- The Washington Times - Monday, April 21, 2003

At the Metro Board meeting Thursday, Chairman Jim Graham was trying to fly through approving a series of action items, when he was halted abruptly by an interjection from Katherine K. Hanley, the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
Mrs. Hanley wanted to comment on a specific action item. She noted for all those present that the board's approval of additional funding for a fire and intrusion alarm system was helping make the Metro system safer for riders.
While she talked, Mr. Graham conferred with Gladys Mack, the District's representative to the board. As Mrs. Hanley finished making her statement, Mr. Graham turned toward her and said, "Mrs. Hanley had a question?"
Mrs. Hanley flashed an exasperated look and said, "No, I was just saying this particular item is worth noting because it has to do with our homeland security." She went on to recap her previous few minutes worth of opining.
Mr. Graham tried to move the meeting back to top speed.
"We are moving at a fast clip because several people have commitments they need to get to," he said.
Mrs. Hanley felt she still needed to justify herself. She said, "But I thought this one was worth …."
"Noting," chimed Chris Zimmerman, Arlington County's representative on the board, trying to end the digression. He flashed a begrudging grin and leaned back to wait for the next item.

One angry senator
A Democratic state senator has demanded an immediate meeting of a Senate committee that oversees courts after its Republican chairman filed a Virginia State Bar complaint against a former judge who is seeking a Senate seat.
Got that?
Sen. L. Louise Lucas said last week she wants Senate Courts of Justice Committee Chairman Kenneth W. Stolle to convene the panel and explain why he filed the complaint against former Newport News Circuit Judge Verbena Askew.
"He has overstepped his bounds as the chairman of the courts committee, and I think the committee needs to meet immediately," Miss Lucas, Portsmouth Democrat, said Thursday. "I'm embarrassed by his behavior."
"I think he thinks he's invincible beyond reproach and has the authority to do whatever he wants," she said.
Miss Lucas is one of seven Democrats on the 15-member Senate committee .
Mr. Stolle, Virginia Beach Republican, said in the complaint that Judge Askew lied on questionnaires submitted to the Courts of Justice Committees of the House and the Senate in 2001 and 1999.
"If you misrepresent something on a form for the Courts of Justice Committee, we are going to hold you accountable for it," said Mr. Stolle, a lawyer by profession. "It's unfortunate that we will be arguing if it is ethical for a legislator to file a complaint to a professional licensing board over whether someone told the truth."
In the most bitter moment of the 2003 General Assembly session, Judge Askew was grilled during legislative hearings on her reappointment about a sexual-harassment complaint that had been filed against her.

O'Malley flagging?
Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley was looking like a heavy favorite to win the September Democratic primary for re-election.
After 3 years in office, Mr. O'Malley has amassed more than $1 million in campaign cash and has gained popularity far beyond Baltimore.
"He's been a great mayor, and I don't see anyone else on the horizon," said Delegate Howard P. Rawlings, a Baltimore Democrat whose backing helped Mr. O'Malley win the black vote in 1999. "I don't think there's another candidate who can muster a successful campaign against O'Malley."
But a lot can change in five months as Mr. O'Malley proved with his out-of-nowhere bid four years ago.
Much as in 1999, when Mr. O'Malley bested a field of 17 candidates, this primary could yield many challengers. "This is going to be a cast-of-thousands election," said Johns Hopkins University political science professor Matthew Crenson. "It's not going to be political theater, it's going to be political burlesque."

Jailed candidate
One of the candidates for sheriff of Rockingham County, Va., is getting a close look at how a county jail operates he's serving a 12-month sentence in one.
Harrisonburg resident Thomas Harrison Tyler, 51, filed papers April 11 to run as an independent for sheriff. Three days later, Judge James V. Lane sentenced him to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine for making annoying phone calls to 911.
Mr. Tyler is serving his time in the Albemarle/Charlottesville Regional Jail. He has credit for time served, but his release date could not immediately be determined. He still needs 125 signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
Mr. Tyler's incarceration stems from an incident in November 2001 after a dispute on his property involving a sheriff's deputy.
That day, according to court records, Mr. Tyler called the emergency line 14 times. During the calls, he verbally abused dispatchers who asked him not to use the 911 line to complain about police conduct.

Political offer
A candidate for the Virginia Senate offered a potential opponent $50,000 in campaign contributions or a job if she would switch to another district.
Paul Jost, who is running in the Republican primary against incumbent 3rd District Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr., made the offer to Linda Wall, who was disqualified last week because her petitions were incomplete.
Miss Wall told the Daily Press newspaper and Mr. Jost confirmed that he offered Miss Wall the contribution to start a campaign in the 8th District against another Republican incumbent, Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle of Virginia Beach.
Mr. Jost said the promise of campaign money is a common approach that political parties use to encourage candidates to run. "I told her we could probably raise $50,000, and I would contribute some of it," he said.
Mr. Jost acknowledged that he was trying to clear the field so that he could find the best opponent to challenge Mr. Norment without splitting the vote. He said he had approached two other persons to run against Mr. Norment in the primary before deciding to start his own campaign.

Barred by the bar
The Virginia State Bar has added to the woes of Edmund A. Matricardi, once a former top operative of the state Republican parties in Virginia and South Carolina. It suspended his license to practice law in the state.
The bar's Disciplinary Board summarily suspended Matricardi's license April 3, according to the Bar's Web site. Two days earlier, Matricardi had pleaded guilty to a felony charge of intercepting a wire communication in U.S. District Court in Richmond.
Matricardi was the executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia from 1999 through last April, when he resigned amid an investigation of charges that he obtained the pass code to a closed conference call among Democratic state legislators.
He went to work as operations director of the South Carolina Republican Party last July and resigned when a federal grand jury indicted him in January.
Under his plea agreement, federal prosecutors will recommend three years of probation and a $10,000 fine and the loss of some civil liberties, including the right to vote or hold elected office.
Matricardi faced a hearing Friday before the bar Disciplinary Board, but he filed a demand last Monday that the proceeding be moved into state courts as Virginia law allows. The bar hearing was canceled.

A taxing job
Tax Day just wouldn't be the same without some sort of tax revolt. In Annapolis last week, that role was filled by two men protesting in front of the State House.
They wore blue sandwich boards that carried the messages "No New Taxes" and "No More Income Tax."
"The government takes an exhorbitant amount of taxes," said one of the men, Dennis Chase, president of Tax Change U.S., a group advocating tax reform in Maryland and across the nation.
He and Tax Change U.S. colleague Lyle Seigel paraded in their sandwich boards in front of the State House. They handed out literature to passersby, including copies of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and a manifesto of their group's beliefs.
Both men are computer network engineers for a Columbia, Md., firm. Like most Americans, they said, they lose between 35 percent and 40 percent to taxes.
"Our incomes are being eaten alive by progressively higher taxes," said Mr. Seigel.

Staff writer Jon Ward and S.A. Miller contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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