- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2001

California backs slave reparations

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Assembly unanimously passed a resolution yesterday urging the U.S. Congress to study slave reparations, becoming the first state to back moves proponents hope will result in cash restitution for the nation’s history of slavery.

The Assembly resolution will now be sent to Congress, according to its author, Sen. Kevin Murray, Los Angeles Democrat, who added that it was the first resolution of its kind passed by any U.S. state.

The vote “is a necessary and positive step in the process of race relations,” Mr. Murray said in a statement. “I am gratified and pleased that this resolution has met with such across-the-board acceptance.”

Judge dismisses schools’ challenge

AUSTIN, Texas — A state “Robin Hood” law that requires wealthier school districts to give money to poorer ones was ruled constitutional yesterday by a state judge.

District Judge F. Scott McCown dismissed a lawsuit by four rich districts that argued that the finance law is, in effect, an illegal statewide property tax.

The judge said the state Supreme Court already had rejected the property-tax argument and that not enough school districts have reached a state-mandated tax ceiling for that ruling to change.

OMB sees surplus of $160 billion

White House budget Director Mitch Daniels said yesterday he expects that the U.S. federal budget surplus for fiscal 2001 ending Sept. 30 will be at least $160 billion.

But Mr. Daniels said federal revenues were coming in 2 percent to 3 percent below what his Office of Management and Budget had forecast in April.

Speaking to reporters, Mr. Daniels said he saw no danger “at present” that the overall surplus would fall below that generated by Social Security, meaning that the government would not dip into those funds for general operations.

Police suspect satanism in drug case

BRAINTREE, Mass. — Police searching an apartment found a fetus in a jar sitting on a dresser, along with a skull, a brain, marijuana and rolling papers for smokes. Authorities said they suspected the tenant was involved in satanic worship.

George Picard, 34, was arraigned yesterday on charges of distributing marijuana, breaking and entering, receiving stolen property and three charges that involved digging in a cemetery and defacing tombs.

“My suspicion is that he is involved with some kind of devil worship or satanic activities,” Lt. Russell Jenkins told reporters.

Police believe the fetus and brain were stolen from a hospital and the skull dug up from a nearby cemetery.

Dole hospitalized for infection

Bob Dole has been hospitalized for an infection that developed after surgery to treat an aneurysm.

Mr. Dole, 77, was admitted Tuesday to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and was to be discharged yesterday or today, his office said, adding that the procedure went smoothly.

The infection developed just under a 2-inch-long incision in his groin, where doctors at the Cleveland Clinic inserted a tube as part of an experimental procedure on June 28. The tube avoided the need for a major abdominal incision to repair the aneurysm, a weakening in the wall of a blood vessel.

Drunken driver ordered to place roses at graves

PITTSBURGH — A man who pleaded guilty to killing a pregnant woman in a drunken-driving accident has been ordered to place roses on her grave every month for the next four-and-a-half years.

Alfred Cantolina, 21, also was sentenced to up to four-and-a-half years in prison. He must either place the flowers himself under prison escort or make arrangements for someone else to do so.

At the request of the victim’s family, Judge David E. Grine on Monday ordered Cantolina to place a rose on Britt Barndt’s grave and the grave of her unborn son on the 18th of each month to commemorate their deaths in the Nov. 18, 2000, accident.

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