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D.C. Welcomes New Class Of Commissioners

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By Jessica Gould

Critics say Washington is home to Big Government. But it's also home to some of the nation's smallest governments. In addition to the new mayor, hundreds of D.C.'s not-so-well-known elected officials are taking the helm of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.

Gottlieb Simon is executive director of D.C.'s Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.

"[The commissions] advise all parts of the District government on issues that have impact and importance for the neighborhood such as liquor licenses, zoning applications, things of that sort," he says.

Mike Silverstein joined the Dupont Circle commission eight years ago after someone was shot and killed outside his window. He says he wanted to improve the community and participate in the political process.

"Someone in the '60s described Washington as a city of eunuchs. Government and politics are all around us. And for most of us this is the one opportunity that we have to participate in the game," he says.

The commissions emerged in the mid-1970s as part of the District's Home Rule charter. There are 37 commissions throughout the city.


Patti Smith Reveals Her Solitary Soul In The 'M Train'

Smith follows up to her National Book Award-winning memoir, Just Kids, with another memoir, M Train. Critic Maureen Corrigan says it is a haunting story about weathering life's storms.

California City Orders Restaurants To Use Disposable Plates, Cups

Officials in Fort Bragg also ordered restaurants to serve water to customers only upon request. As part of a stage 3 water emergency, things like washing cars using city water are prohibited, too.

GOP Candidates Criticized For Oregon Shooting Response

Most Republicans are calling for a renewed focus on mental health services, but some of the presidential candidates have been criticized for their word choice in responding.
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Environmental Outlook: Lessons From Israel's Search For Water

For this month's Environmental Outlook: Ten years ago, Israel experienced a prolonged drought that forced the country to come up with a strategy to address water scarcity. What its experience could teach an increasingly water-starved planet.

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