Field Trip to White House in Council’s Future, Maybe
Later today, the D.C. Council will pass a resolution calling on President Barack Obama to install D.C. license plates that say "Taxation Without Representation" on the presidential limousines.
The resolution, spearheaded by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, is part of an effort to highlight the fact that District residents do not have a voting member of Congress. President Bill Clinton briefly had his limo outfitted with the "Taxation" tags in solidarity with D.C. 's quest for voting rights, but President George W. Bush had them removed, saying he did not think the first limo was a place to make "a political statement."
When Obama was president-elect in 2008, the D.C. Council sent him a letter urging him to put the "Taxation" license plates on his car. Obama did not.
This time around, Cheh is considering upping the ante by having councilmembers hand-deliver their resolution to the White House, which is a block up Pennsylvania Avenue from the Wilson Building.
"Even if we just went to the east gate or the west gate or whatever to present the resolution to the president, to show that, you know, it's not just something off in the ether," Cheh says, who added that there are no firm plans for a council field trip to the White House.
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said he's not against the idea, but didn't sound terribly enthusiastic about it, either.
One member who might be eager to take a trip to the White House is Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, who can give the Secret Service a piece of his mind over its proposed security for Obama's forthcoming inauguration. Evans is miffed at the requirement that he won't be able to drive to the Wilson Building after 6 a.m. on inauguration day.
"It's totally unacceptable, what do you want me to do? Wake my whole family and get them here at six o'clock for a two o'clock parade? I mean that's ridiculous! They're going to sit around for eight hours? I mean the Secret Service should follow the same plan that we did four years ago and eight years ago" and allow councilmembers to get in and out of the Wilson Building using 14th Street NW, Evans said. He added that he would be fine taking the Metro or other public transportation if the Secret Service was blocking all traffic that day. But Evans says he expects some cars will be able to get near the route after 6 a.m. on inauguration day, and some of those cars ought to belong to the city's elected representatives.
"We are the city council of this city, this country you know," Evans said. "We should be allowed to have the prerogative."
Photo by Darrow Montgomery