December 26, 2013

The Dec. 19 editorial “Park it” had it all wrong: During last week’s D.C. Council hearing on the District’s parking meter contract, I was not advocating for a campaign donor. I was advocating for the residents of the District.

I was advocating for an opportunity to save tens of millions of dollars on that contract. It doesn’t require $33 million to collect coins from parking meters and to repair meters when they are malfunctioning. For too long, the D.C. government has had a “don’t look” attitude on such matters. This has resulted in such well-known incidents as a $50 million embezzlement loss, a $48 million loss from the failure to properly assess commercial property and the loss of many residents’ prize assets — their homes — as a result of improper sales to tax-lien investors.

I cannot look the other way while our city’s treasury is misused and the welfare of our citizens is not being protected. The D.C. charter requires the council to approve all contracts in excess of $1 million, and the residents of our city expect their legislators to provide prudent oversight of the executive branch in the expenditure of their funds. To do otherwise would be a violation of the checks and balances required of good government, a violation of the commitment to internal controls and a violation of the trust bestowed upon the elected officials of the District.

Advocate for donors? No. Advocate for our citizens and the protection of our city’s treasury? Yes.

Vincent B. Orange Sr., Washington

The writer, a Democrat, is an at-large member of the D.C. Council.

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