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Guns and Tax Rip-Offs

The D.C. Council's first day back was a whopper. Nikita Stewart and Hamil R. Harris report on the first legislative council meeting after a two-month recess. A re-energized group of legislators seem eager to take on the administration of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on issues ranging from homelessness to government spending.

As the story notes, it looked like the start of round two of a long-running battle between the council and the mayor. But nothing brings together rivals like a common threat.

The council---this time in collaboration with the Fenty administration---loosened its gun restrictions in its response to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling. But the District now finds itself trying to beat back Congress, as national lawmakers try to push their own gun legislation on the District, and stepping, once again, all over homerule.

The other immediate challenge for the District government is that ever-elusive question of credibility---a question that the District can't seem to shake, no matter how hard it tries.

The details of Harriette Walters' $50 million scam against taxpayers makes that task even harder. Elected officials have a huge job of building public confidence. Taxpayers want to know that when they turn over those hard-earned dollars the money is going to pubic services rather than into the pockets of the next criminal mastermind.

Have enough safeguards been put into place? What else can be done to protect public coffers?

It will be interesting to see how the legislative and executive branches collaborate to try to answer that $50 million-dollar question.

By Marcia Davis  |  September 17, 2008; 8:16 AM ET
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Congress wouldn't have had to step all over home rule if DC had actually complied with the Supreme Court ruling.

Posted by: Liz | September 17, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Would you have also complained about the government forcing it's way on the district when they banned segregation ?

Posted by: gjdagis | September 17, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

"But the District now finds itself trying to beat back Congress, as national lawmakers try to push their own gun legislation on the District, and stepping, once again, all over homerule."

Would you like some cheese with your whine?

Posted by: Steve | September 17, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

D.C. is pretty amazing. It is like our own little third world country right here in America. The place should just be absorbed into northern Virginia but I have a feeling that the good people of VA wouldn't take em. Maryland would annex them but they have their own cross to bear in Baltimore. Perhaps we should contract with the Dow company to coat the whole of the district with super frictionless non-stick then tilt it towards the Atlantic.

Posted by: Kennon | September 17, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Since what Congress is trying to do goes far beyond what the Supreme Court required, I don't think the complaints about complying with the court's ruling hold up as an excuse for the violation of local control of our legislation. The grandstanders in Congress couldn't even wait for the council to pass new laws before they rushed in trying to abolish gun regulation entirely.

Posted by: KCinDC | September 17, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

As a DC resident I have supported and fought for DC to become more autonomous but for the DC government to think they are above the supreme court has only shown big brother that DC isn't mature enough to govern itself. The DC government's arrogance voids much of the progress we've made, and will slow any future efforts for independence.

Posted by: Matt | September 17, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I love when residents of NOVA take potshots at the District. You couldn't pay me enough to suffer the staleness of Virginia. So have fun with your strip malls, interstates, chain restaurants, and Ballstons. Or is it Bethesda? I can't tell the difference. Or maybe you guys are too busy immigrant bashing to realize how pathetic your "hometown" is.

Posted by: Seriously | September 17, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

So why are we giving them 8 billion a year of federal tax dollars to support their corruption?

Time to do away with it if they want real Home-Rule. Otherwise, abolish it. They have already proven for the past 30 years they are incapable of running anything properly.

Posted by: Yawn | September 17, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"So why are we giving them 8 billion a year of federal tax dollars to support their corruption?"

Alright Yawn, Then we could tax the federal government for every square foot of space that they currently use for free. While we're at it, we could make all the people who work in the district pay their income tax to the district too. We could use our police to protect our citizens instead of the speeding motorcades racing around the city. Personally I'd rather not pay any fed. income tax since I don't have a congressman or senator. We could be the next Monaco.

Posted by: Kevin | September 17, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Outstanding! The DC council are a bunch of Hypocrites. Especially that council "woman" or "creature" Eleanor Holmes Norton. She doesn't even know if she's coming or going with that hyphenated last name. She isn't fit to decided what toilet paper to wire her butt with; much less to decide on quality of life for DC residents.. How in the hell did you all elect a pompous, out of touch idiot such as her ????

Posted by: Anonymous | September 17, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Compare the District Clause with the Declaratory Act of 1766.

In each case, a national legislature asserts an unwarranted Absolute Power over an unrepresented minority, " all cases whatsoever..."

Power corrupts, and Absolute Power corrupts absolutely. Maybe the Congress is unwittingly doing DC a favor by arming around half-a-million disgruntled residents....

"Extreme cases of oppression justify… a resort to the original right of resistance, a right belonging to every community, under every form of Government…"
James Madison, Letter to N. P. Trist, December, 1831 (Madison, 1865, IV, page 206)

Posted by: citizenw | September 17, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey, actually DC is a fine place to live, as my wife and I are discovering. The $50 mil defalcation is peanuts compared to the bond debt that the DC Council has assumed. Also, has anyone audited the DC Gov's pension plans? What liabilities lurk therein?

One reason that DC is such a great place is that the DC Gov spends money like drunken sailors and some of the money actually ends up in visible ways. A 60-cent bus ride for example. Our taxes are quite low for all the benefits we enjoy. Enjoy the party while it lasts, I say.

Posted by: JohnR(VA) | September 17, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

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