Forward to October 2001 DC Voter Back to League of Women Voters home page Back to July/August 2001 DC Voter
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: http://www.dcwatch.com/lwvdc, E-mail: LWVDC@erols.com
Fall Luncheon September 20th Features Elinor Bacon
News from the Units
Meet & Greet Socials
Ward Task Forces
International Relations Committee
Children at Risk Committee New Voice for Children
Affordable Housing Committee
LWVDC Board Meeting Highlights
DC Health Care What's New
Council for Court Excellence: Court Community Observers Project
Transportation and Planning Committee
Housing Action Alert
Fall luncheon reservation form
League of Women Voters Member Handbook and Directory 2001-2001
PRESIDENT'S CORNER: THE QUESTION IS "WHY NOT?'
Washington, D.C. is a beautiful city, even on a hot, muggy, afternoon. I was able to fully appreciate and reflect on its beauty one recent Saturday afternoon as I strolled through the Mall between the Monument and Smithsonian and intruded on the actions of the many visitors. My intrusion was to assist in the collection of signatures for the Petition to obtain Full Voting Representation for D.C. citizens. Many visitors were happy to add their names to the growing list of petitioners assisting the District residents in obtaining their full rights. The most often asked question was "Why don't you have a voting representative?" to which there are many responses. Partisanship is primary response I gave and explained we had full voting representation when Congress first began and then again ten years ago.
Many petition signers were sympathetic and indicated it was a shame. One Brit just couldn't fathom the idea of paying taxes and not having a representative. His parting words were, "Keep up the work, sis!" Though some visitors shook their head no or turned away, my spirits were lifted by the many signers who expressed interest.
D.C. Shadow Representative Ron Brown was among the crowd announcing our plight to all who would hear him. This event was uplifting knowing that our plight is known nationwide, that many of our sister Leagues are supporting our cause, and that plans are underway for a direct drive of action. We local League members have a duty to assist in collecting signatures, as there are many people in other places working for us.
Another issue you can participate in that will affect all District residents is the changes to ANC and SMD within the wards. See the article on Ward Task Forces on page 2.
I hope to see you all at the Fall Luncheon on September 20th to kick off our pro ram ear. Please come and bring friends. E. Patricia Hallman, President
Fall Luncheon September 20th Features Elinor Bacon!
We are fortunate that Elinor Bacon, Chief Executive Officer of the National Capital Revitalization Corporation (NCRC) will address us at our opening luncheon on Thursday, September 20, 2001. Nancy Tate, Executive Director of LWVUS will update us on the activities at National.
See the enclosed flyer for complete information and reservation form. The deadline to reserve your place is Monday, September 17.
The 2001-2002 Program year focuses on Action. Committees are gearing up. The year promises to be filled with activity. Plan to be at the kick off luncheon to get the inside information on all the League activities.
The DC League welcomes the new Chevy Chase/Ingleside Unit as well as its new co-chairs Joan Wilson and Jean Fleming. They will be holding their first meeting Sept. 10th at 10 am in the Lounge at the Ingleside Community on Military Road; Jean and Joan are looking for new League members from among the Ingleside residents who will add their number to the existing members of the Chevy Chase Unit. Other new faces among the Unit Chairs are June Bashkin and Barbara Kemp, Co-Chairs of the Northwest Day Unit. Many thanks to outgoing Co-Chairs Sue Whitman and Hope Marindin of Chevy Chase and Jeanette Miller and June Duke of Northwest Day, who have served their units so well for longer than they expected. As there is no Unit Meeting in September, the first meeting of the new Unit Council will be on October 8, in the LWVDC office at 12:30 pm. All Unit Co-Chairs are invited, as are other interested League members. Sheila Keeny, Unit Director (966-1692)
The "Freedom Summer" campaign coordinated by DC VOTE obtained more than 2,900 signatures on petitions requesting full voting representation +n Congress, and the petitions will be presented to Congress when hearings are held on the Norton and Lieberman bills (H.R. 1193/S-603)
DC Vote needs volunteers to help with the entry of petition data. The City Councils of Philadelphia and Chicago have passed resolutions endorsing full voting representation in Congress for us, and the Illinois state legislature and San Francisco City Council are considering similar resolutions. DC Vote has received a grant to study what the lack of full voting representation in Congress has cost the District of Columbia. Kathy Schmidt, Liaison (232-6460).
