- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 15, 2001

Washington residents witnessed the latest in a string of Secret Service excesses on Thursday when the West Wing of the White House was evacuated because of a suspicious car parked on the grounds. The job of the Secret Service is to serve and protect, but their power is not limitless. Nor should be their paranoia.
The public has been blocked from America's main street, Pennsylvania Avenue, in front of the White House, since the Oklahoma City bombing. At campaign time, George W. Bush made a promise to reopen the street as a sign of government openness, an American glasnost. Sadly the barricades are still up.
At the end of this month, a task force for the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) is expected to deliver its report on the possible options concerning the blockaded stretch of road. There is only one that is acceptable the unconditional return of the street to its rightful owners, as was promised in the Republican platform at campaign time.
Washington is everyone's city. Pennsylvania Avenue is everyone's street. And, like it or not, public officials are public. The unremitting gridlock that plagues our streets and batters our psyches is fueled partially by the cordoning off of thoroughfares such as Pennsylvania Avenue just so we can have a coronation ceremony level of security every day.
Rep. Connie Morella, who chairs the subcomittee on the District of Columbia, is to be commended for her work toward reopening the forbidden area. Rob White, a spokesman for Mrs. Morella, is hopeful that the resolution the subcommittee recently passed, advocating a free Pennsylvania Avenue for us all, will be reviewed by the full Committee on Government Reform and Oversight by the end of the month. Then, with luck, the full House will examine it before recess. Keep your fingers crossed, but don't hold your breath. Do remember, though, that our president has the power of executive order to fulfill his promise. Let's hope he keeps his word.

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