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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 78, No. 11, December 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 Message: From Pat’s Pen
Unit News
December Unit Meeting
Unit Meeting Schedule
Healthcare Committee
Congressional Representation
International Relations Committee
LWVUS Task Force on the United Nations Received Blue Ribbon Award
Report on October Units
Member News
Nominating Committee Report
Brown Bag Dialogue on Emergency Preparedness
News from LWV National Capital Area
Education Committee
Election Day 2002: LWVDC Members escort election observers
Calendar: December 2002
Taxation without Representation in the Nation’s Capitol, Nicholas M. Barbash
Refresher LWVDC 101: Prepared for December 2002 Unit Meetings


The Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) met in Washington on October 25-27. President Kay Maxwell reported that responses to the "directions to the Board" made in June at the Convention will be finalized soon.

The importance of the Election Reform bill was emphasized, but it was noted that much must be done to implement the law. It allows us a working platform. The booklet, "Navigating the League", a guide to the voting process, is a huge success. The LWVUS is engaging in a "New Citizens" focus geared to immigrants in the neighborhoods. The SOAR membership campaign is a success so far.

Kay Maxwell reported that LWVUS has received many press calls regarding the election - we are the "go to" organization regarding elections. The Board agreed to develop an advisory committee of nonprofit and corporate leaders to increase support and visibility for the League. The Board voted to conduct a sixmonth pilot issue list-serve on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), to share information and member comments.

D.C. public school student Nicholas M. Barbash of the School Without Walls, was honored at our opening luncheon in September. A copy of Mr. Barbash's speech, for which he won first prize at the American Legion National High School Oratorical Contest in Indianapolis, is enclosed as an insert in this Voter. Don't miss the opportunity to read this fine work by one of our own D.C. students!

LWVUS President Kay Maxwell announced that at a recent meeting of the LWVEF Trustees, the Trustees decided that due to financial issues, DNet will be dormant in 2003. That means there will be no coverage of 2003 elections on the website.

The National Capital Area League held a reception and dinner for the LWVUS Board members and staff on Friday October 18 at Sumner School. We had a chance to introduce ourselves, network, and present the case for federal financial support for D.C., the nation's capital.

There has been a suggestion that a DC legislative round table be developed to discuss ongoing issues of concern to women. Anyone interested in participating please call me. — E. Patricia Hallman, President

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The December Unit Council Meeting for Unit Chairs will be held Monday, December 9 at 12n at 10:00 am at the home of Judy Smith, 7628 17t" St., NW., 882-3021.

WE ARE STILL IN NEED OF A UNIT DIRECTOR FOR THE NEXT 5 MONTHS. Is there a Unit Member who would like to assume this short-term position? Contact Pat Hallman at 347-3020 or 829-8852.

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December Unit Meetings are the time that members usually have socials and we encourage both old and new members, active and inactive members to attend the meeting of your choice. If you haven't attended a Unit meeting before, please plan to attend one in December. There are morning, afternoon and evening meetings to choose from (see schedule to the right). This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce a friend to the League.

The suggested topic for discussion at the social is "Refresher League 101." This was recently presented successfully at the Fairfax County League Units. Many of our LWVDC members, especially the newer ones, have expressed a lack of understanding of the way the LEAGUE functions, i.e., the Units, by-laws, Board procedures, etc. The enclosed green sheet can be used as a basis for a short discussion on how the Units and the other levels of League function, and on the history of the League. Hopefully it will foster a better understanding of the League and lead to a larger discussion at a later time. The presentation is expected to be a short lively discussion with seasoned members and will not interfere with the festive social activities planned. —Pat Hallman

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Please let us know what your email address is by sending a blank message to Enter in the Subject line: email address for <your name>.

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Meetings are open to all members and guests.

Tuesday, December 17

9:45 am, Southwest Unit, at the home of Leona Rumsey, 550 N St., NW, #S202, 863-7484

12:00 pm, Northwest Day Unit, POTLUCK LUNCHEON at the home of June Bashkin, 2358 King Place, NW, #37, Co-chairs June Bashkin 337-0949; Barbara Kemp 362-4529, Note: Time change.

