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IN OTHER WORDS: D.C. police, fire departments get passable grades

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The District's police and fire departments may not be at gold-star status, but both received passable grades during their first month of public approval ratings through the Grade D.C. program.

By collecting data from both online surveys and select social-media platforms — such as Facebook, Twitter and area blogs — the Grade.DC.gov program is used to assign a score and letter grade to government agencies in order to rank their customer service. The Metropolitan Police Department received a B- grade for October — not bad. The Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department fared better, with a solid B.

John A. Wilson Building

But first, Mr. Davis congratulated council Chairman Phil Mendelson, a Democrat, and Vincent B. Orange, at-large Democrat, for their wins at the ballot box on Tuesday.

Nothing strange about that, but Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 Democrat, was also on the dais. She cruised to victory as the sole candidate in her race, solidifying her position on the council as she gains traction as a popular lawmaker on the shortlist for mayoral candidates in 2014.

Mr. Mendelson noted Mr. Davis' snub, prompting a humorous retort from the witness, who knew that no one tried to make it a race.

"That's a walk," Mr. Davis replied, before extending his congratulations.

Friendly reminders

Help Save Maryland is a grass-roots organization dedicated to railing against illegal immigration, but that doesn't mean that its members are opposed to providing the occasional friendly, non-threatening civics lesson to illegal immigrants.

The group passed out fliers at polling places on Election Day, reminding prospective voters that casting a ballot as a non-citizen is a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment or even deportation.

Help Save Maryland helped lead opposition to Question 4, a ballot initiative that would uphold the Dream Act -- a law that would allow some of Maryland's college-aged illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates. Much to the group's chagrin, the initiative passed by 16 percentage points.

The group has also spent years accusing state leaders of being overly friendly toward illegal immigrants and their advocacy groups, arguing that it has allowed many noncitizens to get driver's licenses and even register to vote.

The fliers had warnings in English, Spanish, French, Korean and Chinese, although we imagine one of those languages is more important than the others.

Help Save Maryland director Brad Botwin says he wasn't trying to intimidate noncitizens, but he just wanted to help them avoid making the "silly mistake" of trying to vote illegally.

"We just want people to be careful when they go out there and make sure they know what they are doing," he said.

Andrea Noble, David Hill and Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report

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