The slings and arrows I aimed at the District government last week for its mad -- and maddening -- birth certificate policy seem to have produced at least one positive result.
The amount has considerable significance. Five dollars is what the city charges to correct an error on a birth certificate -- regardless of whose error it was. If your child happens to be born on a day when a typist at one of the city's hospitals is feeling inaccurate, it's tough bananas.
Warren Morse, the city's vital statistician, says the city charges the $5 so people won't make what he called "insignificant requests."
"For example," Morse said, "we'd get mothers of 10-day-old babies deciding that they didn't like the baby's middle name after all and wanting to change it every three days. We've got more important things to worry about."
Enter Peggy Hool of Greenbelt. Her son was born on Aug. 4 at Washington Hospital Center. But instead of "Kevin Jay Hool," his birth certificate clanked out of the computer reading 'Kevin Jay Gool." The city told Peggy and her husband that they would fix it for $5 -- if they came downtown in person to pick up the new form.
"Children's Hospital should get the [$5] contribution instead," Peggy writes. I'm delighted to report that it has.