From remarks by Thomas W. Fletcher, former assistant to the commissioner/deputy mayor of the District of Columbia, at the University of the District of Columbia on Feb. 6, 1985:

As I'm sure all of you remember, the Congress was not happy about the idea of home rule in any way, shape or form, and the idea of a mayor smacked too much of home rule.

. . . There's no question that the riots of 1968 after the assassination of Martin Luther King have to be the greatest agony I have ever gone through. If you've been an administrator of a city and seen your city burned, you may understand the meaning of the word ''agony.''

The next best thing to agony was when {Mayor} Walter {Washington} and I were called to the Hill repeatedly after those riots, in closed-door sessions, and asked, ''Why didn't you shoot them?'' That's just one slight notch down from the agony of having the city burned, being told we didn't handle it right because we didn't shoot them. . . .

My accomplishments? I think being able to start the system, which I was able to do, was a major one. . . .

My biggest joy and my biggest sense of accomplishment is that when I was deputy mayor, we were told by the friends of the District, ''You will get home rule, maybe, in two decades, maybe by the year 2000.'' The enemies of the District said, ''Never.'' Seven years later, you got it, and it's because, I think, of mayors like Walter Washington and good administrators. You were able to show the people in Congress and the White House that the system will work.