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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 77, No. 1, January 2001

Making Our Voices Heard — Making Our Votes Count

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

President’s Corner
Local Planning
DC Representation in Congress
Voter Services
Eleanor Holmes Norton’s Vision for the 107th Congress & Democracy for DC
National Student Mock Elections
News from the Units
International Relations Committee
Members News
Representing the League to New Citizens
Update on Health Care Issues
Globaphobia Flyer
Brown Bag Luncheon Reservation Form


A New Year and time for resolutions. Mine is to move the DC League into a more active role in local government. Elinor Hart testified on election reform before Councilmember Patterson's Government Operations Committee (see Guy Coridon's article). Call the office for a copy of the testimony. It was a great end to Year 2000.

We start Year 2001 with our Globaphobia Seminar January 10 at Sumner School on "Global Food Fights" with Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Council (see flyer). Much of the backlash against Globalization is driven by fear of advanced agricultural biotechnology. including genetically altered seeds, and frustration over continuing agricultural trade barriers and subsidies which work to the disadvantage of poor countries. It's an exciting opportunity to hear from and ask questions of a world authority in this area.

And on January 17 we hold our Local Program Planning meeting again at Sumner School (see flyer and article). Come with your ideas and suggestions and a new resolve to ACT.

See you then. And best wishes in this New Year. — Elizabeth M. Martin, President

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In your December DC Voter you were asked "What do you want the League to work on locally April 2001-March 2003?

At the Wednesday January 17, 2001 Local Planning Meeting you will hear ideas on several issues — housing, water (NCA), voting (locally), self representation. Do you have any other issues? [Brown bag luncheon reservation form]

Your Board has recommended, "The President appoint a committee to review current positions in Where We Stand and present the findings to the Board. It is also recommending emphasis for the League year to be the implementation of action on current positions." Forms of action could be testimony, public statements, letter writing, lobbying, monitoring issues, go-see tours, etc.

Let's hear from you as we create an action packed program. You can review our current positions by contacting either me, the League office, Board members, Unit Chairs, or current committee members. — Anna Marsh, Local Planning Chair.

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"Driving Toward Democracy Day," the introduction of the "Taxation with Representation" license plates, drew 800 citizens. DC Vote helped organize and publicize the event. Now it is selling merchandise to continue the effort. Under its auspices some high school students have designed a T-shirt with teenage appeal. As well as being sold at 1500 U Street, DC Vote headquarters, T-shirts can be purchased at Fleet Feet on Columbia Rd., NW. If you know of other merchants willing to sell "Taxation without Representation" materials, please, call 462-6000.

DC Vote has sent letters of welcome and an explanation of our lack of voting rights to all members of the incoming 107th Congress. On January 3 at 1 PM it is organizing a "welcome" for the 107th Congress on the Senate side on the east front of the Capitol. Call Kathy Schmidt 232-6460 if you can participate. Anyone interested in the hour-long dialog between WASHINGTON POST and DC Vote executive director Amy Slemmer can find it on

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton may ask that residents file their federal income tares this year "under protest" because of our lack of voting representation in Congress. She will initiate legislation for full voting representation and for a federal reimbursement to the District equal to 2% of the income earned by nonresidents-who work in the city. — Kathy Schmidt, DC Vote Liaison)

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On December 11, 2000, Councilmember Patterson held oversight hearings on election practices and procedures. A number of local organizations including LWVDC's Elinor Hart gave cogent testimony.

The highlight of the hearing was a distinguished panel of national experts on elections. This included Gary McIntosh, President, National Association of State Election Directors; Penelope Bonsai], Director, Federal Election Commission's Office of Election Administration; and Eric Olson, Center for Voting and Democracy. They concluded that elections will change more in the next 20 years than they have in the last 200. This is driven by technology, civil rights, civil liberties and reduced resistance to change. The changes will be expensive requiring machines, more sophisticated staff and the need for greater security.

Many advances are available but standards and training are needed. Mail voting, permanent absentee voting, a variety of voting machines and even the internet are being used or considered. All of the new means require extensive planning. strict standards, adequate security measures and staff which can deal with confused voters at polling places. The recount problems «e are so familiar with now must be built into the system. stem. Even en now, 14 states have a required recount if the margin is less than ½ of 1%.

Discouragingly, the experts believe that the Florida fiasco will have a deleterious effect on voting nationwide for a number of years. DC is generally in the forefront of developments such as mail-in voting and motor-voter. We will also have precinct based optical scanners for 2002. — Guy Coriden, Co-chair

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At her November 28th city-wide Town Meeting, Mrs. Norton outlined proposals to expand democracy for the District. The meeting was jammed, with overflow in the halls. D.C. Leaguers (as constituents) received Mrs. Norton's fall newsletter covering her plans. We recap elements here to remind you of the campaign she is launching for obtaining greater independence and the same freedom from federal interference as other taxpaying jurisdictions in our federal system.

