New council legislation: Third Church, WMATA compact, and more
Last year, Councilmember Jack Evans introduced a bill to exempt recently-designed churches from historic preservation. I and others argued that it could exempt other properties that might be, at the very least, less controversial. Evans withdrew the legislation amid criticism and the primary election; Marion Barry later reintroduced it, but it didn't come to a vote.
Now, as promised, Evans has introduced new legislation (PDF). This time, it specifically only exempts this one property from the historic preservation law. I'd suggest that the bill specifically clarify that if the church ceases to own the property, the exemption would end. Barry also reintroduced the broader bill once again.
Jim Graham introduced a bill to amend the WMATA Compact under the terms of the deal worked out between the federal government and DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Each jurisdiction must contribute $50 million per year to WMATA, and the feds will match the $150 million total. Under the bill, as promised in the deal, they also get two board seats, appointed by the General Services Administration, as long as they're holding up their end of the bargain and contributing their share.
In addition, the bill requires one of the federal representatives to be a regular rider of Metro services. Good idea; how about demanding that of all board members? It also adds a position of inspector general.
Other measures introduced recently include a resolution to confirm Gabe Klein, and this bill by Barry and Harry Thomas, Jr. that seems to seek to reestablish a Museum of the City of Washington, DC at the Carnegie Library building in Mount Vernon Square. The museum closed in 2004 from low attendance, and now the Historical Society occupies the building including some public exhibits.
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