Monday, March 28, 2005

A Maryland lawmaker last week defended his comments at an earlier meeting in Montgomery County in which he said he was “spreading the hate of homosexual activists.”

Delegate Don Dwyer Jr. said he was alerting his audience to the hatred that homosexual activists have for those who oppose them and their agenda.

The Anne Arundel County Republican said he was not endorsing hatred for homosexuals.

Mr. Dwyer addressed about 200 people at a March 19 meeting organized by Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, which opposes a proposed sex education curriculum in Montgomery County.

“I’ve been accused of spreading hate and fear among the churches throughout the state of Maryland. Guilty as charged. … I am spreading the hate of the homosexual activist, and I am spreading my fear of what’s going to happen in this great state and our great nation if the people of this world do not take a stand,” he said.

Mr. Dwyer last week acknowledged his comments could be misconstrued.

“I need to be careful about that,” he said.

• Too soon to tell

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams says he has decided whether to run for a third term, but he is not ready to make an announcement.

In an interview Friday on WTOP Radio, Mr. Williams said he knows what he is going to do next year but isn’t sure when he will tell anyone. His best guess: “sooner or later.”

• Definite maybe

Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Democrat, says he plans to announce soon whether he will run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Paul S. Sarbanes, a Democrat.

“I am pretty much on schedule. I’ve talked to a lot of people, and they’ve all been very encouraging,” Mr. Cardin told the Baltimore Sun. “We’re going through this process, and I’m hoping to complete it within the time frame I’ve set out, which was a couple of weeks.”

Mr. Cardin, 61, is one of several Democrats eyeing the seat held by Mr. Sarbanes, who has announced that he will retire when his term ends after next year.

So far, only Kweisi Mfume of Baltimore — a former congressman who recently resigned as president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People — has formally announced his candidacy.

A. Robert Kaufman, a civic activist who has made several unsuccessful runs for statewide office, said he would file as a candidate today.

Other Democrats considering jumping into the race: Reps. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Chris Van Hollen and Elijah E. Cummings.

On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele has said he is seriously considering a run and will make further announcements in the next few weeks.

The lieutenant governor’s remarks came after Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said that neither he nor his wife Kendel would seek the Republican nomination for the open Senate seat.

• Delegate Dance

Rosalyn Dance says she hopes to increase jobs, enhance public safety and improve education as the 63rd District’s new representative in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Mrs. Dance won a special election Tuesday by a 2-1 ratio to fill the seat left vacant after Fenton L. Bland Jr. resigned earlier this year after pleading guilty to felony bank fraud conspiracy.

“It’s important that our residents feel safe and have an opportunity to get a good education,” Mrs. Dance said at her victory party.

Mrs. Dance, a Democrat and former Petersburg mayor, had 69 percent of the vote, the Virginia State Board of Elections reported. Mrs. Dance had 4,341 of 6,312 total votes.

She defeated Republican Andrea Sims, with 1,690 votes, and independent Michael Bratschi, who received 271 votes.

• Holding the line?

Officials in Hagerstown are getting some static for planning to offer high-speed Internet access over city-owned power lines.

Critics say the service, which would be provided by a contractor, could interfere with radio frequencies used by emergency responders and ham radio operators.

Other Internet service providers say it wouldn’t be fair to let a competitor use a public utility to deliver its product.

Germantown-based Current Communications Group LLC, which co-owns one of the companies bidding on the contract, dismissed those complaints Wednesday. Spokesman Jay L. Birnbaum said the chances of radio interference are practically nil, and the concerns about unfair trade reflect efforts to limit competition.

Mayor William M. Breichner said any decision on the service is at least a month away.

• Learning curve

Maryland state Sen. Richard F. Colburn, Dorchester County Republican, has withdrawn from classes at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore amid charges that a former aide wrote and submitted academic papers on Mr. Colburn’s behalf.

Gregory Dukes, a former legislative aide whom Mr. Colburn calls a disgruntled employee, alerted university officials in January.

He says he wrote five papers for Mr. Colburn last year for two sociology courses Mr. Colburn was taking toward a bachelor’s degree.

Mr. Dukes, 36, told the Baltimore Sun he felt obligated to complete the papers to keep his job.

He said he resigned from his legislative position in December after being ordered to perform those duties.

He also said he performed a variety of personal tasks for Mr. Colburn, including waiting at his home for repair workers and coordinating the sale of baseball tickets.

“If he receives any success because of what I did, I would feel bad about that,” Mr. Dukes said of Mr. Colburn, who sits on a legislative committee that oversees education issues.

Mr. Colburn, 55, rejects the charges, saying he wrote the papers longhand and gave them to Mr. Dukes to type because he does not know how to type or use computers.

He withdrew from the classes at UMES because of the demands of the legislature, not because of the charges, he said.

“It’s his word versus my word,” he said. “We’re talking about a disgruntled employee.”

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

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