- 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.”

Mrs. Waters declined to speak to Inside the Beltway yesterday.

Top speaker

“In the entire history of the United States, I believe there have been three powerful speakers of the House during moments of war: Henry Clay in the 19th century, Sam Rayburn during World War II and now Nancy Pelosi during our simultaneous wars on terror and the war in Iraq.”

So began Peter Kovler, chairman of the board of the Center for National Policy, in presenting the center’s Edmund Muskie Award to Mrs. Pelosi recently.

“But,” added Mr. Kovler, “here is one stark difference between Speaker Pelosi and Speakers Clay and Rayburn, and that is she has an opposing view to the contemporaneous president of the United States on how those wars should be run; and her courage and her steadfastness in those views arguably make her the single most significant speaker in our nation’s history.”

Popular flight

Imagine being the commercial airline pilot who counted not one, not two, not three, but six congressmen climbing aboard his airplane in Texas this week, each anxious (we assume) to get back to Washington to cast crucial votes on Capitol Hill.

As it was, the flight was delayed by stormy weather, and the group of six lawmakers missed the recorded votes for the day.

Southern Battle

Well-known Washington-area attorney/comedian Bob Battle has retained his sense of humor since moving his law practice to Richmond following his marriage.

A former prosecutor for the city of Fairfax, who spent another four years as a prosecutor under legendary Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Bob Horan (who prosecuted Beltway sniper Lee Boyd Malvo), Mr. Battle is well-known for the additional hats he wears, including press box announcer for the Washington Redskins for the past eight years.

He’s also a professional comedian, opening up for such stars as Chris Rock and Norm MacDonald; while current stars Dave Chapelle and Wanda Sykes opened for Mr. Battle when they were beginning their comedy careers.

Always the humorist, Mr. Battle is running an ad in the current issue of Virginia Lawyers Weekly, reminding “all y’all lawyahs up yon-dah” in the Washington area that his shingle is now hung in Richmond.

“Has your client been caught smoking pot in the parking lot of Kings Dominion by Scooby Doo Security while attending the big Clay Aiken concert?” the ad states. “Has your client’s son crashed mom and dad’s Geo Metro in the statue of Stonewall Jackson on Monument Avenue after a party at VCU? …

“Before you say you don’t know anyone who practices there — not so fast counselor! Your old pal Bob Battle is alive and well and living in Richmond.”

c John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.