Monday, March 16, 2015
Media Source: 
Washington City Paper (DC)
Author: 
Will Sommer

After quashing some of Vince Gray's development deals, Mayor Muriel Bowser has ditched another policy from her predecessor. In a court filing today, Bowser's lawyers say that, unlike Gray, she thinks the 2013 referendum that supporters say granted the District budget autonomy from Congress has legal force.

Last year, the D.C. Council sued Gray ahead of budget season to force him to follow the referendum, which 83 percent of city voters approved. After a court defeat for the Council, the case has been on appeal. In February, Bowser's lawyers asked for time for the new mayor to consider whether the referendum had legal effect.

Now that she's made up her mind, Bowser's attorneys write that there's no longer a dispute with the Council. Barring a court judgment, according to the motion, Bowser "intends to comply with its requirements."

That puts Bowser at odds with Attorney General Karl Racine, who isn't so willing to overturn his own predecessor's opinion. Like Gray Attorney General Irv Nathan, Racine claims in a statement today that the District can't legally grant itself budget autonomy. That puts him in agreement with Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt, whose control over the District's money makes it unclear whether Bowser's switch will end the fight.

IN THIS SECTION