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“He has not met with us once,” Interfaith Council member E. Gail Anderson Holness, pastor of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church, told me on Saturday, following a Ward 7 candidates’ debate.

The minister said she was glad the mayor undid what Mr. Fenty had done and that she will continue her pastoral responsibilities with or without a meeting with Mr. Gray.

“I have to do what I do,” she said. “I’m dedicated to spreading His word.”

Makes you wonder: Did Mr. Gray empanel the Interfaith Council for religious advice and humanitarian reasons, or is there a new stench emanating from the city hall?

Is that donkey dung?This weekend, at the Ward 7 Democrats’ candidates’ forum, I turned to fellow panelist Sam Ford of WJLA-Channel 7 and whispered, “When did we start depending on the government to get us out of every fix.”

And later, as News Channel 8’s Bruce DePuyt, the other panelist, and I chatted, it seemed to be one of many tough questions every resident should ask candidates as the junkyard-dog-like economy bites the behinds of people of color.

True to form, the candidates sang and danced like Rockettes, two-stepping to “I’ll make sure you get your fair share, sister” and “Ill make sure the government can spare a dime, brother” in their appeals to the young, the old and the in-between packed inside a hall at Antioch Baptist Church.

Democrats worth watching: There are true education reformers making a name for themselves this election season, and one of them is Kevin B. Chavous, son of the former Ward 7 council member, who is running for his dad’s old seat. Another is Kenyan McDuffie, also a Democratic upstart, who is trying to stand out from a pack of more than a dozen Donkey Kongs in the Ward 5 race.

Both young men, who have their feet firmly planted in the school-choice camp, soon will have to join the final leg of a foot race, where Fenty supporters, independents, Republicans and D.C. newcomers are anxiously awaiting with a baton to hand off.

Hee-haw, hee-haw.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at