Alex Wong  /  Getty Images file
Washington, D.C. mayor Anthony Williams in February 2001.
updated 1/20/2004 4:19:59 PM ET 2004-01-20T21:19:59

Upset with his handling of health care, education and other issues, critics of District of Columbia Mayor Anthony A. Williams began a recall effort Tuesday.

Members of a coalition called Save Our City registered the formal notice of intention to recall with the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. They hope to put the fate of the two-term mayor on the November ballot.

In an interview, Williams said he took the effort seriously, but he also described it as “political heat.”

Responding to allegations outlined in recall proponents’ petition, Williams acknowledged problems with the resumes of some former staffers. But he said the city has made progress under his administration.

“The majority of the people of this city believe that, and that’s why they re-elected me,” he said.

Recall proponents say the closure of D.C. General Hospital is one of several reasons Williams should be removed from office.

“Privatization doesn’t work,” said Vanessa Dixon, a spokeswoman for the Healthcare Now Coalition, which tried unsuccessfully to block the closure of the city’s only public hospital in 1999.

Other reasons outlined in the petition include problems with public safety, underfunding of public education, a lack of affordable housing and the hiring of administrators without verification of their credentials.

To get on the ballot, recall proponents would have to gather at least 37,000 signatures from registered voters.

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