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Washington journal

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 28, 2002

Coastal traffic a mess -- in Georgetown

In a slickly packaged new report, the nonprofit Pew Oceans Commission notes that half the U.S. population lives in coastal counties that cover only 17 percent of the nation's land area.

"Runaway land consumption, dysfunctional suburban development patterns and exponential automobile growth" are a "prescription for severe ecological disaster," the report says.

However, to illustrate the explosive growth in traffic in Broward County and the accompanying stresses it brings to aquatic ecosystems in South Florida, the commission chose an odd photograph.

It's of bumper-to-bumper traffic -- in the picturesque Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Animals get this party started

They call them "party animals."

In an effort to brighten up the gloomy post Sept. 11 tourism scene in Washington, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities will place 200 donkey and elephant sculptures in tourist spots around the city.

Adorned with distinctive designs created by artists, the sculptures are on display in downtown Washington at 1025 F St. NW. After May 5, the symbols of the Democratic and Republican parties will be scattered around town.

Last week, first lady Laura Bush and Mayor Anthony Williams unveiled the sculptures, which will be sold at public auction this fall.

Davis leads New Democrats

Jim Davis has been chosen one of three co-chairmen of the New Democrat Coalition, a key bloc of moderates in the House of Representatives.

The Tampa lawmaker, who will be leading the group along with Reps. Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Adam Smith of Washington, says the coalition "represents the future of the Democratic Party."

With 74 members, the group "has grown to the point where it is increasingly an effective voice within the Democratic Party and the Congress," Davis said.

The New Democrats have positioned themselves as a younger, more budget-conscious side of the party. Rather than emphasizing the party's longtime ties to labor unions, the New Democrats have sought to increase ties with businesses, especially high technology firms.

"This is not your parents' Democratic Party," Smith said. "New Democrats stand for the core Democratic values of opportunity, responsibility and community, but we're going to use modern means to get there. Democrats have to learn how to harness the power of both the private sector and the government to offer citizens the best quality of life possible."

Davis says the group has provided key swing votes on trade and tax bills.

"The truth of the matter is if you want to get something real done, unless groups like this are supporting it, you're not going to get it done."

-- Times staff writers Mary Jacoby and Bill Adair contributed to this column.

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