District's Commuter Tax Bid Rejected
Court Cites Congress's Constitutional Power
The city's quest to impose a commuter tax suffered another blow when a federal appeals court ruled that Congress has the final say in such matters concerning the District.
The ruling upheld an opinion issued last year by a federal judge. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and others were hoping to strike down a congressional ban against levying a tax on commuters.
A three-judge appellate said that the Constitution gives Congress "exclusive authority to govern the District."
The panel included John G. Roberts Jr., who heard arguments in the case several months before being named chief justice of the United States.
Man Charged With Stabbing 3 Tourists
Incident Occurred Near White House
Shouting, "You! You! You!" a homeless man stabbed three tourists at Lafayette Square, just a few hundred yards from the White House, a Secret Service officer wrote in court documents.
The tourists, who had just completed a White House tour, were not seriously hurt in the incident Tuesday morning.
Stanley R. Battle, 48, who according to court filings has a history of mental illness, was charged with assault with intent to kill. A judge ordered him held for a psychiatric evaluation.
Costs Begin to Clip Stadium Ambitions
Officials Discuss Shrinking Suites, Retail
The District's plans for a baseball stadium could be scaled back because of the rising cost of construction materials.
"We'll have to reduce some things and not be able to do a Cadillac stadium, but we could do a Buick or a Ford," said D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D).
Officials declined to say how much more the $535 million project could cost under their most recent analysis. But they said that cuts could be made in the size of concourses, suites and other amenities, or by moving parking aboveground and reducing the number of stores at the site. Plans call for the new stadium to open in March 2008.
Emergency Law Relaxes DUI Rules
Williams Signs Bill After Criticizing It
D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) signed emergency legislation to relax the city's drunken driving law, which allowed drivers to be prosecuted for minimal amounts of alcohol in their bloodstream.
The old law gave police the authority to arrest drivers with blood alcohol levels as low as .02 percent -- far less than the .08 level at which a driver is considered legally intoxicated.
Under the emergency legislation, drivers with a blood alcohol level under .05 will be presumed not to be intoxicated.
For drivers registering .05 to .079, police will be required to use other factors, such as performance on field sobriety tests, to establish impairment.
The changes make the District's law similar to those in Virginia and Maryland.
Williams said that he believes the D.C. Council went too far in easing the law and that he hopes to address his concerns in negotiations for permanent legislation.
Prison Time for Concealing HIV Status
Former D.C. Aide Exposed Girls, Women
Sundiata Basir, a former D.C. government employee, was sentenced to 21 years in prison for having sexual relationships with women and teenage girls without telling them that he had the AIDS virus.
Four women and girls, including a 15-year-old, later discovered that they had the AIDS virus.
Basir, 34, pleaded guilty to charges of child sexual abuse, cruelty to children and attempted aggravated assault.