- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 4, 2002

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams is the former feel-good reformer who has adopted the white flag as the symbol of his office.
He has decided it will "take time" to clean up whatever institutional mess is bothering the city at the moment, which is an uncertain message bound to elicit a gnashing of the teeth.
Take time? Define. Is that in Washington's glacier standard time or the time everyone else follows?
The mayor is having a very bad year, no doubt, the breadth of incompetence in the city too endemic to wish away with a magic wand.
Yet even by Washington's minimum standards, so effectively imposed on the masses by the ex-mayor-for-life, Marion Barry, the latest civic savior is up to his spiffy bow tie in dysfunction.
Washington is burning, and the mayor is fiddling with the fallout of doctored resumes, among other disorders.
Here's the interim fire chief to city residents: Do you have a spare garden hose for the firefighters?
This is where Washington is now, stuck ever deeper in the abyss of institutional inertia.
The fire department is broken. You can tell by the decaying buildings and the water balloons the firefighters hurl to put out a blaze.
The folks at the Department of Motor Vehicles have fallen asleep and can't wake up. Shhh. You wouldn't want to disrupt their deep-sleep cycle.
The Metropolitan Police Department is trying to recover from national ridicule following the discovery of Chandra Levy's remains in Rock Creek Park. The discovery by a private citizen, and subsequent discovery after police combed the area again, left most observers queasy, and not too confident about the quality of the city's police work.
The D.C. public schools, as usual, function with the eternal hope that gobs of tax money eventually will buy students something more tangible than scant results.
The inspector general remains in the habit of issuing this or that embarrassing report on city agencies, dispensing one revelation after the other until the power to outrage has been exhausted.
It seems this is just Washington. You have to live here to understand.
A person could get the impression that nothing works in the city, with the exception of speed cameras. Even this act of Big Brotherism comes with a caveat. Who knows what might happen after the photograph winds up in the hands of a bureaucrat?
Mr. Williams missed an easy opportunity to inspire the city in the spring after this newspaper revealed the inventive resumes of three top officials in the fire department. News of the equally fictitious resume of Ronnie Few, the outgoing fire chief, soon followed.
A phony resume is hardly unique to Washington. Hardly a week passes without news of someone being told to get lost after a falsehood is found in the person's resume.
That is the point. You fabricated your background. You're gone. It is simple. It does not take much throat clearing to verify a few academic credentials in a resume, except apparently in Washington. It took the mayor much contemplation to resolve what was obvious, and even then, he came across as someone forced into acting.
Chief Few has until the end of the month to pack up his belongings on the city tab, possibly to allow the mayor time to arrange a fitting farewell party in the chief's honor.
If a false resume qualifies as strenuous, it is hard to imagine how much real progress Mr. Williams can make with the sleepyheads at the DMV.
Beyond making stronger coffee for them, he is left with what perhaps will be his next campaign slogan, which is: It will take time.
The phrase is almost catchy. Washington is not just a capital city. It is the city that time forgot.
You the taxpayer might as well consider this a warning during your next brain-numbing experience with the city.
Remember it will take time, though mostly your time.
And have a nice day.


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