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who are aided by social and health agencies and of those who wish to work for District-wide improvement of the social, recreational, and health provisions for all of the children and young people.
Congress seems remote, and is. Even the members of this conspicuously interested and friendly committee will be reelected by their own constituents, not by District residents.
It is a matter of rare good fortune that such a committee as this is willing to schedule its time and turn its thinking to matters which most such committees have viewed as of secondary and transient importance. The quality of committee attention has produced a vividness of response within the District (despite wide lassitude and the helplessness produced by previous District lack of experience and incentive) which in itself suggests that a promised land may be ahead.
Without a group of locally elected officials, without power to vote them in and out of office, it is inevitable that all services affecting the welfare of residents, certainly the social services, will continue to be relatively disjointed, ununified, and uncertain. (As to uncertainty, we refer you to the “day care" situation.) · Historically in the United States, and in present-day practice, social work has developed nonauthoritarian attitudes, and a characteristic nonauthoritative administrative method. It operates on the assumption that delegation of authority and of responsibility is essential, and that the individual served must have a basis of valid choice as to what he wants to do about himself and his troubles. Further, it assumes that only as social workers themselves are free of the injustice of arbitrary authority will those they help be free of undue pressure, prejudice, or interference with their privacy. Such an administrative approach to tired, confused, burdened, and sick people is extraordinarily difficult to maintain in the District. Concisely, this is because the bases of decision about budget, standards, and services rest on those whom neither the wide community nor the recipients themselves can hold accountable.
As you see, Senator Neely, when the local profession of social work unites in speaking, it also unites in speaking for its clientele. To a degree this may always be true; but may it never again be as necessary as now when the voice of the vote is denied to all of us who live here. We do not know exactly what social and health improvements can be effected in the life of the District under self-government. Certainly we and our clientele will have much to learn about citizen responsibility. We will have to learn how to work within a municipality in which passing the buck no longer represents a necessity in operation, but an occasional misstep in efficiency. We shall have to grow up as citizens and keep apace with the times.
Through the provisions of the Kefauver-Taft bill, when enacted into law, we 700 social workers of the area are confident that our potential as citizens, our faith in the dignity of each man, our knowledge that democracy can work through social administration, will be fulfilled for the benefit of the District, and of the Nation. (The statement submitted by the Washingtonians is as follows:)
Washington, D. C., February 21, 1951. The citizens group which composes the Washingtonians has gone on record for over 20 years in favor of a constitutional amendment which would provide complete suffrage for the District of Columbia. Representatives of the association have appeared before congressional committees and other groups as specifically favoring national representation as the first step toward securing the franchise for the voteless residents of the city of Washington, D. C.
We believe that suffrage in any form for the District must be by constitutional amendment. We strongly oppose the Kefauver bill for home rule, now known as the Kefauver-Taft bill, because it does not provide for national representation, and for a number of other reasons. It is our opinion that Congress does not have the right to delegate ordinance-making powers to an elected municipal government in this city; and for that reason it is believed that any such delegation would be unconstitutional, and in the end would be questioned by a multiplicity of suits. It must be borne in mind that the Constitution provides that Congress shall have exclusive legislaion over the District of Columbia. We do not believe that Congress can get around this provision unless it is by a constitutional amendment, but of course it is realized that Congress can delegate
to the municipal heads power to establish certain ordinances for the District but certainly this is far from genuine suffrage.
By the Kefauver bill certain powers are granted to the District government, including powers which we believe Congress could not legally delegate without a constitutional amendment. Congress is not blind to this because it retains a veto power over anything which might be done by an elected Council, which is provided for in the Kefauver bill. By this veto the most vital element of suffrage is lacking, that is, the District would not have control of its affairs but Congress would.
We wish to condemn the Kefauver bill as there are so many provisions contained therein that could not possibly be for the best welfare of the residents of the District but would result in the same old political situation with which the District has had to contend for many years. The bill provides for certain Presidential appointees; provides for the reservation of congressional authority by a veto power over any acts of an elected Council; provides that to be qualified to vote in the District it is not intended that a person be required to relinquish his rights to vote in another jurisdiction, which would result in dual voting, and an election by which our officials would not be elected entirely by the residents of the District but partly by legal residents of another jurisdiction, and it provides that ballots and voting machines shall show no party affiliations, emblem, or slogan which would result in Communists voting who would not have to declare their affiliation.
