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●  I was in New York City for three days on a family visit, before returning home on Tuesday, September 10. What struck me first upon arrival in the Big Apple was the concentration of humanity: NYC has about the same number of people (8.2 million) residing within its urban boundaries as the combined populations of Idaho and Washington (8.5 million).

●  Roaming the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn and seeing trash bags heaped along the sidewalks for later collection; observing the oily fast food joints; and passing by many a narrow and cluttered local grocery store, I reflected on the imbalanced fact that our federal government is seemingly more worried about the safe use of irrigation water in tree-fruit orchards along the Columbia River than the urban hygiene of a great metropolis.

●  During my stay I visited the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan.  A sobering, well-designed site located where the twin towers once soared, it will be all the better as a public memorial when world conditions allow the current intense security governing access to the site to be set aside.  At some future point in time, one should be able to peacefully walk to this emotive memorial without running a gauntlet of official checkpoints.

●  On a pleasant Monday evening, as I was walking to a nearby restaurant,  I chanced upon a political event on the eve of the New York City’s Democratic Party primary election. There on the white marble steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall, just off Columbus Park, was Eliot Spitzer urging voters to vote for him as the city’s next comptroller.  Less than one hundred people were standing and listening. Most of these, to my eyes, were paid campaign workers for the well-known candidate, who had resigned in 2008 as governor of New York due to misconduct involving ladies of the night. It was interesting for me to see firsthand a step towards a major political comeback: one that, the next day, proved to be a misstep, as Mr. Spitzer narrowly lost this primary election.