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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 76, No. 10, November 2000

Celebrating Our 80th Year of Service, 1920–2000

733 15th Street, N.W., Suite 432, Washington, DC 20005
202/347-3020,  fax: 202/347-2522
Website:, E-mail:

President’s Corner
The Magnificent Nine
News from the Units
November Unit Meeting Schedule
Member News
Making Our Votes Count: A Workshop for C Public Schools
DC Representation in Congress
IR Committee
Education Committee
Voters Service Committee
Volunteers Needed to Host Foreign Visitors
NCA News
Opening Luncheon Highlights District’s Finances
Globaphobia Flyer


Don't miss our GLOBAPHOBIA seminar this month (see flyer) on November 8 at Sumner School. Our speakers are impressive-David Dollar from the World Bank and Jo Marie Griesbraber from Oxfam America. Janet Burmester, who is on the US League's Task Force on trade, has planned this seminar and had put the DC League in front of the pack on this timely and contentious issue.

Tuesday, November 7, is, of course, our big day. We have printed 23,000 Voters Guides and have completed a direct mail again to selected registered voters in Ward 8 (see article p. 4). However, as a national League study showed, the likelihood of someone voting is dramatically increase when someone they trust and with whom they share common values asks him or her to vote. Take a Friend to Vote on Tuesday, the 7th.

We held a successful meeting in mid-October with the Chair of the DC Council Linda Cropp and Josh Wyner, executive director of the Appleseed Center where we explored issues of Council effectiveness. Next month's Voter will review how far the Council has come and what remains to be done under the leadership of Anna Marsh, chair, Local Affairs Committee. — Elizabeth M. Martin, President

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Tuesday, November 7th

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Thanks to Barbara Luchs for putting together a great committee to work on our fundraising mailing Wednesday, August 23, 2000. Mary Rodgers graciously invited us to use her home for this special project. We were joined by Kathy Schmidt, Reggie Yancey, Barbara Yeomans and June Duke.

In 4.5 hours 1300 letters were prepared and mailed to prospects in 4 selected zip codes. Thanks too to Sheila Willet and Tirza Chavez in the office for preparing the labels and letters and to Beaver Press for delivering everything to us on time.

It is exciting to work with such an enthusiastic and fun group of Leaguers. We are hopeful that our Education Fund will receive a boost from this effort.

My sincere appreciation to you all. — Carol Ragsdale, Fundraising Chair.

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Neighborhood Planning Issues are the topic under discussion in November at Unit Meetings in Northwest, Northeast and Southwest. These meetings offer members an opportunity to investigate in detail some of the issues raised by DC Planning Director Andrew Altman at a Brown Bag Dialogue on October 23. Some Units are combining forces for this meeting. Plan to attend whichever Unit Meeting addresses your most urgent concerns. If this is other than your regular Unit, it is prudent to call the hostess or Unit Chair about parking, stairs, etc.

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Tuesday, November 14

Southwest, 9:45 a.m., Chair: Gladys Weaver 554-3055. Hostess: Anna Marsh 554-7719, 1253 Delaware Ave., SW #S202
Topic: Planning issues in Southwest

Northwest Day, Chair: Jeanette Miller 362-1203
Will not meet separately; members are invited to attend Chevy Chase Unit Wednesday, Nov. 15.

Chevy Chase, 9:45 a.m., Chair: Sue Whitman 966-8754, Hostess: Mary Rodgers 244-1933, 4601 31st St.., NW
Topic: Tall towers and their hazards to neighborhoods.
Guest: Neighborhood expert Anne Loikow (will show video)

Wednesday, November 15

Upper 16th Street, 9:45 a.m., Chair: Paula McKann 829-0656
Location: Call Unit Chair for location
Topic: DC Planning Issues

Thursday, November 16

Northeast, 12:45 P.M., Chair: Iola Pigott 526-8315,
Location: Woodbridge Library, 18th St. and Rhode Island , NE
Topic: Plans for Mall in Ward 5

Northwest Evening, Chair: Joan Domike 966-3865
Will not meet separately; members are invited to attend Chevy Chase Unit Wednesday, Nov. 15

Interim Report on Survey Results: Fifty-five LWVDC members responded to our survey about the future of the Units and League structure more broadly. Of these a large majority were over 65 and regularly attend specific Units. Some find the Units indispensable to the League, others have reservations about their appeal to today's and tomorrow's members. There was strong interest in a regular luncheon Unit that would normally meet at the LWVUS and that would serve the needs of our busy working members. The responses are currently under review by the Unit Chairs and Board; their decisions will be reported later.