There are four elements in Mrs. Norton's campaign:

  • Delegate Vote: regaining the vote in the House when it is constituted as the Committee of the Whole.
  • Budget Autonomy: eliminating Congressional approval of expenditure of D.C.'s own monies.
  • Legislative Autonomy: eliminating Congressional approval of local laws.
  • Non-resident Tax Credit: A portion of federal taxes paid by commuters would be redirected to D.C.; the commuters would receive a tax credit.

This is a great way to embark on the Year 2001! — Barbara Yeomans, 3rd Vice President)

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The results of the DC Public School/DC League of Women Voters. Mock Election 2000 and the "Making Our Votes Count" Campaign were reported by the participating schools on November 20 at Logan Professional Development Center. It was clear that the League's efforts in promoting interest and enthusiasm for voting and national issues was a huge success.

Teachers told about the many exciting activities they planned leading up to the mock election and about the media coverage of each event. They also reported on the involvement of the students and parents in the voting process.

Our workbooks, "Making Our Votes Count" and the video, "It's Time". were especially helpful in preparing their lessons.

Despite problems that arose with E-Mail the day of the mock election, more than 80 schools reported results with over 24,000 students voting — up from 7,000 four years ago!

Michon Peck, Acting Director of Student Affairs, said the DC Public Schools could not have conducted such a successful event without the involvement of the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia. —Elaine Melmed, 2nd Vice President

Sheila Willet with students

Sheila Willet, DC League DNet manager, with DC public school student council leaders as voting returns were entered from public schools across the city. We hope you all read Sheila's article in the NATIONAL VOTER about our DNet experience.

Student decorating election room
Grade school student decorating the "election: room."

lwv0101c.jpg (8066 bytes)
A student collecting voting results from a school.

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After a busy fall, the Units will take a vacation in January. Members are encouraged to attend the General Meeting on Local Program Planning on January 17 instead. Take advantage of this opportunity to get to know members of other Units and their concerns. Regular Unit Meetings will resume in February when we open our update of the League's position on Trade. — Sheila Keeney, Unit Director)

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Two meetings remain in the Globaphopia Seminar Series: On Wednesday, January 10 Dr. Per Pinstrup-Andersen will speak (see flyer). The last seminar will be held Wednesday, February 14 at 1730 M Street, NW on "Dislocation and Inequality."

As follow-up to these series of seminars, the IR Committee will meet at the home of Sheila Keeny, 3600 Albemarle St., NW, on Friday, January 12 at -LOAM to prepare for Unit Meetings on Trade in February. All members are urged to attend both the seminar and the Committee meeting -- there is work for everyone.

The Committee also hopes to sponsor again this year a series of discussions based on Great Decisions. a publication of the Foreign Policy Association. We expect to hold two meetings a month beginning in March and ending in June. The meetings are open to all. If interested in joining our group, call Sheila Keeny at 966-1692 for further information and to order the Great Decisions 2001 briefing book ($10). — Sheila Keeny and Susan Rao, Co-chairs

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We welcome the following new members who have joined through the national organization and invite you to become involved with your local DC League: Jay L. Bisgyer, Walter M. Clelland, Rita Diggs, Christine Estereicher, Leanna B. Fenske, Linda L. Houghton, Sandra Leibowitz, Lorett Schaffer, Elizabeth L. Scott, Katharine Sommers.

We gratefully thank members who made additional contributions to the League: Annye C. Blackmon, Alberta M. Byrd, Marian S. Cowan, Sheila Keeny, Ellen Overton, Caroline Shugars, Anne Meredith Smoke, Linda E. Softli, Alice F. Stewart, Diane A. Wilbur, Sheila A. Willet.

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What a great way to be introduced to the League of Women Voters - to represent the group at a swearing-in of new citizens. As a new League member I had volunteered to help with elections or voter registration, so agreed when asked to distribute registration forms to new citizens after the naturalization ceremony at the U.S. District Court for D.C. on November 14.

It was an impressive ceremony, with the Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan presiding and the President of Howard University as speaker. We even had the U.S. Park Police Honor Guard presenting colors to add to the solemnity of the occasion.

But the stars of the ceremony were none of these. They were the 93 candidates for citizenship. from 39 different countries such as Ethiopia, Dominican Republic, Morocco, France, England, and Yugoslavia. Some were nervous, and spoke little English; others looked self-assured and spoke excellent English. Some were young, some old, some wealth,. others poor, but all seemed to glow with pride when they stood and took their oath of allegiance. Each individual name was called and the candidate came forward to pick up her or his certificate of citizenship.