We sincerely deplore the fact that the voteless residents of the District have been deprived for so many years of the right to vote, the greatest privilege of American citizenship, and it is believed that there should be no place in this great United States where it can be said that some American citizens are subject to taxation without representation under a Government which couples taxation wtih representation, but when we are given the francise we want it legally done by an amendment to the Constitution of the United States. There is no doubt whatsoever that the sovereign power in the District is lodged in the United States and it possesses full and unlimited jurisdiction. Attention is respectfully called to you gentlemen to House Joint Resolution 18 and the hearing before the House Judiciary Committee at the time (this has been mentioned by us before). The late Hon. Henry H. Glassie, formerly a well-known constitutional lawyer and at one time connected with the Department of Justice, stated at this hearing that Congress cannot delegate to the people of the District of Columbia the power to legislate. He also stated as follows:
“The Supreme Court has held, and our own courts have held following the Supreme Court, that the words of the Constitution 'shall have exclusive legislation in all cases' excluded the idea of a legal legislature. * * * Now I * * * ask you to settle your mind upon the question of exclusive legislation in all cases.' That means the law-making power. Now, that cannot be delegated unless you get the Supreme Court to change its view. But, of course, there are things that can be delegated and one of those things that can be delegated and governed by local vote is the administration of a mere municipality. It is the same distinction as the distinction between ordinances of a municipalty and the legslation of the legislature of a State. There is a line, perhaps difficult to draw sometimes, but perfectly established, between what a municipality in your State can do or any other State can do in the way of local regulation, and what only the legislature of your State can do,”
This organization has many times endorsed the viewpoints of the board of trade, one of the most outstanding groups in the city' which has conspicuously worked for years for the best welfare of our city and it should be commended for its noticeable leadership and great interest. It has been noticed with regret that criticisms have been made of opponents to the bill in question : All witnesses should bear in mind that we are living in a democracy, where we have freedom of speech, and everyone testifying before this committee should feel at liberty to express him or herself whether for or against the bill.
The Washingtonians very definitely favor 'a legal plebiscite to determine whether or not the residents of the District of Columbia want suffrage, and if So, what kind of suffrage they want, national or local or both. Other plebiscites have been held here which were voluntary ones and the outcome has been largely in favor of national representation.
Congress is placed under a constitutional restraint in connection with the District of Columbia, and it is our national and local legislature. It has a
difficult road to travel in order to jump that provision of the Constitution which gives it exclusive legislation in all cases, unless there is an amendment to the Constitution.
Support of a proposal to amend the Constitution of the United States is given by this association, whereby the residents would be permitted to enjoy vital and fundamental rights as American citizens, which rights are denied to them now. Respectfully submitted.
Etta L. TAGGERT,
President, the Washingtonians. The CHAIRMAN. All who have been listed here will be permitted to file written statements of reasonable length and all others, listed or not, who represent any group of citizens, any civic body, any lodge, any church, or if they wish, they can even file a brief statement for themselves, and if it is a pertinent statement and of reasonable length it will be printed in the hearing and go before the Congress with the testimony that has been taken by word of mouth. . (The following was supplied for the information of the committee:)
AMERICAN PLANNING AND Civic ASSOCIATION,
Washington, D. C., March 9, 1951. Hon. MATTHEW M. NEELY, Chairman, Committee on the District of Columbia,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR NEELY: On behalf of the committee of 100 on the Federal city of the American Planning and Civic Association, I have the honor to transmit to you for the use of your Committee on the District of Columbia, to be made a part of the hearings on S. 656, introduced by Senator Kefauver and others, the statement, printed on page 20 of the July 1949 issue of Planning and Civic Comment, which I presented before the House Committee on the District of Columbia on S. 1527 in the Eighty-first Congress. If the Senate committee had held hearings the same statement would have been presented to that committee. I also call your attention to the editorial on page 6 of the same Planning and Civic Comment which I offer as part of the record of the current hearings on S. 656.