The next meeting of Unit Council will be held at the LWVDC Office on November 6 at 12:30 p.m. All Unit Chairs and Co-Chairs are invited to attend. — Sheila Keeney, Unit Director

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New Member: We extend a warm welcome to new member: Cielle Block. League Support: Many thanks to the members who have responded to our fall fundraising appeal or who sent in additional contributions to support the League: Geraldine Albers, Beate Bloch, Suzanne Campagna, Susan Carpenter, Julia Cuniberti, Anna Course, Julia Cuniberti, Coralee Farlee, Susanna Gourevitch, Morella Hansen, Sheila Keeny, Barbara Luchs, Constance Macmillan, Hope Marindin, Anna Marsh, Elizabeth Martin, Ken Nesper & Chris Matthews, Marguerite Nolan, Susan Rao, Kathryn Ray, Grace Savage, Jane K. Schwartz, Marie Stark, Upper 16th Unit, Gilda Varrati, Mary Weiler, Inez Wheeler, Sue Whitman, Elizabeth Yancy, Barbara Yeomans.

Other News: Eone Harger, a 35-year member of the League, has moved to Grand Oaks Assisted Living, 5255 Loughboro Rd., NW 20016. We extend sincere condolences to DC League Treasurer Christine Matthews in the death of her mother, Marcia Matthews.

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It was a standing room only crowd for the DC League's first teacher workshop on September 26. Over 200 teachers or representatives from 94 elementary, junior/middle and senior high schools participated. This outstanding collaborative effort between the DC Public Schools and the League was supported by: The Fund for Education and Human Services, Washington Gas, the National Student/Parent Mock Election 2000, DC Vote, George F. Cram Company, Inc., Map Globe Publishers, MS Printing and Caterer II You.

Each teacher received a shopping bag containing a copy of a specially designed MOVC Workbook, copies of the National Voter highlighting Election 2000 issues, materials from the NAACP's "Get Out The Vote Initiative," and other non-partisan materials as well as the video, "It's Time," that tells the story of DC citizens' disenfranchisement.

The teachers who attended are charged with the task of returning to their schools to share the workbook materials, the video and lead the faculty, students and parents through the "Making Our Votes Count" and "Mock Election" campaign to be held November 2.

Roceal Duke and Michon Peck were our wonderfully efficient and hard working counter-parts in the DC Public Schools, assisted by Joe Renard, DC Information Technology Dept. The most important jewel in this golden event was Sheila Willet who designed the teacher workbook and assumed all responsibility for the technology used at the workshop. Over 15 League members assisted in helping to make MOVC a huge success. They include: Minnie Fitzhugh, Vinna Freeman, Audry Hatry, Natalie Howard, Anna Marsh, Liz Martin, Carol Ragsdale, Susan Rao, Kathy Schmidt, Gladys Weaver, Sheila Willet, Barbara Yeomans, and one of our newest members, Cielle Block. — Elaine Melmed & Reggie Yancey, Co-Chairs.

Photo of Leaguers

Taking a break from pre-workshop preparation for a "photo op" are Leaguers (back row) Barbara Yeomans, Reggie Yancey, Vinna Freeman, Anna Marsh, (front row) Liz Martin, Kathy Schmidt, and Elaine Melmed.

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Monday, Oct 16 the US Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the three judge panel in two DC voting rights cases. In March that panel had split 2 to 1. The majority held that only residents of states can elect to the House of Representatives and the Senate. Although the judges acknowledged that the lack of voting rights for DC Citizens was deplorable, they maintained that change could come only through the political process. DCVote the Coalition for DC Representation in Congress, will continue to spread the word and work to gain full support for voting rights for DC Citizens.

DCVote is selling "TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION" T-shirts and key chains. T-shirts are available in three sizes for $15 prepaid at 1500 U Street, NW, DC 20009 or by phoning 4626000. Many were sold at the Taste of DC Festival, where petitions for full voting rights for D.C. were circulated. DC Vote is coordinating efforts with the Mayor's office for the new license plate roll-out date event.

