- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2006

Two prominent former D.C. officials have found new work lobbying their old colleagues on health-care issues.

Tony Bullock, a former communications director for D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, and former D.C. Council member Kevin P. Chavous lobbied the D.C. government last year for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, according to the most recent lobbying disclosure reports.

The insurance giant paid $30,000 during the second half of 2005 for lobbying by Mr. Bullock, who now works at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. CareFirst also paid $60,000 in lobbying fees for Mr. Chavous’ services. He works at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP in the District.

In addition, the Medical Society of the District of Columbia paid $25,000 for Mr. Bullock to lobby D.C. officials on medical- malpractice reform. Emergent BioSolutions Inc. in Gaithersburg paid $22,000 for Mr. Bullock to promote anthrax vaccination in meetings with D.C. Department of Health Director Gregg A. Pane and other health officials, according to filings.

Mr. Chavous and Mr. Bullock are the latest former D.C. officials to join the ranks of D.C. lobbyists.

Max Brown, former legal counsel to Mr. Williams, last year lobbied for Potomac Electric Power Co., MCI Inc., MedStar Health and Affiliated Computer Services Inc., which manages the District’s red-light and speed-camera contracts.

Former D.C. Council member John Ray boasted more than a dozen clients, including Major League Baseball, Greater Southeast Community Hospital and Consolidated Waste Industries.

Greater Southeast’s parent company, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2004, paid some of the most generous lobbying fees last year. Doctors Community Healthcare Corp., based in Arizona, paid lobbyist Kerry Pearson $140,000 in fees during the first half of 2005.

Crying foul

A spokeswoman for D.C. Council member Kwame R. Brown refutes an item The Washington Times published in the March 13 edition of That’s Politics that the council member intentionally omitted in his 2005 report the subject of a taxpayer-funded stadium for the Washington Nationals baseball team.

Spokeswoman LaToya Foye said the report details only the progress made and promises kept by Mr. Brown in 2005. Since the baseball-stadium votes were made this year, they would not have been in the booklet.

Mr. Brown, at-large Democrat, campaigned in 2004 against a stadium deal, then voted in favor of it earlier this year.

The 19-page, full-color booklet is titled “2005: A Foundation for Accountability.”

Mr. Brown had 5,000 booklets printed at $1 each. He began distributing them to residents and reporters earlier this month.

Traveling Tony

The District’s mayor has been to such overseas destinations as China, France, Italy and Thailand.

This spring, Mayor Anthony A. Williams will add Africa to his travels.

“It’s branding and broadening our relationships with the peoples of Africa,” Mr. Williams said.

Mr. Williams, a Democrat who is not running for re-election this year, will lead a trade delegation of business and cultural leaders, educators and as many as 13 city employees to Ghana, Senegal and South Africa.

The group hopes to promote economic investment on both sides of the Atlantic and increased tourism and artistic exchanges.

The trip is scheduled from May 3 to May 22.

Mr. Williams said 12 percent of the city’s foreign-born residents are from Africa and that he considers the trip “the first step in strengthening this connection.”

He also said officials from Maryland, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey and the Department of Commerce have participated in similar trips in which private companies have paid travel and lodging costs.

Corporate members of the delegation will be responsible for their own expenses. Mr. Williams is trying to raise $500,000 to cover the costs of the trip for him and other D.C. employees.

Mr. Williams said that interests from China and other Asian countries are cultivating business relationships in Africa, and trade missions are one way of preserving the competitive edge of companies throughout the Washington area — particularly in the fields of telecommunications, information technology and health services.

“D.C. has a number of businesses that can seek out a market in these sectors,” he said.

No to drilling

The Sierra Club and other environmental groups are urging Gov. Timothy M. Kaine to veto a bill on offshore drilling.

The club said it will air radio ads in Virginia Beach and Norfolk that encourage Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, to veto the bill passed by state lawmakers earlier this month.

The bill directs Virginia officials to seek an exemption from a long-standing federal moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling.

Michael Town, director of the club’s state chapter, said offshore drilling could turn Virginia’s beaches and coastal waters into an industrial zone.

Kaine spokeswoman Delacey Skinner said the measure is part of complex energy legislation that is among hundreds of bills on the governor’s desk.

Officially running

D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson has kicked off her campaign for council chairman.

Mrs. Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat, kicked off her bid from her campaign headquarters Saturday above a hardware store on Capitol Hill.

Supporters said her qualifications include dogged oversight of city agencies, especially public safety and education, advocacy for sound fiscal management and dedication to good government practices.

Mrs. Patterson is running to replace D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat who is running for mayor.

D.C. Council member Vincent C. Gray, Ward 7 Democrat, is expected to kick off his campaign Saturday.

Robert Brannum, an advisory neighborhood commissioner, also is running for the position.

D.C. Council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, decided against running for council chairman in December, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

More money

Members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors are considering whether to give themselves a raise.

The supervisors now earn $59,000 a year. Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland , Mount Vernon District Democrat, said that salary largely precludes anybody without a working spouse from running for the job.

He and other members said serving county residents is no longer a part-time position and that many supervisors work more than 40 hours a week attending meetings, tending to constituent matters and performing other duties.

The proposal would raise the pay to $75,000 and would take effect when the next board is seated.

Mr. Hyland said a reasonable salary for the full-time work would be about $110,000 a year, so that voters could expect those elected to pay full attention to county business.

Officials expect to seek comments from the more than 1 million residents before a pay-increase proposal is placed on the agenda.

Saving the U.S.

U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said leadership and bipartisanship have helped save the United States in times of crisis.

But the Massachusetts Democrat said those resources are not guaranteed.

Mr. Kennedy spoke to a full house at the University of Virginia’s School of Law in Charlottesville on Saturday.

The 1959 graduate of UVa.’s law school discussed how Americans united to win World War II and the Cold War and to improve race relations and fight poverty in the 1960s.

But Mr. Kennedy said he wonders whether the nation faces more critical times.

During his 30-minute speech, Mr. Kennedy also said that education funding is being cut at a time when the U.S. should be tooling up for economic war.

Clarksburg job

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan has appointed an ombudsman to handle issues related to building problems at the Clarksburg Town Center.

Jennifer Russel is a former director of planning and code administration for Gaithersburg and will be Mr. Duncan’s representative to the community.

Last summer, a residents group known as the Clarksburg Town Center Advisory Committee found numerous building code violations by Newland Communities of San Diego at the 1,300-home community.

The county Park and Planning Board held several hearings before residents and the developer agreed to mediation in late November. The results will be presented April 6 to the board.

David Brown, an attorney for the residents group, anticipates Mrs. Russel will focus on implementing decisions reached during months of talks.

Mr. Duncan has said he will include nearly $6 million in the $3.9 billion county budget next year for “planning and zoning reforms.”

“Clearly, the system broke down, and now it is our responsibility to fix it,” he said.

The County Council passed several measures earlier this month to clarify the planning process.

Mr. Brown said the group welcomes efforts to clarify the law but “our position has been the rules were clear enough to prevent what happened in Clarksburg. The rules didn’t need amending. They just needed to be enforced. Nevertheless, to the extent that things are amended and parsed out in the law, we are amenable to that.”

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

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