As we pointed out in 1949, the proposal that the United States bear a specified ratio of the expenses of the District of Columbia is somewhat more liberal than the amounts appropriated by Congress in recent years, but does not necessarily represent the interest and responsibility of the Federal Government in the Federal city. Moreover, we recall the substantive law by which the Federal Government was first directed to pay on a 50-50 basis and then on a 60–40 basis, which has been honored only in the breach and never in the observance.
There are four very important steps which could be counted on to improve the administration of the District of Columbia and the comfort and convenience of the citizens who live here from time to time.
(1) The Congress might set in motion the resolution which would provide for a constitutional amendment by which the citizens of the District of Columbia who do not vote elsewhere could vote for true representation in Congress and in the electoral college which chooses the President and Vice President of the United States. The provision in the pending bill for the election of a nonvoting Delegate might serve as an expedient (an expensive one at that) while the constitutional amendment is being adopted and ratified, but it is in no way a substitute for bona fide representation in Congress.
(2) The Congress might continue to take seriously its obligation under the Constitution to pass all legislation whatsoever for the District of Columbia, supplemented by a reasonable delegation of specified minor matters to the District Commissioners.
(3) The Congress might adopt a policy, in carrying out its constitutional mandate, which would provide appropriations commensurate with the interest and responsibility of the Federal Government for its Federal city.
(4) The Senate might approve Presidential appointments for Commissioners of qualified and proven administrators, for no form of government is any better
than the officials (appointed or elected) who are chosen to administer the government. The multiplicity of highly paid officials provided for in the pending bill will be no guaranty of good government. Where there are efficient Commissioners, the commission form of government works well.
We submit, therefore, that Congress has at hand these simple procedures which promise substantial improvement in the administration of the District of Columbia without the passage of an omnibus bill which provides for a top-heavy, expensive government in no way reflecting the inherent responsibility of the Federal Government for its Federal city, and which saddles the District taxpayers with a burden they are totally unable to meet. Respectfully submitted.
C. MELVIN SHARPE, Chairman. To Whom DOES THE FEDERAL CITY BELONG ?
Editorial comment Does the Federal City belong to the people who happen to live in it from time to time? Does it belong in part to the transients who continue to maintain their citizenship back home? Does it belong to the people of the United States? These questions must be answered before any sound administrative set-up can be devised.
Since the beginning of the Republic, under the Constitution, Congress has exercised sole responsibility for all legislation for the District of Columbia. Since 1878, the President of the United States has appointed three Commissioners, two residents of the District and one nominated by the Corps of Engineers of the Army.
Elsewhere in this quarterly we publish the statement of C. Melvin Sharpe, chairman of our Committee of One Hundred on the Federal City, presented in July at the hearings of the House Subcommittee on the Judiciary of the Committee on the District of Columbia, concerning the Kefauver bill which passed the Senate without public hearings or apparently much consideration.
The Washington Board of Trade made a strong statement, based on a careful analysis of the provisions contained in the Kefauver bill. Mr. E. F. Colladay, general counsel, declared: “We challenge anyone to find any substantial group in the established business and professional fields in the Nation's Capital who will say that this change is not a pure gamble; and who will not say that it is likely to produce a less desirable municipal government than the one which Washington has had from 1878 until the present day".
The organizations which appeared before the committee in favor of the Kefauver bill generally based their presentations on a theory that home rule should be applied to Washington as though it were a city like any other city in the United States. Many of the opponents of the measure analyzed carefully the provisions of the bill in an effort to discover how it would work. Such an analysis disclosed that an elaborate and expensive governmental machine is proposed, along with the delegation by Congress of increased financial responsibility to the residents of the District. With only about 40 percent of the District in taxpaying private ownership it would seem that District taxpayers would be assuming a burden which they cannot possibly meet.
