The Washington Times - December 29, 2011, 10:05AM

Virginia will again play a big role in presidential-year elections that in 2012 include perhaps the country’s marquee Senate race, while Maryland Democrats face a potentially bruising primary before trying to increase their ranks in Congress, reports David Hill of The Washington Times.

A top Metro manager created a $140,000-a-year job for a friend whose California-based company had received stimulus funds and contracts from the transit agency — including one for $50,000 that paid for the design of a single banner hanging in Metro’s downtown headquarters. When a watchful employee repeatedly attempted to warn Metro’s general manager and other officials of irregularities with the arrangement, the whistleblower — not the supervisor who hired the man — was fired, according to an internal report by the transit agency’s Office of Inspector General, reports Luke Rosiak of The Times.


A Justice Department legal opinion that clears the way for states to offer lottery services and gambling over the Internet reinforces D.C.’s efforts to introduce poker and other games, but may threaten the city’s status as a first-in-the-nation pioneer in the industry, reports Tom Howell Jr. of The Times.

Parking enforcement officers in D.C. issued 1.6 million tickets in fiscal 2011, equal to roughly six a minute, according to a report issued Wednesday by AAA Mid-Atlantic. The report also found that the city collected $50.1 million in parking fees in the first eight months of fiscal 2011, putting it on pace to break the fiscal 2010 total of $80.4 million and the fiscal 2009 total of $70.7 million, according to The Times.

Across the Washington area, black students are suspended and expelled two to five times as often as white students, creating disparities in discipline that experts say reflect a growing national problem. An analysis by The Washington Post shows the phenomenon both in the suburbs and in the city, from the far reaches of Southern Maryland to the subdivisions of Fairfax, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

Fairfax County police issued a warrant for Johnny D. Guillen Pimentel’s arrest in September, but haven’t been able to track him down. Investigators learned a few weeks ago that he was in Peru, police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said Wednesday, according to the Washington Examiner.

Maryland officials constantly tout the state’s top schools and most educated workforce, but it may have a more dubious distinction — the least compact and most gerrymandered congressional districts in the nation, according to

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown has returned $5,750 in campaign funds donated by Richard Stewart, a politically connected businessman who sat on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s redistricting panel and who pleaded guilty this month to tax evasion, according to the Baltimore Sun.