A series of "meet and greet socials" are being planned in the month of September for some areas of the city, to offer league members a chance to meet each other. Also, offer members a chance for input to express their interest and concerns about the League and try to establish new Units. For more information call the League Office at 3473020.
The appointed Ward Task Forces have been established to make adjustments in the boundaries of the ANC & SMD (single member districts), as a result of population shifts and changes. The Task Forces have been meeting during the summer to meet a deadline of September 15 due date for the draft report and a September 27 deadline for ward task force recommendations.
The meetings of the Task Forces are open to the public and offer citizens an opportunity for input into the realignment of the blocks within the SMD and the impact on neighborhoods. The requirement is that each SMD must have 2,000 people +/- 5%; thus, the reason for the shuffle. Your attendance at those meetings will be enlightening and give you some insight into the term "Local Politics."
For information on these meetings contact the task force chairs:
We have heard from Frances Edlow of our NW Day unit who moved to Montgomery County some years ago, that she has transferred her membership and has become active in the LWVMC. We miss her and hope to see her from time to time. We congratulate LWVMC.
With deep regrets we announce the death of long time member Beate Bloch. Our condolences are extended to her family.
New Member: We welcome Mrs. Kathleen Snedaker.
Contributions: Mary A. Amory, Dorothy Beltz, Sally Ann Ethelson, Elizabeth Hobby and Marilou M. Righini as well as a final bequest to the Education Fund from past President Sue Burnett Panzer's estate.Life members Editor's note: Life member status is given to members who have maintained their membership in the LWV for 50 years. If you have been a LWV member since 1951 or before and your mailing label does not indicate Life Member, please call the League office (347-3020).
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE
The IR Committee will launch a busy year with an open committee meeting in the Board Room of the LWVUS, 1730 M St., NW, on Friday, September 14, to which all League members and friends are invited. Our subject: UN efforts to restrict the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. Our speaker, Lora Lumpe, attended the July UN Conference on The Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, where she organized a protest rally against the small arms trade and the U.S. position at the conference. She is a senior associate with the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo, a consultant to Amnesty International USA and editor of Running Guns: the Global Black Market in Small Arms. Committee members should attend a brief committee meeting from noon - 12:30; our speaker will begin promptly at 12:30; the meeting will end at 2 pm. Bring a brown bag lunch.
Down the road, the Committee will be responsible. for general meetings on both trade and the UN leading up to Unit Meetings on the UN in April. There is interesting work for everyone - call Sheila Keeny (966-1692) or Anne Porowski (364-0557) for information. Sheila Keeny and Anne Porowski, Co-Chairs.
Don't Miss Our Special Speaker at the September 14 meeting!Issue: UN efforts to restrict the illicit trade in small arms 8 light weapons.
Speaker: Lora Lumpe, senior associate with the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway.
Program: Meeting 12 noon -12:30 pm, Brown Bag Lunch; Speaker, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Location: 1730 M St., NW, Suite 1000, LWVUS Board Room.
CHILDREN AT RISK COMMITTEE NEW VOICE FOR CHILDREN
Every League member fits into at least one of these roles: daughter, son, mother, father, teacher, doctor, grandparent, sibling, nurse, minister, legislator, bureaucrat, advocate, or cousin. In each of these, we affect in some minimal or profound way the lives of our own and others' children. We need to assess periodically whether we are doing what is relevant and nurturing.
To help us do this, the DC League is promoting a new committee to 1) study the city environment as it is experienced by our children; 2) prioritize needed actions to promote better outcomes; 3) propose appropriate League positions and budget testimony.
