HomeRegister Your Support!
  Latest News

Press Releases
Keep up to date with current press releases.


See our support through news articles written about Klingle.

Hear our debates.

Enjoy our gallery of pictures.

Face on Klingle.

Legislative Bypass Paves End to Klingle Road Dispute
By David Nakamura and Craig Timberg
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, May 15, 2003; Page DZ02

Had the end lived up to the 12-year history of the dispute, the saga over Klingle Road NW would have gone out with a bang, not a whimper.

But last week, there was no packed hearing room, no angry crowds, no extended debate. By a vote of 8 to 5, the D.C. Council rejected an attempt by Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) to close Klingle permanently to vehicular traffic and instead agreed to spend $5.7 million to repave the road.

The council used a novel method to pass the measure. Chairman Linda Cropp (D-At Large) and Carol Schwartz (R-At Large) attached the Klingle Road bill to the budget support act, a maneuver that almost ensured that Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) could not veto it.

Williams opposed reopening Klingle, saying it was too expensive for a half-mile stretch of road that runs east-west through Rock Creek Park and has been closed ever since it flooded in 1991. Williams and several council members preferred to spend $1.1 million to turn the road into a recreational path for walkers and bikers.

Had Williams wanted to veto the measure, he would have had to block the entire budget support act, which would have been politically unwise and legislatively cumbersome.

The mayor was unhappy about the way Cropp and Schwartz moved their legislation forward. "This sets a troubling precedent," Williams said last week, comparing the move to the way federal lawmakers attach riders to their budget. "It's difficult to veto the whole budget support act for one item."

But Cropp referred to the move as "clever." She argued that the council wanted to vote on the Klingle Road issue as a stand-alone bill. The problem was, she said, that Williams never sent over such a bill to the council.

"This was a way that Carol and I decided to move this along quickly," Cropp said.

Noting the nasty 12-year battle over Klingle Road -- during which some residents east of Rock Creek Park charged that residents on the west wanted the road closed to keep out less affluent residents from their neighborhood -- Cropp added: "This has gone on far too long and there's been too much energy spent by all sides. We needed to bring this to a rapid conclusion."

Had Klingle been a stand-alone bill, Cropp and Schwartz would have needed nine votes to override any veto by Williams. Cropp said she could have gotten nine votes, even though only eight members voted against Mendelson's move to close the road permanently.

The mayor disagreed. "I would have vetoed it," he said. "I would have stopped it."

So, a reporter asked, did Cropp and Schwartz put the bill into the budget support act because they knew they only had eight votes? "There you go," Williams said.

Cropp took exception to the mayor's view of her legislative maneuver.

"It's only bad because he came out on the wrong side," she said.

2003 The Washington Post Company

For additional information, please email support@repairklingleroad.org