REP. STANFORD PARRIS of Virginia has a new identity. He is now the Great Dictator, would-be overlord of all local life in Washington. Last Tuesday he led the charge in Congress to prevent District officials from hiring policemen and firemen by a lottery system. On Wednesday he used his influence to block a $3 million public housing project Fairfax County officials had been planning for three years.
Think of it: in those three years Fairfax residents had come to an agreement on having the housing project built. But apparently no one had asked the Great Dictator. With one swipe he negated the local decision. The Department of Housing and Urban Development was financing the Fairfax project, and Mr. Parris is on the Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs committee that oversees HUD.
Mr. Parris was prepared to go even further in halting the District's plan to pick candidates for the police and fire departments by lottery. He amended the city's $1.8 billion appropriations bill to force this choice: either the lottery would be stopped or the District's budget would be stopped. The Great Dictator succeeded in this outrage because the members of the House casually accepted the terms of the budget package. After all, it was not their city or home town that was being assaulted by the federal government. To some of the legislators there was a bonus: they could brag they had stopped an affirmative action plan.
As Mr. Parris tramps through the local area, dumping on home rule in the District as well as in Fairfax, he may please some people. The lottery, for example, is a matter of controversy in the city; we happen to think Mayor Marion Barry should keep the standards for choosing policemen and do more to find black candidates who can meet them. No doubt some people are pleased to see Mr. Parris put it under. They might consider, however, that some day the Great Dictator might not be on their side.
If Mr. Parris wants to fight public housing in Fairfax County, let him run for the board of supervisors. If he wants to fight the District's decision on picking policemen, let him call on city officials at the District Building. Whatever one may think of the lottery, or of public housing, Mr. Parris' high and mighty behavior is insupportable. He plays the part of the Great Dictator all too well.