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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Integrity and Stewardship
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.
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.
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.
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.
and Professional Performance of Basic Services
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.
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
To put in place a periodic and systematic review of all
departments, before failure of services, to ensure efficient
and professional service to residents.
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.
Healthy, Livable, and Beautiful City
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.
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.
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.
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.
the Council More Effective: A University Research Service
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.
is a lot of work to be done
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.