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September 8, 2013

Reader Contributions

Dear Contributors:

A reader who doesnít want to be identified writes, "Have you noticed there arenít many reader contributions lately? I sure have. Iíve stopped contributing for two reasons: your boring Ďexpert on everythingí commentaries and your rigid opinions, which you reflexively inflict if someone disagrees with you." Yes, I have noticed that there are many fewer reader contributions recently, but I donít know what to attribute that to. I donít think that Iím more boring, "know-it-all," or rigid than Iíve ever been. Have you noticed a degradation in themail?

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I know I complain often about the tone of DC elections, but at least weíre not New York City. In the current issue of New York magazine, Mayor Bloomberg attacks the leader in the Democratic mayoral primary, Bill De Blasio. Bloomberg makes a conservative criticism of De Blasioís campaign, and calls De Blasio "classist" for making raising NYC income taxes on the rich a cornerstone of his campaign. But then he also calls De Blasio "racist" for campaigning with his wife. De Blasio is white; his wife is black; and Bloomberg says De Blasio is being divisive for "making an appeal using his family to gain support," http://tinyurl.com/n2tlxb2. Bloomberg is trying to walk back his comments, but my impression is that in DC, at least temporarily, weíre past the time of the politicians who would even raise it as an issue.

Gary Imhoff
themail@dcwatch.com

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Undergrounding Power Lines ó An Update
Dorothy Brizill, dorothy@dcwatch.com

On October 21, the councilís Government Operations Committee will hold a public hearing on Bill 20-387, the Electric Company Infrastructure Improvement Financing Act of 2013. The bill stems from the findings and recommendations of the Mayorís Power Line Undergrounding Task Force, which was established in August 2012 to "advise the Mayor on the general causes of storm-related power outages in the District" and "the undergrounding of power lines." The purpose of B20-387 is to finance the undergrounding of Pepcoís primary mainlines and lateral wires (high rating circuits) through issuing revenue bonds by the District government.

Background information, including the mayorís order establishing the task force; various reports and presentations by Pepco, the Peopleís Counsel, and the task forceís technical and finance committees; and the final abridged report of findings and recommendations are available at http://oca.dc.gov/page/power-line-undergrounding-task-force.

To date, neither the mayor nor the city administrator has released information that has been requested, including a map of the District showing Pepco mainlines and lateral wires that would be placed underground and a timeline for construction.

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Bezos and the Washington Post: An Interesting Challenge
George Idelson, g.idelson@verizon.net

One wonders of Bezosí focus on "the consumer" will take him into the Postís emigration from local coverage. Expansion of the metro area and erosion of staff to cover it are clearly self-defeating. Itís time for a hearty debate about how the Post can better serve its readers, including how it might figure out a way to cover the city it presumes to speak for. One thought is that the Post turn its reputed investigative staff loose on DC agencies, one by one. Itís not a substitute for daily coverage, but it might open a lot of inner doors and future stories. Another idea that might be up Bezosí alley is to figure out a way to get readers to report local news, that is, crowdsource the coverage.

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