Forward to June 2002 DC Voter Back to League of Women Voters home page Back to April 2002 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@aol.com
Plan to Attend These Three Events
News from the Units
About Rhodes Tavern-DC Heritage Society Enclosure
Healthcare Committee Plans General Meeting May 15
International Relations Committee
Congressional Representation: UDC Panel on Voting Rights
CareFirst Watch Coalition Forum
League Members & Friends Visit Anacostia
Communities Around Metro Stops
Highlights of April 3, Board Meeting
NCA Annual Convention
Great Decisions Discussions
Brown Bag Dialogue
League Gives Testimony
Calendar May 2002
Rhodes Tavern-DC Heritage Society letter
Insert: Assuring Quality Healthcare While Containing Costs
The annual new members social was held recently at the home of Jeanette Miller. The new members were welcomed into the League, partook of a delicious luncheon, discussed the current league activities and socialized. The beautiful home lent itself to a very pleasant afternoon. The new members who joined us at the social were Denise R. Barnes, Dawn Cooper, Joe Grano, Tricia Kinch, Abigail Nichols, Marti Rabinowitch, Marie C. Richardson, and Chinyere Uzoukwu. We encourage them to become involved with League activities.
A public forum on the developing communities around metro stops was held by WRN at the Brookings institution recently. See the related article below.As our new program year gets underway following the Annual Meeting on April 25th, opportunities will abound to participate in the work of the League.
The Annual Meeting will culminate in the start of a new calendar year: The new Board will continue to focus on the second year local program issues; i.e., affordable housing, education, health care, children at risk, and congressional representation, as well as voter service which is an ongoing item that we continuously provide. Other issues that are surfacing daily are D.C. Council oversight, transportation, budget, support for the elderly, and voter education, but lack of people power limits the League's ability to, study, act and have an impact on these very important issues. E. Patricia Hallman, President
H.R. 4005 was introduced in the House of Representatives on March 19, 2002 to provide for a circulating quarter dollar coin program to commemorate the District of Columbia and other territories. Citizens are encouraged to write to the Hon. Peter T. King, Chair Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy, 8304, Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515050 to support this bill. Nelson F. Rimensnyder
PLAN TO ATTEND THESE THREE EVENTS
No Unit meetings are planned for May. Instead, League members are encouraged to attend the General Meeting on Health Care in DC on May 15, in the Wilson Building. The next Unit meetings will be held in June when, traditionally, the Units have planned their own end-of-year programs, and identified next year's Unit leadership. Sheila Keeny, Unit Director (966-1692)
We are saddened to report the death of Geneva F. Perry, a League member who was active in the LeDroit Park Civic Association and in the neighborhood's historic preservation committee, and she was a community adviser on the Howard Theatre Project. In recent years, she published a community newsletter called the LeDroit Park Sentinel. In 2001, she received an NAACP award for outstanding community service. Friends of Geneva met on April 19 at Sumner School to remember and celebrate her life.
We are also saddened to report the death of Constance "Zoe" MacMillian who was active for many years in the League's International Relations Committee.
Contributions: The League appreciates the generous contributions from its members: Janet Burmester, Evan Fotos, Constance P. Tate.
About Rhodes Tavern - D.C. Heritage Society Enclosure
For your information, we have enclosed a copy of a letter signed by Joseph N. Grano (DC League member) sent to the U.S. Senators concerning congressional voting rights.
HEALTHCARE COMMITTEE PLANS: GENERAL MEETING MAY 15
10:00 am -12:30 pm, Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
League members and guests are invited to come and learn about "Healthcare in the District of Columbia." Problems of access to healthcare in the District of Columbia; health coverage for the uninsured, managed care and patients' rights; and long term care are among the concerns which are expected to arise in this meeting.
