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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 79, No. 2, February 2003

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: The Parade Is About to Start...What Will Be DC's Role?
Don't Miss These!!!
Member News
March League Fundraiser Event
News from the Units
LWVUS Lobby Corps
Congressional Representation
Voter Services
International Relations
Brown Bag Dialogue
Children at Risk Committee
Education Committee
Healthcare Committee
Highlights of January 8 Meeting of LWVDC Board and Ed Fund Trustees
Local PAC Launches Drive to Make DC Presidential Primary "First in the Nation" in 2004
Local and Regional Program Planning Slated Feb. 8, 2003
Calendar: February 2003

Insert: Positions in Brief



The District of Columbia is gearing up for a head-on assault on disenfranchisement in the next several years. Many D.C. based coalitions and organizations are developing plans, holding discussions, researching and mobilizing support for an on-going attack on disenfranchisement. Some former LWVDC Presidents met recently to strategize on how the D.C. League could contribute to this effort. One result of their thinking was that the D.C. League should engage the assistance of our state leagues by sending letters to them to solicit their support for proposed legislation related to D.C. issues.

The issue of Voting Rights for D.C. citizens was argued before the Organization of American States and the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. Some members were astonished to learn of the D.C. residents' plight. Our Shadow Representative Ray Browne has visited many cities throughout the country, lobbying and soliciting endorsements from elected officials, with the backing of the D.C . Council and the D.C. League. What role does the D.C. League want to take in this renewed movement?

At the Feb. 8th biennial local program planning meeting members will recommend the basis of future study for the next two years. This is the first call for the upcoming April 24th Annual Meeting.

Warm thanks to our Chevy-Chase-Ingleside Unit for arranging the event of January 18 at the Ingleside apartments, to provide food for thought while benefiting the D.C. League. Dr. David Hilfiker shared his views of our city from the perspective of a doctor working as a volunteer with residents of Christ House and Joseph's House. Dr. Hilfiker's recent book "Urban Injustice" inspired members to organize the "High Tea and Straight Talk" event, which was attended by more than 70 people, and resulted in an addition of $1,000 to the D.C. League's income.

Thank you to all volunteers: Gladys Weaver for observing the DCPS Board Hearings; Suzanne Campagna for observing the NCA Board Meetings; Reggie Yancey for the profitable SALE of VOTE pins; and, Kathy Schmidt for keeping us up-to-date on Congressional events. And, all financial contributors - YOU are appreciated. As of December 31, contributions totaled some $3,500, which will help us continue our work.

Our history of the D.C. League covers the period from 1920 to 1960. A historian or researcher is needed to update our legacy. — E. Patricia Hallman, President

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Sat. Feb. 8 from l0 am-noon; All Membership Meeting on Program Planning (See below).

Mon. Feb. 24 from 11:30 am -1:30pm
Brown Bag Dialogue at 1730 M St. NW, #1000
Topic: "2004 DC Budget"
Speaker: Edward Lazere

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WELCOME NEW MEMBERS: We welcome new members Betty M. James and Gloria K. Liebenson as well as the following new members who have joined the League nationally and have been assigned this month to the DC League: Richard Barnes, Shirley A. Briggs, Jeanne D. Carpenter, Katharine Elsasser, Mary Jane Fisher, Colette Grindle, Ellen S. Haring, Kim Jennings, Jane S. Jones, Melissa Kay Kendrick, Stephen Low, Elmide Meleance, Barbara Seidman, Marianne Scott.

CONTRIBUTIONS: We gratefully thank and acknowledge contributions from our members: Dorothy Armstrong, Susan Carpenter, Susan L. Catler in memory of Louise Perry, Joan & Art Domike, Sarah Lewis in memory of Libby Hertzmark, Grace Malakoff, Elizabeth Sherrill Merritt, Susan Rao, Carl Seastrum, Harriet J. Smith, Patricia A. Wheeler.

OTHER NEWS: It is with regret that we say goodbye to Gilda Varrati, who has moved to a retirement community near her family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. An active member of the Southwest Unit and of the International Relations Committee, Gilda served over three years as an economist with the US Delegation to the United Nations in the Carter administration. She will be missed.

Jane K. Schwartz DC League President (1965-67) was remembered in our Voter of June 2002. Here we have a recent note from her daughter Eleanor L. Schwartz: "It is with deepest regret that I must inform you that my mother passed away this past April 19. She was 89. Mom was active in the DC League of Women Voters throughout the 1950s and 1960s . ...In 1970, after she had moved to Rockville, she coordinated the Washington metropolitan area activities for the 50th anniversary celebration of the League. I remember growing up with Mom attending a constant stream of unit meetings and resource groups. Every so often, she'd say that she had been on Capitol Hill that day, giving testimony. I wasn't sure what testimony was, but I started calling her "testimommy." One of her major focuses was home rule for DC, and I remember us all cheering when the 23nd amendment passed in 1961."

