« 이전계속 »
Mr. ATHERHOLT. Well, if you come down to it, the whole matter of the home rule bill could be stated here in one moment. If the Congress of the United States wants to give the people of the District of Columbia home rule, they can do it this week. All they have to do is to pass a bill ceding back to Maryland all that part of the present District of Columbia outside of, say, a strip between K Street North and K Street South, and we would be back under State government and we would have home rule. That is all it would take.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think there is anybody on earth who could prepare a bill providing home rule for the District of Columbia that would satisfy you and every other person in the District?
Mr. ATHERHOLT. Well, I don't even call this a home rule bill. I consider this,
The CHAIRMAN. That wasn't my question. My question is whether you think there is anybody who could prepare a bill in a week or a month or a yearMr. ATHERHOLT. Either for or against.
The CHAIRMAN. Proposing home rule for the District of Columbia that would satisfy every person in the District?
Mr. ATHERHOLT. Satisfying every person's whims, no; but satisfying fundamental, legal concepts of constitutional law and ordinary good government, yes..
The CHAIRMAN. That means it would satisfy the lawyers because they are the ones that know in detail about the Constitution. .
Mr. ATHERHOLT. They are the only ones that examine into a bill and analyze it and, by golly, when all these people were coming up here the other week talking for it, they were merely waving a flag; they hadn't read it. They admit they haven't.
The CHAIRMAN. I am a lawyer and a member of the usual bar associations. Yet I wouldn't want the lawyers alone to decide what kind of home rule should be given to the people of the District of Columbia. I sometimes feel we could do without a good many of the lawyers who resort to technicalities. They try to block all legislation with technical objections to the constitutionality of the measure.
I fell as Samuel Johnson felt when he said that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The road to the enactment of any legislation in the Congress, I find, is paved with constitutional objections.
Mr. ATHERHOLT. Sir, if that is an implication that I am bringing in here a lot of technicalities, I think we are getting a lot less respect than we are entitled to from the Senate.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand you think the bill is unconstitutional. Mr. ATHERHOLT. I do; the manner the provisions work, even the constitutional provisions.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you read the legal opinions on the constitutionality of a bill almost identical with the bill before us; opinions expressed by Charles A. Beard, by John W. Davis, by Walter F. Dodd, by Arthur T. Vanderbilt, by Graham Clayton, Jr., Lloyd L. Cutler, Samuel Spencer, Lloyd Symington, and various others? These opinions are contained in the record of the hearings on Home Rule and Reorganization for the District of Columbia, joint hearings on Senate bill 1968 and H. R. 4902 of 1948.
Mr. ATHERHOLT. I think that is the publication that was called to my attention a year ago, and I did read them.
The CHAIRMAN. I suppose you disagree with those gentlemen who say this bill is constitutional ?
Mr. ATHERHOLT. They never said it about this bill, and I want to see the corresponding provisions of this bill they were talking about before I would know what they were talking about the constitutionality of; and while we are hearing a great amount about the constitutional opinion of Mr. John W. Davis, isn't it a fact that that opinion was a sort of curbstone remark on a half-page letter? That is my recollection, sir; and then we have Mr. Beard and some other historians in there. But are they talking about this bill or are they considering it as District residents? Who are they? They are not District residents. They are not confronted with the problems that 1, as an active civic worker, have met in the District of Columbia for the last 10 years.
The CHAIRMAN. You wouldn't argue that an attorney's ability to determine the constitutionality of the bill depends upon whether he resides in the District? All these would then have to be ruled out, and Mr. Colladay's opinion alone would prevail.
Mr. ATHERHOLT. I say very emphatically if they were talking about one bill and I am talking about another bill, their opinions have no prima facie value in the matter, as I am sure the Senator fully realizes.
If I were shown that there was the same provision in the bill they were talking about I don't know what bill it was.
The CHAIRMAN. That was the Auchincloss bill.
