Sherwood's Notebook: My Apologies for This Column…

President Barack Obama has apologized for the clunky rollout of Obamacare.

In Virginia, Annandale High School principal Vincent Randazzo has apologized for the impatient football coach who rushed the school band off the field a few minutes early, ruining senior night for the musicians.

In Maryland, gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler has apologized recently for perhaps being too tolerant at his son’s “Beach Week” party, where underage youths were perhaps drinking.
Here in the District, the mayor’s spokesperson apologized for referring to parts of the taxi industry as “third world.”

This outburst of apologies — among many others; the Toronto mayor comes to mind — prompted a Notebook suggestion.

We should gather all the apologizers in a circle to sing along with Brenda Lee and part of her 1960 hit single, “I’m Sorry”:

I’m sorry, so sorry,
that I was such a fool. …
You tell me mistakes,
Are part of being young.
But that don’t right
The wrong that’s been done.
Oh, oh, oh, oh, uh-oh, oh yes.

Our recent apologizers are not that young, but the Notebook particularly wants to see some of them sing that last “oh, oh, oh” line. It could be a YouTube sensation.

■ Slurp city, here we come. There’s good news out of Virginia. The state has announced that the most recent oyster harvest reached the highest level since 1987, with more than 406,000 bushels.

That’s about 60 percent greater than a year ago.

Gov. Bob McDonnell cheered the results, saying oysters are a $42 million value to Virginia. The state has about $2 million in the current budget to keep the oysters multiplying.

■ Slip slidin’ away. While we’re still in Virginia, the Notebook wants to mark the public career change for Chris Zimmerman.

Zimmerman was first elected to the Arlington County Board in 1996. He announced he’s leaving the board in January. He’ll be quitting to join the private policy group Smart Growth America. Zimmerman has been one of those too-rare officials who speaks bluntly about urban issues and transportation. He praised Arlington County’s track record of promoting smart growth in places like the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and along Columbia Pike.

He told the WAMU “Politics Hour” last Friday that Rosslyn and Crystal City are both working to make their urban canyons more human-friendly. That’s a full-time job right there.

■ The horn went beep, beep, beep. Last week a bunch of cab drivers were outside the D.C. Taxicab Commission meeting. The drivers are angry that — they say — the city is rushing them to get new dome lights, credit card devices and paint jobs.

Commission chair Ron Linton was unruffled by the shouting drivers, although the noise forced him to adjourn the meeting. Linton engaged in testy back-and-forth exchanges with several drivers as they crowded around him after the meeting. He told NBC4 that Mayor Vincent Gray is insistent that the changes will make the cab industry more organized and customer-friendly. And he noted that the hearing room drew about 200 cab drivers, “but another 6,500 are out on the street working.”

Some of the cab drivers, who’ve always had trouble organizing themselves into effective groups, are now signing up with the Teamsters Union Local 922. The Teamsters have filed suit challenging the pace of the required equipment changes and increased towing of violators by hack inspectors.

The union also has prompted an apology from the mayor’s press spokesperson for referring to the cabs here as “third world.” (As we noted earlier.)

■ You can’t always get what you want. U.S. Attorney for the District Ron Machen will sit down for an hourlong, on-camera interview Wednesday night in front of a live audience at the Hill Center on Capitol Hill (9th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue SE).

There’s room for about 110 people. The program will start at about 7 p.m.

Machen has been the U.S. attorney here for nearly four years. We don’t have to remind you of all the corruption cases that he has handled or is handling. But his office of 350 assistant U.S. attorneys does far more than chase after D.C. corruption.

Who is Ron Machen, and what is he doing?

We’ll be asking a lot of questions, and we’ll take yours from the audience, too.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News4.

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