The judge seemed genuinely sincere when he welcomed them to the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and reminded us all that the success of our country can be attributed to the strength and diversity of her immigrants.

After the ceremony, several of us from the League passed out the registration forms and received them after the new citizens filled them in, on their way to the reception sponsored by the Jewish Women International. And I had a chance to chat with a Cuban, an Ethiopian and a Moroccan. For a recent retiree from the Foreign Service, this was a treat, and for one who never ceases to get chills when she sings the Star Spangled Banner, this was a good introduction to what the League of Women Voters is all about. — Judith Armayor Smith

Editor's Note: If you would like to participate once a month in registering new citizens to vote contact Guy Coriden (232-6759) or Elinor Hart (387-2966)

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Let Your Voice Be Heard In the League!

Plan to attend the Program Planning Meeting on Wed. January 17th. 11:30 am - 2:00 p.m. Remember, to have a prepared brown bag lunch to place your order by Jan 12th. See flyer for details.

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Community involvement in health policy remains lively. Here's an overview.


U.S. Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta has launched "Generations on Line" which will teach seniors who have never used computers how to use the Internet. It will be available in libraries, senior centers and elder housing sites. One advantage will be the immense amount of information available on Internet on health issues. For more information call Toby Dichter (215) 922-3244.


934,000 seniors will be dropped by Medicare HMOs on January 1, 2001. The impact on these people will be serious problems accessing health care, higher out of pocket costs, and fear, anxiety and confusion. These are the findings of George Washington University Center for Health Services Research and Policy. Information on how those dropped can deal with the situation is available through AARP or the Greater Washington Medicare Consumer Coalition, initiated by the United Seniors Health Cooperative (202-479-6973).

The word is out now, however, that seniors dropped from one HMO should not rejoin another but should return to Medicare. In the District there is no alternative. Only one Medicare HMO remains and that, Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Senior Advantage, is unwilling to take new members at this time. Kaiser, incidentally, has raised its membership fees in the last three years from zero to $19 a month to $69 a month.


Prolonged and insistent public pressure over a five-year period finally resulted in the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. This Act is responsible for a wide range of services for elders. One such subject, caregiving, will be given significant support. The District's Office on Aging will now have backing to proceed with its half-million dollar program to provide support to caregivers. The money comes from the District government.


OWL, a 5010 national organization concerned with midlife and older women's problems, has produced a one page "Family Information Alert Sheet" with information on the availability and cost of long term care help. Call OWL, 202783-6686 for a free copy.


The Long Term Care Committee of the Mayor's Health Policy Council continues its year-long advocacy for simplifying nursing home regulations in the District by retaining the Federal regulations with amendments. DC Department of Health's s efforts to produce 60 pages of District regulations to accompany 50 pages of federal regulations the Committee believes will be confusing to the nursing home industry, families and patients and will lead also to legal battles. The decision is still pending.


The Long Term Care Coalition is deeply involved with the District Department of Health in developing a waiver for home and community based care for the younger disabled, and in lowering the cost of assisted living facilities. Vera Mayer 202-363-6347 is the leader of this community effort. Sue Whitman, 202-966-8754 is chair of the DC's Long Term Care Committee and co-chair of the Chevy Chase Unit. — Sue Whitman, Health Issues Liaison

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Blue Ribbon award to Kathy Schmidt
"Blue Ribbon" Award to Kathy Schmidt on December 8, Community Awards Luncheon on YEAR 2000 Human Rights Day, sponsored by the United Nations Association/National Capital Area

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Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
1 Happy New Year! 2 3 10 a.m., LWVDC Board Mtg., 1730 M St., NW, 10th Flr.
1 p.m., Welcome members of the 107th Congress. Call DC Vote 462-6000 for details.
4 5
8 9 February DC Voter Deadline 10 10 a.m., Education Committee, 733 15th Street, NW, #432
12 noon, Globaphobia
11 12 10 a.m., IR Committee at Sheila Kenny's, 3600 Albemarle St., NW
Deadline to order brown bag lunch for Jan. 17 mtg.
15 16 17 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., General Membership Mtg., Program Planning for Years 2001-2003; Sumner School 18 19 February DC Voter mailed
22 23 24 25 26
29 30 31    

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Seminar on Global Trade Issues

Wednesday, January 10, 2001
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 have 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 fifth meeting in the series. Attend one or all of the series as you so choose.


Director General of the International Food Policy Research Council

Much of the backlash against Globalization is driven by fear of advanced agricultural biotechnology, including genetically altered seeds, and frustration over continuing agricultural trade barriers and subsidies, which work to the disadvantage of poor countries.

Dr. Pinstrup-Anderson will speak from noon to 1 PM, followed by a thirty minute question and answer session.

Janet Burmester, discussion leader, is former Adjunct Lecturer of 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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