In-Town Evening Unit will not meet in December and encourage those who attend to join in The Evening Unit on Thursday evening (see below). The InTown Unit will resume meetings in January at its usual 6:30 pm time.

Wednesday, December 18

9:45 am, Upper 16th Unit, at the home of Constance Tate, 609 Delafield NW, 882-0387

Thursday, December 19

9:45 am, Chevy Chase/Ingleside Unit, in the Lounge, 3050 Military Rd, NW, Co-chairs: Ruth Allen 362-8953; Leslie Dunbar 364-6457; Joan Wilson 237-6264

7:30 pm, The Evening Unit, at the home of Joan Domike, 4200 Mass. Ave., NW, #304, 966-3865

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If you know where a copy can be found contact Pat Hallman at the League office, 347-3020.

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Committee members have attended various healthcare events in the District:

  • Community Health Expo opening of George Washington University Hospital. We were impressed by the new technology evident everywhere. Diagnosis and often treatment are done via complicated instrumentation. Everything is computer driven and computer stored. The rooms are beautiful and it looks very encouraging. I do hope the technicians are available to make it all work.

  • Mayor's Health Policy Council forum held on October 8.

  • Healthcare Alliance Community check-up sponsored by District of Columbia Primary Care Association, as part of their annual meeting. 

The program was followed by a most interesting Candidates Forum devoted solely to a broad range of questions pertaining to health and healthcare. Topics addressed included:

  1. a coordinated strategy for attacking the problem of substance abuse;

  2. insuring proper use of the $1.4 billion Dept. of Health budget;

  3. DC's $1.2 billion Medicaid program.

The recent revision of the healthcare organization for D.C. into the Greater Health Alliance, with one major hospital, three participating hospitals, and an array of clinics across the city now forms the basis of our healthcare system for the needy and those who fall outside the criteria for health insurance.

In the District, there are over 200,000 individuals identified as medically vulnerable. This figure includes those enrolled: in Medicaid, D C Healthcare Alliance (incomes 200% of the federal poverty level), and over 16,000 adults with who are uninsured and who are not enrolled in the D C Healthcare Alliance.

Safety net providers are those that deliver a significant level of health care and other related services to uninsured, Medicaid, and other at-risk lower income patients. In the District, the primary care safety net is composed of independent non-profit clinics, hospital affiliated clinics, and school-based clinics. Also, hospital emergency rooms see many patients for primary care conditions.

The 43 sites of the Non-profit Clinic Consortium (NPCC) include mobile vans and homeless centers. These independent nonprofits comprise the largest source of community-based primary care services to the uninsured in the District.

Unity Health Care, Inc. is the umbrella organization for city-sponsored clinics, and is under the city's Healthcare Alliance. Unity is also a member of NPCC. As a federally funded Community Health Center System, Unity absorbed the former Public Benefit Corporation (DC General Hospital, etc.) community health center sites.

Three hospitals: Children's, Providence, and Georgetown University, have a total of 14 sites. Eleven of these sites serve children, two serve families, and one serves only seniors. Primary care is also occurring in some mental health facilities, schools, and senior wellness centers.

From notes on the Primary Care safety net forum sponsored by the DC Primary Care Association October 23, 2002. For a more comprehensive treatment of the subject, see Primary Health Care Safety Net: Healthcare services for the Medically Vulnerable in the District of Columbia, (a 2002 update published by DCPCA).

League members are invited to join the health care committee members. All are invited to attend the regular monthly meeting of the Healthcare Committee on Tuesday, November 26, at the LWVDC Office, from 12:30 to 2:00 pm. Karyn Gill will present the annual report of the D C Health Services Reform Commission. (Karyn, a former state League President, wrote the report.) For more information contact Natalie Howard at 882-8762.

There will be no meeting in December. — Natalie Howard, Chair (882-8762)

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The D.C. City Council passed 10-3 a resolution against war in Iraq because the citizens of the District will pay the federal taxes and help provide the troops to support such a war but have no vote on the subject in our legislature, the United States Congress.

