Loose Lips (5/4) has it exactly backward in asserting that the D.C. Council’s attempt to block the transfer of D.C. General Hospital will jeopardize home rule. Rather, the council’s actions have the potential to energize the movement for real democracy in the District. Over the years that the control board has served as overseer of the District, our elected officials have cravenly bowed to the board on issue after issue. Now, finally, the council has come to its senses to declare, quite reasonably, that how the District delivers health care to its citizens is an issue to be resolved by the people of D.C. and their elected representatives. Loose Lips’ complaint about “dual budgets” ignores the fact that if Mayor Anthony A. Williams didn’t have the control board to go running to like a pampered boy taunted by bullies, the mayor and council would be able to negotiate like a real government.
The D.C. General fight illustrates again that Williams, for all his lip service to home rule, is in reality using his coziness with Congress and the control board to undermine local self-governmentthat is, except to enhance his own power. The council has now called his bluff. Perhaps now the citizens of the District will understand the stakes: support Williams and barter our rights for small favors from Congress, or join the fight for real democracy and self-government.