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But - and there’s always a but - while it’s good to know lawmakers and Mr. Nathan, the city’s law-and-order gatekeeper, are open to discussion, voters mustn’t let them off the hook.

Lawmakers buy favors large and small with the constituent funds - utility bills or turkey giveaways over here, Gertrude Stein Club events over there and tickets to major-league sporting events on occasion.

In other words, it’s an underregulated slush fund - and the only way to rid it of loopholes or questionable use is to quash it.

Strike it off the city’s overregulated books as if it never existed.

Mr. Brown and his colleagues want to fix it. But how can they when it is their use of the money, not the money itself, at the root of the problem?

That is precisely why voters should pay close attention from this very day through Election Day 2012 to everything City Hall professes it will place on the table to fix, whether it’s ethics reform, school reform or what have you.

As things stand now, and have since 1978, when officials last addressed ethics laws, Democrats have ruled the District’s roost.

The mayor has always been a Democrat, and the overwhelming majority of council members have always been just as blue.

Say, you want a revolution?

You want reform?

Want real change?

Begin changing the seats at the table and watch Democrats squirm.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at