- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 15, 2004

Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell predicted that President Bush will win the state’s electoral votes in November, adding that campaign efforts by Virginia’s popular Democratic governor won’t help Sen. John Kerry.

“If Bush loses Virginia, Bush will lose 40 other states,” Mr. Howell, Stafford County Republican, said during a luncheon with editors and reporters at The Washington Times on Wednesday. “I don’t think he’s going to lose Virginia unless it’s a McGovern type of landslide. Kerry is going to do well in Virginia, but he’s not going to win.”

Mr. Howell said polls show the president with a healthy margin over the senator from Massachusetts.

Virginia last elected a Democrat in 1964.

Gov. Mark Warner has been stumping for Mr. Kerry.

• I swear

Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Anne Arundel Democrat, tomorrow will preside over the swearing-in ceremony for Delegate Tanya Thornton Shewell.

Miss Shewell, Carroll County Republican, was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Carmen Amedori, who left to serve on the state parole board.

Miss Shewell will fill the remaining two years of a four-year term that ends on Jan. 11, 2006.

• In the money

D.C. Council member Sandy Allen has raised nearly $100,000 in her effort to keep her Ward 8 seat from ex-Mayor Marion Barry, who is waging a comeback challenge against his former protege.

Miss Allen’s latest campaign finance reports show that contributors have kicked in more than $60,000 since June 10, when she filed her last report. That was just days before Mr. Barry announced his candidacy.

Mr. Barry told The Washington Post that he plans to raise $50,000 for the campaign.

• For the Bay

U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes, both Maryland Democrats, and John W. Warner, Virginia Republican, have asked for a review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program after reports that the federal agency directing Bay restoration efforts had overstated environmental achievements.

“Questions remain about whether the monitoring information currently reported by the Bay Program provides an accurate depiction of bay conditions and the amount of progress made toward restoration goals,” the three wrote last week in a letter to David Walker, comptroller general of the federal Government Accountability Office.

Mikulski spokeswoman Amy Hagovsky said the senator’s Baltimore office had not received a response to the request.

The letter asks the GAO to assess the overall restoration progress reported for the Bay, determine how progress is measured in the Bay watershed and evaluate the effectiveness of Chesapeake Bay Program efforts to ensure that proper measures are being used.

The Chesapeake Bay Program has directed Bay restoration and protection efforts since 1983 when the landmark Chesapeake Bay Agreement was signed.

• Costly chase

The mayor of Friendsville, Md., was convicted last week of leading state police on a chase in northern Garrett County.

A Garrett County District judge found Spencer Schlosnagle, 40, guilty of speeding, and fleeing and eluding. The judge ruled that Mr. Schlosnagle didn’t mean to hit a police cruiser and acquitted him of second-degree assault.

Mr. Schlosnagle must pay a $50 speeding ticket. The judge ordered probation before judgment on the fleeing and eluding count but fined him $100.

Mr. Schlosnagle said he was distraught because his mother was dying.

Mr. Schlosnagle is serving his 10th term as mayor of the town of 529 persons. He has been re-elected repeatedly since first winning the post in 1986 despite convictions for indecent exposure in 1992, 1993 and 1994.

• No deal

There is still no compromise in a legal challenge to Maryland’s new computerized voting machines.

Eight plaintiffs sued the state elections supervisor this spring, claiming the machines need to have a voter-verified paper trail. The lawsuit has been sent to mediation, but the parties could not resolve their differences.

The case has been moved from the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to the state Court of Appeals.

In response to a report listing problems with the machines, the elections board recently awarded emergency contracts to test the security of the system in each county and prepare the machines for the upcoming election.

• Reviewing the city

A former Clinton administration official will review the performance of D.C. agencies.

Lisa Mallory-Hodge has been hired to lead the newly created Center for Innovation and Reform.

Miss Hodge’s department has begun a 90-day review of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and plans to release a report when the review ends in November.

Next on the agenda are the city’s personnel office and Contract and Procurement Department.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams said the goal of Miss Hodge’s hiring is to take city services to a higher level. He said the initial departments have been identified as priorities, saying people always complain about personnel rules and blockages.

“I think we’ve come a long way, but there are still many areas where we need improvement,” Mr. Williams said.

He added this initiative is different from past government reform efforts because it is government-based and doesn’t rely on outside consultants, which staff members sometimes resent.

• Sky chief

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner has named a new director of the state Department of Aviation.

Randall Burdette of Stafford County succeeds Charles Macfarlane, who resigned this summer to pursue business opportunities.

The governor’s office said Mr. Burdette has 26 years of experience in defense-related enterprises, and has extensive experience as an aviator, in private life and in the military.

He most recently served as program manager for the Defense Department’s Technology Initiative, which seeks to identify and support technology projects that are ready for procurement or acquisition.

The state aviation department provides financial and technical help in the planning, development, promotion, construction and operation of airports and aviation facilities. It also promotes aviation and licenses aircraft, airports and landing areas.

• For health, history

A Montgomery County Council member is looking out for the health concerns of people who own historic properties.

Nancy Floreen, at-large Democrat, plans to introduce legislation that would make it easier for people to make changes to historic properties if health issues are a factor.

The legislation would affect the work of the county’s Historic Preservation Commission, which must grant approval before exterior changes can be made to any of the county’s 3,000 historic buildings.

Mrs. Floreen says she was moved to action by the plight of a Takoma Park couple. Kate Bauer and Eric Lindblom’s daughters have low but measurable lead levels in their blood, but they have been unable to replace many of the windows in their home. The windows generate dust rich in lead particles.

• Social service rally

The search for a permanent chief at Baltimore’s Department of Social Services is continuing — but some workers say the man temporarily in charge deserves the job.

Members of the Maryland Classified Employees Association held a rally in front of Baltimore’s City Hall last week in support of Floyd Blair.

But Mayor Martin O’Malley’s administration says Mr. Blair doesn’t meet the legal qualifications for the job and the city should be a part of the hiring process.

A judge has ordered Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Mr. O’Malley to agree on a new candidate by next month. The mayor’s office says it has sent resumes of candidates to the governor.

The governor’s office says Mr. Ehrlich still thinks Mr. Blair is the best man for the job, but will abide by the court order and review the resumes.

Christina Bellantoni contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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