- The Washington Times - Friday, January 5, 2001

Judge refuses to block Florida's electoral vote

A federal judge denied a request yesterday to stop Vice President Al Gore from recognizing Florida's slate of presidential electors when Congress makes its formal count of electoral votes this weekend.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said the people making the request had no jurisdiction in the motion brought against Mr. Gore, who serves as the Senate president.

The lawsuit by two District of Columbia voters, Robert Asa Gordon and Lawrence Douglass Jamison, alleged that Florida election officials "disenfranchised" tens of thousands of blacks on Election Day by making it difficult for them to vote. They claimed many black voters were intimidated, threatened or simply turned away at the polls.

After about 90 minutes of arguments, Judge Lamberth said the case lacked legal standing.

Hot line set up for inauguration tickets

Those seeking tickets to the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration of Republican George W. Bush can now call a new telephone hot line to make their requests, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced yesterday.

The number is 202/484-1771.

Tickets are required for special viewing areas at Mr. Bush's swearing-in ceremony and for preferred seating at the inaugural parade, as well as the inaugural balls and several other events.

"President-elect Bush wants as many Americans as possible to participate in these historic events," said Jeanne Johnson Phillips, executive director of the inauguration committee. "Though we cannot promise to fill every ticket request, we hope this hot line will enable us to include as many Americans as possible in this celebration."

Magazine apologizes for bashing O'Connor

NEW YORK A New York entertainment guide apologized yesterday for an item describing Cardinal John O'Connor's death as one of the best things to happen to the homosexual community last year.

The item appeared in a box headlined "The Best and Worst of 2000" in the Jan. 4-11 issue of Time Out New York.

It read: "The press eulogized him as a saint, when in fact, the pious creep was a stuck-in-the-1950s anti-gay menace. Good riddance!"

"We regret the insensitive tone of the statement and apologize to anyone who was offended by it," Time Out editor Joe Angio said.

San Diego forest fire blamed on smoking

ALPINE, Calif. A cigarette thrown from a car window by a careless smoker may have sparked a brush fire that forced hundreds of evacuations and hopscotched across 11,000 rural acres near San Diego this week, officials said yesterday.

"It was some kind of smoking material and we're pretty sure it was a cigarette," said Laura Lowes, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry. The incident is still under investigation, a San Diego Sheriff's spokeswoman said.

Efforts to control the fire appeared to be paying off as the fierce winds that had fueled the blaze abated.

By yesterday afternoon the fire was about 15 percent contained, as warm Santa Ana winds that had raged at speeds up to 65 mph Wednesday died down to a tamer 15 mph, Miss Lowes said.

Woman gets better of her attacker

LOS ANGELES A woman targeted for rape in a downtown parking garage here early yesterday turned the tables on her attacker and sent him fleeing over a rooftop, police said.

Rodney Bogans, 33, fell two stories, breaking an ankle and a wrist, when he tried to leap from one rooftop to another while fleeing people who witnessed the attack and began chasing him, said police Lt. George Villegas.

"She fought her attacker for a good two minutes before other witnesses came along and saw him trying to rip her clothes off," Lt. Villegas said.

Mr. Bogans was arrested after a police helicopter saw him hiding behind a tree, Lt. Villegas said.

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