As we go to press, the April Unit meetings on the proposed United Nations Concurrence are still ahead. Look for a report on our members' reaction to the proposed revised UN position in the June DC Voter. Sheila Keeny (966-1692) Co-Chair
CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATION: UDC Panel on Voting RightsOn April 6, DC VOTE participated in a panel discussion at the University of the District of Columbia on possible solutions to the lack of full voting rights for DC citizens. After a historical summary of our plight, the Statehood/Green Party and the Stand Up! For Democracy in DC coalition spoke in favor of statehood. The Committee for the Capital City spoke for reunion with Maryland. A representative from DC Appleseed and DC Vote spoke for full voting rights in Congress. On its website, the Statehood/Green Party has a petition asking for UN support for DC citizens who are denied voting rights for their legislature, as is guaranteed in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Kathy Schmidt, DC VOTE Liaison (237-5550)
The CareFirst Watch Coalition (LWVDC is a member of its steering committee) held a public forum April 8, 2002, at the Martin Luther King Library on CareFirst's request to convert from its not-for-profit status to a for-profit status. The presenting panel consisted of the Honorable Linda Cropp, Chair, DC Council; the Honorable Lawrence H. Mirel, DC Insurance Commissioner; Eric Holder, former Deputy Attorney General, partner in Covington & Burling and a Pro Bono Counsel to the Coalition; Dr. Carl Schramm, health economist and author of the Abell Report, which analyzed the probable impact of the conversion on the DC public; and Dr. Judy Feder, Director of the Georgetown Institute for Health Care Research and Policy, which may be commissioned to analyze the probable impact of the conversion on the DC public. After the panel presentations, comments and questions were taken from the audience of more than 100 attendees. CareFirst was specifically invited to comment. David Wolfe, Executive Vice President, did so on behalf of CareFirst.
Mr. Mirel, who is legally charged with the decision-making authority for DC in this case, discussed process at length, but then left the forum because he felt that since this was not a DC Government public forum, he should not be exposed to comments on the merits of the issue. He issued a Preliminary Order on April 5, 2002, in which he declared that the conversion Application is deficient for various reasons, and directed CareFirst to submit "a draft Amended and Restated Application" on or before July 16, 2002. The Commissioner will hold two public forums in DC, tentatively scheduled for May 22 and May 28, "to inform the public about the transactions that are proposed, and to hear public comment." If needed, additional public hearings will be scheduled.
Mr. Mirel also issued a Proposed Case Management Order designed to govern the proceedings regarding the review of the final application. Comments on the proposed Case Management Order must be filed by May 15, 2002. Mr. Mirel intends to issue a final Case Management Order on July 2, 2002. Formal hearings will be held in the fall, and he expects to render a decision on the conversion request by the end of this calendar year. He asserted that he wants the process to be open, fair, and available to all. He pointed out that three jurisdictions are involved . . . Delaware, Maryland, and DC . . . and that the charter operative in DC is a federal charter and thus Congress is also involved.
Moderator Walter Smith, :who as Executive Director of DC Appleseed leads the Coalition, observed that the forum had run out of time (the library was closing). He said this was clearly only the first of a series of public forums on this issue. Walter is scheduled to speak at our annual meeting on April 25. Naomi Glass (686-0124) 2nd Vice President
LEAGUE MEMBERS & FRIENDS VISIT ANACOSTIAOn April 4, a group of Leaguers and friends set out to see Anacostia, with emphasis on new housing developments for low income families, along with a sampler of Anacostia's tourist attractions. The bus was provided by the Department of Parks and Recreation. The volunteer guides were executives from Safe Haven, a transitional housing facility for single adults with "triple diagnosis" (mental illness, substance abuse, and HIV). Our guides reported after the journey that they enjoyed their encounter with the group and their interest in city problems. Marsha Richerson, Executive Director of Safe Haven, later wrote the "foray gave . . . a sense of direction I sometimes miss during the insanity of the struggle." The trip, designed as a fundraiser for LWVDC by the Chevy Chase-Ingleside Unit, resulted in $550 for the League.
The group viewed a number of new constructions, built with both public and private funding, in the area between the 11th street entry to Martin Luther King Parkway and the St. Elizabeth's property. A small proportion of these will be designated for low-income families, but many units will sell at high prices because of their excellent location, with view of the city across the Anacostia River.