A number of supporters contacted Jim Lehrer, moderator of the Presidential debates. They suggested a question to the candidates about lack of voting rights for Congress by D.C. citizens was a legitimate concern. — Kathy Schmidt, DC Vote Liaison

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The IR Committee will be responsible for conducting Unit Meetings on Trade in February 2001. In preparation for this first step in updating the LWVUS position on Trade as called for at Convention 2000, all Committee members are urged to participate in the monthly sessions of the Globaphobia Seminar conducted by Committee member Janet Burmester (see enclosed flyer about special November program). At the same time, we continue to follow developments relating to the UN.

In October, Committee Co-Chair Susan Rao took the message about paying our outstanding UN peacekeeping debts to four Senate Offices as a member of the LWVUS Lobby Corps. — Sheila Keeny, Co-Chair.

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Help a school earn free education equipment by enrolling your Safeway Club Card with the school of your choice, and your purchases total will automatically be credited to that school. Contact your school coordinator or log-on to to enroll on-line. Double credits will be given to all Safeway select items you purchase.

Since 1991, over $11 million in educational equipment was earned. The Education Committee has been supporting "equipment credit for purchases" activity for more than two years. This offer, for the 2000-2001 school year, represents the second school year that involves no tapes to save. — Gladys Weaver, Co-Chair.

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Stimulated by a grant from Ralph Watkins, a long time LWV member still active in Montgomery County, LWVDC decided to try a modest experiment to test the efficacy of the Voters Guide. The effort was initiated at the June 27, 2000 Special Election when we selected two precincts in Ward 4 which, for the previous three elections, dating back to 1994, had almost identical turnout. Voters Guides were mailed to all registered voters in-Precinct 54 with the result to be compared to Precinct 55. Turnout in Precinct 54 was 16.9% while that in Precinct 55 was only 10.7%. The over all turnout for the election was 12.2%. The low turnout overall was discouraging, with all precincts reporting lower that average participation but I feel justified in concluding that the 54ers were stimulated, modestly, by the added information made available to them by the Voters Guide. One must note there could have been other factors involved and the sample was small.

The next phase of the test was in the September 12, 2000 Election. We mailed Voters Guides to half of the 12 precincts in Ward 8. The hope was that the Allen-Seegers contest would stimulate a good turnout. We mailed almost 15,000 Guides that were specifically printed for Ward 8. The result was inconclusive and disappointing. The turnout for all of DC was only 12.7% and for Ward 8 even lower at 12.4%. There was no significant difference in the turnout between the precincts which received Guides and those which did not.

We have decided to mail guides to the same six precincts inward 8 for the November 7, 2000 Election in the hope that this more significant election will produce a different result. Will the Voters Guide make a difference? Stay tuned. — Guy Coriden, Co-chair.

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The US League often receives calls from a variety of international organizations who want League help and expertise about government issues and functions and the role of women. The US League turns to Washington metropolitan area Leagues to take on the task of organizing the educational experience for these visitors. If you are interested in being a part of this effort to host foreign visitors, please call Naomi Glass, 202-686-0124.

GO With the League ...and earn money for LWVDC on cultural tours developed by LWV member Gwen Erwood with LWV members in mind to help LWVs raise money. Among tours offered in the coming months are: Kingdom of Bhutan, China Old and New, Autumn in Japan, Ancient Cities of Persia, and Egypt & Nile Cruise. Gwen owns Travel Concepts International in Pacerville, CA. You can call her 1-800-762-4216 or visit her web site at LWVDC will benefit from your fun.

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The NCA Presidents' brunch, attended by representatives of all but one of our local leagues, heralded the start of our League year ...and it promises to be a busy and, we hope, fruitful one. The brunch was held at the LWVUS headquarters so we were fortunate to meet newly appointed Executive Director Nancy Tate and greet President Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins.

On our Program front: Our Water Resources and our Transportation/Land Use Committees are both poised to select their respective foci for this year's activities. The Water Resources Committee is co-chaired by Joy Hecht and Bonnie Burgess (202-5375574). The Transportation/Land Use Committee is co-chaired by Beth Cogswell (703-5279137) and Grant Reynolds (301-983-2320). Call if you'd like to join one (or both). Can you think of any area of greater regional significance than these?

