- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ocean City Mayor Jim Mathias has done a splendid job running the resort since taking office in 1996, most agree.

He has been a relentless pitchman for the town at practically every public event staged there, often grabbing a microphone to bust out in his version of “Mustang Sally” in his native “Bawlamore” accent. And he has done an admirable job keeping Ocean City a family town in the face of aggressive development. But whether he is ready for the next step will soon be answered, now that Wicomico and Worcester County Democrats have picked him to fill out the term of Delegate K. Bennett Bozman, who died in April.

The Daily Times of Salisbury thinks he is, stating in an editorial yesterday: “Outspoken, energetic and well-versed on the issues, Mathias may in fact be one of the most experienced politicians to have ever held a seat representing Worcester residents in the State House.”

Mr. Mathias expected Democrats to reward him for a job well done by making him the running mate of then-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend when she ran for governor in 2002. But insiders said he was overlooked, in part, because his success in Ocean City carried little political weight elsewhere in Maryland. And the same could hold true in Annapolis.

Mr. Mathias said he plans to run for a full term this fall.

Although no regular House of Delegates sessions are left in this term, Mr. Mathias could participate in any special session called to deal with recent spikes in electric rates.

City Council President Rick Meehan will become acting mayor. He said he will seek election to a full term as mayor in municipal elections on Oct. 17.

• One happy guy

When Elkton, Md., Mayor Joseph Fisona learned he had been re-elected Tuesday, he sprinted out of the Singerly Fire Station and hugged his wife, Ellen.

Then he silently pumped his fist in the air.

Mr. Fisona beat former police Chief Charles Jagoe in a contest decided by just 10 percent of eligible voters.

“I felt confident going in, but you never know until the final tally,” Mr. Fisona told the Cecil Whig.

• On second thought

The District is no longer courting Wal-Mart.

About two years ago, city officials had hoped Wal-Mart would open its first D.C. store in Northeast, though the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer decided against the site.

But at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams did not include Wal-Mart’s name on the list of companies the city would like to attract.

Instead, that wish list included Costco Wholesale Corp., Wegmans Food Markets Inc. and Tiffany & Co.

“I think the train has passed Wal-Mart by,” Mr. Williams said at the convention, which ended Wednesday.

Today, the region’s economy is among the nation’s strongest. And rent for prime retail real estate in the city now averages nearly $39 per square foot, the highest in the region, according to research firm CoStar Group Inc.

That means the city can be choosier about the companies it woos, said Steve Moore, president of the Washington, D.C., Economic Partnership.

• His name is Mudd

Retired journalist Roger Mudd will have a say in how the home of Virginia’s governor is furnished and presented to the public.

The former CBS newsman and co-anchor of “The NBC Nightly News” was appointed Friday by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine to the Citizens Advisory Council on Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion.

Mr. Mudd, 78, will join up to 30 unpaid members of a panel headed by first lady Anne Holton that has duties including ensuring that furnishings and appointments on display inside the mansion are appropriate to various historical periods.

Completed in 1813, the governor’s mansion is open to tours.

For Mr. Mudd, who lives in McLean, the appointment marks a return of sorts to his roots.

He began his news career in 1953 just down the street from the mansion as a reporter for the Richmond News Leader, a now-defunct afternoon newspaper.

• Payment request

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. wants the Board of Public Works to consider paying the legal bills of a former Glendening administration official who was cleared of federal criminal charges.

The request is contained in a May 12 letter from Mr. Curran to the board obtained by the Baltimore Sun. Mr. Curran said no new information has surfaced changing his office’s September opinion that Stephen Amos qualifies for reimbursement.

Mr. Amos headed the Office of Crime Control and Prevention under Gov. Parris N. Glendening and was accused of using federal grant money for improper administrative expenses. Federal prosecutors withdrew the charges more than a year ago. His legal bills were nearly $200,000.

An aide to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said the governor’s legal staff is considering the reimbursement issue.

