Jeffrey Sharlet, author of an article in Harper's magazine referred to in a Metro brief on Oct. 30, said the headline mischaracterized his remarks. He said he did not raise questions about claims made by the James Socas campaign for Congress, other than to say that "they should have stuck with my words" in referring to his article. (Published 11/1/04)

THE DISTRICT

Supporters of Shelter Speak at Hearing

About a dozen activists and homeless men appeared before a D.C. Council hearing yesterday to oppose a city plan to sell the former Randall Junior High School in Southwest Washington, part of which is being used as a homeless shelter, to the Corcoran Museum of Art and College of Art and Design for $6.2 million.

Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) held the hearing to determine whether the building is needed for a public purpose or should be declared surplus property and sold. City Administrator Robert C. Bobb testified that the building is dilapidated and that the shelter should close Wednesday as planned.

Bobb said 150 new shelter beds in Southeast will replace the Randall shelter.

Richard Gaunt, who stays at Randall, said people at the shelter will not relocate to an unfamiliar place three miles away. He took part in a short rally at Freedom Plaza before the hearing, where about a dozen homeless men and advocates waved signs and shouted protests against closing the shelter.

The school also houses 34 arts programs. Officials from the Dance Institute of Washington and individual artists testified yesterday that they also relied on the Randall building for their programs and had concerns about the sale of the building.

MARYLAND

New Deputy Transportation Secretary

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) yesterday appointed a new deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation.

James Ports Jr. most recently served as the department's assistant secretary for administration.

He fills a position previously held by Trent Kittleman, who was appointed executive secretary of the Maryland Transportation Authority yesterday.

The appointments come after the resignation of Thomas L. Osborne, the authority's previous executive secretary, over problems with the resurfacing of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

In his new position, Ports will oversee the department of 9,300 employees that operates Baltimore-Washington International Airport, the Port of Baltimore, an extensive mass transit and highway network and the Motor Vehicle Administration.

VIRGINIA

Fairfax Hires Consultant to Boost Tourism

Fairfax County's new tourism agency has commissioned an outside firm to identify the county's best spots for tourists as well as potential markets for new visitors.

The study by Global Insight, to be completed early next year, should also serve as a guide for marketing the county's thousands of hotel rooms, which enjoy strong corporate business during the week but suffer with many weekend vacancies.

Fairfax created a separate tourism agency last summer to enhance what many believed to be an undermarketing of the county's assets.

Abuse Help on Web Site Goes Multilingual

Fairfax County announced yesterday that it has posted information for victims of domestic violence on its Web site and translated it into Arabic, Urdu, Korean, Farsi, Spanish and Vietnamese.

The Domestic Violence Handbook, written by the county's Network Against Family Abuse, tells a victim how to seek assistance from public and private human service agencies, the police and the courts. It is available at www.co.fairfax.va.us/service/dsm/dviolence/dviolencehbook.htm.

In a crisis, residents can call the Fairfax County Women's Shelter at 703-435-4940. For abuse treatment services, the number for ADAPT (Anger and Domestic Abuse Prevention & Treatment) is 703-968-4052.

Some Towns Pitch an Early Halloween

Officials in several Virginia towns have called for trick-or-treating to be held tonight instead of tomorrow night to avoid a conflict with the Christian Sabbath and to avoid keeping children out late on a school night.

The towns of Orange and Gordonsville, in Orange County; Montross, in Westmoreland County; and Culpeper, in Culpeper County, all voted to observe the holiday tonight.

"Some folks wouldn't think it was appropriate to trick-or-treat on a Sunday," said John Maguire, a member of the Board of Supervisors in Westmoreland.

Some parents also feel Sunday isn't a good night because it's a school night. Others, however, are annoyed that trick-or-treating will go on for two consecutive nights in neighboring communities, said Karen Richards, an office assistant in Orange County.

Author Questions Socas Campaign Claim

The author of a Harper's magazine article cited as the source for an accusation in Northern Virginia's 10th Congressional District race said yesterday that he stands by his reporting but added that Democrat James Socas's campaign had offered its own interpretation of that reporting in its campaign materials.

Socas's campaign, citing a 2003 article by Jeffrey Sharlet, said Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R) is part of a group whose members "admire the strength and personal leadership" shown by Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden. Wolf called the charge "bogus."

Sharlet said the campaign "should not have attributed that characterization to me. They should have stuck with my words."

The article quoted a leader of the group, the Fellowship Foundation, referring to world-changing "covenants" forged by Hitler and others. "What the article said is correct," Sharlet said.

Spotsylvania Grad Sues Over Bullying

Joseph Golden, 19, recalls his time at Chancellor High School in Spotsylvania County as the most miserable years of his life. And now he wants three classmates to pay.

Golden, a 2004 graduate, is suing the boys over what he describes as repeated assaults and ridicule. The suit asks for $150,000 in damages from each.

Although the lawsuit says that several teachers saw him being bullied and did nothing, it does not name the school or any teachers as defendants.

School Superintendent Jerry W. Hill said administrators documented the complaints they received.

"Much of the criticism directed at this organization, the WMATA management team, and, frankly, at me personally, has been deserved."

-- Metro Chief Executive Richard A. White, disclosing that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is investigating whether the contractor for its paratransit service inflated performance numbers to cash in on more than $3 million in incentives. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Theola S. Labbe, Leef Smith, Lisa Rein, Michael Laris and Michelle Boorstein and the Associated Press.