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Posted at 10:24 AM ET, 08/24/2009

Back-to-School Politicking

Thousands of District residents flooded local streets and sidewalks this morning to see their children off for the big day -- the first day of public school.

With so many voters clustered in the neighborhoods at the same time, D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) decided to get a little face time with her constituents.

Bowser is not up for reelection until 2012, but she and about 10 supporters were clustered at Nebraska Avenue and Broad Branch Road NW in the Chevy Chase neighborhood. They were waving signs that read: "Muriel Bowser said, 'Slow Down, Kids are Heading Back to School.' "

Bowser was spotted waving frantically at passing motorists, some of whom honked with approval. Her location is noteworthy. Bowser's political base in Ward 4 is east of Rock Creek Park, home to several predominantly African American neighborhoods. Some Chevy Chase residents west of the park wish their neighborhood was in whiter, wealthier Ward 3, complicating efforts by Bowser to reach out to them.

Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) also seized on the schools' reopening to try to generate a bit of publicity. Cheh toured all the public schools in her district over three days last week. Cheh was on the lookout for any health or safety issues that could disrupt today's opening. At Eaton Elementary, Cheh said, she discovered dangerous levels of lead in a drinking fountain.

"It is impossible for the Mayor and Chancellor to be in every classroom of every school," Cheh said in a statement. "During these tours, I can be their eyes and ears on the ground making sure that no small detail is overlooked."

By  |  10:24 AM ET, 08/24/2009

Categories:  Tim Craig

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