Professor Mary Cheh has a lifetime of experience as an educator, lawyer, prosecutor, and law reformer. Whether investigating the operations of the police, crafting comprehensive legislation on animal welfare, or protecting civil rights and civil liberties, Mary has the skills, vision, and compassion to protect the interests of Ward 3 residents and all of D.C.

Mary will work relentlessly to give District children a first class education, to ensure fiscal integrity in the District’s operations, to see that services, particularly fire, police, and emergency services are reliably and professionally performed, and to make Washington a healthy, livable, and beautiful City.

Commitment to the Children of the District: Every D.C. child is entitled to a safe environment, proper healthcare, and a quality education, and all resource allocations should reflect this basic, non-negotiable principle.

Mary is a lifetime educator and believes that giving every child in the District a first-class education is not only the key to keeping families in the City but it is an absolute moral imperative. Mary believes that every child must be guaranteed the opportunity to learn, to dream, and to acquire the means to compete in a modern economy.

Priority: To modernize and bring all of our school buildings up to code. The average age of school buildings in the District is 65 years and many have fallen into gross disrepair. Mary fully supports the measure to dedicate a billion dollars over 10 years to improve our school facilities, and will exercise sharp oversight to ensure that the money is actually provided and wisely and efficiently spent.

Priority: To manage all of our schools effectively and ensure adequate resources and information systems that work. In some cases, improvements may come from school-based management or in defining new roles for principals. System-wide management --- whether in facilities maintenance, record keeping, or the allocation of resources --- must be improved.

Priority: To provide the resources to hire, to keep, and to reward good teachers. At the end of the day, our schools can only be as good as our teachers.

Priority: To take the big picture view of our school system and ask tough questions, among them, do we believe that the schools’ current organization with multiple layers of authority and various points of responsibility, best serves our need for reform and change?

Fiscal Integrity and Stewardship

Mary has the kind of solid experience necessary for good government and believes that one of the Council’s main responsibilities is to be an honest and careful steward of the people’s money—in raising it and spending it. Mary has shown the good judgment and attention to detail that will be necessary to guarantee that the executive branch exercises fiscal prudence and accountability. Through proper oversight the citizens of the District can be sure that their money is not wasted.

Priority: To reform D.C.’s contract and procurement policies, and to bring D.C. in line with modern practices using federal regulations as a guide. Management systems must be in place, training made effective, and supervisors held accountable to ensure that contracts are properly written, work actually and professionally performed, and bidding practices followed. Contracts for libraries, fire houses, and management systems costing millions of dollars are let and then abandoned; the resulting waste of time, money, and effort is unacceptable.

Priority: To ensure fair tax burdens. Mary understands that it is a delicate balance to ensure that taxes are imposed equitably to produce sufficient revenues without driving away residents, small businesses, and continued investment. She will work to find that balance.

Priority: To continue to fight for the District to have fair taxing authority on the income of non-residents and to have the federal government assist in correcting the structural imbalances in the City’s finances that prevent it from meeting citizens’ needs.

Reliable and Professional Performance of Basic Services

Mary believes that the first task of local government is to ensure that citizens are safe and that basic services are being performed efficiently and professionally. Mary believes that it is the Council’s job to make sure this happens, and, should there be a failure of good service, to see that it is acknowledged and corrected.

Priority: To repair and clean up dysfunctional government operations. The Council should exercise particularly vigorous review of all systems dealing with police, fire, and emergency services to guarantee that practices and protocols are adequate to protect the health and safety of all of the residents.

Priority: To put in place a periodic and systematic review of all departments, before failure of services, to ensure efficient and professional service to residents.

Priority: To guarantee that all persons in the care of the District, such as the disabled and those in group homes, are safe and well cared for. Mary believes that oversight is especially important where private parties have contracts for services, and that it is immoral to wait for deaths or serious injuries before overseeing operations.

A Healthy, Livable, and Beautiful City

All of us want a growing and economically vibrant City. As importantly, we need a beautiful and livable City. Mary wants to maintain our neighborhoods as neighborhoods, as urban villages with abundant green spaces and ample opportunity for recreation. As an avid runner and a parent of two children, Mary knows how important it is to have clean and healthy air and water and to have places to walk, bicycle, play sports, and to enjoy the outdoors.

Priority: To have a new conversation about development. For our City to prosper and improve, change and growth are necessary. Mary believes that investment in the City should be encouraged and that neighborhood-friendly development can be a positive force. But the question is where the development takes place and how it is accomplished. Development should flourish in those areas where it serves the affected communities and where it fits the general character of the area. And development must be tempered by ensuring an adequate supply of affordable housing. Residents and investors need to sit down and work together in order to guarantee a beautiful, livable, and prosperous City. As your councilmember, Mary will use her office to faciliate cooperation and consensus.

Priority: To make sure that libraries, community centers, parks and recreation areas, and other anchors of our community life are maintained, that they are safe and inviting, and that they allow for recreation, reflection, interaction, and growth. We have neglected these civic resources for too long and must seize the opportunity - right now - to recover them.

Priority: To take steps on a variety of fronts to ensure a clean and healthy environment. Mary wants to make sure that the new Department of Environmental Protection created by the Council functions as a vigorous leader in environmental reform, that the District is doing its part to clean up the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, that the poor record of recycling in office buildings and schools be corrected, that toxic wastes not be trucked through residential areas, that the District reach out to the federal government to be sure that air quality goals are met and that, for example, diesel exhaust is reduced, and that our water supply is safe and healthful.

Making the Council More Effective: A University Research Service

Members of the City Council play multiple roles. They are legislators, of course, but they are also careful monitors of the executive branch and its performance, ombudsmen for their constituents, and facilitators who can bring various parts of the community together to find common ground. To play all of these roles and to make the Council more effective, we need to join with our Universities to tap their enormous expertise and energy to help solve our problems. Mary will propose that, just as Congress has the Congressional Research Service, the Council should have the University Research Service. The Universities, in service to the community and to advance their own educational mission, would provide the Council with comprehensive analyses of issues, data gathering, and reform proposals based on the best practices and the best thinking.

There is a lot of work to be done

Other challenges remain, including the delivery of legal services to the poor, increasing the training and professionalism of the police force, reducing crime through prevention, lower recidivism, and gang intervention, continually working for full voting rights for the people of the District, and so much more. Mary wants to dedicate herself to doing this work, and she has the experience and zeal to do it well. And, in taking on these tasks, she will forge a partnership with each of you and with the various participants in our community life: universities, businesses, neighborhood groups, schools, and churches. We all have a stake in good government, and Mary looks forward to serving you as the Ward 3 Council representative.



Paid for by Mary Cheh for DC Council Committee. 3908 Morrison Street, NW 20015. Donald R. Durkee Treasurer