The Washington Times - June 13, 2011, 08:40AM

THE DISTRICT’S MAYOR was called a “crook” at a public hearing, the council chairman’s campaign committee was accused of widespread reporting violations, one council member disclosed he had been offered bribes and another council member was accused of using his charity as a slush fund — all in the course of five days last week. The disclosures have left residents and observers fearful that the city, which Congress stripped of its financial authority just over a decade ago, could be backsliding into an era when inefficiency and accusations of abuse were commonplace. But decisive action by new D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan suggests that allegations of public-trust violations — even by elected officials — might be handled differently than in recent years, reports Tom Howell Jr. of The Washington Times.

THE 111TH U.S. OPEN BEGINS TODAY at Congressional Country Club. Across Montgomery County on Sunday, the unmistakable whack of drivers striking golf balls was mingled with the more subtle sounds of opportunity and excitement. Merchants and residents hope the event will bring money, and they seem resigned to the expected gridlock. Three days of practice rounds begin today and will be followed by four days of tournament play, which are expected to attract about 250,000 spectators. This is the third time in Congressional’s 87-year history that the club has hosted an Open on its Blue Course, The Washington Times reports.


OFFICIALS INSIDE THE DISTRICT’S labor relations board say they expect the city school system will be told this week to rehire the 75 teachers who were fired in 2008 when the panel reviews the schools’ appeal. The Public Employee Relations Board is likely to review an appeal from the school system stating it should not have to reinstate and pay $7.5 million in back wages to probationary teachers fired in 2008, as required by an arbitrator.

The arbitrator ruled in February that DCPS improperly fired the batch of first- and second-year teachers by relying on recommendations from their principals but never informing teachers of the charges against them or giving the teachers a chance to refute them, according to The Washington Examiner.

MARYLAND GOV. MARTIN O’MALLEY’S EXECUTIVE ORDER for a study on natural-gas drilling has upset some political opponents, who note that a similar proposal failed in this year’s General Assembly, according to The Washington Times. Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, issued an order last week calling for a study into the economic and environmental effects of drilling the Marcellus Shale — a 95,000-square-mile Appalachian natural-gas reserve located partially in Western Maryland.

ONLY TWO OF MARYLAND’S FIVE PLANNED SLOTS VENUES HAVE OPENED, with the other three facing delays. Meanwhile, neighboring states have upped the ante with Las Vegas-style games such as blackjack, craps and roulette, according to The Washington Post. That has meant that Maryland — barely in the slots game — is falling further behind. Only two of the state’s five planned slots venues have opened, with the other three facing delays. In the meantime, neighboring states have considerably upped the ante, which worries not only supporters of Maryland gambling but also opponents. All told, 18 casinos in West Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania have added table games, most of them since Maryland voters authorized slots in a 2008 ballot measure.

ANNAPOLIS DEVELOPER LARRY HOGAN is so unhappy with the direction Maryland is heading under the direction of Gov. Martin O’Malley, Democrat, that he’s started a group called Change Maryland. “Some businesses have closed and left the state,” Hogan told the Maryland Reporter about his month-old organization. “Others have just given up.”

THE NEPHEW OF MARYLAND REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS was fatally shot over the weekend in an apparent random shooting in his off-campus apartment near Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, according to the Associated Press. Christopher Cummings, 20, died shortly after 5 a.m. Friday at the scene, police said. Cummings’ roommate was critically injured. Both were ODU students. Cummings, Baltimore Democrat, described the incident in a statement Sunday as a random shooting.