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Back-to-School Politicking

Thousands of District residents flooded local streets and sidewalks this morning to see their children off for the big day -- the first day of public school.

With so many voters clustered in the neighborhoods at the same time, D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) decided to get a little face time with her constituents.

Bowser is not up for reelection until 2012, but she and about 10 supporters were clustered at Nebraska Avenue and Broad Branch Road NW in the Chevy Chase neighborhood. They were waving signs that read: "Muriel Bowser said, 'Slow Down, Kids are Heading Back to School.' "

Bowser was spotted waving frantically at passing motorists, some of whom honked with approval. Her location is noteworthy. Bowser's political base in Ward 4 is east of Rock Creek Park, home to several predominantly African American neighborhoods. Some Chevy Chase residents west of the park wish their neighborhood was in whiter, wealthier Ward 3, complicating efforts by Bowser to reach out to them.

Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) also seized on the schools' reopening to try to generate a bit of publicity. Cheh toured all the public schools in her district over three days last week. Cheh was on the lookout for any health or safety issues that could disrupt today's opening. At Eaton Elementary, Cheh said, she discovered dangerous levels of lead in a drinking fountain.

"It is impossible for the Mayor and Chancellor to be in every classroom of every school," Cheh said in a statement. "During these tours, I can be their eyes and ears on the ground making sure that no small detail is overlooked."

By Tim Craig  |  August 24, 2009; 10:24 AM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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"Some Chevy Chase residents west of the park wish their neighborhood was in whiter, wealthier Ward 3"...

Really? Is this true?

I imagine some Chevy Chase residents wish their neighborhood was in Anacostia or Georgetown.

How can you drop a line like this as a by-the-way throwaway in a blog post. If this is a big trend in that part of town, I'd think it was worthy of proper treatment in the Metro section.

Posted by: IHeartDC | August 24, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

IheartDC - Maybe the writer was just expressing his own views or picked it out of an unrelated cocktail conversation with some white chevy chase ward 4 residents. He never actually quoted anyone saying it.

This seems like a pretty weak story. I was hoping for a follow-up on the unfinished Burroughs school story reported on DC Wire twice this week-end.

Posted by: efavorite | August 24, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I want to believe that someting is wrong with that statement as well. When the wards had the boundry lines "redone", a portion of ward three, west of the park, became ward 4 and I don't recall anybody squawking about it. Question? How many schools are located in the neighborhood where she was waving? She could have covered more ground in the heart of the ward and visited many neighborhoods in a short amount of time. The proximity of Coolidge, Brentwood, West, Takoma, On the corner of Kansas Ave. and North capitol there are 4 charter schools. In petworth there is, Roosevelt, McFarland, Sharpe Health and several charter schools. Who was the visiblity for and who was she really waving too?

Posted by: candycane1 | August 24, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"How can you drop a line like this as a by-the-way throwaway in a blog post"

I felt the same way when I read the part about Cheh discovering "dangerous levels of lead in a water fountain." This is outrageous! We are putting these kids' bodies and brains at risk. Lead is a known carcinogen and poison that causes severe learning disabilities and disruptive behaviors while it permanently damages the brain.

I am just disgusted at how these kinds of things are tolerated.

Posted by: letsbereal2 | August 24, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

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