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The worst city government.

The Worst City Government

Because we regard the breadkwond of big-city government a terrible problem, we plan to continue our reports, not only from D.C, but ftom New York's carnival and elsewhere. Nominations are welcome.

How to explain the decision of the Virgin Islands to import consultants from the Worst City Government in America? Who better, we say, to help set up a system of civil service gradations. After all, a few years ago federal auditors found that 80 percent of the D.C. housing authority's maintenance workers were "overgraded"-getting an electrician's salary, say, for taking out the trash. . . .

While Marion Barry enjoys the company of suspected drug dealers, city managers oversee drug programs in their own way. In 1986, the city gave $75,000 for a study to a former campaign worker for a city councilman. The study found that citizens consider drugs a problem. The husband of a top city official received twice as much, mostly for another survey, which found that young people's attitudes toward drugs are strongly influenced by their parents. With drug-related murders at an all-time high, maybe the city can do one more poll to find out how people really feel about seeing their neighbors shot.

Any questions? Don't call D.C.'s drug abuse hotline. The number listed in the phone book is disconnected. . . .

Runner-up for Worst City Government this month goes to New York for School Board 12, whose members "borrowed" expensive school supplies like computers, hired friends and family for classroom jobs (whether or not they could read), and took expensepaid trips to meetings in Las Vegas, Honolulu, and San Juan. The board member who cast the swing vote in the search for a new superintendent is a homeless heroin addict. . . . -Katherine Boo
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Title Annotation:Washington, D.C.
Author:Boo, Katherine
Publication:Washington Monthly
Date:Feb 1, 1989
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