Mr. ATHERHOLT. Really at the time I did not analyze it with the same care with which I analyzed the Kefauver bill, and I feel—and perhaps should apologize for it—but I nonetheless feel I would be unable to give any useful discussion of it. In fact, I couldn't give any useful discussion of it; I didn't read it with care. I glanced through portions of it in haste; that is all.
Before we clean up, let's come to part 2 of page 22, title IV–Rules of the Senate and House and House Rule-Making Power of the Senate and House. It tells how these bills are to be considered and are privileged to be brought up under certain conditions. Let's look at two things.
The District Council passes a legislative proposal, and it comes up and lies before the Congress, is reported out by the Senate District Committee and the House District Committee, and somebody wants to do some filibustering. What is a more wonderful opportunity than to bring up legislative proposals like this, under their preference, preferred status, and call them up merely as a deterrent, whether it helps the District of Columbia or not?
So we get tangled in that. On the other hand, these bills come down here at a time when the Congress has much other pressing legislation
before it, things of really great national importance, and you are all giving all your time to them as you properly should be.
Are you then going to stop the consideration of those matters and take up this moderately interesting matter from the District of Columbia or is somebody going to say, "Well, now, forget that, we are too busy, we can't take time for that”?
Under section 404 has been stated the fundamental constitutional authority to change anything at any time.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Attorney, with the greatest courtesy, I want to admonish you to confine yourself to stating your objections.
Mr. ATHERHOLT. They are objections. It is not the words of the bill. It is the way these provisions operate that we should look at. We are looking at the government of the District of Columbia.
Then another thing which certainly isn't home rule, is the fact that the District Manager may be an outsider, the District heads can be outsiders, the National Capital Park and Planning Commission is put into our recreation, is put into two or three other activities apart from zoning, and that body is a Federal body, loaded 2 to 1 against the District of Columbia. The District budget is enacted by the District, and that is a good thing. Borrowing, we think, is undesirable.
Financial affairs of the District, title VIII, on page 38, we find there that the receipt and custody of funds is in the same hands as the accounting, which is contrary to all good business practice, even though we have annual audits by the GAO.
For instance, at present in our own District government the Collector of Taxes has receipt and custody of the city's money and the District Auditor audits it.
Then we come to crediting certain fees, section 832, page 49, saying. that no portion of the fees and fines collected after June 30, 1953, by the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia, the United States District Court of Appeals, et cetera, shall be credited to the District.
That is a substantial amount of money each year, and we don't see any reason why that should be taken away from us.
We come to the Department of Recreation, where the Park and Planning Commission is put in there to supersede one of the prior residents of the District of Columbia on it. That isn't home rule.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, we know, unfortunately gets under the Department of Commerce.
Then we have abolished the Zoning Commission, the Board of Zoning Adjustment, the Public Utilities Commission. We feel each one of those steps is a serious mistake operating against the interests of the District of Columbia. Taking that view, the operation of other clauses which put the members out of office, it would probably have a very unfortunate effect.
The Board of Education is made elective. That we are against. We think when people are suggested for a position on the Board of Education, the court has a better opportunity to inform itself and to weigh the qualifications of those people for members of the Board than would be true by the electors at large before whom the genuine qualifications would never come.
We notice when we get to the discussion of qualified electors on page 81, that Washington must be merely a place of abode and need not be the person's only place of abode or even his principal place of abode; and we think the provision for permitting him to vote here and also vote elsewhere is distinctly bad, especially when it comes to borrowing.
If these people maintain their domiciles elsewhere and send their annual tax money to one of the 48 States and then deduct that from the amount that would otherwise be due to the District of Columbia under our law, we think they are not entitled to vote for the borrowing of money.
One thing, while I am fingering through here, one thing I do want to speak about, which I think you, too, will want to change, Senator, is the provision that if the expenditures of the District at the end of a fiscal year amount to less money than the District income, the difference should be spent on construction of schools.
