Morning Roundup: June 28

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D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray is striking a firm tone on the economic pillar of his One City plan and looking to rebound from the scandals that have surrounded the John A. Wilson Building, Tom Howell Jr. reports in The Washington Times. Mr. Gray on Monday announced plans to revitalize the job market, real estate prospects and businesses in key portions of the District, highlighting long-stagnant Ward 8 as the epicenter of new growth. “Today, I’m absolutely convinced the future of development in the District will be centered in Ward 8,” he said, adding, “I don’t think anyone would have made that statement as recently as three or four years ago.” Mr. Gray is seeking to re-energize a platform that had been lost after a series of early public relations fumbles.

The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will take up a case out of the District of whether police covert use of a GPS device to track a suspect constitutes a warrantless search, which is banned under the Bill of Rights. The Washington Times reports on the latest development in the case of Antoine Jones. But do yourself a favor. Go back and read this original 2007 story by reporter Jim McElhatton detailing how Jones, a convicted cocaine dealer, was able to open a bar that was a front for a multimillion-dollar cocaine-dealing network with ties to Texas and Mexico — within sight of a D.C. police station.

Environmental groups say Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is taking some positive strides toward cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and conserving land, but they express frustration that he is still not doing enough, Paige Winfield Cunningham reports in The Washington Times. There’s lingering anger that the Republican governor champions offshore oil drilling. But there are other concerns. “Dan Holmes, director of state policy for the Piedmont Environmental Council, said it’s good that 60,000 acres have been preserved under the Republican governor’s watch, but that the achievement falls far short of the 400,000-acre goal he set while running for office.” Mr. McDonnell’s natural resources secretary announced Monday that the Virginia governor will host a meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council on July 11 that will include the governors of Maryland and Pennsylvania, the mayor of the District and an EPA administrator.

The D.C. Lottery has announced start dates for “demo games” in advance of first-in-the-nation online gambling, Tom Howell Jr. reports in The Washington Times. “The lottery will debut Blackjack and Victory at Sea in late July and release four more games - Bingo, poker, E-Scratch Offs and random number games - by Aug. 20, so players can get accustomed to the games before risking the contents of their wallets.” A D.C. Council hearing set for Wednesday should sort out some of the details — including this one: “Buddy Roogow, executive director of the D.C. Lottery… said the lottery is still hammering out ways to prevent collusion among players - for example a pair of players who divulge their Texas hold’em hands over the phone without the knowledge of a third man at the online table. But, Mr. Roogow noted, they will not be offering high-stakes games. ‘Part of the answer is that we are not talking about a site for professional gamers,’ he said.”

Gay marriage supporters in Maryland are urging Gov. Martin O’Malley to lend his public support to the issue, The Washington Post reports. The paper notes that the Democratic governor made no mention of same-sex marriage in his State of the State speech this year and did not highlight his support in news conferences, as he did with legislation based on some of his other priorities. “It was great to have his support in 2011, but we need his leadership in 2012 to get it done,” The Post quotes openly gay Delegate Heather R. Mizeur as saying. A story Monday by David Hill in The Washington Times noted that Democratic legislators might be reluctant to fight for gay marriage next year, as it could potentially go to referendum like the Dream Act bill seems likely to do and give opposing Republicans yet another reason to turn out in droves on Election Day 2012.

Metropolitan Police Cmdr. Hilton Burton has asked his lawyer to explore whether he can file a libel lawsuit against Chief Cathy L. Lanier after the latter said the former lied when he told a D.C. Council committee a different version of events around police escort policy than she had outlined, Harry Jaffe writes in his column in the Washington Examiner. “Police brass do not make a practice of criticizing their chief in public, especially in testimony before the city council. In my 36 years covering the D.C. cops, through eight chiefs, not once can I recall a commander speaking out against the boss. So when Hilton Burton, commander of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Special Operations Division, contradicted Chief Cathy Lanier before the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, I knew we hadn’t heard the last of it.” Well said. We don’t have as much experience, but the thought occurred to us as well.

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