- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tough dig

“Cash flow issues” with subcontractors and numerous construction problems continue to plague the long-awaited Capitol Visitor Center that is already three years behind schedule.

Now, Inside the Beltway has learned that the massive underground project that has already earned a “golden drain” award and been dubbed a “pig dig” for taxpayer dollars spent — $600 million, or six times the projected $100 million cost in 1995 — has a new completion date of June 27, 2008.

Terrell G. Dorn, director of physical infrastructure issues for the Government Accountability Office, informed Congress in prepared testimony yesterday that “activities on most of the project’s near-critical paths have fallen behind schedule, and further delays are possible.”

If it opens next summer, the 580,000-square-foot facility below the East Capitol Grounds of the U.S. Capitol will have a 550-seat cafeteria, exhibition gallery, orientation theaters and gift shops.

Mouthy Maxine

Rep.Maxine Waters, California Democrat, reportedly had former Los Angeles mayoral candidate and homeless activist Ted Hayes arrested for disorderly conduct outside her Capitol Hill office several days ago, then requested he remain quiet about his apprehension.

“[T]o have a citizen arrested because they disagree is beyond the pale and begs the question, why do they care more about illegal aliens than they do their own constituents?” Washington columnist Nina May wrote this week on the Renaissance Women Web site.

Mrs. May was to have met with Mr. Hayes on June 19 when he was on Capitol Hill meeting with a lawmaker about illegal immigration. She later learned of his arrest when he couldn’t keep the appointment.

Ted’s concern with the [proposed immigration] bill is that, as a black man who has worked with the homeless and disadvantaged for years, he sees an amnesty bill as one more obstacle for poor blacks to overcome,” Mrs. May wrote. “He sees the illegal aliens in his home area of Los Angeles putting an insurmountable burden on the social welfare and education system, and sees jobs that would ordinarily go to his people … going to the illegals.

“And when he speaks out about it, he is castigated as a racist, called names, slandered and threatened.”

Mr. Hayes had stopped in to see Mrs. Waters, who he has known for more than 20 years, only to have her walk past him and into the hallway.

Ted got up to follow her asking why … ? To this query she spun around and responded, ‘You are full of [expletive], You are full of [expletive], Ted Hayes,’ ” Mrs. May wrote.

At that point, a U.S. Capitol Police officer responded and placed Mr. Hayes in handcuffs. He was charged with disorderly conduct, a police spokesman confirmed yesterday.

According to the columnist, Mrs. Waters‘ office later called Mr. Hayes and expressed concern “that this story of his arrest not be leaked to the press, and not get back to her district.”

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