DISTRICT OF CALAMITY

THE CAPITAL IS A CITY FALLING APART. HOW MUCH OF THE CRISIS IS THE MAYOR'S FAULT?

When the story of the decline of Washington is written, historians may decide that its beleaguered citizens finally snapped on the day the city decided to seek out and fine homeowners who failed to rake leaves from the public space in front of their houses. The unraked-leaves strike force emerged this month after a winter of discontent, when the city with one of the nation's highest tax rates ran out of money and stopped providing some basic services. The streets are almost never clean (grit and cigarette butts blow up from littered gutters on K Street), only 40 of the 104...

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