- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 2, 2005

Visitors to Gate City, Va., are greeted with a sign praising one of the small town’s favorite sons: “Gate City Welcomes You. Home of the Attorney General of Virginia, Jerry W. Kilgore.”

But apparently the sign, near the high school Mr. Kilgore attended, has irked some residents. Mayor Mark Jenkins has decided to take the sign down, the Kingsport Times-News reported Friday.

He told the newspaper that he received “numerous complaints” from residents concerned about the sign’s accuracy because Mr. Kilgore resigned from his post in February to campaign for governor.

A redone sign will read “Welcome to Gate City.”

Mr. Jenkins is a political rival of the Kilgore family. He was appointed to the council by the Virginia Supreme Court after the May 2004 election was voided on suspicion of voter fraud.

Incumbent Mayor Charles Dougherty Jr. has been indicted on charges that he coerced residents to vote for him on absentee ballots.

Mr. Kilgore’s twin brother, Terry G. Kilgore, is a state delegate representing Gate City. Their mother, Willie Mae Kilgore, is the registrar of Scott County. Both have been criticized by the mayor.

Mr. Jenkins told the Times-News that he received one complaint that the sign gave the impression that the town was endorsing Mr. Kilgore’s gubernatorial candidacy.

Mayor to teach?

Departing D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams says he is considering a career in education.

“I like teaching,” the Democrat said.

Mr. Williams, who announced last week that he would not seek a third term, said he has used skills he learned as an adjunct professor of public affairs at Columbia University in many of his public forums across the District.

“I think I have the ability to connect to people in my own weird way,” he said.

He did not know where he would teach. He also said he might consider opportunities in the financial field.

Ask the candidate

The Center for Politics at the University of Virginia is encouraging state voters to send in questions they would like answered during the Oct. 9 gubernatorial debate.

The debate, the final one of the campaign between Republican Jerry W. Kilgore and Democrat Timothy M. Kaine, will be held in Richmond.

It will be televised statewide at 7 p.m.

Independent candidate H. Russell Potts Jr., a Republican state senator from Winchester, will not be included in the debate unless he receives 15 percent support in two statewide polls. Most polls have him at 5 percent.

Questions may be submitted at www.centerforpolitics.org, through Friday.

The Center for Politics also solicited questions from the public during the 2001 gubernatorial debate.

The election is scheduled for Nov. 8.

Racism charged

An Egyptian native seeking a House of Delegates seat in Annandale is crying foul over a mailer sent out by his challenger, incumbent Delegate Vivian E. Watts.

Republican Michael Meunier, who emigrated from Egypt in 1990, said Mrs. Watts’ mailer has “clear racist” overtones.

The Democrat’s mailer uses the tag line “delegate, community leader and one of our own,” with the last four words in italics.

“Mrs. Watts may deny it, but referring to herself as ‘one of our own’ is a clear slam against me and every immigrant in Northern Virginia,” he said.

Mrs. Watts has said the mailer does not differ from others she has used in her 24-year career in political office, and are meant to portray her as someone devoted to the community.

“It’s just saying that all politics is local, and it’s a reference to how long I’ve been active in the community,” she said.

The DeLay effect

Another House of Delegates candidate is criticizing an incumbent’s fundraiser with the “Hammer” earlier this year.

Democrat Hilda M. Barg says her opponent Delegate Jeffrey M. Frederick, Prince William Republican, should be criticized for having Tom DeLay headline a fundraiser in April, when he still was the House majority leader.

Mr. DeLay was indicted last week on a charge of conspiracy in a campaign-finance scandal.

Mrs. Barg, a Prince William supervisor, sent an e-mail to supporters urging them to begin a letter-writing campaign to newspapers.

“Write a letter to the editor of a local paper to voice your concern over the fact that Jeff Frederick’s connection to Tom DeLay raises serious questions about his judgment and ability to represent our district,” writes Mrs. Barg’s field director, Lisa Williams.

“If Representative DeLay is Delegate Frederick’s idea of a role model, all Virginia voters should be very concerned,” the letter states. “Tom DeLay’s ‘hammer’ may have worked for him in Texas, but we want nothing to do with his brand of politics in Virginia.”

The letter also calls on Mr. Frederick to return the money raised by Mr. DeLay.

Mr. Frederick has served one term in the House.

His campaign manager, Ted Prill, declined to comment on how much money was raised at the event, which was held in the District.

“Everybody knows you can indict a ham sandwich,” Mr. Prill said. “Hilda should explain why her top contributors are big developers who come before her on the Board of Supervisors to get their projects approved.”

He also questioned Mrs. Barg’s ties to E. Lee Stoffregen III, the former Prince William County sheriff who was indicted in the summer on charges of embezzlement and grand larceny.

Mr. Prill called Mr. Stoffregen, who had donated money to Mrs. Barg, “her own close political ally.”

Turf battles

Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley’s visit to Rockville on the day he announced his run for governor was bound to rankle supporters of Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, another Democrat expected to enter the race.

Montgomery County Council member Nancy Floreen promptly blasted Mr. O’Malley for his support of legalizing slot-machine gambling and for his city’s poor public schools and high homicide rate.

“I welcome the mayor to Montgomery County,” said Mrs. Floreen, an at-large Democrat, “but he should know that quality education, safe streets and opposition to expanded gambling are things that voters in Montgomery County care deeply about.”

She said the county spends more than half its budget on public schools while Baltimore spends less than that, and that Mr. O’Malley failed to keep his promise to reduce Baltimore homicides to fewer than 175 per year.

“Montgomery County has about 20 homicides a year, so most folks will be concerned to learn that Baltimore has already had more than 200 this year,” she said. “In fact, since [Mr. O’Malley took] office, more than 1,500 people have been murdered in the city of Baltimore.”

Mrs. Floreen’s remarks, which were publicized by Mr. Duncan’s campaign staff, echo the candidates’ criticism that Mr. O’Malley exaggerates his successes in Baltimore.

Mr. Duncan is expected to officially announce his candidacy later this month.

Mr. O’Malley takes credit for Baltimore’s decreased violent-crime rate, reduced welfare rolls, increased home values, reduced exodus of city residents and extensive investments in redevelopment.

Police endorsement

The Virginia Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed Republican state Delegate Robert F. McDonnell in the race for attorney general.

The organization’s president, Thomas E. Stiles, said Mr. McDonnell is the natural choice.

Mr. McDonnell, who is a former prosecutor, served as chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee and was a key player in Gov. George Allen’s parole abolition initiative in 1994.

Mr. Stiles said Mr. McDonnell was selected based on his responses to a nine-item questionnaire and “all the hard work he has done for us.”

The 8,000-member law-enforcement organization recently honored Mr. McDonnell as its “Legislator of the Year.”

• Christina Bellantoni, Robert Redding Jr. and S.A. Miller contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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