- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 6, 2011

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBER LESLIE E. JOHNSON RESIGNED TUESDAY, five days after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges. But her resignation, effective July 31, does not come soon enough for County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, who called on Johnson to leave her post immediately, or her council colleagues, who voted in her absence to strip her of her staff, her government car and her county-issued cellphone, according to The Washington Times. Johnson, a Democrat, pleaded guilty last week to federal charges of conspiracy to commit witness and evidence tampering, including stuffing $79,600 in cash down her bra on the instructions of her husband, then-County Executive Jack Johnson. She faces up to a year and a half in prison when she is sentenced Oct. 13.

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HAS PASSED ITS FIRST MILESTONE in selecting who gets coveted licenses for the city’s burgeoning medical marijuana program — even as the federal government takes a second look at its hands-off approach to those who grow and sell the drug for patient use, The Washington Times reports. More than 80 people or businesses applied to cultivate or dispense medical marijuana through letters of intent submitted to the Department of Health. The applicants range from entrepreneurial lawyers and “green thumbs” in the Washington to medical marijuana business veterans from states as far away as Colorado and Montana.

TIM KAINE, THE PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE in the U.S. Senate race in Virginia, talks with the Virginian-Pilot about a possible primary challenge from Rep. Bobby Scott. Mr. Kaine said Mr. Scott has earned the right to take his time in making a decision. Mr. Kaine, a former Virginia governor and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, shared his thoughts about potential intraparty competition and other topics during an interview Tuesday with the paper. Mr. Kaine said he and Mr. Scott have discussed the Senate seat since Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat, announced he won’t seek re-election next year.

NORTHERN VIRGINIA BUSINESS LEADERS have joined the call for the authority overseeing the 23-mile Metrorail extension to Loudoun County to scrap plans for a deal with organized labor that they say will drive up costs and dampen competition for nonunion contractors, according to The Washington Post. State Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a Republican, has threatened to sue the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, saying a mandatory pro-union agreement is at odds with the state’s right-to-work law. And a group of Republican state delegates from Northern Virginia is demanding an investigation of the decision by the MWAA  board to seek a labor agreement because one of the board’s members is a top union official whose workers stand to benefit from such a deal.


THIRTEEN PEOPLE DIED ON VIRGINIA ROADS during the July Fourth holiday weekend — more than double compared with the similar period last year — according to preliminary state police reports. The victims were killed in 11 traffic crashes statewide during the four-day statistical counting period. Six people died over the holiday in 2010, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. The fatal crashes occurred in Portsmouth and the counties of Accomack, Albemarle, Alleghany, Campbell, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Henrico and Prince Edward. Both Alleghany and Henrico had two fatal crashes, police said. Four of the 11 fatal crashes were alcohol-related, and at least five of the victims were not wearing seat belts.

THE REDISTRICTING PROCESS BEGINS TODAY IN MARYLAND with the first meeting of an advisory committee appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat. The governor and state legislators will meet in October in a special legislative session to remap Maryland’s eight congressional and 47 state legislative districts, according to The Washington Times. Majority Democrats are expected to push for a map that has more Democratic or fewer Republican voters in the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland districts held by GOP congressmen. However, analysts say the majority party might be best served by not tinkering with an existing map that has helped it seize a firm hold of six of eight congressional seats.

SLOTS REVENUE FROM MARYLAND’S TWO CASINOS DECLINED IN JUNE, for the second straight month, dropping 5 percent to $12.61 million, according to the Baltimore Sun. Hollywood Casino Perryville, the larger of the two, brought in some $784,000 less than in May, based on figures from the Maryland Lottery released Tuesday. The 1,500-machine casino, which opened in September, took in $8.82 million, down from $9.61 million the previous month. The casino generated an average of $196.05 per machine per day in June. The decline at Perryville was offset in part by revenue increases at the smaller Casino at Ocean Downs, which took in nearly $3.78 million last month, up from $3.69 million in May. Sales at the 750-machine Eastern Shore casino have increased steadily since it opened in January. Owner William Rickman told state racing regulators last week that revenue has been lower than anticipated.