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Taking note . . .

Observations about public affairs in the nation’s capital
by the editor of The Common Denominator

BUY 'EM, BUT DON'T SMOKE 'EM: It's difficult to fathom the reasoning that went into the decision of some D.C. City Council members to include an anticipated $68 million increase in the city's cigarette taxes over the next 10 years as a "stable" source of funding for D.C. Public Schools modernization.

What could they be thinking? Maybe that they aren't serious about funding school renovations, after all?

This is the same council that voted 11-1 last week to institute an almost universal smoking ban for workplaces in the District, starting in January 2007. That includes most of the city's restaurants and bars.

The council's education committee, chaired by Ward 3 Councilwoman Kathy Patterson, approved schools modernization legislation in December that increases the District's tax on cigarettes from $1 per pack to $1.50 to generate the expected $68 million.

So, are we to believe that smokers will continue to buy expensive cigarettes in the District when their venues for smoking them here are limited? And will the $68 million go up in smoke — so to speak — if smokers decide it makes more sense to buy their cigarettes at about half the cost in suburban Virginia?

WE'VE RELOCATED! D.C.'s Hometown News-paper has moved to D.C.'s Main Street.

The Common Denominator's office is now located at 3609 Georgia Ave. NW, Suite 100 — two blocks south of the Petworth Metro Station, on the border of Columbia Heights and Petworth. Our main phone number has changed to (202) 722-6397 (722-NEWS) and our fax number is now (202) 722-6335.

To help our readers adjust to the changes, our old phone and fax numbers will be forwarded to the new numbers for several months.

We look forward to welcoming readers to our new office, which places The Common Denominator on street level for the first time.

Copyright 2006 The Common Denominator