The dawn of new era Williams' victory: Washington's chances of turning itself around are the best in decades.

November 04, 1998

THE ELECTION of Anthony Williams as mayor of the District of Columbia, along with a predominantly white City Council for the first time ever, truly represents a new day dawning for the nation's capital.

The city is in the best position in quite a while to turn itself around, get rid of the constraints of a control board in charge of its most vital decisions and re-establish a kind of most-favored-state status with Congress, given that the House and Senate exercise ultimate control.

Yesterday's D.C. election is also a prelude to new alignments, interracial coalitions and the possibility of multiracial cooperation that will be the rule in the 21st century. Thus, Washington has great opportunity to point the way.

But a delicate balance of politics and race remains that Mr. Williams and the council will have to confront, a legacy of the years of division by his predecessor, Mayor Marion Barry.

The biggest challenges are to win back congressional support, turn the books and budget around and run an efficient government that commands widespread support of residents.

Mayor-elect Williams and the council will have to find ways to bring the races and classes together. Turning around what Marion Barry left will be daunting. But the election gave the city its best prospects in decades.

Pub Date: 11/04/98

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