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Taking note . . .

Observations about public affairs in the nationís capital
by the editor of The Common Denominator

NO DISCLOSURE: On Feb. 28, along with proposing legislation that would place new financial disclosure requirements on committees formed to help potential candidates decide whether to seek elective office, Ward 5 Councilman Vincent Orange's mayoral exploratory committee issued a press release which said the non-candidate "promised to make the contributor report [from his exploratory committee] public within two weeks."

Well, two weeks came and went on March 14 ó and we're still waiting for the councilman to make good on his pledge.

Neither Orange nor Curlie Williams of his exploratory committee returned telephone messages left by The Common Denominator on March 18, inquiring when the promised list of contributors would be made available to the public.

Orange vowed Feb. 28 to return the donations of any contributors to his exploratory committee who would not agree to have their identity and the amount of their contribution disclosed. "If there are some who wish to remain anonymous, I will respect their decision and return the full amount of their contributions," he said.

D.C. law allows the formation of so-called "exploratory committees" for individuals to "test the waters" for seeking elective office. Current campaign finance laws allow these committees to collect and spend unlimited amounts of cash without disclosing who gave the money or where it was spent.

Orange is one of two sitting members of the D.C. City Council who have acknowledged forming exploratory committees as potential candidates for mayor in 2006. The other councilman, Ward 4's Adrian Fenty, also is sponsoring legislation to require full disclosure of exploratory committee funds and has made his list of contributions and expenditures available to the public.

TEACHER OF THE YEAR: In the midst of disruption over mercury contamination at their school, students and staff at Cardozo Senior High School needed some good news. They got it when social studies teacher Kerry Sylvia was recently named 2005 International Teacher of the Year by the World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C. Sylvia received the Leonard H. Marks Award for excellence in international education which advances the study of international affairs in secondary schools. She's in her fifth year at Cardozo, where this year she teaches world history, street law and U.S. government.

Copyright 2005 The Common Denominator