In his Feb. 25 op-ed, “Has D.C. learned its lesson?,” Donald E. Graham wrote that D.C. Council member and education committee Chairman David A. Catania (I-At Large) is a “bully” who “wishes to provide ‘oversight’ (that is, distraction and bad advice) to an able chancellor.” This followed criticism from The Post’s editorial board characterizing routine council oversight of education as “meddling,” “micromanaging” and “a power grab.”
Do Mr. Graham and the board believe that the council shouldn’t have opinions on education or ask questions of education officials? That’s not the system of government we have in the United States. It should be unnecessary to argue in favor of something so elementary as the separation of powers, but Mr. Graham and The Post undermine this separation with their heckling.
Their objections extend even to routine oversight hearings. When Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) held a hearing in 2012 for parents to testify about schools, the editorial board lambasted the council for “trying to set itself up as a newly constituted school board.” Mr. Graham’s op-ed concerned a performance oversight hearing that Mr. Catania was legally required to conduct.
It’s time for The Post to move on from this issue and limit its opinions to substantive policy differences. Mr. Catania and Mr. Mendelson, who recommended Mr. Catania as education committee chair, have each been elected to their citywide offices five times by voters. Clearly voters want them to exercise oversight.
Ken Archer, Washington