- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 29, 2004

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele will deliver a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention tomorrow.

Mr. Steele, a black Republican, said that Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention was a good primer for his own remarks.

“Barack gave a very good Republican speech, and it was a nice setup for my speech,” Mr. Steele said. “It spoke to the true values that we talk about in the Republican Party. Any Republican in the country could have given you that speech. That was not a speech for the Democratic base that was in that audience.”

Mr. Obama, a black Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate, spoke about unifying the party and his speech was one of the highlights of the convention in Boston.

“There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America,” said Mr. Obama, who represents Chicago’s South Side.

He noted that anyone should have the opportunity to be senator: “We can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all.”

Mr. Steele has criticized the television networks, saying the limited coverage of both the Democratic and Republican conventions leads to a situation where “the population is voting in ignorance.”

“It’s an embarrassing shame. … It’s absolutely crazy,” he said. “The American people should see gavel-to-gavel coverage. … You are filtering out raw, unedited politics. Yeah, conventions are staged, but there is still excitement to it.”

• Don’t bother

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. says President Bush shouldn’t campaign in Maryland.

In an interview last week on WTOP Radio, Mr. Ehrlich said his fellow Republican should visit the states he has a shot at winning in November. And he conceded the Republican ticket isn’t very competitive in Maryland.

Neither presidential campaign has spent much money or time on the state, because it is not considered a key battleground.

But the executive director of the state’s Democratic Party, Josh White, said Mr. Ehrlich doesn’t want Mr. Bush in Maryland because he doesn’t want to be seen with an unpopular president.

• Stop Nader

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner on Thursday joined his fellow Democrats in saying that Ralph Nader’s campaign should have to follow the requirements other political parties have met in filing presidential-ballot petitions in Virginia.

Mr. Warner acknowledged that Democrats are fighting to keep Mr. Nader from diluting presidential nominee John Kerry’s vote and said Republicans are helping Mr. Nader, an independent.

The comments about Mr. Nader getting on the Virginia ballot came on Mr. Warner’s monthly radio show on the Virginia News Network.

It was Mr. Warner’s clearest statement yet on the controversy that began Aug. 20. That’s when State Board of Elections Secretary Jean Jensen, on the advice of an assistant attorney general, rejected Mr. Nader’s qualifying petitions because they were not grouped by congressional district as her agency’s published guidelines require.

Last Monday, the Attorney General’s Office changed its advice, ordering Miss Jensen to accept the Nader petitions because the board never adopted the grouping requirements.

• Comeback kid?

Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry says he’s physically and intellectually up to the task of occupying the D.C. Council seat for Ward 8.

Mr. Barry is campaigning in the Democratic primary for the Southeast council seat held by Sandy Allen.

Mr. Barry, 68, told WUSA-TV (Channel 9) last week that he’s up to bringing economic development to Ward 8.

The former mayor, a Democrat, said he believes many residents in that ward have been “knocked down,” and he said he’s ready to empower them because he has been down himself, but got up again.

Earlier this month, Miss Allen said she has raised nearly $100,000 for her campaign.

• Appointments

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. on Wednesday appointed four persons to the Baltimore city school board.

He appointed James Campbell, school and community outreach coordinator for Johns Hopkins University and a former legislator; Jerrelle F. Francois, an education consultant for Sylvan Education Solutions, who spent 34 years in city schools; Douglas Kington, a real estate agent; and George Vanhook Sr., as the parent representative.

The new members succeed Camay C. Murphy, Dorothy G. Siegel and Samuel C. Stringfield, whose terms have expired, and Ralph S. Tyler, who resigned.

The governor and Baltimore’s mayor jointly appoint school board members from a list of nominations submitted by the state board of education.

• Developing?

City Council members in Cambridge, Md., are a weighing a proposed moratorium on development.

Under the proposal by City Council member Ken Knox, the halt on new construction would be in effect while the city conducts a comprehensive traffic study.

The proposal comes in response to plans for Waterford, a development on Route 343 between Leonard’s Lane and Green Lawn Cemetery. Plans calls for 281 single-family homes and 120 multiuse lots.

The State Highway Administration has studied the possible impact of the project on area roads. Details are expected to discussed at a city planning and zoning meeting Sept. 7.

The City Council has tentatively scheduled a public hearing on the moratorium for Sept. 20.

• Mr. Prosecutor

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has nominated Rockville lawyer Robert A. Rohrbaugh for the post of Maryland state prosecutor.

Mr. Rohrbaugh, whose selection is subject to confirmation by the state Senate, would serve a six-year term. He would replace Stephen Montanarelli, who died in May after 20 years on the job.

Currently in private practice, Mr. Rohrbaugh specializes in product-liability cases involving child restraints.

He was deputy chief counsel to the U.S. House Government Reform Committee in the late 1990s, investigating illegal campaign contributions from abroad.

From 1974 to 1980, Mr. Rohrbaugh was an assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland, and prosecuted one of the nation’s first computer-fraud cases in 1978. In that case, a former employee of a federal contractor was caught hacking into Federal Energy Administration computers in Rockville.

The state prosecutor’s office probes misconduct by public officials, state election-laws violations, ethics-laws violations and other offenses.

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

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