- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 28, 2005

15 eye mayor’s office in San Diego election

SAN DIEGO — Fifteen candidates submitted signatures before a Friday filing deadline for a spot on the July 26 ballot to replace embattled Mayor Dick Murphy.

Mr. Murphy, a Republican, leaves office July 15 amid a pension-fund scandal and federal investigations of City Hall. He said last month that he would resign less than eight months into his second term to give scandal-plagued San Diego “a fresh start.”

Donna Frye, a Democratic city councilwoman who nearly won a write-in bid in November’s disputed mayoral election, is widely considered the front-runner to replace Mr. Murphy.

Mrs. Frye, who is married to the legendary surfer Skip Frye, ran a surf shop and campaigned for clean water before joining the City Council in 2001. She has campaigned on a theme of ending what she sees as a culture of secrecy at City Hall.

Other leading candidates are Jerry Sanders, a Republican former police chief, and Steve Francis, a Republican businessman who has pledged $500,000 of his own money to his campaign.

If no one wins more than 50 percent in the nonpartisan election, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff.

Crane stand offends in arrest

ATLANTA — A 56-hour standoff with a homicide suspect perched on a construction crane ended peacefully early yesterday when police shocked him with a stun gun as he reached for a cup of water, authorities said.

Carl Edward Roland, 41, got onto the 18-story crane around 5 p.m. Wednesday and told police he was thinking of killing himself by jumping, authorities said.

The standoff unfolded above Atlanta’s busy Buckhead neighborhood, an area filled with clubs and restaurants. Lunch and dinner crowds, taking advantage of summerlike weather, packed restaurant patios with clear views of the standoff.

Mr. Roland was wanted by the Pinellas County, Fla., sheriff’s department in the death of ex-girlfriend Jennifer L. Gonzalez, 36, whose body was found Tuesday. An arrest warrant affidavit accuses Mr. Roland of strangling Miss Gonzalez and dumping her body in a pond behind the apartment complex where she lived.

Judge allows challenge in Washington election

WENATCHEE, Wash. — A judge Friday refused to throw out a Republican challenge to the election of Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, saying voters deserve a full accounting of how the balloting was conducted.

The Democrats asked for a dismissal after the Republicans rested their case following four days of testimony aimed at proving that errors, illegal votes and fraud combined to deprive Republican candidate Dino Rossi of victory last fall.

The Republicans are asking Superior Court Judge John Bridges to nullify Mrs. Gregoire’s 129-vote victory and open the way for Mr. Rossi to be declared the winner or hold a new election. The margin was the smallest of any governor’s contest in U.S. history.

In arguing for a dismissal, Democratic attorney Kevin Hamilton said the Republicans had “failed to introduce anything resembling clear and convincing evidence” that the election was invalid. However, Republican attorney Harry Korrell argued that there was “overwhelming evidence of error and neglect.”

ICE deports two with ties to terrorists

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents Friday deported to Pakistan two persons — one from San Francisco and the other from Philadelphia — after they were identified as having ties to terrorist organizations in that country.

Khamal Muhammad, 23, is an admitted member of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization in Pakistan, and Hamid Sheik, 41, is affiliated with a sectarian militant group in Pakistan outlawed by the Pakistani government in 2001. Both are natives and residents of Pakistan.

Muhammad entered the United States in December 2001 as a nonimmigrant based on a visa petition by his mother, Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Michael J. Garcia said, adding that Muhammad took up residence in the San Francisco area. In January 2004, Muhammad admitted during an interview with federal agents that he had joined the Harakat ul-Mujahideen organization. He was ordered removed from the country on May 17.

Sheik, who was living in the Philadelphia area, said he entered the United States illegally in April 1985, Mr. Garcia said, adding that the Philadelphia Joint Terrorism Task Force later determined he was associated with a local cab driver, Agha Ali Abbas Qazalbash, who is a member of Sipah-e-Mohammed Pakistan, a militant Shi’ite organization in Pakistan.

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