Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
The plan to reorganize the D.C. government as proposed by President Johnson in 1967 was approved by Congress on schedule. It unified the executive function in one appointed officer, created an appointed city Council, and provided a clear separation of powers between the branches. The new structure became one of the cornerstones for Home Rule, which was passed by Congress in 1974. An excerpt from the Post of June 2, 1967:
President Johnson ordered the reorganization of Washington's government yesterday. The new form of government will go into effect in 60 days, unless either house of Congress acts to overturn it.
The reorganization plan replaces the three Commissioners with a single strong executive and a nine-member Council. The plan was sent to Capitol Hill late in the afternoon, three months after Mr. Johnson first announced that he would do it.
The White House said that Mr. Johnson had spent more time and effort on it than any piece of legislation that has gone to Congress this year.
The plan faces an uncertain future in Congress. There is considerable opposition in the House, though not in the Senate.
The President would nominate the Commissioner, his top assistant and all nine members of the Council subject to confirmation by the Senate.
One of the Council members would be named chairman and a second would be vice chairman.
In a message accompanying the plan, Mr. Johnson said that the present city government is `neither effective nor efficient' and must be replaced if it is `to fulfill the needs of its citizens.'
The District of Columbia, he said, `can no longer afford divided executive authority,` He added:
`Its government must be able to respond promptly and effectively to new demands and new conditions.
`This requires clear-cut executive authority and flexible government machinery -- not divided authority which too often results in prolonged negotiations and inactions.'
For example, he said, the city government cannot effectively deal with crime, which cuts across virtually every function of government -- from police and corrections to housing, education, health and employment.