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Sherwood's Notebook: Marching, Meeting & Eating

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images
    Pro-life activists stand near the U.S. Supreme Court at the March for Life rally on January 23, 2012.

    We covered the March for Life again this week for NBC4.

    It was the 39th annual demonstration against the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that declared most abortions legal.

    March for Life

    [DC] March for Life
    Despite the weather, the 39th annual March for Life drew a huge crowd to downtown Washington today to protest the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade the decision that legalized abortion 39 years ago. (Published Monday, Jan 23, 2012)

    It was cold and rainy this year. Some years the weather is better. But the message of the march is the same: End abortion.

    We wrote about the march last year, about the passionate people who persevere and how it seems that this large march -- tens of thousands attend -- gets less media attention than some others.

    The abortion issue, barring a dramatic turn, may be an intractable battle for generations. (We wrote that last year, too.)

    The marchers come from nearly every state in the union. Each person also is petitioning his or her representative or senator to do more to end abortion. Some congressional members speak at the march rally.

    But again, as we wrote last year, the citizens of Washington have no voice in the national decisions on abortion one way or another.

    We have no vote in Congress, neither on the House floor -- where this subject is most often raised and where our “delegate” can’t vote -- nor in the Senate, where we have no representation at all.

    Whatever the social issue before Congress, we the people of the District have no say.

    It especially matters right now because Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., has said he wants to add more restrictions on abortions in the District. His bill would prohibit the abortion of fetuses after 20 weeks. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says she’ll try to fight this latest intrusion into city affairs. But Franks chairs the Judiciary Committee, where the measure will be heard, so it stands a good chance of passing, at least in the House.

    • Bring your camera.

    Norton has had better success with another Capitol Hill matter.

    The U.S. Capitol Police are now in charge of Union Square, the plot of land and reflecting pond between 1st and 3rd streets in front of the Capitol on the west side. Until recently, that end of the National Mall was handled by the U.S. Park Police.

    Now, Norton has gotten something of a promise from Capitol Hill that the Union Square area will not be turned into the city’s latest “security” fortress. At least for now, visiting tourists and demonstrators will still be allowed into the area to petition their government or simply take pretty pictures.

    We still worry that “security theater” advocates will take over and another piece of the nation’s capital will be lost behind new bollards and barriers.

    • A big meet-up.

    Mayor Vincent Gray is taking a page from former Mayor Tony Williams.

    On Feb. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., about a thousand people are expected to attend his citywide “One City Summit” to discuss a broad range of issues and ideas in the city. The mayor promises to use some of those high-tech gadgets where everyone gets to vote.

    Here’s one vote: Don’t do it.

    The mayor is opening himself up to more criticism that his administration is not active enough (a criticism he rejects).

    Mayor Gray is the polar opposite of former Mayor Adrian Fenty. We don’t believe Mayor Gray can ever get enough of meetings and cabinet sessions and discussions, large and small.

    Several city leaders have said they worry that at some point the meetings themselves become the goal, rather than a step toward the goal.

    It’s the same with some of the mayor’s appointees, one official told us. Some feel that being appointed to a job is the same thing as doing the job. But just holding the job doesn’t make you important; it’s doing something with it that does.

    You have to register to attend the event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The sign-up number is 202-709-5132. We called that number on Monday night. We were asked to leave a message, with the promise that someone would “return your call shortly.”

    If you go to the summit, let us know what you think of it.

    • Food fight.

    The battle between the increasingly popular food trucks and established “brick and mortar” restaurants is entering a new phase.

    The Gray administration has just published proposed rules that would bring some order to where trucks can park and how long they can stay.

    The mayor’s office says “street vending, food trucks and farmers’ markets are important components” of the city’s street life. But the mayor says he’s seeking a “careful balance” on how food trucks will operate.

    The proposed rules are open for public comment, and the final versions must also pass muster with the D.C. Council.

    You can put the food truck battle in the same category as the tensions between cars and bicycles. We’ll probably have Middle East peace before either of those two urban battles is settled.

    • A final, fun word.

    For all the grief we get as the nation’s capital, it’s nice once in a while to hear something good.

    Careerbliss.com has named Washington its 12th happiest place to work based on how much workers like their jobs, the money they make, the people they work with and the chances for growth in their field.

    So what’s first? Miami. And if you have to ask if that’s the Miami in Florida or the Miami in Ohio, then you shouldn’t be reading this in the first place.