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I used to live in D.C., so I consider myself more qualified than your typical suburbo-wimp to comment on Mark Roberts’ opinion (“My D.C.,” 9/19). I lived there for two and a half years, deciding to move when I discovered that half of my 45-minute commute to Tyson’s Corner was engaged in getting from my house near Benning Road and H Street NE to the Southeast Freeway, and that too much of my income was engaged in paying the rent on that house. I left D.C. during primary season in 1994, which afforded me the unique (I think) opportunity to vote for both Marion Barry and Oliver North. This was long enough ago for me to understand the pothole metaphor.

Roberts prefers Mayor Barry to Ed Koch, “who saw his tenure end in a tangle of corruption” [but] “no one ever suggested that either the local citizenry or their elected representatives should be stripped of the right to choose.” Of course not. New York City never reached the point D.C. has, and Koch’s tenure ended when he lost re-election. He was voted out by a citizenry that exercised its collective rights and powers to choose local government, rights and powers fully possessed by the citizens of D.C. along with citizens of every other municipality in the United States.

Many New York City voters

likely remembered the city’s 1975 bailout by the federal government with the temporary suspension of some local control over city affairs and didn’t wish for things to come to this pass again. The point is, New York City had a problem, and the voters did what they knew they had to do. Virtually no one outside of D.C. understands what is keeping the citizens of D.C. from doing what they have to do, what many of them surely must have known they’ve had to do since 1990.

Anyone intelligent who lives under a democratically elected government can tell you that notwithstanding fiery Op-Ed columns, speeches, marches, and court challenges, a pothole is simply not going to get filled until somebody picks up a shovel and does it.

D.C. citizens paid in full for this work to be done a long time ago. Lauch Faircloth et al. think that D.C. citizens should mind, just like everybody else, where their money goes, and if they don’t, someone has to mind for them.

Kansas City is not mine. Portland is not mine. Chicago is not mine. They belong to the people of Kansas, Oregon, and Illinois. As a citizen of the United States, D.C. is mine, and I mind what goes on there.

Annandale, Va.

via the Internet