- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 31, 2005

He’s ready for his close-up, Mr. DeMille.The globetrotting mayor of the nation’s capital had a bit of Hollywood on his own doorstep last week. Anthony A. Williams stood in front of the swank, upscale Mayflower Hotel on Connecticut Avenue Northwest, where he filmed a cameo for the new movie, “The Sentinel.”

Mr. Williams, playing himself, walks into the hotel and shakes hands with a Secret Service agent, played by a more recognizable marquee name, Michael Douglas.

“It took several takes,” Mr. Williams’ spokesman, Erik Linden, said of the scene, which takes up 30 seconds of celluloid. Mr. Williams was on the busy downtown set for about 90 minutes Thursday morning.

“I have to say that the mayor looked very good,” Mr. Linden added.

Based on the novel of the same name by former Secret Service agent Gerald Petievich, “The Sentinel” stars Mr. Douglas as an agent who is having an affair with the president’s wife, played by Kim Basinger. Kiefer Sutherland of TV’s “24” and Eva Longoria of “Desperate Housewives” are also in the movie, directed by Clark Johnson of “S.W.A.T.” fame. It is tentatively scheduled for release next year.

The crew, expected to spend about six days filming in the District, filmed in Toronto in May and June.

“I’m thrilled that more filmmakers have chosen to use our magnificent city as a backdrop,” said Mr. Williams, who plans to donate his $600 fee to charity.

Though the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 — and the security measures that followed — put a crimp in filmmaking in the city, things are looking up.

In the spring, scenes for the television shows, “Commander-in-Chief,” “Bones” and “E-Ring,” were produced in the District. Scenes for the current movie “The Wedding Crashers” also were shot here.

Going to town

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Timothy M. Kaine will attend town hall meetings across the state during the summer.

Mr. Kaine, the lieutenant governor and a Democrat, calls the meetings his “Building on Success Tour” to remind voters he is campaigning to succeed popular Gov. Mark Warner, a fellow Democrat.

The town hall meetings will focus on budget reform and education.

He scheduled the first three meetings during the weekend in Southwest Virginia.

“The single most important issue to the future of Virginia is education, which is why Governor Mark Warner and I fought to make a historic investment in our schools,” Mr. Kaine said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to the opportunity to talk to Virginians about how we will continue to build on that success.”

He attended a series of meetings in the spring to focus on his plan for homeowner tax relief.

Realtors like Kilgore

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore has received the endorsement of the Virginia Association of Realtors.

Mr. Kilgore also received the association’s endorsement when he was running for attorney general in 2001, as did Democrats Mark Warner and Timothy M. Kaine.

Mr. Kaine, the lieutenant governor, is the Democratic gubernatorial candidate this year.

This time around, the association endorsed the all-Republican ticket of Mr. Kilgore, Sen. William T. Bolling for lieutenant governor and Delegate Robert F. McDonnell for attorney general.

“They recognize that I’m the most pro-ownership, pro-business candidate in this race,” Mr. Kilgore said.

The association opposed the $1.38 billion tax-reform plan passed by the legislature last year. The plan raised the sales, cigarette and real estate transaction taxes, and cut other taxes.

Mr. Kilgore also opposed the plan and said the economy was growing enough to cover the budget shortfall.

“I’ve been proven right by that,” he said, noting the record state budget surplus.

Kaine campaign spokeswoman Delacey Skinner dismissed the endorsement.

“Last year, a number of organizations reached beyond their narrow self-interests to support budget reform because they knew it was the right thing for Virginia,” she said. “Unfortunately, the only time the Realtors spoke out was in opposition to the budget deal, and like other organizations that have opposed budget reform, they’ve aligned themselves with Jerry Kilgore.”

The PAC interviewed Mr. Kilgore, Mr. Kaine and the independent gubernatorial candidate H. Russell Potts Jr., a Republican state senator from Winchester.

Too close to call

Virginia’s race for governor is neck-and-neck with a disaffected Republican-turned-independent apparently drawing support away from Republican Jerry W. Kilgore, the first independent, scientific statewide voter poll of the year suggests.

Democrat Timothy M. Kaine was the choice of 38 percent of 625 likely voters surveyed last week, but Mr. Kilgore was the favorite of 37 percent, according to the Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. survey, sponsored by a group of newspapers.

Nine percent supported state Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., Winchester Republican, who is running as an independent, and 16 percent of the respondents were undecided.

Because the poll’s margin of error was plus or minus four percentage points, Mr. Kaine’s one-point advantage is statistically insignificant, making one of only two governor’s races in the nation this fall a dead heat. The other gubernatorial contest is in New Jersey.

Funding for local schools was the issue most cited as No. 1 by the respondents (21 percent), compared to state taxes and spending (17 percent), transportation and road congestion (13 percent), jobs (12 percent) and moral issues (7 percent). Thirty percent were undecided about their priorities.

Fundraiser

White House strategist Karl Rove helped Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele raise $75,000 last week at a Capitol Hill event picketed by demonstrators angry over Mr. Rove’s possible role in releasing a covert CIA officer’s identity to the press.

About 65 persons showed up Tuesday at the event at the headquarters of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The fundraiser was closed to reporters.

Ticket prices were set at $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a political action committee.

Mr. Steele and Mr. Rove both entered through a side entrance, bypassing about 40 protesters from the liberal group Progressive Maryland, who stood chanting in the oppressive heat. Mr. Rove later left driving a Jaguar with former National Republican Committee chairman Ed Gillespie.

Tom Hucker, executive director of Progressive Maryland, said Mr. Steele should not link himself with Mr. Rove because of Mr. Rove’s possible legal and ethical problems.

“No one who would choose Karl Rove as a friend is fit to serve in the U.S. Senate,” Mr. Hucker said.

Dan Ronayne, spokesman for the NRSC, said the demonstration is a sign Democrats are worried about Mr. Steele’s possible candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

At an event earlier in the day at Bowie State University, Mr. Steele brushed off the criticism of his alliance with Mr. Rove.

“They are criticizing for political purposes,” he said of plans for the event. “There is no legal or ethical reason for me to do otherwise at this point. I look forward to him hosting a fundraiser for me.”

In a statement, Democratic National Committee spokesman Josh Earnest attacked Mr. Rove for continuing to raise money while under an ethical and legal cloud.

“The Rove money machine doesn’t seem to stop for anything, not for special prosecutors or possible threats to the nation’s national security,” he said.

Mr. Steele has formed an exploratory committee to help him decide whether to run for the seat Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes will vacate next year when he retires.

Mr. Steele would not say if he has made a decision, but added he has tried to gauge if there is “juice” flowing in his favor among the state’s electorate.

“Yeah, there’s juice,” he said. “People are excited about it. It is an open Senate seat. What’s there not to be excited about?”

Mayor backs march

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams said he has no plans to drop out of supporting the Millions More Movement.

Mr. Williams was asked last week whether he is still behind the upcoming effort, in light of recent statements by the Rev. Willie Wilson that were critical of lesbians. The minister, who ran against Mr. Williams for the 2002 Democratic mayoral nomination, is leading local organizing efforts for the march. In a sermon last month, Mr. Wilson said that lesbianism is “about to take over our community.”

The mayor said the event and the spirit behind it are much bigger than any single person. He cited other black leaders who are behind the project as evidence of its importance, but said he thinks Mr. Wilson should clarify his comments.

The event to mark the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March is scheduled for Oct. 15 on the Mall.

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

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