Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

C-SPAN Caller Tells Norton D.C. Belongs in Congress’ Hands (Video)

The District of Columbia’s “No Taxation Without Representation” license plates can apparently be quite jolting to tourists, but perhaps not in the way advocates hope.

An Oklahoma woman who identified herself as “Donna” called in to C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” program Friday griping about a three-day family vacation to the District and the many things that “appalled” her family, including the license plates.

Donna told Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., that she saw alcoholics, people sleeping on the streets and that her family “couldn’t find a park bench to sit on” because of the large homeless population.

“The world comes to Washington, D.C., and we were embarrassed, just totally embarrassed, at what liberalism has done to Washington, D.C., and it’s only a very small place — it should be put back into the hands of Congress to manage,” Donna said. She concluded that “liberalism is just devastating our capital,” before being cut short by the host.

Norton, a lawyer and civil rights activist in her 12th term representing the District, had a long list of positives about her hometown to rebuff the caller’s claims. She was invited on the C-SPAN morning program to talk about a surge of anti-Home Rule riders related to guns and marijuana, from members of Congress who share the belief that Capitol Hill should manage D.C.’s affairs.

Norton said D.C.’s homelessness epidemic was similar to that of other populous cities, such as New York, and reminded Donna that “under the law, you can’t simply sweep the streets of homeless people.”


(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Although she remained cool and collected, the often fiery congresswoman said she almost resented part of the call, when Donna complained about seeing a “hoard of hundreds of black people” in line outside the city’s courthouse awaiting trial.

“You don’t know what they’re waiting for in the courts,” Norton said.

Her reply included the well-rehearsed talking points often raised in arguments for giving D.C. greater autonomy from Congress.

Norton boasted that D.C. is a highly informed city, with more college-educated residents than any other metro area in the nation, plus financial prosperity and an influx of new growth. Earlier this year, the District government reported a “rainy day” fund of nearly $1.5 billion.

“I wonder if your state has anything like that,” Norton challenged, dinging Donna for comparing D.C. to Detroit.

In the end, Norton invited Donna back for another visit, saying she was sorry the Oklahoma woman didn’t get to see “a greater part of the District of Columbia.”

“We invite you back, and extend you every hospitality,” she said.

  • Tommy6860

    SMFH! What else would one expect form a winger.

  • Anton B

    The plates say “Taxation without Representation” not “No Taxation without Representation”.
    There is a difference, you know.

  • Reba

    Maybe DC should spend some of that Rainey day fun to provide suites with large screen Tvs, gym and buffets for their American homeless families… Instead of giving it to South American citizens.

    • Miriam Capellan

      My city provides $1,400/mo housing vouchers for homeless veterans and help to find an apartment. I hope Oklahoma does that as well.

      • Reba

        Thank your for supporting our homeless heros. $1400.00 is very generous. I looked on DC craigslist for rental cost, very costly to rent in DC. Hope they are able to cover high cost of deposits and such. All appreciate any support for our cherished returning veterans.

        With 1.5 billion in DC rainy day fund and more homeless beyond our veterans, I suggest DC buy a retreat or resort to give homeless good shelter….suite, large screen tv pool, job training and buffets. This would be a blessing for our homelss veterans and other DC homeless families and teenagers. Though the 1400.00 is generous, it is very expensive to live in DC. Would be kind if DC provided free suites as we have illegals from South American. 1.5 Billion is an enormous amount of money.

        • Manny Jenkins

          We are not the federal government. You are mistaken the VA responsibilities for the local government who has a triple A bond rating for astute fiscal management. But tax payers of the District need better city services,schools, roads, polices..

          DC addresses its homeless population with an emphasis on returning them to work, giving them a year of free housing to transition to affordable housing but what you are talking about is the VA’S responsibility

          • Reba

            The majority of homeless families (father, mother, small children and teenagers) are not associated with the veterans administration. They do not rate VA housing benefits.

      • Manny Jenkins

        DC is ahead of most jurisdictions in homeless placements. Its a priority here, but a lot if our homeless population has mental illness and have elected not to take the services provided,

        With that said,people do move to DC (mistaking the DC federal services for the local government) this isn’t the best way to address care. Going home to a place where you have a support system would have a better impact than just
        moving to a city you are not familiar with,

  • Miriam Capellan

    The line was most likely for jury duty (having had DC jury duty many times). Who could speed up the jury pool line? The Jurors Office, maybe Judges. Who delayed Judge appointment approval for DC courts this year? Congress.

  • Bob Viering

    A clueless Oklahoman…who would have ever thought that…I’m sure the real embarrassment is with the good people of Oklahoma who have to be associated with this woman.

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...