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That is why Virginia did not participate in what is mistakenly called a regional minimum-wage effort that the District and Maryland put together.

It also, by the way, explains why congressional delegations in both states repeatedly (and rightly) turn up their noses at the very idea of the District winning Capitol Hill passage for a commuter tax.

Mr. Gray rightly stiffened his political spine and vetoed an earlier minimum-wage bill that would have yanked the welcome mat for big box retailers, including Wal-Mart.

The measure now before Mr. Orange’s committee would stub the toes of current small-business owners and those who are considering setting up shop in the nation’s capital — whether they are hair salons and barbershops and small eateries, or small law, medical, communications, high-tech firms and other professional businesses.

The ambitious Mr. Orange, at-large Democrat, has wanted to be mayor for a long time, and his 2014 bid isn’t his first.

But even he knows that no one knows what the Consumer Price Index will be next year, let alone in 2017.

With unions closely watching the council vote, Mr. Gray has willingly dipped his toes into murky waters.

The lawmakers to watch are not so much Mr. Orange, but the other Democrats who want Mr. Gray’s job.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at