Early Briefing: Support Wanes For Tysons Tunnel

* TysonsTunnel.org, the vocal grass-roots organization that has fought to place the proposed Metrorail stations at Tysons Corner underground, is out of money and has lost the support of its primary backer, the developer WestGroup.

Yet the organization plans a rally May 19 to revive the debate and try to raise money, organizers said.

* The D.C. Council is considering a ban on the sale of single bottles of malt liquor and beer of that are 70 ounces or less in wards 4, 7 and 8.

After proposing separate bills to prohibit sales, council members Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7) and Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) banded together to back the ban. They said sales of singles contribute to social ills in the communities they represent. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), chairman of the Committee on Public Works and the Environment, said a temporary ban in Ward 4 has been successful and would be made permanent under the legislation.

Alexander dismissed the idea that stores could go out of business because of the ban. She said that public drunkenness and urination and other problems are often the result of sales of singles. "It's just deplorable to me that a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor can cost less than a loaf of bread in some of the local stores," Alexander said.

* A new accounting rule could force Bethesda-based American Capital Strategies to write down some of its $6 billion in high-interest loans to medium-size companies to reflect the reduced value of that debt due to the current credit crisis.

Known as a business development company, publicly traded American Capital lends money to various kinds of businesses and has a history of paying healthy dividends.

The new rule, known as Financial Accounting Standards No. 157, took effect in January and requires companies to reprice the value of loans to what the debt might sell for today as opposed to what it was worth six months or a year ago, when the loans were made.

* The recent growth in Frederick County's Hispanic population is igniting a controversy that some fear could escalate into the kind of war over illegal immigration that has torn apart Prince William County. In the past month, the Frederick County sheriff has joined with federal authorities to identify and deport illegal immigrants, and county commissioners have proposed legislation to ban free translation of county business and require public schools to track down students who are in the United States illegally.

* Shares of Sprint Nextel rose Monday along with renewed speculation that a major shake-up of the troubled wireless carrier is in the works.

The company's shares climbed 10.5 percent, or 83 cents, to $8.72, after reports that it was being considered for a takeover by German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom or that it might spin off its Nextel business into a public safety wireless network.

* The firm that runs the D.C. Lottery was fined $336,124 in January and given poor ratings for timeliness and quality of services in a written evaluation in August, according to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

Lottery Technology Enterprises, which has had the lottery contract for nearly 25 years, received a good rating for business relations and acceptable ratings for cost control and customer satisfaction. The company, which is partnered with GTech, the largest provider of lottery services, received the evaluation before submitting its contract proposal in September to continue the city's lottery services.

By Dan Beyers  |  May 6, 2008; 7:06 AM ET
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