- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 31, 2003

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. offered some advice for fellow Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger in his run in California’s recall election.

Mr. Ehrlich told Mr. Schwarzenegger to “be true to yourself and do not let pollsters control your campaign.”

Mr. Ehrlich made his comments on the nationally syndicated radio host Sean Hannity’s program during a Tuesday visit at the Maryland State Fair.

Mr. Schwarzenegger is considered to be a front-runner if California voters recall Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat.

mLet us pray — or not

Fredericksburg City Council’s lone clergyman has stopped giving the opening prayer at council meetings after the American Civil Liberties Union objected to his references in prayer to Jesus Christ.

“They said my prayer could be taken in offense and, essentially, as an elected official, I should know better,” said the Rev. Hashmel Turner, an associate minister with the First Baptist Church of Love.

Rather than leave Christ out of his prayers, Mr. Turner said he removed his name from an informal prayer list rotated among council members.

“I pray from the heart, and for me that means praying in the name of Christ,” Mr. Turner said. “I’m not willing to compromise my faith ‘cause someone was offended.”

The first complaint about Mr. Turner’s Christian prayers came last summer in an e-mail from a constituent. He removed his name from the list then, but put it back after he was encouraged earlier this year to return to the council’s prayer rotation.

After Mr. Turner opened the July 22 meeting with a prayer invoking Christ’s name, he received a letter from Virginia ACLU Director Kent Willis that contended such sectarian prayers breach the U.S. Constitution’s ban on government establishment of religion.

Mr. Willis said sectarian prayers are not uncommon at public meetings, particularly when elected officials are also religious leaders.

mAdvertising education

Critics say Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley’s latest campaign commercials exaggerate his role in education gains.

The commercials portray Mr. as a visionary leader in education who has brought millions of dollars in funding to help improve city schools.

The newest ads say Mr. and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume delivered $20 million to reform high schools.

The ads say the two helped raise $8 million from local foundations as a match to a $12 million pledge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mr. O’Malley’s mayoral rival, high school principal Andrey Bundley, calls the commercials campaign stunts.

mLet’s talk about it

Candidates for Baltimore’s mayoral race debated ways of improving education and reducing juvenile arrests on Wednesday.

The debate, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, was the second time Mayor Martin O’Malley engaged with opponents for the Democratic nomination for mayor.

Mr. O’Malley said the city’s school system was “coming out of a period of crisis” caused by a lack of funding. But, he said, it was important for city officials to press state lawmakers to continue to allocate more money for inner-city schools.

Andrey Bundley, a school principal who also is running for the Democratic nomination, said the city needs to focus more on teaching and to stop promoting students who aren’t ready for the next grade.

Mr. Bundley and Mr. O’Malley debated with five other candidates, Marvin Jones, Charles Smith, Robert Kaufman, Larry Jefferson and Elbert Henderson, who is a Republican. Baltimore’s primary is set for Sept. 9.

mWedding bells

U.S. Sen. John W. Warner is planning a December wedding to Alexandria real estate agent Jeanne Vander Myde.

Mr. Warner, 76, a five-term Republican from Virginia and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, proposed to Mrs. Vander Myde on Aug. 15 in a small chapel in Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported late last month.

The marriage would be the third for Mr. Warner and for Mrs. Vander Myde, 65.

Mrs. Vander Myde said she met Mr. Warner in 1973 when he was secretary of the Navy and she and her husband were attending an inaugural ball at the start of President Richard Nixon’s second term. Mr. Warner’s first marriage was to banking heiress Catherine Mellon. He married a second time to actress Elizabeth Taylor. Both marriages ended in divorce.

The couple plan to wed Dec. 15 at the National Cathedral in Washington.

Robert Redding contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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