Posted by Tod Lindberg on 27th January 1997
LAST YEAR, D.C. CONGRESSIONAL delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton liked to tell the story of her meetings with residents of the nation’s capital, lately a site of high and rising crime rates, failing schools, collapsing infrastructure, and impending municipal bankruptcy. The burning question on residents’ minds was, Should I stay or should I go? “If you’ve stuck with us this long,” she said, “don’t give up now.” Help is on the way, Norton was telling her discouraged constituents. And last week, the cavalry finally made plans to move in, with the announcement of a plan for a federal takeover of many city services.
But the help comes with a surprising twist. For when you combine the new federal initiative with the recent takeover of the city’s school system and budget by a congressionally appointed “control board,” you have a new reality: the end of “home rule” in the District of Columbia.