D.C. City Council Member John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2), miffed at opposition to hearings he proposed on city finances, stalked out of a meeting yesterday after announcing to his startled colleagues that he would resign from his seat on the council.
The mercurial, blunt-talking legislator - who has been talked out of quiting the council on at least two previous occasions - said he would submit his resignation yesterday afternoon. But by midafternoon, Wilson had cooled off enough to say he would "wait overnight and see what my constituents say."
"As long as you're docile, quiet, stupid and don't raise questions around here, everything is fine," Wilson told reporters.
Council members sat silently after Wilson announced his intention of quitting and walked out of the council chamber. Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8) and Hilda Mason (Statehood-At Large) followed him out and tried to calm him. Mason threw her arms around his shoulders and pleaded, "John, don't do it."
Wilson, who succeeded Mayor Marion Barry in January as chairman of the Council's powerful tax-writing Finance and Revenue Committee, convened a committee meeting little more than an hour later. His mood was subdued. He did not mention his resignation threat again until reporters inquired.
His surprise declearation came at a session of the council's full membership, sitting as a committee. He asked approval to schedule 13 days of hearings in September on the City's ability to raise more funds from its revenue sources.
Some members questioned whether this would conflict with consideration of next year's city budget by other committees.
David A. Clarke (D-Ward 1), a member of Wilson's committee, said he was caught unaware by the hearing proposal. He moved to table the hearing plan until the committee could discuss it.
Clarke's motion lost on a voice vote. When Clarke asked for a roll-call vote, Wilson announced that he would save the council any need to choose sides, and said he would resign later in the day as committee chairman and as "a members of this body (the council)."
Wilson 35, submitted resignations at least twice to former council chairman Sterling Tucker, who talked him out of leaving both times. Ward 2, which Wilson has represented since 1975, includes downtown and residential areas that virtually encircle it.
Arrington Dixon, the current council chairman, said he took Wilson's threat to quit seriously.
But other council members said they were sure Wilson would stay. "I understand why he got mad, but he'll cool off," said John L. Ray (D-At Large), who encountered similar resistance a week ago when he proposed hearings on conditions in the city school system.
"It's classic John Wilson - come out with a bold initiative, ery hurt, and then he gets part of what he wanted," Clarke said."He should have brought it to the committee [first]."
Wilson, at the finance committee meeting, said he wanted to hold the hearings in preparation for writing a tax package that may be needed to finance the city's budget for the 1981 fiscal year.
The congressional handling of the city's 1980 budget threatens to leave the city short as much as $204 million needed for 1981.
Wilson later told reporters he did not want to quit, "but I'm not going to allow people to tell me how to work." Without mentioning names, he complained about "the caliber" of some other council members.
"I have a tendency to overreact, sometimes," he conceded.