Benefit to Honor Ida Ruben, an 'Extraordinary Leader'

By Miranda S. Spivack and Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 19, 2007

A bunch of Ida G. Ruben's friends plan to honor the longtime legislator at a fundraiser for two agencies that aid the developmentally disabled. The tribute to Ruben, 78, who lost her state Senate seat last year, will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the American Film Institute in Silver Spring.

Ruben spent 32 years in the public sector, 17 of them as a senator. She was the first woman to be elected president pro tem of the state Senate and the first in 100 years from Montgomery County to hold the legislative leadership post.

County Council member George Leventhal (D-At Large), among those organizing the tribute, said the event will benefit CHI Centers Inc. in Silver Spring and the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes in Rockville, nonprofit organizations that Ruben selected after her friends asked. A contribution of at least $50 is recommended, Leventhal said, for an evening of light refreshments, including Reuben sandwiches. There will be music, dance comedy and film tributes.

Ruben's husband, L. Leonard Ruben, a retired Circuit Court judge who was still hearing cases, died March 21. Leventhal said that her friends were especially eager now to "do something positive for her." The idea for the tribute was hatched in December, he said, shortly after Ruben was defeated by Jamie Raskin for the District 20 seat, which includes the Silver Spring area. Others on the organizing committee, he said, include Carol Trawick, a former Republican candidate for county executive, Theresa Cameron of the county's Arts and Humanities Council, and Del. Sheila E. Hixson (D-Montgomery).

"We wanted to acknowledge this extraordinary leader," Leventhal said. More information about the fundraiser is available from Joyce Bonnett at 202-243-0156.

Campaign Suit Withdrawn

There won't be a courtroom face-off between the two Democrats who vied for Montgomery County's top law enforcement job last year.

Dan Fox, who filed a defamation suit against State's Attorney John McCarthy, withdrew the claim and paid McCarthy's legal fees, McCarthy announced recently. "Mr. Fox's withdrawal of this meritless claim is a complete, thorough and absolute vindication of Mr. McCarthy," a statement issued by McCarthy said.

Fox claimed in the suit that McCarthy misrepresented Fox's professional qualifications on the campaign trail. Fox sought to have McCarthy deposed before Election Day. McCarthy, a veteran county prosecutor, won by a large margin.

Honor for 'Green' Car Dealer

Jack Fitzgerald, whose auto "malls" are well-known in the region, is the happy recipient of an EPA environmental award and plans to show off his environmental bona fides tomorrow to mark Earth Day by handing out compact fluorescent light bulbs at his Maryland stores.

Fitzgerald said he got the kudos from the Environmental Protection Agency for having his Maryland dealerships purchase 100 percent of their electricity from wind power via an arrangement with Pepco.

The company also has been recycling an average of 81 percent of its Maryland trash, which includes tires, batteries, oil filters, oil, paper, scrap metal and antifreeze. "That's just about everything," Fitzgerald said.

He's also pushing plug-in hybrid cars, which can run on cleaner fuels such as plant ethanol.

"We would like to start a trend," he said. "Burn less oil, plant more trees."

It's hard for businesses to contemplate going green, but Fitzgerald says it pays off.

"Car dealers are not known for this kind of thing," he said. "Just like any other business, you do what's the best for you. But if other businesses see a car dealer doing this, maybe they will think that they can do it, too."

© 2007 The Washington Post Company