These considerations evidently prevailed in the House committees, for in August both the subcommittee and the full committee issued an adverse report on the Kefauver bill. But the agitation will no doubt be revived in the second session of the Eighty-first Congress.
Not many Members of Congress have gone into the matter in any detail. Many have been glad to support any measure which would appear to relieve Congress of the petty details of local administration, though most students of government say that Congress could at any time delegate authority in minor, specified matters to the District Commissioners. And in any case not even the Kefauver bill, if it becomes law, divests Congress of its ultimate responsibility for legislation for the District of Columbia. Many Members of Congress, committed to the cause of home rule in their own States, have assumed that experience elsewhere may easily be applied to the District of Columbia. This is far from the fact. Wash. ington is unique. It was created solely to be the seat of the Federal Government
and it would be a serious mistake for the Federal Government to turn over to local citizens and their elected representatives major decisions affecting the Federal Government which owns outright as much property in the District as all the private property owners put together.
There are many defects in the Kefauver bill which would soon become appar. ent if the House should rush through the bill in its present imperfect form. The dual voting provision would be undoubtedly be subject to litigation. If temporary residents of San Francisco could vote in local elections and still vote as absentees in their home town, we should have a situation similar to the proposal for dual voting in the Federal city.
We adhere to our oft-expressed belief, which has considerable support by thoughtful students who have studied the matter, that the citizens of the District who do not vote elsewhere should be authorized by constitutional amendment to vote for Members of Congress which legislates for them and through the electoral college for the President of the United States who appoints the three District Commissioners. True, some time would be consumed. But it should be remem. bered that questions which are not settled right are always coming up for settlement again. The Kefauver bill, if it becomes law, would multiply any existing complications, for it is generally admitted that the present government of the District is reasonably efficient and economical, an achievement not always secured in home-rule cities. If we are to sacrifice such efficiency and economy as we have to promote a practice school in shadow voting for residents of the District of Columbia, the Nation will be the loser.
Since the Federal city, we believe, belongs to all the people of the United States, it is only logical to provide first for representation of the unenfranchised residents of the District in the Congress of the United States, and then through established channels bring about modernization of our District government along sound lines. At all events, the Federal Government should retain authority commensurate with its responsibility.
STATEMENT OF C. MELVIN SHARPE, CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE OF ONE HUNDRED
ON THE FEDERAL CITY, OF THE AMERICAN PLANNING AND CIVIC ASSOCIATION, ON THE KEFAUVER BILL (S. 1527), AS IT PASSED THE SENATE, WITH COMMENTS ON OTHER PENDING BILLS CONCERNING THE DISTRICT GOVERNMENT
The Kefauver bill (S. 1527) as it passed the Senate is an improvement in many respects over the various Auchincloss bills of 1948. It contains, in whole or in part, at least a dozen of the improvements suggested by the Committee of One Hundred. Some of these improvements were included in later Auchincloss bills. They include:
1. Two of the 11 (instead of 12) Council members are to be appointed by the President to give some representation to the interests of the Executive arm of the Federal Government. The other nine are to be elected at large from the District, rather than by wards or areas-a distinct improvement.
2. The provision for literary test for voters to the extent of requiring the filling out of registration forms in the handwriting of the registrant is retained in the latest Kefauver measure.
3. Administrations of schools and libraries are separated.
4. The composition of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission conforms to the recommendations of the Bureau of the Budget as they were interpreted in 1948, though the introduction of a more complete reorganization of the Commission is now before Congress in H. R. 4818 and S. 1931 and the provisions of the Kefauver bill should be brought into harmony with H. R. 4848.
5. The purchase of parks and playgrounds by the Commission would not be changed by the bill.
6. The National Capital Parks are retained under the National Park Service and all expenses of maintenance and improvements of grounds and buildings under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service are to be met from appropriations by Congress from the Federal Treasury.
7. Provision to transfer the Park Police to the Metropolitan Police is omitted from the later 1948 and 1949 drafts of most of these bills.
8. The zoning set-up seems an improvement in principle.
9. Administration of sources and transmission of water supply is omitted from the bill and would leave the matter in status quo.