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National Perspective

Washington Insight

July 08, 1998|From The Times Washington Bureau

ODD COUPLE: Here's a tough-to-beat ticket for 2000: Retired Gen. Colin L. Powell and pop star Janet Jackson. The two appeared arm in arm Tuesday at a youth center in Washington--Jackson in an orange crop-top showing her navel and Powell in a conservative blue suit (navel covered)--to announce that the hip-hop singer will donate a portion of her upcoming concert proceeds to programs that provide mentors for youths. Despite the joint appearance, this unconventional coupling is no sure thing. Powell has said umpteen times that he is happy running the America's Promise volunteer effort and has no designs on the White House. And Jackson, a timid speaker, seems to thrive more on a concert stage than at a podium. But the duo was introduced at the Washington Boys & Girls Club as "The General & Janet," a snappy moniker that just happens to fit on a bumper sticker.

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YOU GOT A PARK, BABE: The town that wasn't very nice to Sonny Bono when he first arrived as a congressman in 1994 now can't seem to do enough to remember him. The latest tribute-in-progress is "Sonny Bono Park," complete with a plaque and a vault containing sheet music for "The Beat Goes On" and a pair of cuff links bearing the House seal. It's all under construction on a little triangle of land in Dupont Circle--a mostly gay neighborhood of bookstores and restaurants that is about as close to West Hollwood as Washington will ever get. "I think he would have been very pleased and touched to be remembered with a place people can use and enjoy," said Bono's former press secretary, Frank Cullen. The memorial was designed by a local developer who was a casual acquaintance of the former pop star-turned-congressman. Cullen said his boss "never would have expected a statue." Nonetheless, one is being erected as we write in downtown Palm Springs, not to mention various endowments and talk at UC Riverside of a Sonny Bono School of Government.

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TIMING IS EVERYTHING: Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), who listed herself as a "mother" on her financial disclosure form, wants teenagers to be able to sleep in. She is sponsoring legislation, intended to "turn Z's to A's," that would provide a $25,000 federal grant to high schools that open after 9 a.m. "It's time for high schools to synchronize their clocks with their students' body clocks," Lofgren says, citing research that shows what teachers already knew: High-schoolers often snooze through first period.

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