Joan Domike will co-chair this group with Joan Wilson, a new member who worked on children's issues with the Montgomery County League for the past decade. In that jurisdiction, the League played a pivotal role in persuading the county government to identify children as the number one priority, to expand funding for children's programs, and to spur collaboration between the public schools and health services for early intervention.
All DC League members are cordially invited to join the Children's Issues Committee. For the first months of the study, the agenda-wilhaR collecting facts and figures; interviewing officials, children and families; visiting sites; contacting advocacy groups, etc. The next stage will be to work with units to prioritize concerns; and then - to action.
If you feel enthusiastic about helping this new group get the facts and do something about them, please contact Joan Wilson at 202-237-6264 to indicate your interest. A kickoff meeting will be scheduled for a Saturday morning in early October. Joan Wilson (237-6264) and Joan Domike (966-3865), Co-Chairs.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMMITTEE
The next meeting will be held Sat., Sept 8 at 10 am at the home of Julia Cuniberti, 1635 19th St. NW, DC 20009
The housing legislation before the Council is being marked up and the League has a lot of work to do. The bills, which could be landmark legislation for the District, are in the committees of the Council members Harold Brazil, Chair of Economic Development Committee, and Jack Evans, Chair of Finance and Revenue Committee. They met the end of July and agreed to develop an omnibus housing bill. A working draft will be available at the end of August; however, it is not dear whether that draft will be available to the public. Brazil and Evans are NOT planning to hold another hearing. It is also our understanding that Council member Jim Graham's bill giving neighborhoods priority in the use of abandoned and dilapidated buildings WILL NOT BE INCLUDED. League members are asked to write and/or telephone their Ward Council member and At-large Council members urging support for the items listed on the enclosed yellow flyer. Liz Martin (537-3043) and Julia Cuniberti (387-0122), CoChairs.
LWVDC BOARD MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
This summary of the August 1st Board meeting is prepared for the September DC VOTER to encourage communication with the Board by League members.
President Hallman opened the meeting at 10 a.m. She distributed a memo proposing guidelines for the preparation of LWVDC testimony, and reported a meeting with Ralph Watkins of Trivium, Inc., concerning possible funding for the Voters Guide. Proposals for general fund raising were discussed: an increase in the revenue generated by private elections, as well as a possible card party, dinner party. or tours of embassies or historic places.
The draft Member Handbook was distributed (the handbook is included in this VOTER) and it was noted that transportation would be the topic for November unit meetings, using material provided by the NCA League.
Kathy Schmidt reported that the "Freedom Summer" campaign coordinated by DC VOTE obtained more than 2,900 signatures on petitions.
Cuniberti and Martin, Co-Chairs of the Affordable Housing Committee, reported that the committee is urging adoption of the Housing Production Trust Fund with a dedicated source of revenue for full funding, and committee members have visited Council staff to discuss specifics of the legislation. Martin requested permission to explore the formation of a coalition on affordable housing with the Washington Regional Network and others. The Board approved the request.
The (DC League) Health Care Committee is initiating studies for the year. The Children At Risk Committee cochaired by Joan Domike and Joan Wilson is initiating studies of children's issues.
Sheila Keeny, IR Co-Chair, said that after 18 months of study and discussion, LWVDC will hold a general meeting on trade to act on the concurrence statement being circulated by the LWVUS. The LWVUS statement has not yet been received. She also reported that Keeny, A. Porowski, and Susan Rao will attend a UN meeting of non-governmental organizations in September.
The next Board meeting will be held in the Social Room at 6101 16th St. NW, at 10 am on Sept 5.
D.C. HEALTH CARE WHAT'S NEW
The D.C. League's Health Care Committee will focus on the following issues this year.
The Next Health Care Committee Meeting is Tuesday, September 25 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at the LWVDC Office, 733 1e St. NW, Suite 432. The Mayor's Health Policy Council has highlighted the shortage of nurses both locally and nationally. [Leaguer Sue Whitman is a member of this Council, and Chair of the long-term health committee]. The new emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion will involve more nurses. Registered Nurses and other nursing personnel will be a major part of our Health Care study this year.