Ilir Zherka, Executive Director of DCVote appeared on NBC News to discuss current and future plans for gaining full voting rights in Congress with Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR). DC Vote will concentrate on organizing in the District, and LCCR will coordinate other national organizations such as LWVUS on the national level. — Kathy Schmidt (237-5550)

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The International Relations Committee will not meet in Dec. due to the holidays. We will resume on January 28th at 6:30PM with a presentation by Ursula Muller, Political Counselor at the German Embassy. Please come! For further info, contact Co-Chair Susan Rao at 202-636-1688. — Anne Porowski (364-0557)& Susan Rao (636-1688), Co-chairs

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LWVUS Task Force on the United Nations Receives Blue Ribbon Award

The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area presented a Blue Ribbon Award to the LWVUS Task Force on the UN in celebration of the UN's birthday, October 24 - 26. The award recognized the work of the Task Force last year in providing information about the UN to League members all over the US, thereby updating and solidifying League support for the UN. — Anne Porowski & Sheila Keeny

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All units reported lively discussions and all felt that Voter Service units were both appropriate and interesting fact,. Leaguelike... and we should schedule them with greater regularity.

League members felt that, in general, the Board of Elections had performed very well during the period prior to and during the primary elections (the general elections were still to come). The glaring exception was that notices telling voters what ward and SMD they were in, and where they should vote, were not received timely or not at all. In addition, inadequate and uneven use of "Special Ballots" in cases where potential voters went to the wrong voting site may have resulted in frustrated citizens not voting at all.

Other problem areas included very strict and uneven enforcement of rules covering taking campaign literature into the polling place, inaccessibility for disabled voters, lack of equipment for vision-impaired voters, and ballot boxes not collected timely in some precincts. Several units felt that many problems could be corrected with better training of election personnel. Many Leaguers were concerned that valid signatures on Mayoral petitions were not "counted" although there was clear support for enforcing penalties for fraud.

There was strong suggestion that the DC League examine current election laws. (Keep this in mind for the January program planning units.) Members were divided on whether noncitizens should be permitted to vote in School Board and ANC elections. Other issues included the question of open primaries and changing the election day from Tuesday to a day that might be more convenient for voters.

There was much discussion of the ballot issues with most units declaring support for the underlying principles but expressing concern about that old devil, the details. — Naomi Glass

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MEMBER SURVEY: Members were sent a Survey of Member Interest and Skills via email or regular U.S. mail at the end of November. We thank those members who responded so promptly and encourage those who haven't yet responded to do so before December 15. If you would like another copy of the survey sent to you, please call the LWVDC office at 347-3020.

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS: Bonita Harris, Jennie Q. Henderson, and Anne S. Gralla. We hope you are able to attend one of the Unit Meetings listed above.

CONTRIBUTIONS: We gratefully thank and acknowledge contributions from: Geraldine Albers, Dorothy Armstrong, Hope Bogorad, Janet Brown, Julia Cuniberti, Peggy Dunbar, Sylvia Fesler, Jean Hall, Walter O. Jacobson, Barbara Kemp, Chris Matthews & Ken Nesper, Anna & Luther Marsh, Elaine Melmed, Betty Nyangoni, Nelson Rimensnyder, Clara G. Schiffer, Kathryn & Albert Schmidt, Kathleen H. Shea, Mary C. Smith, Marie C. Stark, Louise Steele, Betty Y. Taira, Constance P. Tate, Grace Watson, Mary Weiler, Patricia Wheeler, Sue Whitman, Frances P. Wilkinson, Elizabeth Yancey.

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The Nominating Committee will be developing a slate for the offices to be filled at our Annual Meeting in April. These offices are President, First Vice President (who usually focuses on administrative responsibilities), Second Vice President (who usually handles local program), Secretary, and three Directors. If you want to recommend someone for any of these offices, please contact a member of the Nominating Committee by January 1. Keep in mind that a recommendation for yourself is appropriate and welcome. Nominating Committee members are Elinor Hart, Chair, Reggie Yancey, Sue Whitman, Sheila Keeny, Leona Rumsey, and Johnetta Kelly. Elinor Hart, Chair (387-2966)

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The status of preparedness in D.C. was the topic addressed by Mrs. Barbara Pair-Child, Deputy Director of the D.C. Office of Preparedness at the Brown Bag Dialogue held on October 28. She gave us copies of the new D.C. Preparedness Guide that was distributed in The Washington Post recently, and noted that it is also printed in Spanish, Chinese, and Farsi. The center is being renovated and upgraded with federal funds, and plans are being coordinated with the White House, Maryland, and Virginia.