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A fundraising event is being planned for March. If you are interested in working on the fundraiser, please call Linda E. Softli at 667-8210.

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The morning session of our January 25 forum was designed to educate and inform League members of the many issues involved in providing health services to the working poor and those otherwise unable to access healthcare through the private sector. Knowledgeable panelists spoke from diverse points of view. Come to your February Unit Meeting prepared to continue consideration and discussion of the questions and comments evoked by the Forum presentations and/or to raise important issues on health care not addressed at the Forum. Plan to attend one of the Unit Meetings listed below whether or not you are able to attend the Forum. There is no subject more vital to our well being, individually or as a political jurisdiction.

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9:45 am, Southeast Unit, Anna Marsh (554-7719) 1253 Delaware Ave., SW
12:45 pm, Northwest Day Unit, IONA Senior Services, 4125 Albemarle St., NW, Co-chairs June Bashkin (337-0949) & Barbara Kemp (362-4529)
6:30 pm, In-Town Evening Unit, Irish Channel Inn, 500 H St., NW in Chinatown. One block from Gallery PI/Chinatown Metro. We reserve tables for the meeting. Members can choose to eat or not. RSVP to Sheila Willet by 3 pm on the 18th at 347-3020 if you plan to attend

Wednesday, February 19

9:45 am, Upper 16th St. Unit, Kathy Schmidt (237-5550), 3601 Connecticut Ave., NW #418

Thursday, February 20

9:45 am, Chevy Chase/Ingleside Unit, The Lounge @ Ingleside, 3050 Military Rd., NW, Co-chairs: Ruth Allen (362-8953), Leslie Dunbar (364-6457), Joan Wilson (237-6264)
7:30 pm, The Evening Unit, Geri Albers (362-2605), 4000 Mass. Ave., NW # 510

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Election Reform: DC Leaguers Naomi Glass, Judith Smith, Sheila Willet and Sheila Keeny attended a Voter Service Roundtable on Election Reform sponsored by the NCA LWV on Jan. 17. LWVUS Executive Director Nancy Tate and staff explained the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (also known as HAVA), and encouraged all State Leagues (including DC) to work proactively with coalition partners to develop an implementation plan. See article on HAVA in the February issue of the National Voter. Meanwhile, Elinor Hart attended the Washington Council of Governments Voter Service Technical Committee Meeting where Bill O'Field, DC Board of Elections and Ethics, discussed HAVA. Future articles in the DC Voter will inform DC Leaguers of our participation in this new legislation.

Registering new citizens: The next opportunity to register new citizens to vote is Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 10 am after the swearing-in ceremony at the DC Courthouse. Call Judy Smith if you would like to help.— Sheila Keeny (966-1692), 3rd Vice Pres. (Natl. Programs), and Judy Smith (882-3021), Voter Services Co-chair.

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On January 16 the National Lobby Corps of the League of Women Voters met for the first time during the new 108th Congress. Seventeen members, many of whom are new to the Lobby Corps, were present. Election reform, which was passed and signed by the president during the last congress, now faces funding difficulties. Persuading the House and Senate to provide the means for implementation will be the Lobby Corps' first undertaking. Other future lobbying issues may include new aspects of campaign finance reform, global warming, health care reform, and DC Vote. The LWVUS Board meeting in late January will clarify lobbying priorities. LWV members from DC are urged to join the Lobby Corps. Call AI Schmidt, 237-5550, if you are interested. — AI Schmidt (237-5550), Lobby Corps Member

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On Tues., Jan. 14, DC Vote held its second Champions of Democracy awards reception at the Hyatt-Regency on Capitol Hill. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Frank H. Rich, Sr. are the 2002 honorees.

Through the efforts of Sen. Lieberman in Oct. 2002, the Senate Government Affairs Committee held hearings on the lack of voting rights in the District. Del. Norton had proposed the "No Taxation Without Representation Bill of 2002" in May 2002. It was brought before the House committee for the first voting representation legislation hearing in 25 years.

Mr. Frank Rich was honored for his faithful volunteer work with DC Vote since its inception and for his lifelong commitment to the city and its people. A large gathering left the reception inspired to continue working for equal rights for all District of Columbia citizens. —Kathy Schmidt (237-5550), DC Vote Liaison

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Tuesday, February 25 at 6:30 pm is the next scheduled meeting of the IR Committee at Sumner School, 1201 17th Street, NW (corner of 17th and M Streets). Call Anne Porowski (3640557) for information about the guest speaker as it was not available when this Voter went to press.