Your D.C. Council will soon be asked to vote on tax breaks for D.C.'s private for-profit hospital.
Greater Southeast Hospital now primarily responsible for city health care, requested a 20 million dollar property-tax abatement. They afro wish to be relieved of paying D.C. sales taxes. Perhaps the members of the Council will remember as they vote that they are still denied access to the taxpayer funded Price Waterhouse audit of Greater S.E. Hospital.
Our city has a major new health care executive, Mrs. Karen Dale, at Chartered Health Plan. As chief operating officer, Ms. Dale will oversee the D.C. Health Care Alliance.
Sen. Paul Wellstone, in a stirring speech at the recent Urban League Convention (D.C. Convention Center, July 31) stressed the "under-funding crisis" for all human services programs. It should be noted that available funds in the tax relief return bill, are often the same for childcare, health, and education programs.
In the spring, the Health Care Committee hopes to be sufficiently knowledgeable to report to League Units on the structure of the D.C. Healthcare system, concentrating on the nursing professional and technician.
Please join us for a stimulating, challenging year. All are welcome! If you have questions or comments, call me, or call the League Office. Natalie Howard, Chair (882-8762)
COUNCIL FOR COURT EXCELLENCE: COURT COMMUNITY OBSERVERS PROJECT
Editor's Note: The Council for Court Excellence is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic organization that has been working since 1982 to improve the administration of justice in the courts and related agencies in the Washington metropolitan area, and to increase public understanding of our justice system. Among its other achievements, the Council was the moving force behind adoption of the one day/one-trial jury service. The Community Observers Project described below was designed on the basis of experience, by members of the New York Fund for Modern Courts that has been doing court observation throughout the New York state system for some 20 years.
The D.C. Council for Court Excellence launched Court Community Observers Project this past spring. For three months, community volunteers visited courtrooms in the D.C. Superior Court, Civil Division as well -as Small Claims Court, the Clerk's Office for both the Civil Division and Small Claims Court, and other facilities in the Superior Court building. LWVDC participants were June Bashkin, Nathalie Black, Guy Coriden, Virginia Gorman, Audrey Hatry, Barbara Kemp, Kathleen Shea, and Constance Tate.
The purpose of the project was to evaluate the Superior Court, Civil Division from a lay citizen's perspective. Participants spent half days at the Court where they observed trials and hearings, checked out the Jurors' Lounge and the cafeteria, noted the conditions of restrooms, adjudged the accessibility for handicapped persons, and generally scrutinized those portions of the Superior Court that are open to the public. After each weekly 3-4 hour visit, the participants filled out and sent in a questionnaire. Additional comments were encouraged.
Participants were to see how "user-friendly" Superior Court is. Physical facilities were under careful scrutiny. Courtroom operation was evaluated in terms of function and public access - for example, were the proceedings audible to the public. The substance of the legal proceedings was not under consideration, but the general demeanor of the judges and court personnel were remarked upon. Thus, while the observers made no comment as to a judge's ruling, his/her manner toward the parties, the witnesses, and the attorneys were considered and rated.
The general consensus of the participants was that this was a valuable educational opportunity. While quite a few had served as jurors in the past, observing a number of judges in the Civil Division over the course of several weeks provided a much broader picture of the work of the Court and the range of cases considered by it - from a high profile sexual harassment case, to mundane contract squabbles, to complex business litigation, to strongly disputed personal injury claims. All told, it was a fascinating experience.As the DC Voter goes to press, the D.C. Council for Court Excellence's draft report on the project should be nearing completion, incorporating the comments of the participants and including a number of recommendations. As might be expected, the physical facilities drew some criticism, as did some procedural aspects; but, the overall impression of the judges and the operation of the Court was highly favorable. For more information contact: Council for Court Excellence, 1717 K Street, NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20036 (phone 202-785-5915). Nathalie Blacks
TRANSPORTATION & PLANNING COMMITTEE
The Transportation & Planning Committee will hold its initial meeting in September. Those interested in being a part of this committee please call the League office (347-3020) and let us know what day and time you prefer to meet. We will try to accommodate all those interested in this issue. Luther Marsh (554-1734) & Sheila Willet (588-1734), Co-Chairs.