D.C. is one of the better-prepared cities, having plans for monitoring Metro, air, and water systems. An analysis of threat to the city on a scale of 1-15 has been done, and other issues, such as terrorism, hostage, anthrax, fire, civil disorders, and other threats will be analyzed.

The Office of Preparedness is developing plans in all wards. They will address issues such as "What should we know, what can we do to prepare, how to communicate to the public where to go." Each family should have a family designee to call to check on our safety, to use emergency alert systems for additional information. Portable radios should be kept on hand in case of electric outage. We would need to know if federal and metro systems are closing, and the police and traffic flow system in case of an emergency. There will be cameras on major bridges to detect gridlock.

She said the Office hopes to have D.C. funding for an emergency siren system. They are working with the schools, private industry, and colleges to train them to develop a response plan. There is a need for block captains and ward captains. The Warren Rudman-Gary Hart study report is being used for the emergency plan, and a Congressional hearing on D.C. preparedness is scheduled. — Pat Hallman for Anna Marsh, Brown Bag Coordinator

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Committee on Procedures for LWVUS Elections: (CMPLE, pronounced, "simple"). The NCA Board approved the recommendation of Sheryl Wolfe to establish this Committee - and it appointed her as Chair - to study the report and recommendations of the LWVUS Campaign Oversight Committee (COC) and to advise the NCA Board on the effectiveness and implementation of the COC-proposed changes to the LWVUS policy of Jan 2002, titled "Campaign Policies for Candidates for LWVUS Office." Other CMPLE members are: Naomi Glass, DC; Janet Hays, FA; Joan Trafton, MC; and Forest Williams, PG. The COC report will probably return to the LWVUS website ( Username, Iwv; Password, carriecatt which, at this writing, is down and being upgraded.

Networking: In an event timed to coincide with the LWVUS Board meeting in late October, the NCA Board and memberLeague presidents hosted 'a light dinner, to which LWVUS senior staff was also invited. Staged in the large meeting hall at the Sumner School and Museum, there was ample room for informal, pre-meal dialogue about NCA operations and activities.

The use of place cards for LWVUS Board and staff ensured that every NCA and LWVUS official had ample opportunity during dinner for further bonding.

Hostess Barb Sherrill guided the program through welcomes, introductions, and thankyous; Elinor Hart reported on the DC Finance program, and Naomi Glass reported on other NCA program activities. Each attendee received a copy of the Brookings Institution's hot-off-the-press study, "A Good Financial Footing for the National Capital: A Federal Responsibility," by respected Brookings scholars Carol O'Cleireacain and Alice M. Rivlin - which lays out the case for instituting substantial and continuing federal support for the District of Columbia.

Naumann Award: Every other year, LWVNCA awards one of its member Leagues cash prize of $300 for exceptional contributions to democracy in action. NCA Vice President Pat Sullivan will soon send application information to member-League presidents. Responses are due in January. — Barb Sherrill, NCA President Forest Williams, NCA Editor

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According to the Board Chair, Josephine Baker, "the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board remains dedicated to ensuring that quality education is provided to the citizens of the District of Columbia." The first public charter school opened in 1998 and the Board graduated 13 seniors prepared for college.

The Board continues to make certain that charter schools remain an option for residents to choose and trust for the educational needs of their families. The 200102 Profile of charter schools includes the followin data:

Number of Schools 20
Number of Campuses 23
Schools opening Fall 2002 1
Number of students Fall 2002 7,727
Percent of low-income students 77%
Average Daily Attendance 89%
Percent of special education students 13%

In June 2000, five school applications were received. Of the five, one received first stage clearance but failed to meet conditions for approval in the second stage review. The Charter School Board is committed to ensuring that each Public Charter School meets the established standards before it is granted its Charter.

