The City Council wrapped up its official agenda for the year last week, clearing out a legislative cupboard of issues ranging from routine alley closings to granting Mayor Marion Barry unprecedented, early authority to borrow up to $150 million to cover the city's cash flow problems.
Among the list of items the council derailed, which means they'll have to be reintroduced next year and go through the whole legislative process again, were:
* A bill to give the council authority to propose amendments to the statehood constitution approved in November by the voters. The measure included an amendment from council chairman-elect David A. Clarke that would give the council virtual veto power over any amendments proposed by the D.C. Statehood Constitutional Convention. The bill was tabled by a 7-to-6 vote.
* A bill that would have allowed persons who win judgments in lawsuits to collect interest on the money from the time of their injury also was tabled. The bill had been pushed by Clarke and was supported by District trial lawyers and other groups.
Health and school groups mounted a last-minute, successful campaign to kill the issue, which had been introduced more than a year ago.
Both issues were defeats for Clarke, who takes over as chairman of the council in January. Clarke said he was surprised by the vote on the constitution. He said he had been aware of, and was angered by, the campaign against the injuries bill, titled the "Prejudgement Interest Authorization Act."
Acting against D.C. Auditor Otis Troupe's recomendation, the council gave Barry authority to borrow up to $150 million from the U.S. Treasury over the next nine months of the current fiscal year.
Troupe argued unsuccessfully that city law requires the council to approve each instance of borrowing from the Treasury rather than granting blanket approval.
The council's action effectively eliminated its opportunity to routinely call in the mayor's financial advisors for public discussions of how the city manages its money. Barry administration aides argued it is more efficient to get overall borrowing authority from the council at one time.
In the past, the mayor has come before the council two or three times a year seeking approval to borrow the federal dollars that tide the city over during months when the city's cash flow is low because of fluctuations in collecting revenue.
The amount of the loans has grown steadily, however, from $40 million just a few years ago to $140 million last year.
The council also gave the city the go-ahead to begin instituting staggered auto registrations to avoid the annual crunch in March. The program will be phased in over the next two years.
Two issues involving children -- a requirement to use car safety restraints for those under six and revisions in the city's child custody laws -- were approved by the council.
PUSH and Busch -- Among the many ceremonial resolutions the council passed was one touching on what is potentially a major issue in the District: the campaign by the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH to force American corporations to hire more blacks and increase their business with black firms.
Jackson's campaign is focused against Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. of St. Louis. PUSH has called for a boycott of the company's popular products until it agrees to increase its business with black firms.
Although the resolution did not specifically endorse the boycott, it praised Jackson's efforts and said the council "supports Operation PUSH's quest for economic reciprocity from corporate America to Black America."
Goodbye and Hello Again -- Lynn French, the top aide to council member John Ray (D-At large), has left the council to enter private law practice. French, praised by council officials for both her knowledge and her demeanor, is being succeeded by Pat Scott, who until earlier this year was chief staff aide to council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4).