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Watching D.C. pols and their perks: Now that will make you go Gaga

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, February 26, 2011;

"Teacher, teacher."

"What is it, Jimmy?"

"Kwame's not playing fair."

"Why do you say that, Jimmy?"

" 'Cause," Jimmy said, "Lady Gaga's coming to town and I wanna go see her at Verizon Center, but Kwame's controlling all the tickets for our class and he won't give me two 'cause he said he doesn't have enough tickets for everybody to receive two, but, teacher, Kwame knows that we haven't been getting our share of free tickets, and that when he does give out tickets, it's often only one - still he won't listen to any other proposal, such as Jackie's idea of considering our class's box at Verizon Center and the box down the hall that belongs to Big Mr. V as joint property so there is room for all of our class to have two tickets to each Verizon Center event. But all Kwame says to that is that he will give out tickets to the Verizon Center to our class members on a rotating basis, which means I can't get free tickets for Lady Gaga, and THAT'S NOT FAIR."

"Now Jimmy," said the teacher, " dry your eyes, wipe your nose and sit down. Kwame?"

"Yes, ma'am?"

"Why can't Jimmy get tickets to see Lady Gaga, since you know that Jimmy rarely uses tickets for sporting events, and Lady Gaga means all the world to him, and that if she leaves town without him seeing her, he will, most likely, just shrivel up and die, or something like that?"

"Well, teacher," whined Kwame, "it's like this. I have been driven to the point of distraction trying to get my ride straightened out, which shouldn't be a problem since everybody knows I like fine things like flashy cars and sharp clothes, and inasmuch as I am the most honorable - and the most self-indulgent - member of our class, I just had to be seen behind the wheel of a luxurious, fully-loaded black SUV as I arrived to get sworn in as class president last month. I've had no time for Jimmy."

"That's no excuse, Kwame, for causing Jimmy so much pain and suffering," the teacher said. "There's only one Lady Gaga and she won't be here long. Besides, Jimmy's had a bad week what with his good buddy Teddy having pleaded guilty to two felonies in federal court. A night at Verizon Center with Gaga and her fans probably would do Jimmy some good. So Kwame, get up off those tickets."

"Yes, ma'am. I'll give Jimmy four."

But Jimmy, embarrassed by the fuss he kicked up, gave away the tickets.

"Now, class," the teacher said, "let's get to work . . . wait. Marion, why the long face?"

Marion, the oldest student in the class, spoke up.

"Teacher, my classmates and I have friends with children who long to ride the D.C. gravy train, which is their God-given right by virtue of their association with the ruling class. But guess what's happening.

"Big Mr. V has the gravy train all to himself, and he won't let our friends or their children on board. The ride is only for his friends and their kids."

"And what about that man named Sue?" shouted Davey Cee from the back of the room.

"Yeah," said Marion. "Teacher, Big Mr. V's folks gave Sue a six-figure gig, then showed him the door after the media showed them stuff they didn't know about Sue."

"Now wait just one minute," the teacher said. "I understand that only qualified strap-hangers are boarding that train. Big Mr. V said so himself."

"Besides," she added, "what's a little favoritism and cronyism among friends? Big Mr. V is your friend, isn't he?"

The students groaned, but they agreed to go along. After all, the day may come when one of them takes Big Mr. V's place at the public trough.

"Class dismissed."

Not so easily dismissed are the D.C. elected officials with a knack for making themselves look like petty, self-serving juveniles.

Why do elected officials in the District, among the highest-paid in the nation, deserve taxpayer-supplied vehicles, free tickets or perks of any kind?

Why is the D.C. Council still squabbling over free tickets for Verizon Center events? How does a Sulaimon Brown even get on the public payroll?

Why aren't they doing the people's business instead of tending to their own while on government time and the taxpayer's dime?

Why, indeed, do residents of the District tolerate such nonsense?

But wait. We elected them. What does that say about us?

kingc@washpost.com

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