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City State: Morning Roundup

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Today marks the first wave of thousands of federal employees going to work at the Mark Center in Alexandria, as part of the federal government's Base Realignment and Closure program, which Gov. Bob McDonnell and others say will result in major gridlock. A total 6,400 workers will now go to work there. The move starts gradually, with 2,300 workers arriving from today to Sept. 15. By year's end, almost 5,000 will be located in what's become a new landmark along Interstate 395. Another 1,400 arrive in 2012, reports WRC-TV (Channel 4). Mr. McDonnell, Republican, reportedly says the Virginia Department of Transportation will start a regional task force and implement a traffic management plan.

Documents related to an Office of Campaign Finance investigation of D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander show the agency neither requested nor received any of the receipts that officeholders are required by law to maintain to support their use of funds intended to benefit constituents in need, reports Jeffrey Anderson of The Washington Times. The agency last week cleared Ms. Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat, of allegations that she misused the funds, but it fined her $4,000 for two smaller infractions.

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier's signature crime-prevention blitz, known as All Hands on Deck, suffered a second potential setback since coming under union fire. On Friday, the Public Employees Relations Board upheld a 2009 ruling that requires overtime pay for police officers who work extra shifts as part of the initiative and also directs police officials to rescind orders enabling the initiative. The next All Hands on Deck is scheduled for Friday through Sunday, reports Andrea Noble of The Washington Times.

The District of Columbia could be forced to participate in an immigration-enforcement program now that the federal government has issued a letter to the states that voided their participation agreements and emphasized the program's mandatory nature, David Hill of The Washington Times reports.

Two days before Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, announced plans to sponsor a same-sex- marriage bill, a Catholic archbishop strongly urged that he reconsider the move, suggesting the governor was acting out of "mere political expediency," according to The Washington Post. Baltimore Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien said in a letter last month that sponsoring the bill would "deeply conflict" with Mr. O'Malley's Catholic faith and that he should resist pressure to do so after New York's recent legalization of same-sex marriage.

A Frederick, Md., woman has gone missing in Aruba, recalling the case of American tourist Natalie Holloway, who disappeared from the island in May 2005. Holloway was on a high school senior trip, and her body was never recovered. Robyn Gardner, 35, of Frederick vanished last week. She was on the island with a male friend, also from Frederick, whom police have detained for questioning. He told investigators Ms. Gardner never returned to shore after the two went snorkeling but reportedly has changed the details of his story several times, WTTG-TV (Channel 5) reports.

Maryland's teachers union is rejecting most of the final recommendations of the special pension commission, particularly its proposal to shift half the funding of pensions onto county school boards or governments, according to the Maryland Reporter. In a letter to the governor and legislative leaders, the union also wants county governments to be forced to fully fund school budgets and to give them authority to raise more taxes or disregard local tax caps.

The acrimonious tone of the Democratic primary in Northern Virginia's 31st state Senate District is sharpening as the Aug. 23 primary election approaches, according to The Washington Times. Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola and challenger Jaime Areizaga-Soto have traded accusations of misconduct and ethical breaches in a race that has shocked political observers and voters for its level of animosity.

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