The Washington Times - March 23, 2011, 08:08AM

D.C. MAYOR VINCENT C. GRAY’S popularity has plummeted just three months into his term, following a series of scandals involving personnel practices that have resulted in federal and local investigations, The Washington Times reports. The findings come from a Clarus Research Group survey, which shows 40 percent of D.C. residents disapprove of the job Mr. Gray, a Democrat, is doing.

D.C. COUNCIL MEMBER MARY CHEH’S request for subpoena power to assist an investigation into the personnel practices of Mayor Vincent C. Gray is unnecessary because the mayor says he and the rest of his administration will cooperate fully, The Washington Times reports. Mrs. Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat, wants the subpoena power to call witnesses who do not work for the city, including recently fired personnel. However, the mayor’s position does not put her and the mayor “at odds,” she told The Washington Times.

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U.S. SEN. JIM WEBB, Virginia Democrat, is hinting at a future public role, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Visiting a Richmond trauma rehab center on Tuesday, Mr. Webb suggested that his political career wouldn’t end with his Senate term. When a reporter jokingly referred to Mr. Webb, who recently announced he wouldn’t seek a second Senate term, as a “short-timer,” he smiled and said, “Maybe.” Mr. Webb would only rule out another term as senator. “I’m not thinking about running for re-election, but I’m not going away, either,” he said. “I intend to stay politically involved.” Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political science professor, said the secretary of state post seems the most plausible for Mr. Webb, a Vietnam veteran, the newspaper reports.

MARYLAND GOV. MARTIN O’MALLEY faces a critical point in his second term as the General Assembly prepares this week to vote on his $34.2 billion budget — the centerpiece of a 2011 legislative agenda already being knocked for focusing on environmental concerns rather than fiscal issues, according to The Washington Times. The budget debate will begin Wednesday in the House, which has added proposals for new fees for Maryland residents to generate roughly $70 million in additional revenue, and Senate leaders are anticipating proposals when their chamber takes up the budget after it clears the House, The Times reports.

O’MALLEY’S OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY plan continues to encounter “stiff resistance” in the the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Thomas M. Middleton tells the Baltimore Sun some people want the proposal to build a wind farm off Ocean City to be put to a study.

METRO TRAINS have been involved in a series of low-speed collisions in rail yards in the past four months as train operators have broken rules on speed and safe-driving practices, The Washington Post reports. The findings were made by Metro’s safety oversight agency, which reported five or six rail-yard crashes since December to the Tri-State Oversight Committee, which found that the incidents were due largely to lax compliance with rules, according to the committee chairman.