• Trawling for dollars

Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley is getting some heat from his political opponents about his trip to Southern California to raise money for his campaign for governor.

Mr. O’Malley was in Las Vegas for a shopping center conference, then took the side trip Thursday to attend two fundraisers in Los Angeles. The first was held at the office of billionaire Democratic fundraiser Ronald Burkle. The second was a lunch fundraiser organized in part by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan’s gubernatorial campaign calls the trip an odd start for Mr. O’Malley’s new focus on Maryland. The Maryland Republican Party says Mr. O’Malley is appealing to out-of-state contributors who are unfamiliar with what Republicans say is a failed record.

O’Malley campaign officials deny he is raising an unusual amount of out-of-state money.

• Not a party animal

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg returned to Johns Hopkins University last week and warned medical school graduates that centuries of progress in scientific research are under attack by those who oppose stem-cell research and dispute evolution and global warming.

The comments were Mr. Bloomberg’s latest in a steady stream that aligns him more with the Democrats than his own Republican Party. In recent weeks, he has railed against the National Rifle Association, championed abortion rights and parted with Republican leadership on immigration.

Mr. Bloomberg, who studied engineering at Hopkins and recently gave $100 million to the school, said gains made in research are threatened by “people who simply disregard facts that don’t happen to agree with their agenda.”

The idea of this mayor splitting with the national Republican Party is hardly new, and throughout his re-election campaign in his overwhelmingly Democratic city last year, his strategists were eager to paper over his Republican label.

During an interview Wednesday on Fox News, he was asked whether he was at odds with his own party.

“With which party?” he shot back, adding, “I’m not a partisan guy.”

In his speech in Baltimore, he told the medical students that they share the same burden carried by the school’s first graduates more than 100 years ago, when the field was “dominated by quacks and poorly trained physicians.”

Their task, Mr. Bloomberg said, is to “defend the integrity and power of science.”

• Guilty plea

The former tenant who beat and stabbed social activist and U.S. Senate candidate A. Robert Kaufman at his Baltimore home last year pleaded Thursday to attempted second-degree murder.

Henry Leon Davis, 42, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with all but 12 years suspended, and five years of probation.

Mr. Kaufman, 75, has suffered numerous complications since the near-fatal attack last June.

He went into a coma and developed blood poisoning, leading to kidney failure. He gets dialysis three times a week and needs a kidney transplant.

Mr. Kaufman says he’s sorry that Davis would have to go to prison for such a long time and that there was a better way for Davis to demonstrate remorse — donating one of his kidneys to Mr. Kaufman.

A socialist running as a Democrat, Mr. Kaufman says he will continue to make the attack and its implications a centerpiece of his campaign.

He says poverty and drug addiction motivated Davis to try to kill him, and that Davis represents society’s failure to provide adequate education and jobs for the poor and treatment for addicts.

Mr. Kaufman is seeking to replace retiring five-term Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

Other Democrats in the crowded primary field include U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin and former congressman and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume. Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele is seeking the Republican nomination.

• Ad war

The TV ads just keep coming from the Democratic gubernatorial campaign of Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan. Another ad began airing last week in the Baltimore area.

Just like the previous five, the 15-second spot features cutouts of Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., only this time Mr. Duncan’s opponents are portrayed as preoccupied with fighting with each other.

Other ads have challenged Mr. O’Malley’s performance on crime in Baltimore and Mr. Ehrlich’s stance on assault weapons.

The O’Malley and Ehrlich campaigns have called previous Duncan ads “dishonest” and “completely false.”

• Running detective

A detective with the Frederick County, Md., Sheriff’s Office says he is running for county sheriff.

Chuck Jenkins, chairman of the county Republican Central Committee, made the announcement Friday.

Mr. Jenkins plans to kick off his campaign Thursday outside the Frederick County Courthouse at 4:30 p.m.

Two other men who were considered potential contenders now say they have decided not to run.

• This column is based in part on wire service reports.


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