. . . and Mary Cheh in Ward 3

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

KATHY PATTERSON'S decision not to seek reelection has given Ward 3 Democrats a chance to nominate a new person to represent them on the D.C. Council. On primary day, Sept. 12, voters will find themselves confronted with an embarrassment of riches, since several outstanding candidates are seeking to fill the vacancy. The choice will be difficult with such excellent Ward 3 residents as Bill Rice, Robert Gordon, Erik Gaull and Mary Cheh in the race. However, narrowing the field to two, and in a tough call between Mr. Gordon and Ms. Cheh, we believe Mary Cheh has the breadth of experience; understanding of local government; and commitment to fiscal prudence, accountability and good government that will make her a first-class addition to the D.C. Council.

As special counsel to the council's Judiciary Committee, chaired by Mrs. Patterson, Mary Cheh directed the landmark investigation into the D.C. police department's handling of political protests. That groundbreaking probe, which documented serious shortcomings and unlawful government conduct, resulted in a new law setting parameters for police conduct and strengthened protection of citizens' rights and liberties. Ms. Cheh's legal skills -- she is a tenured law professor at George Washington University -- along with her involvement in community schools as a teacher, and the experience she gained as a prosecutor, also make her well suited to discharge her legislative and oversight responsibilities.

We can certainly understand why voters will want to take a close look at Mr. Gordon, an able advisory neighborhood commissioner and international development expert; Mr. Rice, who would bring a wealth of government and civic experience to the position; and Mr. Gaull, who has broad knowledge of D.C. government operations and is well grounded in public safety. Ms. Cheh, noted for her attention to detail, her compassion for and interest in youth, and her determination, as she has said, "to be an honest and careful steward of the people's money -- in raising and spending it," seems to have all of the professional and personal qualities necessary to best advance the varied interests of Ward 3 and the entire city.

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