HERE HE comes again: Rep. Charles Wilson (D-Tex.) is seeking a congressional veto of a proposed law to restrict condominium conversions in the city. Apparently Mr. Wilson is impervious to the argument that Congress should stay out of local affairs, unless the federal government's interest in the city is directly affected. This issue was argued when Rep. Wilson took an active role in opposing rent control here while he was chairman of the House Appropriations District subcommittee as well as a landlord in the city. Now Rep. Wilson is persisting in his role as overseer of the District even though he is no longer chairman of the subcommittee. And as was the case when he used his congressional power to challenge rent control, Mr. Wilson is confusing the issue of restricted condominium conversion with questions about the city's rights under home rule.
Only once has Congress ever vetoed a city law. That veto overrode legislation that would have limited the areas of the city in which foreign governments could place their embassy offices. Some national interests were at stake in that one. But no national issue or interest is involved with condominium conversion laws in this city.
If it were not for Rep. Wilson's misplaced energy -- opposing the law in Congress instead of before the council -- he would have some support in the city. In our opinion, he is right in condemning both rent control and the limitations on condominium conversion.
But a greater threat than either of these proposals to all District residents would be the return of the imperial hand of Congress in city affairs. Home rule, granted only six years ago, was meant to give the District's residents some control over their lives. For Rep. Wilson to begin a one-man crusade to revive the old "Congress-in-charge" concept of city government would be wrong. What the District needs now is Rep. Wilson control.