Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton isn’t hiding her feelings about recent Secret Service road closures that “paralyzed the city,” and she wants the federal agency to know the District is not its fiefdom.
“We are very grown up in this city about the need for closures and protection of highly placed U.S. officials and foreign dignitaries,” Norton said in a release today. “These inconveniences are accepted by residents as the price of being the nation’s capital, However, D.C. is not a fiefdom to be subjected to the dictatorship of the Secret Service or any other federal agency.”
Norton joins Mayor Vince Gray in calling for the Secret Service to get input from the District before it closes city streets. On Tuesday, Gray called on the Secret Service to similarly change protocols for visiting dignitaries.
In a letter to Secret Service Director Julia Pierson,the mayor said the road closures near the White House and Convention Center “show of disrespect to D.C. residents,” the Post reported. Many of these streets, including the closure of the southbound lanes of 14th Street between G Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, were closed because of the AIPAC convention that ended Tuesday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke on Tuesday, was staying at the Willard Hotel at 14th and Pennsylvania. Police, according to the Post, say some motorists were stuck in traffic for up to two hours.
The Secret Service said in a statement that it would review the closures and meet with local officials to discuss ways to improve the process.
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