- The Washington Times - Monday, June 27, 2005

Virginians have until Thursday to complete applications if they want a National D-Day Memorial license plate.

American Legion Post 54 and the National D-Day Memorial Foundation need 180 more applications to be submitted. The two groups are teaming up with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to collect the applications.

This special revenue-sharing series will raise the D-Day Memorial’s level of awareness across the commonwealth and in states where owners of those plates may travel.

Another benefit to the memorial comes after the first 1,000 plates are sold, when the foundation will receive $15 for every plate sold.

The DMV must have 350 completed applications by Thursday, or the license plate will not go into effect and the American Legion will lose its $3,500 administrative fee.

The D-Day plates cost $25 annually, or $35 for personalized plates.

• Doctor in the race

Former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Peter Beilenson began his bid for Congress on Wednesday, saying he would work to preserve pensions and the safety net of Social Security.

Dr. Beilenson, a physician and the son of former California congressman Tony Beilenson, criticized the Bush administration for working for the interests of the wealthy and business “at the expense of the rest of us” and said “it’s absolutely critical we don’t privatize Social Security.”

President Bush supports allowing younger workers to put some of their Social Security taxes into personal accounts, where they may earn higher investment returns than Social Security provides. However, the approach also calls for a reduction in benefits promised to future retirees.

Dr. Beilenson, 45, also said it “makes no sense” to make it more difficult for individuals to file for bankruptcy while making it easier for employers to cancel pension obligations through corporate bankruptcy.

“That won’t stand. We need to do something about it,” Dr. Beilenson said.

Mr. Bush signed a bill in April that will make it harder for debt-ridden people to wipe clean their financial slates by declaring bankruptcy.

Dr. Beilenson also said he would work to improve health care and public schools, ensure the safety of children and provide more homeland-security funding for firefighters, paramedics, police officers and other first-responders.

Dr. Beilenson joins state Delegate Neil Quinter as the only announced Democratic candidates for the seat of U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin. Mr. Cardin is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for the seat of the retiring U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

State Sen. Paula Colodny Hollinger of Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens reportedly also are considering bids.

The district includes parts of Baltimore city and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard.

• Allen backs Bolton

U.S. Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, is firm in his support for embattled nominee John R. Bolton as U.N. ambassador.

Mr. Allen addressed Republicans in Manchester, N.H., this weekend, saying Mr. Bolton is the right man for the job.

President Bush’s nomination of Mr. Bolton has been stalled by Senate Democrats, who are demanding more information from the administration on Mr. Bolton’s tenure as the State Department’s arms-control chief before letting the nomination advance to a final vote.

Mr. Bush could agree to the Democrats’ demands, go ahead and give Mr. Bolton a short-term recess appointment, or withdraw Mr. Bolton’s name and nominate someone else.

Mr. Allen has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2008, although the senator has said he’s focused on his job and will face re-election next year before considering other plans.

• African connection

Maryland made family ties with two African nations last week.

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, on behalf of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., signed a sister-port agreement with representatives from Gambia and Ghana, linking the Port of Baltimore with Gambia’s Port of Banjul and Ghana’s Port of Takoradi.

The signing ceremony at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront was held in conjunction with the Corporate Council on Africa’s 5th Biennial U.S.-Africa Business Summit.

• Barry weighs in

D.C. Council member Marion Barry isn’t giving his one-time protege Mayor Anthony A. Williams a glowing review of his performance as D.C. mayor.

Mr. Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, said Mr. Williams has not thoroughly addressed the issue of gentrification in the city during his two terms as mayor.

“There are people being put out of their houses everyday, and the mayor has done nothing to stop gentrification,” the former D.C. mayor said.

Mr. Barry will not rule out a run for mayor and said he has nothing against gentrification as long as people have somewhere to go.

Mr. Williams, a Democrat who served as the District’s chief financial officer while Mr. Barry was mayor, has not said whether he will seek a third term.

Mr. Williams was traveling and could not be reached for comment.

• Gang death penalty

Former Virginia Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, Republican candidate for governor, wants to combat gang violence by expanding the state’s death-penalty law.

Mr. Kilgore announced his anti-gang proposals last week. He said he considers gangs the state’s No. 1 public-safety problem.

Among his proposals is eliminating the “triggerman” requirement for capital punishment. That would allow the state to seek the death penalty against a gang leader who orders a subordinate to kill someone.

He also wants to expand the definition of capital murder to include those committed as part of a gang-related activity and make murdering a witness a capital offense.

Mr. Kilgore is running against Virginia Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, and state Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., a Winchester Republican who is running as an independent, in this year’s gubernatorial race.

Mr. Kilgore said the proposals build on his efforts as attorney general. Those efforts include tougher anti-gang laws and promotion of education programs to prevent children from joining gangs.

Mo Elleithee, a spokesman for Mr. Kaine, said a state report shows gang activity in Virginia increased 220 percent while Mr. Kilgore was secretary of public safety.

• Republicans unite

Seven Republican state delegates from Western Maryland have formed a slate to bolster their 2006 re-election chances.

“It helps us get our act together as a group,” Delegate Richard B. Weldon Jr., Frederick Republican, told the Frederick News-Post Tuesday.

In Maryland, forming a slate allows political candidates to conduct and fund their campaigns jointly.

The delegates said they established the Western Maryland Republican Victory Fund to “help build a veto-proof majority for Gov. [Robert L.] Ehrlich and to focus our efforts on electing a 100-percent Republican legislative team for our region.”

They announced a July 2 fundraiser featuring Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Beside Mr. Weldon, the slate includes Frederick County Delegates Joseph R. Bartlett, Patrick N. Hogan and Paul S. Stull, and Washington County Delegates Robert A. McKee, Christopher B. Shank and LeRoy E. Myers Jr.

• Potts on the ballot

Virginia state Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr. will be on the statewide ballot for governor this fall.

The Virginia State Board of Elections last week certified signatures Mr. Potts submitted on qualifying petitions earlier this month.

Mr. Potts, elected as a Republican to a fourth Senate term from Winchester in 2003, became disenchanted with the Republican Party’s conservative orthodoxy and began his independent candidacy in February.

“Virginians now have a real choice in November,” Mr. Potts said.

However, he has been unsuccessful getting himself included in scheduled debates between the Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, and Republican Jerry W. Kilgore.

S.A. Miller and Robert Redding Jr. contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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