This issue of DC VOTER abounds in opportunities:
CALENDAR: SEPTEMBER 2001
The housing legislation before the Council is being marked up and the League has a lot of work to do. The bills, which could be landmark legislation for the District, are in the Committees of Council members Harold Brazil, Chair. of Economic Development Committee, and Jack Evans, Chair of Finance and Revenue Committee. They met the end of July and agreed to develop an omnibus housing bill. A working draft will be available at the end of August; however, it is not clear whether that draft will be available to the public. Brazil and Evans are NOT planning to hold another hearing. It is also our understanding that Council member Jim Graham's bill giving neighborhood's priority in the use of abandoned and dilapidated buildings WILL NOT BE INCLUDED.It is critically important for citizens' to participate in the negotiations of the omnibus housing bill in a timely way.
ACTION NEEDED NOW!
Key Council staff members are: Barry Kriesworth (Brazil) 724-8792; Jeff Coudriet (Evens) 724-8058. To date, Fenty and Graham have been the most supportive. League members please note: Council member Kathy Patterson has declined to meet with us and does not seem interested in this issue. Letters and phone calls to her are very important since she is a member of the Finance and Revenue Committee.
The mailing address for all Council Members is 441 Fourth St., NW, Washington, DC 20001. Call the DC League office for email addresses. Names and telephone numbers for D.C. Council Members are:
Linda W. Cropp (D), Chairman, At-Large, 724-8032
CHECKLIST FOR COUNCIL MEMBERS: DC HOUSING LEGISLATION
#14-167, the Mayor's bill;
We are providing an easy checklist for Council Members and their constituents when considering the complex housing legislation now being reworked in committees. Provisions are listed in order of their ability to meet our goals: (1) to produce housing, especially rental, for low- and moderate-income families, that is, only for households earning less than the DC median income for a family of four, or $46,800; (2) to save as much as possible of the existing supply of lowincome housing; (3) to increase the proportion of benefits going to the most stressed among us; (4) to build stable, diverse communities by helping people stay in their neighborhoods; and (5) to do it all without breaking the budget!
These bills are very important first steps in addressing the city's crisis in affordable housing and deserve the Council's close attention. We want to remind the Mayor and Council, however, that these measures are only the beginning of what must become a sustained effort over the coming years. Note: All of the bills express income levels in terms of "% of AMI." In our discussion below, we have translated that into the equivalent of real DC median income levels for a family of four.Top Priority - The Housing Production Trust Fund Mayor's Bill 14-167, Title V. This single most important provision before the Council and deserves the full support of every Council Member, especially for full funding through a dedicated source of revenue. To achieve wide support for the fund, the legislation should also specify:
We all need to emphasize the importance of the Trust Fund and insist on its full funding. We cannot have diversity in DC unless we invest in it!
I. Affordable and Diverse Housing - Councilmember Graham's Bill, #14-263.
This also is a very important piece of legislation because it introduces the concept of "inclusionary zoning," requiring developers of projects having more than 20 units to offer 10% of the units to low- and moderate-income households. Graham's definitions of "low" and "moderate" are realistic (below $24,840 and $49,680, respectively). Application is severely limited, however, to only those projects receiving some kind of public subsidy. This restriction needs to be changed, but the principle is worth enacting even in this limited form.
II. Also deserving of strong Council support:
III. There are many good provisions in these bills that nevertheless need income restrictions on eligibility lest they encourage displacement through gentrification and/or add up to too high a price:
IV. Three provisions of the proposed legislation should not be included at this time:
Note: This checklist is a collaborative effort of the Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities, the DC League of Women Voters, and WISH. Questions should be addressed to Janet Brown 332-0789, Liz Martin 537-3043, and Linda Leaks 332-8800, respectively.
Send mail with questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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