- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Virginia may be able to fix its school problems without a statewide referendum on raising taxes, Gov. Mark R. Warner said yesterday.
Mr. Warner, speaking during a call-in show on WTOP radio, said he is considering alternatives to a statewide referendum on education funding, but did not offer specifics.
"There may be a better way to address education concerns than a referendum," Mr. Warner said. "I have never been wedded to one particular solution."
But whatever the answer, the state needs to act, he said.
"We have unmet needs in education and we have unmet needs in transportation," the governor said.
Mr. Warner, a Democrat, said he planned to meet with education officials to discuss possible alternatives.
During the recent General Assembly session, Mr. Warner supported a bill sponsored by state Sen. Charles Colgan, Manassas Democrat, that would have tied a transportation referendum for Northern Virginia to a statewide education referendum. The measure, which passed in the Senate, died in the House of Delegates.
Mr. Warner touched on a variety of other issues during the monthly program.
On the topic of baseball for Northern Virginia, Mr. Warner said any stadium built would need to be located near existing mass-transit facilities in order to be cost-effective.
"With football, you can go out farther because it is only one game, one day a week or every other week," he said. "But with baseball, and 81 games, it would have to be relatively close."
He said budget problems preclude the state from helping to land a team, but he encouraged local business leaders who are interested to continue their pursuits and to keep him informed.
The Montrael Expos have been mentioned as a candidate for relocation to the Northern Virginia area after the 2002 season, but Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles, opposes such a move.
The late Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke successfully opposed efforts by Baltimore business leaders to acquire a new team for their city nearly 10 years ago. When the Ravens eventually moved from Cleveland to Baltimore, the state of Maryland helped finance their stadium.
In response to a question about cell-phone use, Mr. Warner said he opposes legislation at this time that would prohibit cell-phone use while driving.
"There are still more studies to be done," he said. "My sense is that the industry needs to do more work on the hands-free movement."
Mr. Warner also spoke about the brewing debate between him and Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, Republican, over redistricting.
Mr. Warner has said the attorney general overstepped his authority last week by announcing the decision to appeal a ruling that Virginia's redistricting map is unconstitutional.
On Monday, Mr. Warner announced he had hired private counsel to represent him in the appeal.
He said he hoped the issue would be resolved "as quickly as possible."


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