Virginia's Gang Task Forces Overlap
Groups Haven't Added Any Detectives
A recent infusion of money and task forces to combat the growing gang problem has resulted in duplicated prevention efforts, turf battles and no new officers on the street in Northern Virginia.
A review of the budgets and objectives of the four major task forces serving the region, along with interviews with gang investigators, showed that even as the number of gang-related incidents has grown, none of the new initiatives has added frontline detectives, who are considered a linchpin of gang intelligence-gathering and suppression.
Proponents of the task forces say it was not their mission to add manpower, but that is what gang detectives say they need the most from elected leaders.
SOL Keeps Some From Graduating
Less Than 1% in N.Va. Held Back by Test Scores
Fewer than 100 Northern Virginia seniors failed to graduate with their classmates in June solely because of their performance on state standardized tests.
Graduation numbers were highly anticipated this year, the first in which students were required to pass six high school Standards of Learning exams or approved substitutes to receive a diploma.
More than 20,300 seniors were enrolled in Northern Virginia schools this spring. Some of them did not get diplomas because they failed classes, regardless of whether they passed the exams. But only a handful -- less than 1 percent in many districts -- fell short only because of their performance on the SOL.
Warner Says Business Will Back Kerry
Governor Expects Support From Tax Allies
Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) said he believes business leaders who supported his efforts to raise taxes and balance the state's budget will also support John F. Kerry for president because they are concerned about the economy and the size of the federal budget deficit.
In a conference call this week with reporters in southern states, Warner said the historical pattern of business leaders backing Republican candidates will be broken this year, nationally and in Virginia.
The Democratic National Committee has begun airing a television ad in Virginia called "Strength" that uses clips from Kerry's acceptance speech at the party's nominating convention.
Warner expressed optimism that his recent experience building a coalition with business leaders in Virginia will translate into votes for Kerry.
Arlington Fund Manager Resigns
Audit Found Expense Report Problems
The administrator of Arlington County's $1 billion retirement fund resigned Thursday after a county audit found "irregularities" in his expense reports, including trips to the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and other luxury resorts.
Executive Director Bruce O. Kallos, 69, was placed on administrative leave last month after a county audit revealed improper use of the board's American Express card for travel and other expenses.
Kallos had been the fund's administrator since 1995, during which time the fund had done well, performing in the top 25 percent of public funds for the past five years, county officials said.
Kallos had previously said he erred when he charged an estimated $200 on his hotel bill for an afternoon of massage and yoga in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Across the Region
Ghana Airways Strandings; Metro Abandonment
* Hundreds of Ghana Airways passengers were stranded in Baltimore and elsewhere for a week when officials stopped allowing the airline to fly into the United States. Charter planes were arranged.
* A Red Line train operator and two other Metro employees were ordered to take a refresher course but will not be penalized after the operator abandoned her crowded train during rush hour.