- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 1, 2002

Simon pulls ahead

In the California race for governor, Republican Bill Simon led Democratic incumbent Gray Davis 47-45 percent in an independent poll of 861 likely voters released yesterday.

Because the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points, the contest can be considered statistically even at this point.

But the news is not good for Mr. Davis, whose office gives him high visibility and whose campaign organization has vastly outraised and outspent Mr. Simon's.

Although Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state, Mr. Simon, a political rookie, is drawing a larger share of Republicans who say they "definitely will vote" on Nov. 5 than Mr. Davis is with Democrats. Mr. Davis has an 8-point edge among independents in the poll.

The poll by SurveyUSA, commissioned by several network TV affiliates in the state, was conducted Saturday and Sunday across the state.

Suspect donation

California officials let one of the state's largest polluters increase toxic discharges into San Francisco Bay shortly after the company donated $70,500 to Gov. Gray Davis, the San Jose Mercury News reported yesterday.

The decision by a key state water board in June 2000 came just four months after the board had refused to relax the pollution permit at Tosco's Avon refinery east of Martinez and after the company had tried unsuccessfully for seven years to get the rules eased, reporter Paul Rogers said.

A review of state campaign records found that the day after the water board voted on Feb. 16, 2000, not to ease the pollution limits, Mr. Davis who appoints the board's members received $55,500 from Tosco.

That donation was 10 times larger than any other single donation by Tosco to the Democrat during his governorship. An additional $15,000 followed before the board issued its unusual reversal.

Davis officials say there is no connection between the donation and the decision to allow Tosco to increase its dioxin releases fivefold.

"There is no way in the world that contribution had anything to do with policy, because it is public for all the world to see," Davis spokesman Steve Maviglio said. "Any allegation to that effect is ludicrous."

Hero worship

The Fox News Channel became the first TV network to break the silence about former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin's links to the Enron scandal, the Media Research Center's Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

"'It's striking,' FNC's Brit Hume contended Monday night, how 'there is one person whose name almost never comes up' in media reports on corporate corruption, 'and that is the Treasury secretary under the Clinton administration, Bob Rubin,' especially since he tried to get the Bush administration to pressure bond rating agencies to prop up Enron's rating, a move which would have benefited Rubin's new employer, Citigroup, which had arranged questionable financing for Enron.

"Hume's comments led into a July 29 panel discussion on his 'Special Report with Brit Hume' in which Jeff Birnbaum, Fortune magazine's Washington Bureau Chief, marveled: 'It is remarkable, I think, the near deification of Rubin by a lot of elements of the press.'

"Hume still wondered: 'What accounts for the fact that we discussing this here at this table are probably the first group of journalists on television to do so, and we certainly aren't seeing a lot of it in the newspapers?' Morton Kondracke echoed Birnbaum, pointing to the media's 'deification' of Rubin."

The bare truth

Chuck Kalogianis, a Democrat who is running for Congress in a district north of Tampa, Fla., wants affordable prescription drugs and Social Security to be the main focus of his campaign.

But his past as a stripper in Massachusetts may get in the way, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Kalogianis, 39, acknowledges his two-year stint with "Men in Motion" more than a decade ago when he was a law student in Boston, the wire service said.

In his act, Mr. Kalogianis wore a Big Bird suit that masked his face but exposed his legs. It ended with him doing a chicken dance, tearing off the bright yellow costume to show his French bikini thong to crowds of women throwing money at him.

Today, Mr. Kalogianis is a successful lawyer in New Port Richey, a family man and an unopposed candidate for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. House of Representatives.

He hopes to unseat Republican incumbent Michael Bilirakis in Florida's 9th congressional district.

Mr. Kalogianis says he is not ashamed of his performances, saying they were "tasteful" and never involved total nudity or sex.

Partisan preference

A Florida Democrat has sparked outrage by comparing a homosexual Republican candidate to Hitler.

Doug Head, chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party, was interviewed for a Tuesday article in the Orlando Sentinel about Patrick Howell, a homosexual who is a Republican candidate for the Florida House of Representatives.

The Sentinel quoted Mr. Head as saying that for homosexual Democrats to cross over and vote for Mr. Howell in the Sept. 10 Republican primary would be like a "Jew voting for Hitler."

"Head's analogy is alarming and reprehensible," said Bob Kearney, political director of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a political action committee that has endorsed Mr. Howell.

"There is no comparison between a man who's participating in the democratic process and a totalitarian responsible for the slaughter of millions of innocent people, including Jews and gays," Mr. Kearney said.

In a statement, Mr. Kearney added, "Head's attempt to make sexual orientation a partisan issue is divisive and ignores the positive contributions made to our society by openly gay public servants of every political affiliation."

Ventura's cameo

Minnesotans can finally see what juicy film role lured Gov. Jesse Ventura away from the state the day after the Minnesota Twins were targeted for elimination last fall.

Mr. Ventura plays a thief who steals the Liberty Bell in the comedy "The Master of Disguise," the Associated Press reports.

In a cameo role, he joins a plot to steal the world's precious symbols. As star-struck security guards toting their own Jesse Ventura action figures look on, Mr. Ventura hefts the historic bell.

"Thanks for the Liberty Bell, guys," he says. "I'll bring it right back."

Then he reminds the guards that those aren't dolls they're carrying they're action figures.

After the heist, he pauses for a moment of contemplation with an evil companion: "My skills were meant for the betterment of mankind, not for greed and evil," Mr. Ventura says.

That line drew laughs at a preview in Edina, Minn., on Tuesday night. The movie, starring comedian Dana Carvey, opens tomorrow.

Top aides couldn't say where Mr. Ventura was last fall when he took vacation days the day after Major League Baseball put the Twins in its sights for contraction. The Minnesota State Patrol, which provides his security, and studio officials later revealed that he was shooting a movie.

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