The Education Committee will meet Wednesday, December 13 at 10:00 am in the LWVDC Office. All members are welcome to attend. — Gladys Weaver (554-3055) & Constance Tate (882-0387) Co-chairs

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ELECTION DAY 2002: LWVDC Members escort election observers

Bill O'Field, Principal Information Officer of the Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE), invited LWVDC to help escort international visitors at polling sites on Election Day. The purpose of the BOEE was to provide visitors an overview of the election process, including the process itself, election results, voter registration statistics, election law, and BOEE policies. I joined three other Leaguers who acted as escorts for visitors to polling sites, following an orientation briefing by Bill O'Field, including a slide show covering the election process and our roles.

Our assigned sites were the Metropolitan AME Church, St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, The Church of the Annunciation, and Jefferson Junior High School. An Australian delegation of political leaders and an East European delegation were escorted by Leaguers Mary Weiler and Vinna Freeman, who accompanied the groups through the polling site at Metropolitan AME Church with the site captain, and an gave an overview of the League of Women Voters. They received interesting questions and much appreciation.

June Duke escorted a Japanese delegation at St. Margaret's. June was delighted by their questions and their interest in the LWV and the election.

I visited two sites, first the Church of the Annunciation, where the Washington Diplomats led a group of 26 diplomats, including Ambassadors, First Secretaries, Minister-Counselors, Charges d'Affaires, and Deputy Chiefs of Missions. John Shaw, a political analyst and journalist for the Market News and The Washington Diplomat, gave a review of political races and candidates throughout the nation. Bill O'Field discussed the election laws of D.C. and our election process. The captain of the polling site led the group through the site, explaining each step in the voting process. There were many questions from this group.

At the last site, Jefferson Junior High School in Southwest, was a group of 14 Future Leaders Exchange Program participants from the former Soviet Union here for a one-year work-study program, staying with families in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. The principal of Jefferson JHS welcomed the students and told them about the school. Bill O'Field explained the role of the BOEE. The site captain led a tour of the site, explained each process, and answered questions.

All of us found this to be an exciting and interesting experience, meeting the visitors and experiencing their interest in the election process and in the League of Women Voters. The State Department escort indicated the hope that families in the District of Columbia will host some of these exchange students in the future. — Pat Hallman

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Season's Greetings to all league Members and their families and best wishes for a Peaceful Holiday.

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1 2 3 4 10:00 am, LWVDC Board Meeting 5 6 7
8 9 12 noon, Unit Council 10 Jan DC Voter Deadline 11 10:00 am, Education Committee 12 13 14
15 16 17 9:45 am, Southwest
12 noon, NW Day
18 9:45 am, Upper 16th St. 19 9:45 am, Chevy Chase/Ingleside
7:30 pm, Evening Unit
20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 Jan DC Voter mailed 28
29 30 31        

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"Taxation without Representation in the Nation's Capital"
by Nicholas M. Barbash

Delivered to The American Legion High School Oratorical Contest 2002
on April 13, 2002 in Indianapolis, Indiana

Ladies and gentlemen, imagine for a moment that you are touring Washington, D.C. Where would you go? You would probably visit the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol, the White House, and I am sure you would also visit the National Archives. You would go into the main chamber, you would peer through the thick glass, and you would see the actual documents on which our country was founded: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. And in the midst of your awe and reverence stand the guards, who are hurrying you along in line and making sure no harm comes to these documents.

I bet you did not know that many of those guards, who protect the Constitution, are not protected by the Constitution. They are just a few of 500,000 residents of Washington, D.C. who are lawful American citizens, with all the duties and obligations thereof, but are not represented in the federal government. Congress has total control over Washington, D.C.; it approves and can veto any actions by the local government. However, D.C. has no representation in Congress, no senators, no congressmen, and up until 1961, we could not even vote for president.

This situation has been going on in our nation's capital for more than two hundred years now because of Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution. This states that Congress shall have power "to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such district may ...become the seat of government of the United States." In 1787, when the Constitution was written, there was a good reason for this clause. There were serious tensions between Northern and Southern states, and the capital needed to be independent so it would not be controlled by any of the states.

But times have changed, and this issue is now obsolete. And the Founding Fathers, in their infinite wisdom and foresight, knew that times would change, and that additions or corrections to the Constitution would have to be made, as the great Supreme Court Justice John Marshall said, "to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs." Well in America, taxation without representation in the nation's capital is a crisis of human affairs.

After America gained independence but before our modern Constitution was ratified, this country wasn't really the United States. It was two groups of separate states, northern and southern, with interests so different that they could almost be considered separate nations. Now if these states were to permanently remain one nation, the capital would have to be on neutral ground, controlled by no state. So the Framers wrote in the Constitution that the governing district would be controlled by Congress. They did not imagine that anyone besides the members of Congress would ever actually be living there, but ordinary people did begin to move in starting in 1800. Sixty-five years later, Reconstruction after the Civil War seemed like the perfect time to renew the vows of democracy and to finally grant representation to D.C., as the issue of northern or southern domination of the capital had been put to rest with the end of the Civil War.

However, Congress did almost the exact opposite in 1876, when it arbitrarily abolished the local government and put the city under the control of three presidentially appointed commissioners. It took almost a century after that until the offices of mayor, city council, and school board were finally restored. However, in 1995, Congress stripped the local government of all appreciable power and gave it to another presidentially appointed body. Then in 1999, as soon as a mayor they liked was elected, they gave it back.

Ladies and gentlemen, not only are these actions contrary to everything the Constitution stands for, but they are very similar to the actions King George III committed that caused America to declare independence in 1776. There are several paragraphs in the Declaration of Independence in which Thomas Jefferson lists these actions. Among them: "For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever," "For imposing taxes on us without our consent," "For dissolving representative houses repeatedly." The parallel is unmistakable. America declared independence from England because England was doing to them in 1776 what America is doing to Washington, D.C. in 2002.

Washington, D.C. did file a citizens lawsuit in 1998, which made it all the way to theSupreme Court. The suit made the claim that the Constitution guarantees states a republican form of government but not D.C., thereby denying the fourteenth amendment right of equal protection under the law. The city is a federal enclave, and the argument was made that some federal enclaves eventually become states, such as Wyoming and Alaska, and others, such as military bases abroad, allowed their residents to vote in other states. D.C. was allowed neither of these, even though it is as populous as Alaska, more populous than Wyoming, and more prosperous than both of them. The Court rebutted this argument on the grounds that the specific wording of the fourteenth amendment is that "no state shall deny ...equal protection of the laws," and of course D.C. is not a state. It also recognized that though Article I, Section 8 obviously does not apply anymore, it is not the role of the Court to update the Constitution for our times; that is the role of Congress and of the state legislatures.

That's the legal perspective on this issue. Here's the moral perspective: D.C. residents have all the duties and obligations to the government that go with being a U.S. citizen. We pay taxes to the federal government, we serve in the military, we appear for jury duty,--we have all the obligations. What we do not have are the rights that go with those obligations: representation in the federal government and unabridged self government. Those rights are guaranteed in the body of the Constitution, and they are also guaranteed in the Preamble of the Constitution: "To secure the blessings of liberty."

Like everyone else across the country, we pay federal taxes. As a matter of fact, we pay higher taxes than 49 states. But unlike everyone else across the country, we can't elect the people who decide how those tax dollars are spent. In 1767, the Massachusetts lawyer James Otis declared that "taxation without representation is tyranny." Now a lot has changed in this country since Otis' time. But two important things are constant for all Americans: voting and taxes.

In 1767, America had the taxes but not the vote. As the country became independent and progressed through time, the poor paid taxes and eventually got the vote; women paid taxes and eventually got the vote; minorities paid taxes and eventually got the vote; D.C. paid taxes but did not get the vote. Our America may be very different from James Otis' America, but taxation without representation is still tyranny!

D.C. lost more soldiers in the Vietnam War than 10 states did. A D.C. marine regiment was recently sent to fight in Afghanistan. They're fighting the war, but they are without a say in whether they should be fighting the war. Even thirty years ago, the Washington Star newspaper said about this issue, "What right have we to hurl epithets and denunciations at dictatorships and totalitarian states in other parts when an almost perfect example of irresponsible forms of government is maintained by our own national government in our own national capital?"

Congress took power from the D.C. government in 1995 because it essentially felt that the mayor was corrupt. Well, mayors of other cities have been corrupt. They were impeached, removed from office, and in some cases, legal action was taken. But the power of their office itself was not removed. Voters in their cities were not denied their right to elect their leaders because an outside body judged one of them to be corrupt. Things like this do not happen anywhere in America except in D.C.

