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Taking note . . .

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

PRESIDENTIAL HYPOCRISY: Washingtonians who tuned in NBC's "Today" show Oct. 11 may well wonder whether President George W. Bush experienced an attitude-changing epiphany as a result of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

During a live interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, while the president and First Lady Laura Bush were helping to build new housing in Louisiana for hurricane-displaced residents, the president fended off Lauer's questions about the much-criticized federal response and recovery effort for the Gulf Coast with an uncharacteristically populist response.

"I realize there's an attitude in Washington that we know better than the local people. That's not an attitude I have," the president asserted.

President Bush has maintained a much different attitude toward the local people who reside in the nation's capital, steadfastly opposing the extension of full citizenship rights and self-determination for more than half a million D.C. residents.

Will the president's new attitude translate into support for budget autonomy and congressional voting rights for U.S. citizens residing in the District of Columbia? Or will the president, instead, continue to hold the view that federal overseers know what's best for the local people of Washington, D.C.?

THE 2006 FIELD GROWS: To no one's surprise, three-term Ward 3 Councilwoman Kathy Patterson officially threw her hat into the ring Oct. 13 as a candidate for D.C. City Council chairman. Patterson, who so far faces opposition in next September's Democratic primary from Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans, announced that her campaign will be chaired by distinguished historian Roger Wilkins, a longtime resident of Southwest Washington and former appointed member of the D.C. Board of Education. Northwest Washington resident Barbara Somson will serve as the campaign's treasurer.

NOT YET 20-20: Councilman Jack Evans remains hampered with some eyesight problems, months after having emergency surgery to repair a torn retina, according to his spokesman, Sean Metcalf. Evans, now under care of one of the nation's top ophthalmologists at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute, has recovered 70 to 80 percent of his sight but faces the possibility of more surgery in coming months. "He still gets a little blur every once in a while," Metcalf said, adding that the councilman's staff has been called on to chauffeur the boss to some nighttime events to compensate for his continuing night-vision problems.

Copyright 2005 The Common Denominator