PERSONALLY, I'M GLAD that at least a couple of Philly state lawmakers appear to focus on goals higher and nobler than usually seen in your Legislature.
Democratic Rep. Dwight Evans, for example, is out to save the planet.
Democratic Sen. Mike Stack seems driven to cleanliness, which, as you know, is next to godliness.
So, good for them. And I hope you admire their aspirations because, well, you're paying for them.
These factoids about this pair emerge following a comprehensive review of lawmakers' expenses published in Monday's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Evans, of course, is a two-decades-plus North Philly House member who once ran for governor (and lieutenant governor and mayor).
Stack is a decade-plus Northeast Philly senator and 58th Ward leader expressing interest in running for governor next year.
Both were singled out in the newspaper's review: Evans for leasing the costliest vehicle the state makes available to lawmakers, Stack for racking up $600 worth of car washes, presumably for his state-leased car.
Evans drives a 2009 Mercury Mariner hybrid for $644 per month.
He defends the pricey lease on two grounds.
First, it's not his fault: The state Department of General Services "sets up the lease . . . and sets the price," he tells the Tribune-Review.
Second, he's doing the responsible thing for the environment: "I'm trying to contribute to saving the world by driving a hybrid," he tells me. "People should contribute to fighting global warming."
He also notes that his SUV is 4 years old. He says: "It wasn't a question of picking the highest lease . . . hybrids are a little more expensive. But I really do believe that's the way we should be thinking."
I suggest that if he's concerned about cleaning up the environment, he could take the train between Philly and Harrisburg (the Amtrak station is just a few blocks from the Capitol).
"That's true," he says. "I'm not averse to taking the train."
Speaking of cleaning things up, what's with Stack's car washes?
As mentioned, the Pittsburgh newspaper reports he billed taxpayers for $600 worth of car washes over two years.
If these washes are for Stack's state-leased car - a 2009 Dodge Charger; $440 per month, according to Senate records - he could be driving the cleanest Chrysler product in Pennsylvania.
I called two car washes in Northeast Philly: Nu-Look Car Wash on Roosevelt Boulevard and Pit Stop Car Wash on Cottman Avenue. Both told me that a basic wash is $14.
If my math's right, Stack could have had the Charger cleaned once a month, every month for two years, for $336.
So either he's found a higher-priced car wash or gets extras such as sealer wax or undercarriage flush, rust inhibitor or wheel shampoos, no doubt to better protect state property.
Or he's getting washes more often than monthly.
(The only publicly paid car-wash record I'm aware of belongs to state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Saylor, who in 2004 charged taxpayers for 34 washes in one year.)
Stack did not return a phone call seeking comment. A Stack political adviser, Nick Custodio, responded in an email: "We don't have a comment."
And, look, I understand that compared with the benefits and perks we annually give our 253 lawmakers, one large lease and a bunch of washes are but flotsam in a cesspool of waste.
The real problem is larger.
The real problem is an ongoing culture in which taxpayers fund the largest full-time Legislature in America with $83,802 base salaries, heavily subsidized health care, fat pensions and travel expenses on top of about $160 a day for food and lodging, no receipts required.
But take heart: At least a couple of Philly lawmakers use your money for noble purposes.