Hey, how often do you hear knocks about the District government and its people, in this column and elsewhere? Frequently, alas, and the good news rarely catches up.

So here comes Lawrence C. Moore, a Washington lawyer, with a load of praise:

"On Saturday, Dec. 28," Moore recently wrote Mayor Marion Barry, "my wife inadvertently dropped a key ring with our house and car keys down a storm sewer at Connecticut Avenue and Ordway Street NW. Ironically she was mailing a check for $339.65 to the D.C. treasurer for water and sewer service" for the preceding six months.

"On Monday . . . with some difficulty and Metro Scene must note in agreement that getting through on the phone system is too often a weak link in the city's operations , she called the Public Works Department . . . and reported the loss . . . . "

Within an hour, city personnel were at the scene, raking and dredging without quick result. "One of your employes, Mr. James Brown, must have the eyes of an eagle because he soon spotted the key ring among the debris and retrieved the lost keys," Moore wrote the mayor.

"I . . . commend . . . courteous, efficient and optimistic . . . James Brown, Anthony Carter, Robert Eley and Anaclew Brown . . . who are fine employes and a credit to our city," Moore wrote, adding his "best wishes to you and to the sewer department for a Happy New Year. . . ."