Injustices in Washington, D.C. have gone on long enough. The Founding Fathers had good reasons for denying D.C. representation, but their reasons have outlived their time, and it is time to do something about it. It is time to rise above partisan differences and recognize that everyone living in the capital city, Democrats, Republicans, and all others are denied rights which are granted to all other Americans under the Constitution. It is time to exercise Article V of the Constitution and pass an amendment giving residents of Washington, D.C. their lawful rights as American citizens. .

We do not dishonor the Founding Fathers when we say that one of their ideas has outlived its time. On the contrary, we honor their democratic ideals by extending liberty and justice to all. And we paraphrase the words of a man whose memorial you visited in Washington, D.C., that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people must and shall be restored to our capital city.

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.

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Prepared for December 2002 Unit Meetings

The purpose of the League of Women Voters shall be to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government. Policy: The League may take action on governmental measures and policies in the public interest. It shall not support or oppose any political party or candidate.

As shown above, the League was founded for the purpose of informing ourselves and others on the issues which affect all citizens, especially women and children, and then taking action to influence the political process on behalf of the public interest on these issues. Historically, it grew out of the Woman Suffrage movement, and had as its first objective in 1920 to train newly enfranchised women voters following the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Some LWVUS achievements:

1921 Helped win passage of the Sheppard-Towner Act providing federal money for maternal and children's program, stepping stone for the Social Security Act of 1935.

1928 Sponsored the first national radio broadcast of a candidate forum.

1955 Testified against Sen. Joseph McCarthy's abuse of congressional investigative powers.

1976 Received an Emmy Award for the presidential debates between Carter and Ford.

Local, regional and state Leagues claim other achievements and continue to work on issues of election reform, voting rights, protection of the environment, education and world peace and justice.

Structure - The League is organized so that those who join are simultaneously members of ,a local League, a state League, the national League and an inter-League organization (ILO), if one exists in the particular area. Members are invited to be active on any or all levels. The DC League is regarded as both a state and a local League and it is a member of the National Capital Area League, an ILO. Some local Leagues are organized in the unit system, which began during WW II, when gas was rationed and women started meeting in their neighborhoods. Each unit has a chairperson; a representative of the unit chairs is often on the local Board. As a grass-roots organization, members suggest topics to be studied and take those suggestions to the local Board. The Board reviews and recommends the issues to the annual meeting or convention, which then selects the topics for the next biennium. Local Boards fill out additional monthly program topics; our program planning units will be held in January 2003.

The DC League offers six Unit groups that meet monthly to discuss League program: Southwest, Upper 16th St., Chevy Chase/Ingleside, In-Town Evening and Northwest Day and Evening. Longtime League members will remember Units that formerly met in Georgetown, SEAnacostia, Cleveland Park, Connecticut Ave., Northeast, and Capitol Hill. The present Unit configuration reflects changes over time in Unit leadership and women's working lives.

The national, state, ILO and local Leagues are governed by a volunteer board of directors, elected by the membership to serve two years, with staggered terms. The current Board of the DC League is composed of president, vice presidents (at present, two, although our by-laws call for three), secretary, treasurer, 6 elected directors and 5 appointed directors (serving for one year). Directors have a portfolio, assuming responsibility for a specific area. LWVDC also has 4 committee chairs and a nominating committee.

While individuals are urged to work in the political party of their choice, the political activities of all Board members are restricted.

Funding support for activities come from members, non-members and the community at large, foundations, corporations, and businesses.

The League can take action only on those governmental issues on which it has positions. These positions are arrived at after study and group discussion, either by consensus or concurrence.

Summarized and edited from a Fairfax LWV document by LWVDC Board.


1. What are some of the historical achievements of LWVDC and NCA? Do you have additions to the list of achievements for LWVUS?

2. How many of us work in political parties? Should political activities of Board members be restricted?

3. What are ways in which LWVDC raises money for support? What do we receive from the community at large, foundations, corporations, and businesses?

4. What is our per-member-payment to NCA and LWVDC? How and when is it decided?

5. Do we have local positions or are all set by LWVUS and NCA? Have our positions been reached by consensus or concurrence?

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