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In the course of putting together this week’s Young & Hungry column, editor Michael Schaffer wanted to know how Don Rockwell, the man behind his budding restaurant association and his eponymous board and DCDining.com project, could maintain his critical objectivity while advocating and promoting eateries.

Good questions, I said. I’ll find out.

To be fair, I don’t think Rockwell really wanted to answer these questions until he could put a statement of principles together. Rockwell and I have talked over the phone the past two days on this subject, and for the most part, he wanted his comments off the record as he worked out his thoughts.  But he did offer two ideas for the record:

  • That he would include a section on DonRockwell.com that would list all his personal and professional affiliations, so readers would know immediately where he has financial or social ties.
  • That members of the Association of Independent Restaurants would not influence his dining recommendations to potential customers at DCDining.com. “If I don’t like the restaurant, I’m not going to recommend it,” Rockwell told me. “It will only hurt me if I do.”

Early this afternoon, Rockwell gave me a statement that he thought would suffice for now. It says:

“No. 1: DonRockwell.com is sacrosanct. No. 2: There will be full and unambiguous disclosure of all personal and professional relationships, and No. 3: There will be no breach of public trust.”

I suspect this is not the last word on the subject.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery