Pardon us, your honor, but what do you really think?
Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. may balk at having his legal views pinned down before next month's Senate confirmation hearings, but when he was White House associate counsel, he wasn't shy about expressing an opinion on a bill sponsored by then-D.C. Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D).
The 1984 legislation would have established, under certain circumstances, an independent counsel to investigate and prosecute cases involving the District government. Fauntroy was reacting to news that the FBI, in cooperation with the corporation counsel's office, had investigated for two years the potential misuse of millions of federal dollars in connection with the Bates Street housing redevelopment project, then the focus of a Washington Post report.
"This bill is a looney idea," Roberts, then 29, wrote in an April 11, 1984, memo to White House deputy counsel Richard A. Hauser. The Justice Department reported that the U.S. attorney had full investigative and prosecutorial power in the District and had no conflict with the D.C. government, Roberts noted.
The memo was among Reagan administration documents released Monday in connection with Roberts's nomination.
Hint: She Raised You
Politicians generally don't like surprises, but Mayor Anthony A. Williams takes some chances on his monthly Saturday radio show on WMMJ, Magic 102.3 FM.
Each month his staff corrals a surprise "VIP caller'' who dials in and waits for the mayor to guess the person's identity.
Most of the time, Hizzoner guesses right.
Last month, it was movie star Michael Douglas (hint: married to the T-Mobile lady). The actor was in town filming "The Sentinel'' and repaid a mayoral favor. Williams earlier made a cameo in the film playing a bow-tied mayor with a young man's haircut.
Surprise callers in the past have included Nationals Manager Frank Robinson (hint: Jose Guillen's babysitter), Bill Cosby (hint: 1980s sweaters), Dick Gregory (hint: was not elected president in 1968) and "Apprentice'' runner-up Kwame Jackson (hint: Toned biceps didn't save him from being fired).
"We have a lot of fun,'' said co-host Lauren Thompson.
Other callers included Essie Mae Washington-Williams, daughter of Sen. Strom Thurmond, Nona Gaye, daughter of the late singer Marvin Gaye and Zina Garrison, former tennis champion.
One caller that Williams didn't immediately recognize was his own mother, Virginia Williams.
"At first, no, he wasn't expecting it,'' Thompson said. "The last thing he expected was that his mother would call him on-air. He was kind of really surprised.''
Williams also talks about government stuff during the show, which generally airs on the first Saturday of the month from 8 to 10 a.m., according to the station.
Not So Fast!
Ward 7 Democrats have endorsed the proposed National Capital Medical Center, and the subject is scheduled to be discussed by the D.C. Democratic State Committee next month.
But Ward 6 Democrats are asking their comrades to slow down. After all, the new hospital would be located in Ward 6, at the site of the former D.C. General Hospital.
The organization's executive committee last week passed a motion asking the state committee and ward organizations to hold off on any endorsement of the hospital.
"It's not that people are against a hospital,'' said Jan Eichhorn, president of Ward 6 Democrats. "We're trying to slow down any premature action until all the facts are in and it has been debated.''
She said it would be prudent to wait until more flesh has been put on the bones of the plan and the D.C. Council has held hearings.
Council member Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7) sent Eichhorn a response saying that Ward 7 is strongly in favor of the hospital.
"It is disappointing that the Ward 6 Democrats have taken this position,'' Gray wrote.
Wanda Lockridge, chair of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, said a panel discussion about the hospital will take place at the committee's Sept. 8 meeting.
"I don't know how it's going to go, but I know we're going to have a discussion,'' she said.
A March to the Bank, Maybe? Maybe "millions'' is not meant to be taken literally.
Less than two months before the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March, one organizer of the Millions More Movement doubts that the Oct. 15 event will be as large as the original march. Organizers of the historic gathering estimated that as many as 2 million men came to Washington on Oct. 16, 1995.
"I am on the planning committee, but I have being saying publicly that we don't need to bring 2 million more people to Washington, D.C.,'' said Ron Walters, director of the African American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland and a member of the march's steering committee.
Instead, he thinks millions of folks writing checks would be more productive.
"We need to fire up people at home, and we need to make October 15 an annual of day of black folks giving to black causes. For me I would be more satisfied if we built a 'Millions More March' to the bank."
In 1995, the U.S. Park Police estimated that the march drew a crowd of 400,000. The organizers rejected that number, and Boston University issued a report that estimated the crowd at more than 800,000.
Staff Writer Hamil R. Harris contributed to this report.