Our nation’s capital is overwhelmed by crises.
An opioid crisis. A poor people’s crises. A gun violence crisis. An STD crisis. A food desert crisis.
An uneducated workforce crisis. An underemployment crisis. An affordable housing crisis.
A chronic health (diabetes, heart, kidney dialysis) crisis.
A homelessness crisis. A minimum wage crisis. A maternal mortality crisis.
A returning citizens crisis. A resume-writing crisis. The twin crises of child and adult obesity.
A concealed-weapon crisis. An undermanned police force crisis.
Some of these crises are self-manufactured, and many are motivated by imperious sociopolitical policies that leave no room for such inalienable rights as the pursuit of happiness.
More of the latter could be on its way.
D.C. authorities are considering the creation of yet another government intrusion via the District Waterways Management Act of 2017.
Among other things, the measure would create a commission to manage the Anacostia and Potomac rivers and decide who boats and kayaks, who fishes, who gazes upon the waves, who benefits from Pluto’s jewels at the rivers’ bottom and who benefits from the land at the water’s edge.
To ensure that local government has the upper hand in all things waterways-related, the legislation proposes a couple of other things too. For one, it would establish a new spool of red tape called the D.C. Office of Waterways Management within the Office of the City Administrator. (Just what D.C. needs — more bureaucracy and more political pimps.)
The bill also would create a D.C. Waterways Management Commission, which would consist of 11 voting members and a number of local and federal ex-officio members to keep an eye on health issues. (Fingers crossed that none of those members has ever set foot in or around the cities of Detroit and Flint, or anywhere else in the state of Michigan, for that matter.)
As things now stand, the health and safety of the city’s drinking are fine, thank you very much — although you might not know as much by the high volume of bottled water swallowed by elected, appointed and rank-and-file government employees.
Indeed, the clean potable water is courtesy of a long, arduous political struggle of the type Washingtonians do not want to revisit.
Which is why it is interesting that lawmakers and the mayor are visiting the waterways issue just as George Hawkins, the longtime CEO and general manager of DC Water, begins his exit and no permanent replacement has been named, and as the opening of the new Wharf is named the bright diamond along the Potomac in Southwest.
Congress and the White House should be leery of this legislative proposal.
There is no crisis regarding D.C. waterways. Sure, they are far from pristine, but there is no crisis.
Furthermore, the fact that a large swath of the city’s population is segregated by the Anacostia River begs a single question:
What will Anita Bonds, Mary Cheh, Vincent Gray, David Grosso, Phil Mendelson, Elissa Silverman, Robert White and Trayon White do about managing the waterways?
Marion Barry, may he continue to rest in peace, often walked on water to interject himself.
• Deborah Simmons can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.