Once again, we were asked to meet with representatives of NGOs from four new democracies (this time, from Central Asia) to discuss League and how we function within a democracy. An exhilarating time was had by all! If you'd like to .be contacted when we're called upon for these rewarding ventures, please let me know (202-686-0124). We generally have a lead time of only a week or two, so we tend to operate from a list of people who have previously expressed interest.

One of our Board members, after facing 1i primary election that offered no real options for a major position, has begun to think about developing a League "school" for prospective candidates to encourage people to run for office and to provide campaign guidance (of a nonpartisan nature, of course). Elinor Hart (202-387-2966) would like to form an exploratory taskforce; call her if you're interested.

Speaking about candidates, it's not too early to think about NCA positions. The posts to be filled next year include President, Secretary, and two Directors. Call Nominating Committee Natalie Testa (301-983-3284) with your suggestions. — Naomi Glass, NCA President

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Natwar M. Gandhi, Ph.D., Chief Financial Officer for the District, gave a glowing report of the city's finances at the DC League's opening luncheon on September 21. The City has moved from near bankruptcy in FY 95 to achieving surpluses instead of deficits. With four consecutive years of balanced budgets and the audit for this fiscal year expected to be in the black, the Control Board is expected to become dormant early next year. In fact, as Mr. Gandhi was speaking, the Control Board was moving its offices from Thomas Circle to One Judiciary Square in a downsizing move.

The District's recovery has been, in some degree, wider and in more depth than other cities in similar circumstances. Although the District's finances are rosy, a "reality check" is in order. The surpluses are being applied against prior debts, the result of years of deficits. In effect, the surpluses have already been spent. Also, the District projects a rate of 2.6% expense growth but only a 2.3% revenue growth. As Leaguers are painfully aware, the restrictions on revenues and tax-exempt properties create this long-term shortfall.

Dr. Gandhi described one proposal being pursued by the District and Congresswoman. Eleanor Holmes Norton that would tax wages earned in the city regardless of residency with the proviso that Maryland and Virginia residents would get a dollar-for-dollar credit on their federal income taxes. Mrs. Norton has estimated that such a tax would generate about $400 million a year.

One question from the audience was out of Mr. Gandhi's purview and related to the School-to-Career Program that links Learning with Earning for our District of Columbia public school .students. The Program is funded from Fiscal Years 1999-2003 in the aggregate amount of $9.6 million. The breakdown is:

Fiscal Year Funding
1999 $1.6 million
2000 $3.2 million
2001 $2.4 million
2002 $1.6 million
2003 $800,000

— Barbara Yeomans, 3rd Vice President

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Calendar — November 2000

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
    1 10 am, LWVDC Board Meeting, 1730 M Street, NW, 10th Floor 2 3
6 12:30 pm, Unit Council Meeting, 733 15th Street, NW, #432 7 VOTE: Presidential Election
December DC Voter Deadline
8 10 am, Education Committee, 733 15th Street, NW, #$32
12 pm, Globaphobia, Sumner School, 1201 17th Street, NW.
9 10
13 14 9:45 am, Southwest, Anna Marsh, 1253 Delaware Ave., SW, #S202
9:45 am, Chevy Chase, Mary Rodgers, 4601 31st St., NW
15 9:45 am, Upper Sixteenth, Call 829-0656 for location 16 12:45 pm, Northeast Day, Woodbridge Library, 18th & Rhode Island, NE 17 December DC Voter mailed
20 21 22 23 Happy Thanksgiving Day 24
27 28 29 30  

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GLOBAPHOBIA: Seminar on Global Trade Issues

Wednesday, November 8, 2000
12 noon--1:30 pm Brown Bag Lunch
Sumner School
1201 17th Street, NW
(corner 17th & M Streets)

Preparing for a league restudy of its position on global trade, LWVDC has scheduled a series of six meetings to review the major global trade issues that hove attracted media attention following anti-globalization demonstrations in Seattle and Washington. Particular attention will be given to the backlash from labor and environmental groups. This is the third meeting in the series. Attend one or all of the series as you so choose. Information about future events will be available at this meeting.



Guest Speakers:

Division Chief for Macroeconomics Research at the World Bank, Co-author of "Growth Is Good for the Poor"

Director of Policy at Oxfam America, Washington

Janet Burmester, discussion leader, is former Adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and a former policy advisor on the staff of the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy, Evaluation and Research (ASPER).

Phone: 202-347-3020 Fax: 202-347-2522 Email:

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