- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 4, 2006

D.C. Council member Jack Evans, Ward 1 Democrat and father of triplets, is using his high-profile job to play “cool dad” and organize field trips for his children’s classes.

During the past two weekly mayoral press conferences, Mr. Evans’ two daughters’ third-grade classes at the National Cathedral Elementary School have made an appearance with Mayor Anthony A. Williams, a fellow Democrat.

They entered via the side door of the press briefing room, shuffled quietly to the back, stood behind the TV cameras for a few moments and then filed quietly out.

Mr. Evans’ son’s class did not go to a press conference because the mayor was out of town that week.

Wednesday, one of Mr. Evans’ daughter’s classes was seen touring the Wilson Building’s fifth floor — the location of the mayor’s private office.

A seasoned D.C. activist noted that she had never seen members of the public treading that sacred ground, which requires a key to access.

• It all ads up

Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, planned to debut his first television advertisement in the Baltimore market today Monday, his aides said.

The ad portrays the mayor as fighting for the interests of working-class families who are facing a pending 72 percent rate increase by Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.

Mr. O’Malley’s opponent in the Democratic primary, Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, already has aired a half-dozen ads in the Baltimore market featuring cardboard cutouts of Mr. O’Malley and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and criticizing them on crime and education issues.

Duncan campaign manager Scott Arceneaux said Mr. O’Malley appears worried that Mr. Duncan and his running mate, Stuart O. Simms, “are clearly surging in Baltimore.”

O’Malley campaign spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said the ad was coming from a position of strength.

• In her name

The Port of Baltimore will be renamed for former congresswoman and former chairwoman of the Federal Maritime Commission Helen Delich Bentley, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced Thursday night at a ceremony marking the port’s 300th anniversary.

“For more than five decades, the name of Helen Delich Bentley has been synonymous with the Port of Baltimore,” said Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican. “Although she has enjoyed a spectacularly diverse career, from newspaper reporter to congresswoman, she has always been known as the ‘mother of the port.’”

Mrs. Bentley, 82, chairwoman of the port’s Tricentennial Committee, served as the Republican representative from Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District from 1985 through 1995.

She worked as a reporter and editor for the Baltimore Sun, covering maritime issues. She was chairwoman of the Maritime Commission from 1969 through 1975.

The port handles more than 40 million tons of cargo annually, generating $2 billion in revenue annually, and employing 19,000 Marylanders, according to the Tricentennial Committee’s Web site (www.portofbaltimore300.org).

Signs and logos with its new name, the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, will be used starting next year.

• To counter Cantor

A Democratic activist who volunteered in his youth to help Hubert H. Humphrey will challenge Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, in November.

The Democratic 7th Congressional District committee chose James Nachman, a Richmond lawyer, during a meeting Wednesday.

Last month, at the party’s 7th District convention, delegates refused to nominate Brad Blanton, a Page County psychotherapist who conducted nude group-therapy sessions.

Mr. Nachman is the Richmond Democratic Party chairman. He has been active in Democratic politics since volunteering in 1968 for Mr. Humphrey’s unsuccessful presidential race against Republican Richard M. Nixon.

Mr. Cantor is seeking re-election to a fourth term.

“The situation in Washington is too grave to allow the incumbent to go unchallenged,” Mr. Nachman said.

• Open up

D.C. government agencies, the school board and charter schools are opposing a proposal to open up government meetings that long have been closed to the public.

At a hearing Thursday, opponents argued that the requirement would be a burden for staff to have to notify the public about meetings.

The proposal would open any meeting where there might be a quorum of lawmakers.

Opponents also charged the measure would limit private deliberations that help them make their decisions. Some said it could result in frivolous lawsuits.

D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz, at-large Republican, said outsiders would question the yelling and cursing that goes on behind closed doors.

The open-meetings legislation was drafted by council members Vincent B. Orange Sr., Ward 5 Democrat, and Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat, over the council’s breakfast meetings that have long been closed to the public and news media.

• Looking up

Baltimore Delegate Catherine E. Pugh plans to run for the state Senate seat now held by Ralph M. Hughes, a Baltimore Democrat who is retiring.

Mrs. Pugh, who was appointed to the House of Delegates in June 2005, said last week that she has the endorsement of Mr. Hughes, as well as those of other community and business leaders.

Mrs. Pugh, a Democrat, served on the City Council from 1999 to 2004, when she ran unsuccessfully for council president. She is president of C.E. Pugh & Co. and has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Morgan State University.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. appointed her to fill the seat of Tony E. Fulton, who died last year of a cancer-related illness.

She said she will hold a formal announcement and kickoff in the near future.

• Show us the money

Several congressmen from the Washington area are not happy with the Department of Homeland Security’s plan to cut the region’s anti-terror funds.

The group, which includes Virginia Reps. James P. Moran and Thomas M. Davis III, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Maryland Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, has sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff requesting an explanation for the cuts across the region.

The letter contends that the Washington area has $190 million in “documented needs” and says that the $46 million that has been allocated to the region “falls dangerously short of what is necessary.”

But the Washington area isn’t the only high-profile place seeing a drop in security funding.

Homeland Security also decided to reduce anti-terrorism funding in New York City by $83 million.

• The thrill is gone

The elections chief for Anne Arundel County told the Annapolis Capital that she might retire after 30 years on the job and after a decade running county elections.

Barbara Fisher said the job is no longer fun, especially given all of the last-minute changes and mandates.

She would be the seventh state elections administrator to step down in the past year, including officials in Harford, Queen Anne’s, Charles and Wicomico counties and also in Baltimore.

Linda H. Lamone, administrator of the Maryland State Board of Elections, said none of the county chiefs who are leaving have told her it was because of this year’s changes.

She said many of them have been on the job for a long time and simply want to do something else.

• Amy Doolittle contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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