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Benjamin Rathbun, 2126 Connecticut Avenue NW.
STATEMENT OF LLOYD N. CUTLER AND STURGIS WARNER
WASHINGTON HOME RULE COMMITTEE
Mr. CUTLER. Mr. Chairman, I believe Mr. McLeod has copies of the prepared statement which should be before you. Mr. Warner and I are both practicing private attorneys here in Washington and we are both members of the Washington Home Rule Committee.
Our committee is not a business or social group aimed at promoting any of the special interests of its members. We formed because we are interested in home rule. That is the only reason why our committee exists. We include members of the Board of Trade, members of the District Bar Association, housewives, lawyers, businessmen, and newspapermen. The names of members of our committee are attached to the statement which you have before you.
We presented our views in detail to this committee last year and the Senate District Committee this year. We believe that we have been helpful to those committees in their work and we would like to be helpful to this committee if we can.
As we see it, the issue today in the history of home rules seems to be this: First, that according to the only true, city-wide polls which have every been conducted here in recent years, over 70 percent of the people here voted for home rule in any event, or a home rule bill providing for a referendum to settle this question once and for all.
Second, according to the Gallup poll and even allowing for a substantial margin of error in the Gallup poll, 77 percent of the people in the rest of the country think that we should have home rule.
Mr. HARRIs. You would want us to take the Gallup poll?
Mr. CUTLER. Yes; but I would like you to allow for a substantial margin of error.
Mr. HARRIS. The Gallup poll made another decision at one time.
Mr. CUTLER. Yes, sir; but I think a margin of 77 percent leaves ample allowance for the error which you have in mind.
Third, the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of home rule.
Fourth, last year there were two record votes in the House in favor of home rule. However, some of you gentlemen on this committee have sincere doubts about whether we should have home rule; and, of course, that is your privilege.
Members of this committee have indicated certain doubts about the merits of home rule in general, and the Kefauver bill in particular.
We think we can satisfy those doubts by discussing the basic issues frankly and openly with you. At least, we would like to try. For that purpose we have prepared the statement which you now have before you. It lists the specific questions which some of you on this committee have raised on home rule and it tries to answer those questions.
I might say, I think Mr. Hays mentioned most of them much better than we were able to do in our statement. We won't take the time of the committee to read the statement now, but if you will glance through it, you will see the replies we have made to the objections which have been advanced so far. We take up each of the problems which you have raised, whether this is real home rule, as Mr. Abernethy questions; whether it is important that Washington be the Federal city, as Mr. Harris has asked; the issues of constitutionality raised by Mr. Abernethy; whether the burden of Congress will be lessened, raised, I believe, by both Mr. Abernethy and Mr. O'Hara; the question of dual voting-whether the issue of segregation has any real bearing here, and whether the people who live here really want home rule.
If you have any questions about the replies to those suggestions as they appear in the statement, I would be glad to try to answer them.
Mr. TEAGUE. I have one question: Would your committee support the proposition of turning the District back to Maryland?
Mr. CUTLER. We would support any proposition, Mr. Teague, that would give us an opportunity to run our own municipal government ourselves. Whether that is the best solution I do not know. My personal feeling is that the Kefauver bill is a better solution, but we would support any solution of that problem which would really give us a chance at municipal self-government.
The CHAIRMAN. As I understand your statement, you have said that members of your committee assisted both the Auchincloss Committee in preparing its bill and Senator Kefauver in preparing that bill.
Mr. CUTLER. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Did school officials and library officials take part in those conferences with you?
Mr. CUTLER. We did not work on those aspects of the bill. Our assistance was not asked to any great extent on those points. In regard to the views that have been expressed on issues concerning the schools and on the Public Library, any solution which this committee can work out to handle those problems we believe would be satisfactory to us as well as those incorporated in the bill that do give us a chance at municipal self-government.
Mr. AUCHINCLOSS. I want to testify that Mr. Cutler's committee was very helpful to our subcommittee last year in research and in making suggestions, the same as various other committees in Washington were helpful to the committee. Now I would like to ask this question:
· I believe it was said about Washington, that is the District of Columbia, being a Federal city, being owned by the people of the United States. Do you subscribe to that?
Mr. CUTLER. Yes, sir. Mr. AUCHINCLOSS. Then why doesn't the Federal Government pay all of the expenses of the Federal city?
Mr. CUTLER. I think that question would follow largely from some of the arguments made with respect to home rule on the ground that this is the Federal city. I think the real answer, along the lines of the discussion of Mr. Abernethy and Mr. Hays, is that Little Rock is the State city in the same sense, and yet no one would suggest that the people who own homes and pay taxes and reside in Little Rock shall bear all of the burden of maintaining that city and foregoing the privilege of voting, and that they should be denied the opportunity to vote for local officials.
Mr. TEAGUE. Will the gentleman yield there?
Mr. TEAGUE. If you are going to compare Washington with Little Rock, why was the District created in the first place?
Mr. CUTLER. I believe the District was created in the first place because the Federal Government, as distinguished from the States, had no particular city of its own which it could select as its capital; whereas the State of Arkansas did have Little Rock.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you tell the committee why the Federal Government moved the capital out of Philadelphia?
Mr. CUTLER. I am not sure I know all of the reasons, but I gather it was to have a proper area independent of the control of any State, and I believe it is pretty clear that what the Constitution had in mind when it speaks of "exclusive legislative power over the District" residing in the Congress, that it was, as Senator Kefauver said, that the power should be exclusive of the power of the States; and at the same time it was understood by Madison and others, as Mr. Hays has pointed out, that the people who live here would be allowed at least to decide who was going to run their schools, the police department, and pick their own dog catcher.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you think of the Board of Trade poll? Do you think that was conclusive on this question?
