Forward to January 2001 DC Voter Back to League of Women Voters home page Back to November 2000 DC Voter
Celebrating Our 80th Year of Service, 19202000
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Website: http://www.dcwatch.com/lwvdc, E-mail: LWVDC@erols.com
DC Council Reform
News from the Units
December Unit Meeting Schedule
Making Our Votes Count
Voters Service Committee
Balkan Voter (BV)
Lunch Reservation Form for January 17, 2001
Wishing all Leaguers Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards all as this year comes to a close!
In January we'll be conducting our program planning for the next two years (see flyer). Come with your ideas and enthusiasm as we debate the issues. Housing? Education? All mail or electronic voting for the District? What's your interest or passion? It's also an opportunity to socialize with a Brown Bag lunch for $5.00 prepared by Reggie Yancey and Paula McKann -- a fundraiser by the Upper Sixteenth Unit.
We printed 19,000 Voters Guides for the November election (see Voters Service article pg. 3.) Our thanks to Ethel Cooper and Miles Steele for distributing over 3,000. And, thanks to a contribution from Ralph Watkins, we were able to mail the Guide to half the registered voters in Ward 8. This resulted in a small but consistent turnout at the polls for those who received the Guide and, additionally, these same voters consistently voted for all the candidates on the ballot. In other words, they kept on voting because, perhaps, they felt more confident in selecting among the candidates.
The League office will be closed between Christmas and New Year's Day this year. To all of you, your friends and loved ones, have a happy and festive holiday. Elizabeth M. Martin, President
Announcement - Plan Ahead
Lots of information at our October 12 General Meeting on DC Council Reform with Linda Cropp, Council Chair, Joshua Wyner, Executive Director of the DC Appleseed Center and moderated by Shelley Broderick, Dean, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law. A full report will be in the next issue of the VOTER but if you can't wait that long, check out the Council's website at www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us or call the office to borrow a tape of the proceedings.
Reminder - Your donations to the LWVDC Education Fund are tax deductible if written before the end of the year. Don't miss this chance to help the League and shrink your tax burden at the same time!
Again this year the Units will hold holiday meetings in December. Although primarily social events, the meetings will also offer an opportunity to discuss the future of the Unit, watch a video, or even meet with successful School Board candidates - call your Unit Chair to see what's planned for you. If your Unit is not holding a special meeting, feel free to attend any Unit Meeting that fits your schedule.
As we go to press, the November Unit Meetings on planning in DC are still ahead. The October Unit Meetings hosted a total of 15 candidates for the School Board who were able to present their qualifications in relatively informal settings -- Unit Chairs found this an effort worth repeating in future elections.
The December meeting of Unit Council will be held in the LWVDC Office on Monday, Dee 11 at 12:30. Any interested League member is invited. Sheila Keeny, Unit Director
Thursday, December 14 (note change of date)
Tuesday, December 19
Wednesday, December 20
Kathy Schmidt to be honored: The Board agreed unanimously to nominate Kathy Schmidt to be honored at the annual Human Rights Day Community Awards Luncheon sponsored by the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area.
The award will recognize Kathy's dedicated service to the LWVDC's work in promoting the basic human right to representation in one's government. League honorees from earlier years include Charles Miller, Jamin Raskin, Hilda Mason, Connie Fortune and Jean Fleming.
Anyone interested in joining a LWVDC table at the luncheon should contact Sheila Keeny immediately at 966-1692. Date: Dec. 8, 2000, Place: Cannon Caucus Rm., Cannon HOB; Price: $30 ($14 tax-deductible)
New Members: We extend a warm welcome to new members Bonnie B. Burgess, Billie K. Press and Amy Slemmer.
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: MacClaire Arlt; Allen Beach; Marion K. Bell: Beate Bloch, Hope C. Bogorad; Guy Coriden; Ruth Priest Dixon; Joan R. Domike; Elinor Dynes; Naomi Glass; Virginia Gorman, Mrs. Marshall Hornblower; Jean C. Jones, Susan B. Learmonth; Louisan Mariner; Durstyne W. McClintick; Martha O. Myers in memory of her husband, Will S. Myers, a long time supporter of League activities; Ruth Nadel; Betty W. Nyangoni; Iola H. PI Pigott; Mary S. Rodgers; Clara G. Schiffer; Kathryn Schmidt; Evelyn Sidransky; Elaine D. Simons; Constance P. Tate; Gladys C. Weaver; Patricia Wheeler.
Other News: Members on the move! Grace A. Savage writes to inform us of her move to California and states, "Of course I will be joining the League in California, and looking forward to having Congressional representation. Of course I will use that in any way I can to further DC's needs." Her new address is c/o Olsen, 315 Poinsettia, Corona de Mar, CA 92625.
A correction to Eone Harger's new address: Grand Oaks Assisted Living, 5901 MacArthur Blvd., NW, Apt 362, Washington, DC 20016.
Students in the DC Public Schools cast their votes for President in the city -wide Mock Presidential Election 2000 sponsored by the DC League, the DC Public Schools and supporting by Washington Gas, and the Student/Parent Mock Elections in Arizona.
A number of Leaguers gathered at Logan School on November 2 to assist student council leaders in the tabulation and presentation of the results as well as provide pizza and drinks. There were electronic difficulties in receiving the votes from schools but 80 schools reported their results. It was no surprise that the vote was overwhelmingly for the Gore/Lieberman ticket.
The teacher evaluation of this project headed by the DC League and DCPS Staff takes place on November 30 at Logan School at 4:00 p.m. There will be a complete recap of our MOVC project in the January Voter.
Photo Correction: It was Minnie Fitzhugh's photo in the MOVC article last month - not Vinna Freeman, although Vinna is also a MOVC volunteer.
The Fourth of the Globaphobia Seminars is at noon on Wednesday, December 13. Although not required, participants are urged to read Chapters S & 6 in our text, Globaphobia, which Seminar leader and Committee member Janet Burmester assures us are "user friendly". IR Committee members are asked to remain after the Seminar for a brief Committee meeting.
As a member of the newly-appointed LWVUS Task Force charged with spearheading the update of the League's Trade Position, Janet spent a recent weekend in Texas where the Task Force toured an electric plant across the border in Mexico. At this first meeting, Task Force members agreed on the basic premise, goals and process of the update, as well as its scope, timeline and key dates.
Be watching for your December-January issue of the National Voter which will carry the first of four articles on trade to be published in the Voter over the next year. Members will be asked to concur with a revised Trade Position by March 2002.
LWVDC is off to a flying start on the update with our six session Globaphobia Seminar. Unit Meetings in February 2001 will offer an introduction to the always controversial trade issue when we review in detail what we have learned from the seminars. Sheila Keeny, Co-Chair.
Public Charter Schools were opened during the 1996 school year and expanded to a total of 33 Charter Schools as of September 2000. The District is now identified as the most "charter-ized"jurisdiction in the nation.
The Education Committee has studied and collected a wealth of data on Charter Schools as established in the District of Columbia. The Committee members have met with the staffs of the Public Charter School Board as well as the District of Columbia Board of Education-Public Charter Schools and plan to visit schools during the months of November and December. Gladys Weaver, Co-Chair.
Many people and organizations will be analyzing aspects of the 2000 election for some time to come and the LWVDC should be among them. We provided support for voters forums for the important school board elections in DC. The forums were informative, well run, but not well attended. We distributed 19,000 Voters Guides which focused on school board candidates. The major newspapers and many of the free weekly newspapers printed voters guides also. Our guide asked more questions and was better in that sense; however, the newspapers had a wider distribution
LWVDC, at the request of the Board of Elections and Ethics, provided Count Watchers as the ballots were counted both in September and November. Elinor Hart, Mary Hammond, Fran Garro, Liz Martin, Miles Steele and I watched this important and competently run procedure.
Our major Voters Guide test project, mailing guides to half the precincts in Ward 8, did not provide a definitive test of the usefulness of our Voters Guide as we had hoped. Our six test precincts had a turnout of 41.7, while the control precincts had a 43.4% turnout - approximately the same ratio as in 1998. Ward 8 has a history of low voter turnout and, perhaps, we should not have expected a Voters Guide to overcome longstanding patterns and we did not seek expert advice about voter problems and motivation. We learned we need to be smarter! Guy Coriden, Co-chair.
Editor's Note: !n light of the current discussion concerning our recent Presidential voting problems, the following article by LWVUS Lobby Corps Chair describing recent voting in Kosovo seems appropriate.
Having supervised elections in Muslim Bosnia (1997), Serb Bosnia (1998), and Kosovo (2000), I hereby advertise my expertise in characterizing the Balkan voter (BV) and draw comparisons between BV him/her with our national voter. BV turns out massively (90% or more of those registered) and makes a holiday of voting. Dressed in Sunday finest, BV walks, drives (by car or tractor), or slogs along even by ox or horse drawn cart headed for the polls. Occasionally, BV father loads his BV family in a cart pulled by the tractor. For this fiesta old man (BV) dons his oblong national cap; BV woman wraps her head in a dressy kerchief and slips into pantaloons of snazzy leopard motif. Sleeveless sweaters complete her preferred, if not mandatory, holiday attire.
BVs queue (sort of) to vote, but appearances are deceptive. Once at the top of the line a BV edges past INTERNATIONAL POLICEMAN into the building of three polling stations. Then BV dashes for his/her polling station (room) door that QUEUE CONTROLLER (QC) bars until he inspects each BV right index finger with ultraviolet light to detect any "vote early and often" inclinations. The IDENTIFICATION OFFICER matches BV face, voter registration, and ID with the BV's picture on the final voting list. In a perfect match BV receives a ballot from the BALLOT ISSUING OFFICER and is motioned toward voting booth.
At this point tradition and modernity clash. BV hails from a society that is distinctively patriarchal. When BV father brings his BV family--wife and daughters, especially--he expects the same subservience in the voting booth that he receives at home. BV father's inclination, consequently, is to herd his BV family into his own booth to guide their voting. Only presumptuous SUPERVISOR dares cajole, shush, and even gently separate BV father from his happy brood in order to approximate a democratic voting process. Separation notwithstanding, BV father persists: he may very well attempt to collect the separate BV family ballots in order to inspect before depositing them in the ballot box. Once again SUPERVISOR intervenes insisting that each BV fold his/her ballot and leave BV father out of it. BV father relents while at the same time ignoring SUPERVISOR'S presence.
If 1 have caricatured the Balkan voter, it is not with intent to ridicule. Rather I am describing the gulf that separates Western notions of free elections from those of the Balkan voter. While the people charged with making these elections work have spent inordinate time and devised a complicated system of proportional representation; the BV presumes to vote largely as he lives. Over time we shall hope for some kind of coalescing of Western voting style and principle with Balkan patriarchy. In the short run, it behooves Western election officials to take into account cultural differences and draw up elections that are at once meaningful and less complicated. These first free Balkan elections have energized the Balkan peoples; we must keep it that way. Please, no smoking in the polling station and no Albanian flags! Al Schmidt, Chair, The National Lobby Corps
DC Vote held a successful money raiser at Georgia Brown's, where Mayor Anthony Williams promised to help raise $1,000,000. On Saturday, November 4, DC Vote along with the mayor, City Council, and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton sponsored an event at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Hundreds of DC residents turned in their auto license plates for the new ones with "Taxation without Representation." Enthusiasm was so high that DC Vote was able to sell over $3,000 worth of T-shirts and key chains. Kathy Schmidt, Liaison DCVote
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