- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 22, 2005

Virginia gubernatorial candidates Timothy M. Kaine and Jerry W. Kilgore are sparring over television ads and taxes, and the Republican Governors Association is in the center of the fight.

The association is running a television ad in support of Mr. Kilgore, a Republican the group has endorsed. The ad, “Another One,” calls Mr. Kaine a “liberal” and criticizes the Democrat’s plan to offer homeowner tax relief.

The ad says that when Mr. Kaine was mayor of Richmond, tax bills rose. Mr. Kaine voted repeatedly to decrease the property-tax rate, but because home assessments increased, property-tax bills increased.

“Only a real liberal would call that a cut,” the ad says. “So when Tim Kaine talks about cutting your taxes, you’d better hang onto your wallet.”

The Kaine campaign fired back Friday, saying the ad was paid for by “tax-raisers” and noting that Association Chairman Kenny Guinn supported the largest tax increase in state history this year as governor of Nevada.

“So, Jerry Kilgore runs misleading attack ads against a candidate who actually cut taxes while paying for those same ads with funding from two governors who actually raised taxes,” the campaign said in an e-mail.

Association Executive Director Mike Pieper responded: “Regardless of what may have happened in other states, the facts are irrefutable. Tim Kaine raised taxes as mayor of Richmond. Tim Kaine’s ads are false and misleading.”

In 2004, Mr. Kaine supported the largest tax increase in Virginia history when the Republican-controlled legislature voted to raise the sales, cigarette and real estate transaction taxes to bring in $1.38 billion.

On steroids

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings has embraced the National Basketball Association (NBA) for proposing stricter punish-ment of players on steroids.

“It is my hope that the players will recognize the urgent need to adopt the recommended changes to the NBA’s drug policy in order to send a strong message to the public that performance-enhancing drugs will not be tolerated in the game of basketball,” he said.

Mr. Cummings, a Democrat from Baltimore and ranking member of the Government Reform subcommittee on criminal justice, drug policy and human resources, which examines drug policy issues, previously had been critical of the league’s lax drug rules.

NBA Commissioner David Stern won over the congressman by proposing the new rules on the eve of a Government Reform Committee hearing on steroid use in professional sports.

The proposal calls for a 10-game suspension for a first offense and a 25-game suspension for the second offense. The third offense would result in a dismissal and disqualification from the NBA with the possibility of reinstatement after two years, under exceptional circumstances.

Rules currently call for a five-game suspension for a first offense, a 10-game suspension for a second offense and a 25-game suspension for a third offense.

The proposal also calls for increasing the number of random tests for all players to four per season and adding one random off-season test.

“Our nation’s children have suffered the most because of the acceptance and encouragement of steroid use in sports,” Mr. Cummings said. “The most compelling testimony has come from parents who say their children committed suicide after using steroids to achieve an ‘ideal’ image or level of performance.”

The congressman said he will continue to push for zero-tolerance policies for steroids at every level of athletics.

“This is about more than just cheating,” he said. “This is a public health issue that affects the health and safety of every young person who has been convinced that the only way to succeed in sports is through illegal drug use.”

Criticism criticized

The head of the District’s medical society says key D.C. Council members will not give Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ plan to reform medical malpractice proper praise because of their own political ambition.

“Everybody on the council is running for mayor, so they are going to criticize it,” said John H. Niles Jr., chairman of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia’s Medical Liability Reform Task Force.

Dr. Niles said he supports the Health Care Reform Act of 2005, which was resubmitted by the mayor after council committees failed to vote on the bill last year.

The act has been resubmitted to the same committees this year but has received lukewarm reviews from most committee leaders.

The act — which does not cap economic damages but limits most pain-and-suffering payouts to $250,000 against physicians and to $500,000 against hospitals to hold down escalating insurance costs — must be approved by the committees and survive a final vote by the council.

None of the committees has scheduled the act for a hearing.

Please don’t go

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams said he wants to keep City Administrator Robert C. Bobb working in the District.

Mr. Bobb has been rumored for a number of political jobs, including mayoral runs in the District and Richmond.

“I would like to provide incentives for someone like Robert Bobb to stay in the District,” Mr. Williams said.

The Washington Times reported last week that Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, a Democrat, said Mr. Bobb would be a sound successor.

Mr. Bobb, who served as city manager there from 1986 to 1997, has said he looks forward to returning to Richmond someday.

Smelling good

He brought baseball back to the nation’s capital and has seen the homicide rate decline. But the mayor now literally has the smell of success, with a fragrance all his own.

Beau-Tie Personal Blend is named for D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ trademark bow tie. The manufacturer describes it as being “specially designed to suit his busy, active lifestyle.”

The ingredients include jasmine and citrus oils, and the green-colored package comes wrapped in a bow made to look like — what else? — a bow tie.

The fragrance was made by Aveda — a skin care company that is part of the Estee Lauder empire — to coincide with a store it is opening next month in the District.

Mr. Williams’ spokeswoman, Sharon Gang, said the mayor did not work on the design of the fragrance. Instead, it was created based on guidance from Mr. Williams’ staff.

Council changes

Voters in Hagerstown, Md., have chosen their first black City Council member, according to the final results from the election Tuesday.

Alesia Parson, a Democrat, edged ahead of the top Republican vote-getter, Scott D. Hesse, by 31 votes to clinch the fifth council seat. She got 1,909 votes to Mr. Hesse’s 1,878.

Miss Parson’s victory was confirmed by a count of 196 absentee ballots Thursday, completing a five-seat sweep by Democrats.

In the mayoral contest, Republican Richard F. Trump unseated first-term Democrat William Breichner, 1,694 to 1,406.

Write-in mayoral candidate Robert Bruchey got 1,203 votes.

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

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