That is a very fine object, to spend the money on schools, but I think that we are faced every so often-I call your attention to the fact that we are faced every so often with a situation where for a period of years we are unable to spend the money we should in maintaining the capital investment of the city and making the ordinary capital improvements, such as, for instance, during the recent war.
In a time like that we should be laying up funds to take care of the accumulated needs, at the close of the war, and not to provide for expending that money otherwise and not to provide for the accumulation of that fund, I think, is a very serious mistake. We ask you kindly to give your deepest consideration, if you do pass this bill, to amending that.
After all, at the end of the last war the Engineer Commissioner came in and showed where we needed to spend $272,000,000 to bring our Capital projects up to an acceptable standard. We don't want that to happen very often.
On page 99 is the provision for the National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which, as I said already, is loaded 2 to 1 against the District of Columbia.
On the next page, page 100, line 3, the function of preparing, developing, and maintaining a comprehensive, consistent, and coordinated plan for the National Capital and its environs shall be exercised by the Park and Planning Commission. No other officer or agency of the District may exercise any function in conflict with such function of the Commission. I think that language very seriously interferes with the ordinary operation of the Zoning Commission.
The sum of $500,000 is to be spent by the District in holding this charter—what is it, not plebiscitecharter referendum, and that is certainly a large sum and we feel that it would be money wasted.
Sir, in closing, I would like to say that we regard this as a very, very bad bill. We regard it as not giving the District of Columbia good government, and we sincerely believe that within 5 years we · would be changing back from this form of government to some other again.
Incidentally, let me just take a second to point out one more thing. The way this thing is set up the election of the Councilmen for the first Council is prescribed to be March 7, 1952. The results of that election and the certification of the Councilmen couldn't happen in less than 4 or 5 days. It would bring us up to the 11th or 12th of March. Then the bill goes on to provide that the Councilmen shall take office and the Commissioners shall be abolished as of April 1.
If we had a group of rookies coming into a baseball training camp, at least a shortstop would know what shortstop's job is, and the catcher would know what a catcher's job is. But we will have just that. We will have 11 men who never worked together before. They are coming together and have to be welded into a crew to even know one another and know the matters they have to deal with, to be able to work effectively, and if we had $15,000-caliber men, they couldn't work together in 3 weeks and solve the problems that are necessary in that brief period.
I think if the bill should go through, it should certainly provide for a longer period. In fact, it is my own feeling that the Council should be set up as of one date and their tenure should overlap with that of the Board of Commissioners, and they should be permitted to take the jurisdiction as they choose over a period of several months, to give them an opportunity to get into the problem and know what they are and to settle them satisfactorily among themselves.
I thank you very much, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Atherholt, you said a while ago you are not opposed to home rule. Mr. ATHERHOLT. I am not opposed to home rule.
The CHAIRMAN. Does that mean you are for it? Mr. ATHERHOLT. I am affirmatively for home rule if you will make it home rule, but I am not for home rule with strings tied. I am not for some form of government mainly by the Federal Government that is given the name of home rule to sell people on the idea, and, sir, that is, as I have said, what we feel about this bill and what I feel about many others.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you sufficiently interested in obtaining home rule for the people of the District of Columbia to prepare a home rule bill which you and your association favor, and bring it back within the next 10 days and let me, by request, introduce it, so as to give the Congress an opportunity to consider it?
Mr. ATHERHOLT. That sounds like a very generous offer, but this bill has taken years to prepare and you ask us to go out and prepare a bill in 10 days, and your Legislative Reference Service couldn't prepare a bill in 10 days; and, frankly, I couldn't either, not one that I would be proud enough to submit to you.
The CHAIRMAN. What length of time would you think it would require you? Mr. ATHERHOLT. Not less than 3 months.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, you couldn't possibly prepare it in time to give it any chance whatever of being acted upon favorably or unfavorably in the present session of Congress?