ACCORDING TO A WELL-PLACED item on the Metro page of this newspaper last Saturday, you'll soon be seeing issues of a new journal around town, published by, and very much about, Mayor Washington - at taxpayers' expense (roughly $2,000 a month). Until this month, the newsletter was called the D.C. Pipeline and was merely a house organ with a modest circulation. But yesterday the first 90,000 eight-page issues of its successor, entitled City News, were being passed out to organizations and agencies all over town. And already some people are suggesting that there just might be some relationship between the emergence of that newspaper and certain rumors (nothing more than that, mind you) that Mayor Washington may announce soon that he will run for reelection.
Now, really. Hasn't Sam Eastman, the voice of the mayor and the man behind the newsprint, patiently explained that the paper is the result of the "enthusiasm and cooperation" of many agencies? And that the basic reason for putting it out is to provide information? Of course. And, as Mr. Eastmann adds, "If the mayor does decide to run I would hope this additional channel to the community would be helpful to him as mayor and candidate."
Well, if the first issue is any example, it certainly won't hurt him. Indeed, its readers will be amazed to discover how many things the mayor has going for them.He's fixing your potholes; he's "pressing for a series of urban development proposals that would mean additional jobs and home ownership opportunities, shopping center construction and a dental clinic to serve half the city"; he has also announced his legislative program, which takes up a whole page of the tabloid, complete with three photos of things the mayor will improve.
Granted, you won't find any substantive mention of the City Council or any reference to council members, two of whom happen to be candidates for Mayor Washington's job. But you will find a list of handy phone numbers to call for services, a map and list of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and their officers and a schedule of meetings for certain government commissions, boards and committees.
If all this is politically motivated, upbeat and self-congratulatory, so what? Many people have been trying for years to figure out just exactly what Mayor Washington does with his day. At least it lets them know what he thinks he's doing. Whether that will always square with thehhtht experiences of his readers is another matter. But they will, after all, have an opportunity to express a view on the subject in the fall.