- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Three groups have set “trackers” on George Allen’s stump trail with instructions to record the former governor’s every word as he tries to win back the senate seat he lost five years ago, Paige Winfield Cunningham reports in The Washington Times. Although it has become common for campaigns to send spies to watch the other side, few candidates have three people tailing them 16 months before the general election. “We’d love another ‘macaca’ moment,” said Chris Harris, a spokesman for American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic political action committee employing one of the trackers.

A civilian reporting to a senior uniformed staff member for Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier has been rewriting disciplinary decisions and imposing harsher punishments on police officers than what police trial boards handed down, Jeffrey Anderson writes in The Washington Times. Attorneys for the affected cops say the more severe punishments will likely be overturned in court — as have many others in the past. Police officials claim the practice, prohibited by the city’s municipal regulations, is legal but produce no arbitrator’s decisions supporting their claims. Police say it’s killing morale.

Maryland this fall will begin evaluating teachers based on student performance, the Baltimore Sun reports. “The decision, made despite opposition from teachers, keeps Maryland among a dozen jurisdictions on the forefront of efforts to hold teachers and principals more accountable for the progress of their students.” The change will begin in seven jurisdictions, including Baltimore. Who else is among them? Prince George’s: Yes. Montgomery: No.

Former Postmaster General John Potter is expected to be named head of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, The Washington Post reports. “Although Potter does not have airport management experience, he developed relationships with airlines who ship cargo for the Postal Service. Those who have worked with him said Potter’s leadership of one of the nation’s largest employers would serve him well in a new arena.” So what does this mean for the ongoing above-ground, below-ground debate for the Dulles Metrorail station? No one is going there quite yet. Potter is expected to be voted in as head of the 1,400-employee authority and its $1.9 billion budget Wednesday morning.

Tommy Wells did a lot of hemming and hawing when asked by City Paper’s Loose Lips if he was planning on running for D.C. mayor. The Ward 6 council member, who Tuesday introduced some legislation aimed at closing ethics loopholes, finally responded to persistent questions about whether he would rule out a run by saying, “Um, no, of course not, I’m not ruling anything out.”

Post Poll, Day 4: Schools. D.C. schools parents gave the public schools system positive marks for the first time since George W. Bush was president (Actually that wasn’t so long ago, but it was a little surprising to hear they got positive marks that recently). Fully 53 percent of parents with children in the schools say the schools are doing “good” or “excellent” — up from 31 percent in 2008. And it is the first time the schools have gotten such majority positive reviews since they were transferred to mayoral control. The downside — 60 percent of the public at large says the schools rate “not so good” or “poor.” Michelle Rhee, like her boss, is more popular in hindsight. “Her overall approval rating has swelled to 55 percent, but a large racial gap remains, and a slight majority of African Americans continue to disapprove of the job she did as chancellor,” The Post says.

Maryland could lose about $40 million in tax revenue this year if the NFL’s ongoing lockout wipes out the league’s entire season, according to a report released Tuesday by the state’s comptroller. The state stands to lose $2 million in tax revenue per home game, David Hill reports in The Washington Times. “According to the report, a season-long lockout would rob state and local governments of as much as $37.1 million in direct revenue from taxes on player and team-employee salaries, game tickets, general sales, parking and hotels. About $21.8 million of the revenue would go to the state. The governments could also lose more than $3 million in indirect revenue from taxes collected on non-NFL businesses like restaurants, bars and grocery stores that could lose sales and potentially reduce staff without an NFL season.”

Where in the world is Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell? Why, in Paris, of course. Promoting Virginia at the Paris Air Show, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The newspaper says the trip will cost the state about $42,454, according to the governor’s office.