Expanding Voucher Program Proposed
Cafritz Says Plan Would Hurt City Schools
A proposal to expand the District's school voucher program to let students attend private high schools outside the city and to increase the $7,500 voucher amount is being floated by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on the District. D.C. Board of Education President Peggy Cooper Cafritz said the change is an attempt to boost enrollment at Catholic schools outside the District and would harm the city's public schools. A spokeswoman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said it is not pushing the plan.
House Votes to Relax City's Gun Laws
D.C. Officials Criticize Legislation
D.C. officials called it a subversion of democracy, and its sponsors described it as common sense. The U.S. House of Representatives voted for the third time to loosen the city's gun laws. The House measure would prohibit the city from spending funds to enforce a law that requires firearms kept in homes to be unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock. The measure is given a fighting chance in the Senate.
Monument Grounds Ready to Reopen
Landscaping Designed to Increase Security
A security-minded overhaul of the landscaping around the Washington Monument will be finished in time for Fourth of July crowds, and designers hope the changes look so subtle that most people will not notice them. The monument and its grounds closed in September to allow work to progress. The monument itself reopened in April.
Plane Violates Washington Airspace
Capitol Evacuated; Pilot Intercepted
For the second time in six weeks, a private plane violated the restricted airspace around the nation's capital and triggered an evacuation. This time, the errant pilot quickly got out of the way when his Beech King Air 350, which was on a flight from Ohio to Georgia, was intercepted by fighter jets Wednesday. The pilot is employed by a plastics company and has more than two decades of experience.
D.C. Leaders Chastised for Contracts
Bobb Says Staff's Mistakes Were 'Innocent'
An audit has criticized the District's mayor and city administrator for paying four contractors more than $150,000 last year, sometimes without approval from the city's contracting office. D.C. Auditor Deborah K. Nichols said Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and City Administrator Robert C. Bobb circumvented the city's contracting laws. Three of the consultants were from Oakland, where Bobb formerly worked. Bobb said his staff did not follow proper procedures, but said the errors were a "product of inexperience and innocent error."
D.C. Cracks Down on Illegal Building
1,400 Stop-Work Orders Issued
The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has issued 1,400 stop-work orders during a recent 17-month period in a crackdown on illegal residential construction and renovation. The numbers reflect both a boom in unauthorized construction because of soaring real estate prices and a more aggressive posture by the department.
Summer Services for Youth Increase
Classes, Camps, Programs Provide Meals
City officials say they are providing more summer services this year for young people, including the disadvantaged, than in the past. Summer classes, camps and programs will offer a combined total of more than 1.3 million meals to disadvantaged children during the school recess, a 12 percent increase over last year, according to Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D).