TWO DISTRICT council members are now fighting legalized gambling in the city by opposing it in Congress. William Spaulding (Ward 5) and Jerry Moore Jr. (at-large) say they will ask Congress to use its power to veto District laws to keep legalized gambling from going into effect. The issue, we thought, had been decided last fall when the voters approved a referendum that proposed having a daily government-run numbers game and lottery, as well as private bingo games and raffles. Council members Moore and Spaulding argue that Congress has the power to veto such a law and that they are within their rights as public officials to urge that Congress use it.
This action strikes us as being hopelessly wrong. In the first place, it flies in the face of decades of effort to get home rule for this city. The District has been trying to get the right to vote in elections and to have local officials to make local decisions for a very long time. Moreover, it should be noted that the city council has the right to make changes in the legalized gambling law as it was approved by the voters. It does not need to go to the Hill to make them.
But whatever the argument against legalized gambling (the two council members say it is immoral), those arguments have been heard and the people who live here have voted on the question. The council members should respect that decision. Taking the argument to the Hill to be reopened is demeaning to the city's residents.