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Feehery: Making DC’s local government more accountable

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Since moving to Washington, D.C., in 1989, I have seen my share of bad mayors running our capital city.  Marion Barry was as corrupt as the day is long. Vince Gray combined his corruption with incompetence.  Adrian Fenty maybe wasn’t as corrupt but certainly wasn’t all that competent either.

But none was as glaringly awful as Muriel Bowser. Calling her incompetent is an insult to the incompetent. Calling her arrogant doesn’t begin to describe her total lack of regard for the concerns of the tax-paying residents of this city. 

Couple the truly awful performance of our current mayor with the ideological insanity that currently dominates the city council and you have a capital that is about to start its descent into a very rough landing. When City Council President Phil Mendelson is the arch-right conservative, you know you are going to have a problem. My local representative, Charles Allen, is so liberal that he has been at the forefront in pushing higher taxes on his Capitol Hill constituents as he pushes to defund the police, which has led to an explosion in crime in the area.

The reason why Bowser and Allen can get away with their ideologically-driven incompetence is a serious lack of political accountability. There isn’t a real two-party system in Washington. DC’s Democratic Party doesn’t have a moderate wing to keep the radical wing in check. Instead, they are all a bunch of left-wing warriors who are doing their level best to create a progressive utopia which is now rapidly devolving into a Democratic dystopia. 

DC isn’t the only city that faces this Democratic death-spin. My hometown of Chicago is so violent, its nickname is Chiraq. Minneapolis, thanks to its progressive policies, has broken its record for murders.

But because I live in DC now, I am more familiar with its terrible governance. Why do we suddenly have tent encampments popping up all over the place? Why are basic DC services so hard to get? Why are the schools in most neighborhoods failing terribly? And why do we have a mayor who is able to issue a mask mandate on the entire city one day and then brazenly break that order the next? Why does she have the power to issue that mandate in the first place? Why does she have the power to close small restaurants on a whim, based on metrics of her own making? 

We need more accountable local government. We need an alternative to the progressive incompetence that is sweeping the country. We need to take back our cities from the liberals who seem intent on doing whatever they want in service to their crazy ideologies. 

Republicans should run candidates for mayor and city council that promise to do the following: 

·       Fully fund the police and stop crime:  We can’t have small children be struck down by gang-bangers any more. We can’t let street criminals get away with the petty crimes that make DC unsafe and unwelcoming. We need more cops in our toughest areas. 

·      Get rid of the tent cities: If people need housing, get them housing. But tent-cities are not only an eye-sore, they are a breeding ground for disease and for more crime. DC is not Sao Paulo.  

·      Make kids go to good schools: We had a decent school reform effort here in Washington a decade ago. It’s time to bring Michelle Rhee back. And it is time to ensure that all kids are actually learning in school, not staying at home and doing whatever.

·      Make DC small-business friendly: Local taxes and ridiculous regulations make it awfully hard to open a restaurant, a gym or a small boutique. Reviving small businesses is the key to revitalizing this city. 

When DC had a good mayor, like Tony Williams, it started the long road to recovery. Republicans should use Williams as a model. Run somebody who is not captive to the woke mob, who is generally disposed to law and order and who is pro-business. 

It’s time to ditch Mayor Bowser and make the DC Council more accountable to the people. 

Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).

Tags defund the police Dennis Hastert Muriel Bowser progressive policies taxes violent crime

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