Mr. CUTLER. I think as we understand it the votes in the Board of Trade poll consisted of about nineteen one-hundredth of 1 percent of the estimated people in the District of Columbia who should have the power to vote or would have the power to vote under this kind of a bill. The only two city-wide polls that have ever been held have been overwhelmingly in favor of home rule.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you say those polls were conclusive?
Mr. CUTLER. If you will forgive me for saying so, I believe the number of those participating in the first poll was approximately 13 of those estimated to be qualified to vote. Mr. Colladay yesterday said the number who voted in his Board of Trade poll were about 30 percent of the members of that organization and he considered that a very fair sample. I would also like to add that when you, Mr. McMillan, were elected this last time, when Mr. Teague was elected also, I am sure your election represented the views of the people in your entire district, something like 10 percent or less of the people in your district voting.
The CHAIRMAN. Twenty-three percent. I begged the people to come out and vote.
Mr. CUTLER. More than 23 percent made the decision here in the District. I think you are entitled to say you were elected by all the people who live in your district, and I think that a poll here in Washington which covered 30 percent of the people who would be able to vote is far more representative than nineteen one-hundredths of 1 percent, which is the Board of Trade figure, representing a special economic group, admirable as it may
be. Mr. ALLEN of California. Mr. Cutler, are you familiar with the provisions of the Kefauver bill? Tell me how a provision in the charter which was found to be unsatisfactory could be changed by an expression of the will of the people through an ordinance.
Mr. CUTLER. Mr. Warner, perhaps you can correct me on this; but I believe, as you know, Mr. Allen, at any time Congress could amend the charter. I presume at any time the Council could go before the Congress, or before the committee, and recommend a change in the charter. Perhaps there is something else you would like to add.
Mr. WARNER. Mr. Allen, under the bill the local Council would not be authorized to submit one of these so-called legislative proposals in an amendment to the bill; that is, an amendment to the home-rule charter. That would have to be handled as this legislation now is being handled, by representation by interested groups in the city. In other words, the power in the
council is restricted to legislating for all matters pertaining to the District, other than matters which would change the four corners of the Kefauver bill. That is true in regard to all comprehensive legislation. The charter will need occasional trimmings here and there. Slight changes can be expected. Congress is doing it on all our substantive legislation.
In passing this bill as it now stands, it, of course, does have individual differences or individual aspects which are not satisfactory to everybody. It would be impossible to satisfy everybody, but there is ample opportunity to amend the bill after practical working operation under the bill as it now stands, if amendments are necessary.
Mr. ALLEN of California. My point was that if the original bill received the affirmative approval of the people who would governed under it, then from that time forth any changes would not be subject to ratification.
Mr. CUTLER. You could make any change, subject to ratification. There will be an election in the District every 2 years under this bill.
Mr. WARNER. That is right.
Mr. CUTLER. If Congress wanted to propose any basic change in the charter, it could do so, just as in the original charter, subject to approval of the voters of the District in the next general election, or a special election.
Mr. ALLEN of California. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. With the Federal pay-roll what it is, do you think we could continue to make donations to the District?
Mr. CUTLER. Yes, sir; I think that the Federal Government should continue to make contributions to the cost of governing the District in some proportion to the number of Government buildings that are here, in that the Federal Government has the benefit of the streets
and the services and its tax-free property is depriving the District of revenue.
The CHAIRMAN. Don't you think we should pass a law giving the same treatment to all of the States? For instance, in my State the Federal Government owns thousands of acres of land and does not pay any taxes whatever; and they don't have the pay roll that you have here.
Mr. CUTLER. No, that is true; but the Federal Government here owns a very sizable proportion of the improved property on which the District derives po revenue through taxes. It is true that we have the pay roll here. We recognize that; but we do think the Federal Government should well pay part of the cost of managing the District. : The CHAIRMAN. I just wanted to get your opinion on it.
Mr. CUTLER. I would like, if I could, Mr. McMillan, to make a supplement to Mr. Hays' answer to Mr. Abernethy on the question as to whether a constitutional amendment is needed and whether we are getting real home rule.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. CUTLER. I would just like to draw attention to the situation in the Territories. The position of this Congress, as far as the Territories is concerned, is that Hawaii or Alaska, or Puerto Rico would first be given the opportunity to govern itself in the municipal or State legislature; and when it had proved that it could govern itself well in that legislature, it would then be admitted as a State and allowed to send a Representative to the Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. I don't see how you can compare Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico with this city which is set apart as a Federal city.
Mr. CUTLER. Except Madison and the Supreme Court have said Congress would have the power to provide a legislature for local purposes here, exactly the same as the legislatures allowed the Territories. My point, if I can finish it, Mr. McMillan, was, you say to the Territories, “First show that you can govern yourselves, and then we will let you come into the Congress, but the Board of Trade is saying and Mr. Abernethy is saying to us, "We won't let you govern yourselves until you get into the Congress,” and-well the Board of Trade and Mr. Colladay, they are old fellows and we are young fellows and we would like to vote before we die.
Insofar as the views of the people of the city go, I grant you any policy is subject to error. This bill provides for a referendum to decide the question and the only city-wide polls have been overwhelmingly in favor of home rule, whereas the poll of the Board of Trade was only nineteen one-hundredths of 1 percent of the voting population of the city.
The CHAIRMAN. One man told me that he voted 18 times last year.
Mr. CUTLER. Then let us knock off 10 percent of the total for people who did that, and you still have a very impresssive figure.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. The next witness will be Mr. Thomas S. Settle, secretary and legal adviser of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission.