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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 78, No. 6, June 2002

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
Membership Needs You
Per-Member Payment
Education Committee
News from the Units
More Unit News
Member News
Congressional Representation
Highlights of May 1 Board Meeting
Opportunity Knocks
Funding the League
Leave a Legacy for the League
Insurance Commissioners Announces Public Forum
International Relations Great Decisions Discussions
Calendar: End of Program Year 2001/2002
Insert: Healthcare in the District of Columbia


The LWVUS Convention will be held in Miami, FL. June 15 -18, 2002. A hot topic at the convention will be the proposal to increase the per-member payment (PMP). The PMP is a portion of the membership dues collected by the local Leagues and sent to LWVUS to support the National League. Many questions about the PMP have surfaced. For more information, see related article in next column. Our LWVDC delegates are Naomi Glass, Pat Hallman, Sheila Keeny, and Joan Wilson. In addition, Kathy and AI Schmidt and Reggie Yancey plan to attend the convention as non-voting delegates. A pre-convention meeting for the delegates is planned for early June. Your suggestions for input into the convention are welcome.

A group of 24 African women arrived in Washington on May 12 for a three-week visit to the U.S. They are sponsored by the called Women In Power in Politics: Building Grassroots Democracy in Africa, funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department under the authority of the Fulbright Hayes Act of 1961. Madlyn Calbert hosted some of the women in her home. The DCLWV escorted them to the DC Lobby Day on the Hill, where they heard the presentations by the coalition members including Mayor Williams and Mrs. Norton. They then followed the petitioners to some of the Congressional offices to observe how signatures are obtained in support of Full Voting Representation and to observe lobbying first hand.

The National Capital Area League Convention was held on May 18. Paul Taylor, Executive Director of the Alliance for Better Campaigns was the speaker. He
indicated the need for free airtime for all accredited candidates and under-funded challengers a chance to be heard. — E. Patricia Hallman, President

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We are in the process of rebuilding the League MEMBERSHIP. The Membership committee is seeking serious volunteers who are interested in bringing in young people and voting activists, as well as fund raising activities.

Please join us for a Membership meeting on Saturday, June 1, 11:00 AM (Call 202 667-8210) — Linda Softli, Membership Chair

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[Excerpts from the 2001-2002 President's Packet]

The Per-Member Payment (PMP) is the way Leagues satisfy the requirement to support financially the national level of our three-level organization. PMP is the major source of income for the LWVUS, providing partial support for advocacy, membership and organizational activities, The National Voter, convention ,and council, and national board and committee meetings. The LWVUS board recognizes and appreciates the significant commitment Leagues make when they pay their PMP.

Payment of the PMP is NOT optional or subject to local amendment. In order to retain the right to vote at national convention, Leagues must have made full payment for the LWVUS PMP. 

Regular member: Your League's PMP obligation for fiscal year (FY) 2001-2002 is based on the January 2001 membership count of paid-up members as reported to the LWVUS in January 2001. A PMP rate of $21 was set by Convention, 2002 for fiscal year 2001-2002 (July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2002.)

Student member: In accordance with a bylaw amendment adopted at Convention 2000, the PMP rate for League members who are students is $10.50, half that of other members. (A student is defined as an individual who is enrolled either full or part-time in an accredited institution.) This rate is intended as an incentive to encourage students to join the League.

Members in a common household: When two or more members reside in the same household the full PMP is charged for the first member and one-half PMP for each additional member. (Only one copy of The National Voter is sent to each such household.) 

Honorary life or 50-year members: Those who have been members for 50 years or more are full voting members but are excused from the payment of dues. No LWVUS PMP is charged.'

Nationally recruited or renewed members: No LWVUS PMP is charged for nationally recruited members (MRM) or for members who renew through the LWVUS. The budget for FY 2001-2002 includes funds to provide local and state Leagues a $5 rebate for each Nationally Recruited Member (NRM) reported on the January 2001 summary
sheet. Leagues will receive this rebate as a separate check during the fall of 2001. The rebate is a means of dues sharing from the national to the local/state level to help defray the cost of providing services to these members.

Current Dues Collected by LWVDC
Regular $45 Student $20 Household $60
No dues are collected for Life Members and/or Nationally Recruited Members.

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The Experience Corps is a program where volunteers, adults 55 and over, tutor children in the public elementary schools. Prior to working with the children, the volunteers are given training and supervision by experts in the area.

Connie Tate and Gladys Weaver have completed the first session. By September each volunteer will be involved in preparation for the tutoring. The Corps needs more volunteers. League members are encouraged to participate in the project to help children in their neighborhood. — Gladys Weaver, Co-chair

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As the end of our program year approaches the various units may have end of year social meetings. If you have not attended a Unit meeting this year,, we encourage you to attend the socials this month it's a perfect opportunity to get to know other League members in your neighborhood.

The Ingleside/Chevy Chase Unit decided not to have a special Unit meeting in June because of the plethora of general meetings in April and May.

The Unit Council will meet on June 10 with Connie Tate convening at 10 am at 733 15th St., NW, #432.

A Unit Council social consisting of last year's unit officers as well as potential 2002/2003 officers will meet Sunday, June 30 at 4:00 pm at Sheila Keeny's home, 3600 Albemarle Ave. NW.

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Tuesday June 18, 9:45 a.m., Southwest, Audrey Hatry, 530 N St. SW, #605, 554-4450

Wednesday, June 26, 9:45 a.m., Upper 16th St., Kathy Schmidt, 3601 Conn. Ave., NW., #418, 237-5550

Thursday, June 27, 7:30 p.m., Northwest Evening, Sheila Keeny, 3600 Albemarle St., NW, 966-1692

— Sheila Keeny, Unit Director (966-1692)

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The Downtown Evening Unit hopes to begin regular monthly meetings beginning this fall. We would like to have input from League members who work downtown and would like to attend an evening unit as to the day (Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday) and the start time (6:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m.) and a suggested place (Sumner School, a nearby restaurant, or other-please name). Please email your preference to Subject Downtown Unit; or, call the League office at 3473020.

We wish to acknowledge and thank Sheila Keeny for her outstanding contribution to the League as the Unit Director. Sheila is moving on to other League responsibilities. We are looking for League member to assume the position of Unit Director for the 2002/2003 Program Year (9/2002-3/2003). Please contact Pat Hallman to apply.

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Welcome New Members: Dorathea E. Brady, Vernon M. Schroeder. In remembrance: We are sad to report the deaths of two past presidents of the DC League: Jane K. Schwartz, (1965-67) and Ann Haynes Stults (1985-87). Both were instrumental in helping the League to grow and many members will remember their contributions to the League.

Jane Schwartz is remembered for her hard work and dedication to the League. Hanging in the League office is the commemorative pen that President Lyndon B. Johnson used on September 8, 1965 in signing H.R. 4822, "An Act to authorize the prosecution of a transit development program for the National Capital region, and to further the objectives of the Act of July 14, 1960".

Ann Stults was President of the DC League of Women Voters (1985-87) died in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on April 13, 2002. Ann and her husband Walter Stults lived in the Washington D.C. area for 32 years. They moved to Chapel Hill in 1992. Ann served as a member of the D.C. Board of Education from 1966-69, where she chaired the Committee on Teacher Representation and negotiated the school system's first contract with the Washington Teachers Union. Subsequently, she was a member of the Task Force on the Board of Elections and Ethics, Board member of the YWCA, Chairman of the Hannah Harrison Career School Committee, and a member of the Lobby Corps of the LWVUS. There is a story that during her service on the DC School Board a number of protesters gathered outside her house in connection with a controversial issue of: the time. Ann invited them in for a cup of coffee, to hear their concerns.

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Income Tax Return Day: the event sponsored by DC Vote was even bigger and better than last, year. One can see a two-minute video of it at LWVDC members Barbara Yeomans and Chris Matthews are clearly visible in the video.

Essay contest: DC Vote has completed its essay contest for middle and junior high school students in the District. The awards will be made in Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton's office the end of May.

Lobby Day: May 15 was a coalition effort. Between 250 and 300 residents participated. All Senate offices were visited. The plight of D.C. citizens without voting representation in Congress was emphasized. Some aides were not aware that even our delegate does not have a vote. Follow up meetings with some Senators are planned as we try to get co-sponsors for S.603, the bill which proposes that until we are granted full voting rights the citizens of D.C. be exempt from federal income taxes.

Flag Day, June 14: Councilman Mendelson will hold hearings on a bill with 11 co-sponsors to add `Taxation without Representation" to the D.C. flag until such time as we are granted full voting representation. If you would like to give testimony, contact Kathy Schmidt. — Kathy Schmidt (237-5550), DC VOTE Liaison

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  • Pat Hallman reported that 24 African women are to arrive May 12 for a visit to Washington, and once again members of the DC League will participate in welcoming them. A reception on May 14 will be followed by a proposed visit to the D.C. League on May 15 to join in the Lobby Day on the Hill.

  • In connection with plans for the National Convention (in Miami this year), Naomi Glass emphasized the pre-convention meeting planned by the National Capital Area Leagues.

  • Natalie Howard spoke of the Healthcare meeting on for May 15. Regarding the CareFirst proposal, it was noted that Lawrence Mirel, DC Insurance Commissioner, has found the application inadequate.

  • Reggie Yancey reported that sale of the "VOTE" pins has produced $590, and that she has ordered more pins, with the intent of selling them at the National Convention.

  • Joan Wilson said written testimony was submitted at DC Budget hearings. Plans for units next spring on "Impact on DC Children of Welfare Reform" are being initiated:

  • Anne Porowski and Susan Rao will co-chair the International Relations Committee; which will hold monthly meetings beginning in September.

  • Elaine Maimed said the League plans to assist the school system in conducting student council and elections of student representatives to the school board on May 23.

  • Elinor Hart spoke of possible Voter Service focus in the coming 2002 elections, with emphasis on citywide elections. The League could coordinate the work of other groups, with the goal of balancing election coverage of a variety of interests, both geographic and issue-oriented. May 10 will be the first day candidates may pick up petitions. Voter Service. Committee hopes to meet for planning in early June, and to invite other (non-League) groups to participate in identifying needs.

— Frances Gemmill (362-6784)

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Several DC League members, under the guidance of Jeanette Miller, are in the early stages of work to update Know The District of Columbia, which was last revised in 1986. This book is designed to inform not only the people who live here, but also citizens throughout the country who want to know more about the nation's capital and its residents. For many years, members of the national League of Women Voters have been educating themselves and other citizens about local and state governments through "Know Your Community" studies.

Our supply of the 1986 edition has been exhausted, and its update postponed during the transitional period from 1997 to 2000 when the Control Board exercised oversight of our government. That edition is widely used as a teaching text by universities around the area, including the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), the University of Maryland, and the George Mason University. Currently assisting Jeanette are several League members as well as student interns from the UDC.

A complete new set of photographs is needed. You might help with this important part of the production by photos of our city, or by taking photos of significant landmarks that reflect our civic life as citizens of Washington, D.C. Call Nelson Rimensnyder (w 789-1581 h 546-4668) to help with the photos.

More than 40 League members contributed research, writing, and/or editing to the production of the 1986 edition. NOW IS THE TIME to lend YOUR talents, expertise, knowledge, and energy to this new revision. Call Jeanette Miller (362-1203).

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As we close out the 2001/2002 Program year and think ahead to the 2002/2003 Program year, your President and Board wish to acknowledge and thank all of the members who contributed to the 2001 year- end, fundraising appeal. Without the gifts from people who support the League beyond their annual dues, our activities would be seriously curtailed. Gifts of all sizes are very much appreciated and will be used wisely. Thank you!

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Thanks to generous members who have remembered us in their wills, we are able to continue functioning in spite of strains on our budget. Our programs, office space, staff, equipment, and newsletter printing are ail essential. We would like to recognize once again our appreciation for late members Sue & Irving Panzer and Jan Rosenblum, as well as others; whose bequests help to keep us afloat!

You can help insure the future of the League through planned giving. There are many options, including various trusts, making the League a beneficiary of an Insurance policy, or an outright gift in your will. The National League office has detailed information about estate planning (202-429-1965). We selfishly suggest that you specifically designate the DC League (LWVDC or LWVDC Ed Fund). In many cases, there is no tax advantage to designating the Ed Fund, but check with a tax attorney.

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On Conversion and Acquisition of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of the National Capital Area

The Insurance Commissioner of DC will hold public forums to receive public comments on the application by Wellpoint Health Networks Inc. to acquire control of Group Hospitalization & Medical Services, Inc. (GHMSI), and as a necessary prerequisite thereto, the conversion of GHMSI from a non-profit to a for-profit company. The first two opportunities for public comments are scheduled for:

Wednesday, May 22,
6-9 pm at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th St. NW and

Tuesday, May 28,
6-9 pm at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th St. NW

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Global Warming Not Occurring

Those present at the last meeting on May 3 ended the series with a bang. They made their own Great Decision! They agreed that the policy options presented in the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) workbook were predicated on the false assumption that global warming is underway. The current public debate on global warming reflects inadequate primary information, misleading reporting, some politicizing of scientific reports, and many private agendas. The US resources alone implicit in the goals of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change are in the billions of dollars. The taxpaying public deserves intellectual rigor in a policy debate of this magnitude, along with a sound scientific basis for environmental policies.

Since the FPA material did not include information on energy basics, such as sources of primary and secondary energy, what sector uses energy from what source, and how much, we began by reviewing some elementary material (readily available on the web site) of the USDOE's Energy Information Administration. We then received a briefing by Professor Emeritus (UVA) Dr. S. Fred Singer, who was the first Director of the former EPA Deputy Administrator for Policy, and most recently, Chief Scientist of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Dr. Singer relied on data from a variety of widely recognized sources. He addressed the unreliability of computer models used for forecasting. He made a clear case that global warming is not occurring, and that any contribution by human activity is not significant. Moreover, although some may assume that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, it is not.

Surely a number of those who attended the meeting arrived with an opposite point of view to that with which they left. Frederick Seitz, a former President of the National Academy of Sciences, has stated: "It is one thing to impose drastic measures and harsh economic penalties when an environmental problem is clear-cut and severe. It is quite another to do so when the environmental problem is largely hypothetical and not substantiated by careful observation. This is definitely the case with global warming." (Foreword to "Hot Talk, Cold Science, Global's Unfinished Debate," by S. Fred Singer, Revised Second Edition, 1999, The Independent Institute, Oakland, California.) — Barbara Yeomans

India and South Asia

On March 22, the article in the Great Decisions handbook was augmented by a double gift of experienced advice in the form of Firoze Rao, who grew up in India and assisted in the family business, and his wife Susan, who was stationed in India with the State Department. Firoze describes India's population as highly stratified, starting with a thin layer of very well-off families, and going down to the very poor - who may live, amicably, cheek by jowl with the rich. Step out of the door of a luxurious mansion, and you may find on the curb several families, each inhabiting oneroom huts. Social strains in India are within the strata rather than between. Family planning is not working, as boys are greatly valued to work the fields to help support the family in the city. Girls, however, leave home on marriage and require dowry, in effect paying the groom's family to marry the bride. Family farms suffer from the inheritance system under which the land is divided among the sons until the plots of land are too small to support a family, which then moves to the city.

India possesses vast tracts of land, and an energetic and inventive populace, which should combine to create a wealth of produce and manufacture for internal and export income. The handbook, however, describes India's economy as "mixed". Our guest is less diplomatic, from personal experience. India has a huge and corrupt bureaucracy, fueled by bribery. Courts are honest, but so slow-moving that a typical case may take months or years just to appear on the docket: The unions are large, demanding, and rigid. The combination throttles commercial development. Irrational, say the Raos.

According to Firoze, religious differences were not a divisive issue until they became political, relatively recently. The Indian outlook on the Kashmir issue dates back to the violent partition that created Pakistan, and later Bangladesh, and divided Kashmir 'between Pakistan and India. Since that time, India feels that it has given up enough territory, and refuses to surrender any more. — Hope Marindin

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28 Tues. 6-9 pm Insurance Commission Public Forum: CareFirst (Please note: Some League members may receive their June DC Voter as early as May 28th and may wish to attend this forum.


5 Wed. 10 am, LWVDC Board Mtg., 1730 M St., 10th Floor, NW
10 Mon. 10 am, Unit Council, 733 15th St., NW, #432
14-18 LWVUS Convention, Miami, Florida
18-24 LWVDC Office closed 
18 Tues. 9:45 am, Southwest Unit Mtg. 
26 Wed. 9:45 am, Upper 16th St. Unit Mtg.
27 Thurs. 7 pm, Northwest Evening Unit Mtg. 


3 Wed. 10 am, LWV Board Mtg., 1730 M St., 10 Floor, NW
10 Tues. Deadline: July/August DC Voter
26 Fri. July/August DC Voter mailed.
26 Fri. Deadline: 2003/2004 Directory/Calendar/Handbook


13 Tues. Deadline: Sept. DC Voter
23 Fri. September DC Voter mailed, 2003/2004 Directory/Calendar Handbook included.


4 Wed. 10 am, LWV Board Mtg., 1730 M St., 10 Floor, NW
19 Thurs. Fall Luncheon - Kickoff for 2002/2003 Program Year

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Healthcare in the District of Columbia
A forum presented on May 15, 2002
In the John Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

We extend particular appreciation to Councilwoman Sandra Allen (Ward 8), Chairperson of the Committee on Human Services, for her gracious assistance In the scheduling of this forum.

Panelists were Ms. Joan Lewis, Senior Vice President, DC Hospital Association, Mr. Lawrence Mire[, Commissioner, DC Department of Insurance Regulation; and Mr. Gerald Kasunic, Ombudsman for Long Term Care, DC Office of the Aging. Ms. Karen Scipio-Skinner, Executive Director of the Board of Nursing, moderated the session and introduced the panelists.

Ms. Lewis said the DCHA has a longstanding interest in the uninsured, and that enrollment in clinics under the new DC Health Care Alliance has, grown to almost 25,000. Another sign of improvement is that Medicaid coverage (for those who are under the poverty level) has been expanded under a special waiver to include people ages 50-64. Premature death is an issue, and we can hope for better-health statistics with the extended coverage.

The increased volume in use of emergency rooms in 2001 and 2002 is troubling. A study to learn the reasons for this increase has been initiated, with the DC Department of Health. A third concern is the number of hospital closures. Half of DC hospitals are currently operating at a loss.

Mr. Mirel said it is no surprise that financing health care is a problem. The present system doesn't work. Not only is health care itself more expensive (partly as a result of new medical advances), but also there is a plethora of new and expensive pharmaceuticals. Consequently, with the employer-based insurance system, the financial burden for employers is higher. This leads to competition among insurers. Insurance companies can maintain their balance sheets in several ways (1) pay providers less (2) cover fewer health related needs (for example, already dental and eye care are omitted from many health insurance policies) or (3) require the insured to pay a higher share of costs of care, through inceased deductibles and co-payment arrangements). An example of the difficulties is that following the closing of the George Washington University Medical Plan, there were no prospective buyers, so that many patients lost coverage. Eventually, Kaiser accepted the transfer of patients, but G.W. paid Kaiser to do so.

Mirel said he prefers a private health insurance system. He believes that individuals could cut down them reliance on insurance - insurance drives costs up. People expect health insurance to cover much more routine expense than is expected for auto or home insurance, which are understood to have the purpose of meeting catastrophic, infrequent occurrences: The costs of health insurance could be divided between catastrophic and routine. The managed care system cuts down on routine check-ups. He suggested "self-directed health insurance"-the employer provides a fixed contribution, and the individual decides how to apportion his coverage between catastrophic and routine.

With regard to the application for approval of the conversion of CareFirst from non-profit to for-profit status, he as the Insurance Commissioner will hold public forums to receive comments on tile application. The first opportunities for public comments are Wednesday, May 22 and Tuesday, May 28, 2002.

Mr. Gerald Kasunic, Ombudsman for the DC Office of Aging, said his mission is to enhance the quality of care. Currently, his work is to amend nursing home regulations to require that each patient receive a minimum of 3.5 hours of care per day (the, current average is 2.7 hours per day). The national average is 4.1 hours per day. Another current concern is restraint policies. Working with Council members and the D.C. Health Department, it is hoped to minimize the use of physical arid pharmaceutical restraints while ensuring patient safety. Assisted living regulations win require' `some? change to take account of an expected increase in the number of smaller homes.

Another important current activity is the development of a waiver system, to allow Medicaid help for home and community care. Home care is cost-related. As medicine and care improve, costs rise. Training is difficult -- healthcare workers tend to move on to easier, better paid jobs after they are trained. About six unlicensed group homes were recently found. Work is needed to begin a licensing procedure; we serve as almost a legal advocate. We work with the D.C. long-term care coalition. 

A representative of the D.C. Healthcare Association spoke, to say that more regulation of nursing agencies is needed, along with improved licensing procedures. Fiscal support is needed to help DC compete with Maryland and Virginia by providing better pay for nurses. Both of those neighboring states provide for high pay for nurses through direct, fiscal support.

Mrs. Sandra Allen, Chair of the Council's Human Services Committee, spoke after the panel members answered questions. Mrs. Allen's current main concerns are the 2003 DC Budget, which the Council is in process of reviewing and amending. She said Interim Disability Assistance (IDA) is important to allow support to residents while their applications for disability assistance are pending. The process which can take as long as 18 months, and she is pleased to have found funds elsewhere in the budget to apply to this need. Further, she supports quality care for people who need services, and therefore voted to fund the Health Care Safety Net to the full extent of the contract.

Mr. Malson thanked Mrs. Lewis for filling in for him on the panel. Mrs. Allen and Mr. Malson were delayed in attending our meeting due to an earlier meeting at Judiciary Square of the Healthcare Reform Commission that continued through the the beginning of our meeting.

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