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I would like to add my two cents to the thoughtful letters from Barbara Kahlow and Eric Mingo (The Mail, 11/26), that were written in response to Loose Lips’ outrageous and over-the-top attack of At-Large D.C. Councilmember Phil Mendelson (11/19). To fault a lawmaker for paying too much attention to detail is like faulting Cal Ripken for playing in too many games. It’s nuts.
Details are a lawmaker’s stock in trade, they are the essence of what he or she does, and getting them right makes all the difference. The details are where well-intentioned legislation turns bad (and sometimes vice versa). Phil learned this hard lesson in his years of public service as council staffer, advisory neighborhood commissioner, and public activist. Bringing these lessons with him to his new chair on the dais in the Council Chamber is precisely the reason he was elected last year—and precisely the reason he continues to enjoy so much support in my ward, Ward 3, and across the city.
I have known Phil for many years, through his work in Ward 3 politics and on citywide issues. I have always known him as a man of great moral integrity, who takes his time, masters each issue, and then makes a careful, reasoned, and principled response. The fact that he has not let the pressures of the pressing work of the council change his detail-oriented approach is a reason to celebrate Phil and not castigate him.
Chair, Ward 3 Democratic Committee