In the course of the tour, there was a chance to see: the new exterior of the Anacostia Museum, which houses the Smithsonian collection on African-American history and culture; the biggest chair in the world; the magnificent location of Our Lady of Perpetual Help church; the extensive grounds and historic trust buildings of the St. Elizabeth's compound; and finally the Frederick Douglass home. The visit to the latter site included a brief film of Douglass' life, then a steep walk up Cedar Hill to the house itself for a quick viewing of the first level rooms. Joan Wilson, (237-6264), Chevy Chase/Ingleside Unit Chair
A public forum on the developing communities around metro stops was held by WRN at the Brookings Institution recently. A process called Transit Oriented Development TOD also known as Pedestrian Oriented Development was presented. There are three principles of TOD: compact designs; a variety of retail, office, and housing on a human scale; and walkable neighborhoods and access for everyone.
Mrs. Alice Rivlin, who introduced Andrew Altman, Director of the Office of Planning, indicated that the forum was a continuation of the discussion of the Envisioning a Future Washington. She indicated that the city needs a residential strategy to build a tax base and provide good services.
Mr. Altman's framework plans show how target neighborhoods were picked and define denser development to accommodate one hundred thousand people and still have the advantages of a livable community. Mayor William's set up a task force of a cross section of citizens from organizations, federal and business sector and think tanks, which resulted in the presentation.
Mr. Altman indicated that TOD is defined as land use strategy to accommodate new growth to strengthen neighborhoods, to expand choices by capitalizing on bus and rail assets, to stimulate and support compact, diverse, vibrant and successful neighborhood centers, for easy walking to transit.
The purpose of TOD is to focus on the region's growth around metro stations, preserve rural and agricultural land, create vibrant neighborhoods and strengthen existing neighborhoods.
The Mayor's Community Task Force will do an assessment of the Comprehensive Plan that has not been reviewed since 1984. They will decide whether to do comprehensive planning again, change the process, or do a new revision. The review will also cover inclusionary planning for housing, and it will be completed by January 2003. E. Patricia Hallman
HIGHLIGHTS OF APRIL 3, 2002 BUDGET MEETING
LWVUS Convention: President Hallman led a discussion of plans for LWVUS Annual Convention 2002, to be held in Miami in June. Attending for LWVDC as delegates will be Pat Hallman, Naomi Glass, Joan Wilson, and Sheila Keeny. Also attending as observers will be: Kathy Schmidt and Reggie Yancey.
LWVDC Annual Meeting: Elaine Melmed asked for a list of people to assist with Annual Meeting, to be held at Gallaudet University on April 25, and Sheila Willet will prepare a list of duties. The Board approved a proposal to accept donations of costume jewelry and sell it at Annual meeting as a fundraiser. Arlene Calaby of the NCA League will attend our meeting as our guest.
Healthcare meeting (all-member: Natalie Howard reported on plans for the general meeting on Healthcare on May 15. The meeting will take place at the John Wilson Building, now our own city hall again. (See above for details).
DC Budget Hearings & Markup Sessions: Naomi Glass offered an opportunity for committees to prepare statements re the DC budget, noting that the 2003 budget totals $5.3 billion.
Voters Service: Elinor Hart proposed testimony supporting an increase in the budget for Voter Education for next year's general election. The proposed increase would allow the Board of Elections & Ethics to mail a sample ballot to all voters as a first step, and to put basic information about candidates on a website. The Board approved Hart's proposal.
Voter Mailing: Barbara Luchs reported "the April issue of the Voter was mailed first class. After discussion, the board voted, to also have the May issue mailed first class.
DC Vote: Kathy Schmidt asked for volunteers to hand out flyers at metro stops on Monday, April 15, in support of the rally protesting "Taxation Without Representation".
New Board Member Orientation: New board member orientation will be accomplished during the next regular board meeting on Wednesday, May 1 at 10:00 a.m. Frances Gemmill
Are you a people person? Do you have 4-6 hours a week to volunteer for the League? Immediate Opening for Membership Chair. This is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow League members. Minimal computer knowledge required. Will train. Call 347-3020 to apply.
Saturday, May 18, 9:30 a.m., at the Marriott at Metro Center: registration at 9:30 a.m., breakfast at 10:00. Registration deadline May 10. Send $25 fee to Patricia Sullivan, LWVNCA Vice President, 16 W. Walnut St., Alexandria, VA 22301. The program will be presented by the Alliance for Better Campaigns.
Many thanks to our League members who have volunteered to assist and conduct some of the private elections. The members are Naomi Glass, Audrey Gray, Jackie Jones, Paula McKann, Chris Matthews, Elaine Melmed, Ken Nesper, Kathy Schmidt, Sheila Willet, and Barbara Yeomans.
Congratulations to the Southwest Unit for conducting the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly's recent election. Members assisting were Leona Rumsey, Coordinator, and Lois Laster, Ruth Miller, Yvonne Marshall, Anna Marsh, and Gladys Weaver.
On May 16t", volunteers are needed for a unique experience, assisting in a Union election. Upcoming dates for counting ballots in the League office are May 24th and June 10 . If you are available for a couple of hours on those dates, please contact the League office (347-3020) or Reggie Yancey. Reggie Yancey (726-1929), Chair
By the time you receive this DC Voter, one session of the Great Decisions series for this year will remain for you to attend. The subject of this last session is "Energy and the Environment." The author of the handbook sees a crisis in the electrical infrastructure in the US, and a global squeeze on oil supplies. For this meeting, we are welcoming a nationally-known physicist, S. Fred Singer, PhD, who raises provocative questions about the existence of global warming, or the effect felt by a majority of scientists to have been caused by global (and U.S. in particular) overuse of energy sources. "Energy and the Environment" will be held at Ingleside, 3050 Military Road NW, on May 3 at 10:00 am. Hope Marindin (966-6367)
Mary Levy, Director of Public Education - Reform Project for the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights will be the guest speaker at the Monday, May 20 Brown Bag Dialogue. Her topic will be the "Crisis in DC Public Schools Budget: A Status of FY 2003 DCPS Budget."
When: Monday, May 20, 2002
Anna Marsh (554-7719), Brown Bag Dialogue Coordinator
On Friday, April 19th League member Joan Wilson gave testimony at a Public Hearing before the Committee on Education, Libraries and Recreation, chaired by Councilmember Kevin P. Chavous. The hearing was on the FY 2003 Budget Request for the District of Columbia Public Schools, Public Charter Schools, the Board of Education, and the Public Charter School Board.
"My name is Joan Wilson and I am here to speak for the Education and Children-at-Risk Committees of the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia.
In the course this year of studying the plight of homeless families, our committees noted two facts which we would like to bring to your attention - one obvious, the other less so. First; as you know, homeless children suffer in many ways the negative impact of being without a home - studies show they experience poorer nutrition, self esteem, impaired psychological and physical development. But not enough attention is paid to the losses resulting from disrupted school attendance as children are moved from home to emergency shelter to transitional housing and hopefully some day, months or may be yeas later, to a new home. The most stabilizing solution to this deep disruption is for children to attend their customary school as long as possible. Transportation thus becomes critical.
You are familiar, no doubt, with the funding provided by the federal government in accordance with the McKinney Act of the Education of Homeless Children which provides some funds for enrolled jurisdictions, used primarily in most states to cover transportation costs. The DC school system is currently not enrolled in the program having claimed several years ago (1998) that compliance imposed too heavy a burden. Our findings indicate the DC schools are in compliance in fact and would urge the Council to promote reenrollment in the McKinney program to take advantage of the funds which DC would be entitled to receive. The federal government has indicated there is no difficulty in reenrollment - in fact, it is encouraged.
With McKinney funds to support transportation, the DC schools transitional education office would have the use of the dollars it now spends for bus tokens for these children for more tutoring in shelters and transitional housing sites. This is a win-win situation.
Since homeless children are the most disadvantaged of all our young, it seems self-evident that we should take advantage of every possible resource to help them. Thank you."
Joseph N. Grano, President
In the centerfold of the attached The Common Denominator newspaper, you will find the text of a petition asking for voting rights in Congress for District residents. Along with the text are the names of approximately 400 of the nearly 1,000 residents who have signed it, including all of the top elected officials of the District starting with our Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. The petitioners represent the wide diversity of our population. All wards of the District are included. You will find the names of laborers, clerks, postal workers, educators, physicians, accountants, ministers, and lawyers, as well as a former U.S. Senator, a former Vice-Chair of the Federal Reserve, a former ambassador, two former cabinet Secretaries, and three current university presidents, among others.
All these petitioners agree that when it comes to representation in Congress, District residents should be treated equally with the citizens of the 50 States.
Representation and self-government for the District have been ongoing issues for more than 200 years. In 1801, citizens first petitioned for representation and self-government. One urged Congress "...to propose to the several state legislatures an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, so as to admit the citizens within the district to be represented in Congress ...." Congress responded to the requests for self-government. On May 3, 1802, President Thomas Jefferson signed a bill giving the City of Washington an appointed mayor and an elected council. On June 7, 1802, an election was held, and finally on June 14, 1802, that council had the first of many meetings on the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol. These three important bicentennial dates are noted in the We The People congressional calendar.
Unfortunately, Congress in 1802 did not respond to the calls for representation. Many District residents believe that in this year, which marks the bicentennial of the birth of democracy in the District, it is most appropriate to renew the request for representation. Citizens will file the new petition on June 14, the 200'h anniversary of the first meeting of the City of Washington Council (June 14 is also Flag Day).
Please take appropriate action this year that will make it clear that District residents are not an exception to the Revolutionary War maxim that there should be "no taxation without representation" for American citizens. As you know, in 1961, the Congress ands the States amended the Constitution to allow the District to vote for President and Vice-President even though it is not a state. We believe in the basic fairness of the American people and are confident that they wish to end this 200-year-old inequity in our beloved Constitution. However, Congress must initiate the process.We look forward to your consideration of this issue.
Background for General Meeting on Healthcare
ASSURING QUALITY HEALTHCARE WHILE CONTAINING COSTSHow can this diverse city plan for quality healthcare for all its citizens, and at the same time acknowledge the ever-spiraling costs of medicines and services? The recent revision of the healthcare organization for D.C. into the Health Care Alliance, with one major hospital, three participating hospitals, and an array of clinics across the city forms the basis of our healthcare system for those who fall outside the criteria for the regular requirements for health insurance.
With the institution of the new healthcare setup came promises of more efficient movement of Medicaid dollars, cessation of Emergency Room use for regular doctor office visits, and clinics that would concentrate on preventive healthcare instead of, as was often the case, too little, too late healthcare. The goal was to ameliorate the District's poor health statistics that were at the bottom of most categories of health diseases and afflictions.
Access to healthcare services is influenced by a wide range of factors - both financial and non-financial. I financial factors include availability of health insurance, the type and scope of coverage, and ability to r, ford out-of-pocket costs. Non-financial factors are many and varied, including factors such as c childcare, transportation, and facilities for the handicapped and senior populations. Quality of care is f further affected by the availability of professional and technical workers in the field.
The Greater D.C. Healthcare Alliance is a public-private partnership that exists to improve access to Healthcare for District residents who lack health insurance. Led by Greater Southeast Community Hospital, the alliance partners are Chartered Health Plan, Unity Healthcare, Inc., Children's National Medical Center, and the George Washington University Hospital. The D.C. Health Department represents the public partner in this new approach to strengthening the city's healthcare safety net. The role of Chartered in the Alliance is to provide administrative services, including eligibility, verification, and enrollment; member services, including prevention education and outreach, utilization management, quality management, provider relations, and data collection and reporting.
Enrollment in the Alliance involves three steps: Step 1 -- a visit to D.C. General, Greater Southeast Hospital, or one of six clinic sites across the city.
Step 2 - requirements to be met by enrollee are D.C. residence, income at or below the Federal Poverty Level, and no health insurance. A member receiving specialty care must meet the above requirements and also have a referral from the primary care provider.
Step 3 - verification of eligibility. To participate in the Alliance program, a prospective member must provide proof of residence in the District of Columbia, and show that his/her family size and income is at or below the income levels. Service representatives are available to answer questions and help resolve problems quickly.UPDATE -- AS OF April 4, 2002, the Alliance had:
Long-term Care Issues
The Older Americans Act established an important program, the National Family Caregiver Support Program. Money has been allocated to put into place systems of support for family caregivers. A major component of that support would be respite for the caregiver. Respite provides informal caregivers, usually a relative, a break from daily responsibilities. This could include a home-care provider, an adult daycare center, or a weekend in a nursing home or an assisted living center.References: Guide to Retirement Living, Summer 2001, pages 151-157
The Washington Post, April 11, 2002, pg. B2
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