- The Washington Times - Monday, June 28, 2004

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams shared some hearty laughter Friday during a press conference in Richmond.

The officials met as part of a regular regional collaboration summit to speak about issues that affect each area. During the short press conference, the three officials said that they actually like each other.

When a reporter asked about a location for the Montreal Expos, Mr. Ehrlich, the lone Republican, pretended to duck out of the room and said, “I’m out of here.”

Mr. Warner praised the two potential venues in Virginia for the relocation of the baseball team, and noted, “The mayor has a good venue in the District.”

Just as the press conference was ending, Mr. Ehrlich tossed in, “We’re all Baltimore Orioles fans, too.”

Another smiling moment came when a reporter’s cell phone rang, interrupting Mr. Warner, and the crowd erupted in laughter.

Mr. Warner, who made millions in the cell phone industry, said: “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You hear annoyance, I hear cha-ching.”

• No ‘Club Fed’?

The Florida prison where a federal judge recommended Maryland’s former state police commissioner serve his six-month sentence has a reputation as the original “Club Fed,” a cushy retreat for celebrity crooks.

Amenities Edward Norris might enjoy at the minimum-security camp at Eglin Air Force Base, about 45 miles east of Pensacola, include an all-purpose tennis and volleyball court and a strip of grass abutting a foul-smelling tidal marsh, which some inmates refer to sarcastically as a beach.

But some, including a former Eglin convict, dismiss the popular image of tanned inmates lounging beach-side, pointing out that most of the prisoners are drug offenders.

“Inmates are there to do their time and go home,” said David Novak, a Salt Lake City prisoner consultant who served a year in Eglin for mail fraud. “It’s not the ‘Shawshank Redemption,’ and it’s not a country club.”

Norris’ attorney, David Irwin, agreed. “It’s not exactly like you’re going with your girlfriend to Club Med, let me tell you that,” Mr. Irwin said last week.

Mr. Irwin said Norris would be housed with criminals similar to those he had arrested all his professional life, as a New York City cop and as chief of both the Baltimore and Maryland police forces.

Norris has been ordered to surrender to U.S. marshals on July 21. He was sentenced last Monday for using as much as $30,000 in police funds to pay for lavish dinners, fancy hotels and romantic encounters with women when he was Baltimore’s police commissioner.

If the federal Bureau of Prisons approves the judge’s recommendation, Norris will live in a two-man cubicle in a dormitory at Eglin. He will be required to work seven hours a day, possibly doing lawn maintenance, food service or janitorial work, depending on the prison’s needs, said Carla Wilson, a Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman.

Eglin was the federal prison camp for which the term “Club Fed” was coined, Mr. Novak said. Once, inmates could wear their own clothes and regularly entertain guests. Its reputation grew because of a roster of well-known convicts, including Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt, Cy Young Award-winning baseball pitcher LaMarr Hoyt and former Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel.

• Appointments

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner appointed a retiring Fairfax County educator, a former state legislator and a hospital executive to state education-oversight boards Thursday.

Mr. Warner appointed Eleanor B. Saslaw of Annandale to the State Board of Education.

Mrs. Saslaw, consultant for student services at West Springfield High School, is retiring Wednesday after more than 35 years as a teacher and guidance counselor in the Fairfax schools. She is the wife of Democratic state Sen. Richard L. Saslaw and succeeds Susan Genovese, whose term expires Wednesday.

Mr. Warner also appointed Jean W. Cunningham of Richmond and Edward G. Murphy of Roanoke to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

Miss Cunningham, a retired Alcoa executive, served in the House of Delegates from 1986 to 1998. Dr. Murphy is president and CEO of Carilion Health System.

Jim Dyke of Reston, a lawyer and former state secretary of education, was reappointed to SCHEV.

Miss Cunningham and Dr. Murphy succeed Karen Marcus and Cheri Yecke, whose terms expire Wednesday.

• Resignation

Prince George’s County Council member Peter A. Shapiro, who has represented the central county since 1998, announced his resignation last week.

Mr. Shapiro, District 2 Democrat, has taken a full-time post at the University of Maryland at College Park, and will relinquish his post July 16.

Term limits imposed by county voters four years ago would have prevented him from seeking re-election when his current term expires in 2006.

In his new post at Maryland’s James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, he expects to continue to have an influence on issues confronting the county, including education, crime, and the relationship between police and the community.

“Our county is going from being rural and suburban to being much more urban,” Mr. Shapiro, 41, told the Associated Press.

He is encouraging redevelopment of the underused commercial strips in Hyattsville, North Brentwood, Langley Park and Mount Rainier, which are all located in District 2.

Mr. Shapiro is one of four whites serving on the nine-member council. “I chose to live in Prince George’s County because of the racial and economic diversity,” said Mr. Shapiro, who believes the changes have made the county a “model for the nation.”

Mr. Shapiro, who lives in Brentwood, played a major role in the establishment of the Gateway Arts and Entertainment District, where $75 million in proposed development is expected to transform the area.

“I hope he keeps himself involved,” said Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson.

The council is required to hold a primary within 45 to 60 days and a special election within 60 to 90 days to fill the unexpired term.

• Political maneuver

The clerk of Baltimore’s Circuit Court, who is also an independent candidate for mayor, has sued to force the removal of 15 members of the current administration — including the police commissioner and fire chief — because they have not registered to vote as required by the City Charter.

Frank M. Conaway filed the suit last week in Circuit Court, citing the charter, which states that appointee must sign “a declaration of intent to become a city resident and registered voter within six months of the date of appointment.” Those who fail to abide by the declaration “shall be terminated,” the charter reads.

He also asked that the 15 department heads return all wages they were paid during the time they were not registered to vote.

Christina Bellantoni contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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