to pay in-state college tuition said they planned to turn in more than 40,000 signatures Tuesday night — well above the 19,000 or so needed to continue the effort, The Washington Times reports. The signatures still must be validated by state election officials. The validation process must be completed by June 22, but election officials said it is unlikely to take that long. The count is under way, and the state Board of Elections will begin providing daily updates Friday at its website, elections.state.md.us.
D.C.’S LONG-SERVING CHIEF FINANCE OFFICER, NATWAR GANDHI, has “got to go.” And that’s only the first line of Jonetta Rose Barras’ column in The Washington Examiner. Ms. Barras says several D.C. Council members are expressing that sentiment in the wake of reports that D.C. revenue collectors inappropriately calculated an exemption provided for refinanced loans used to purchase commercial real estate.
The mistake perhaps cost the city tens of millions of dollars at a time it was depleting its reserve fund. “Truth be told, an independent audit could expose Gandhi’s incompetence and the city’s losses. Further, his preferred operational style is opaque, often disguised as discretion and diplomacy. Consequently, he and Attorney General Irvin Nathan have said they will conduct the review. Forget that. It’s time for the feds.”
THE ACLU HAS TOLD THE MARYLAND TRANSIT AUTHORITY that it intends to file suit over the conduct of transit police in ordering two photographers to stop taking pictures of trains, according to the Baltimore Sun. “Photography is expressive activity that is protected by the First Amendment,” an ACLU staff attorney says. “If you are legally present, you have a right to take photographs.” The Sun says the ACLU warned that unless the MTA meets a series of conditions by Sept. 1, it will take the MTA to court — where it expects to win. Not entirely sure whether this means we’re safe to take pictures of the Bay Bridge again.
A D.C. SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE on Tuesday ordered reluctant witness Sulaimon Brown to testify next week before a D.C. Council committee exploring Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s hiring practices, The Washington Times reports.