Get our free newsletter
When John Cheeks challenged Phil Mendelson for D.C. Council chairman last year, LL wondered what he was smoking. (He ended up with 4 percent of the vote). But now, Cheeks wants to know what other District pols are smoking, in the form of a ballot initiative that would regularly drug test the mayor, councilmembers, and top District employees.
“Who’s to say that the chairman couldn’t go home and light up, couldn’t light up on the job?” Cheeks says. “I mean, we can’t have that.”
The D.C. Board of Elections will consider whether Cheeks’ “Public Accountability Safety Standards Act” is eligible for the ballot in September. While District law forbids ballot initiatives that would force the District to spend money, Cheeks gets around this prohibition by ordering the federal Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency to conduct the test.
If Cheeks’ initiative makes the ballot and passes, candidates and top government officials (along with, for some reason, DCBOE petition challengers and parking attendants) would be subjected to random tests for a six-page list of substances, including alcohol and now-legal marijuana. The penalties are steep—-if a winning candidate in an election failed a drug test, his next-closest opponent would win the office instead.
The fun continues for politicians after they win office. Muriel Bowser, for example, would be drug-tested twice a year—-and then whenever she submits a budget to Congress, vetoes legislation, or when she is “declaring martial law.” Amusingly, Cheeks foe Mendelson would be subject to a much stricter eight tests a year.
Cheeks claims that he’s representing a “silent majority” of District residents who are concerned about drug use in the Wilson Building.
In the last Council session, Cheeks insists, councilmembers were smoking meth and popping pills. Alas, he wouldn’t tell LL who he was talking about.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery