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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. _ A couple of years ago, former Hampton, Va., Mayor Jimmy Eason stopped me in the gym at the YMCA. He complimented me on a column that I had just written about Virginia's budget crisis.
As I thanked him and walked away, he added a prickly postscript:
"One in 10 years isn't bad."
That pretty much summed up our relationship. It was, as Washington Post columnist Jonathan Yardley once wrote, "the only proper relationship between the people who make news and the people who cover it." It was "adversarial." While Eason served as mayor and I covered his administration, we followed Yardley's rule to the letter. We were "not malicious, not …