Great Decisions: The IR Committee will sponsor two Great Decisions groups this year, both meeting during the day - one meeting at LWVUS (1730 M St.,NW), the other still under formation at Ingleside (3050 Military Road, NW.) We will be discussing eight compelling foreign policy issues chosen by the Foreign Policy Association, which is responsible for the briefing book used by participants ($15).

The Downtown group expects to hold its first meeting on Unilateralism vs Multilateralism in the Rosalie Goodman Room of the LWVUS, on Wednesday, February 12 from noon - 2:30 (including video). The second meeting, February 26, same time same place, will consider the situation in Afghanistan, with Susan Rao leading the discussion.

The Ingleside group is still planning its schedule. Watch the DCVoter for dates of subsequent meetings of both groups

Any interested League member or friend is welcome to join either group. Call Sheila Keeny at 966-1692 for information about the group meeting at LWVUS; call Joan Wilson at 2376264 if interested in the Ingleside group. —Sheila Keeny

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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 11:30 AM -1:30 PM, 1730 M Street, NW, Suite 1000.

Do you want to discuss the 2004 D.C. Budget? Join us Monday, February 24, 2003 in the LWVUS Boardroom as we dialogue with Mr. Edward Lazere, Director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. — Anna Marsh (554-7719), Dialogue Coordinator

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The committee is concluding its basic survey of children's needs with visits to various government and faith organization sites for firsthand exposure to critical programs. Now its focus will shift to study of 1) the federal reauthorization of the welfare reform act expected in March, which will impact strongly on District procedures and budget and 2) on the 2004 District budget itself. The months of March through May are critical for the League to be ready to testify in defense of social service programs serving lowincome families. The Children at Risk Committee, working through the Fair Budget Coalition and DC Action for Kids, will concentrate on speaking out for the League. — Joan Wilson (237-6264), Co-chair

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In the Education Committee's continued study of charter schools, we are reviewing a study produced by The Center for Education Reform. This study ranked the states on their charter schools and graded the schools. The District of Columbia was given a rank of 4 & a grade of A.

According to the study, "only 20 states have laws that can be considered strong". These states foster the development of numerous and genuinely independent charter schools. The State of Delaware was highlighted. It has eleven charters operating with the rank of 2. Delaware's Charter School Board includes parents and teachers. An elected member of the local school board is not allowed to be a member of the charter school board. We are studying Delaware's charter school system in detail, to learn about their successes.

The current school board charter for D.C. specifies that the Board must have an odd number of members, not to exceed 7, and must include at least two parents of enrolled students. The majority of Board members must be D.C. residents. To learn more about our findings and to participate in the study, come to the next Education Committee meeting on Wednesday, February 12, at 10 a.m. in the LWVDC office. —Gladys Weaver (554-3055) & Constance Tate (882-0387), Co-chairs.

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Highlights of the League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area Board meeting on Friday, January 10, 2003 at 10 a.m. in the LWVUS Board Room follow:

  • HAVA (Help America Vote Act) will include money for states when appropriated. Public commissions in all states must be set up to develop plans for using electoral reform money. State presidents getting minimum standards from LWVUS; send feedback on LWVNCA jurisdictions to NCA.

  • SOARing Campaign: National campaign ended; yielded 1,630 new members.

  • Program planning process: All local Leagues should report their recommendations by midFebruary. NCA Board will adopt its proposed program at March meeting.

  • eDemocracy status: DNET is dormant for 2003; so is NCA's DNET Round Table. NCA Voters Service Round Table will present proposal at February NCA Board meeting for CapWiz Workshop.

  • LWVNCA and LWVUS offering Leadership Plenty Training, a leadership development series of four sessions conducted by LWVUS Membership Director, Cheryl Graeve.
    Dates: Saturdays 2/22, 3/8, 3/22, 4/12. Time: 9-4.
    Cost: $50 total; includes materials, lunch/drink.
    Registration deadline: Feb. 7.
    Call the LWVDC office (347-3020) for a registration form.

  • LWVNCA Annual Convention will be Sat., May 10, 2003. Naumann Award Committee awaits nominations.

  • Two LWVNCA monthly Board meeting dates have been rescheduled from April 4 to April 11 and June 6 to June 13. — Andrea Morris Gruhl, NCA News & Notes

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A strong component in providing healthcare services in the District is the DC Office on Aging. It is the state and area Agency on Aging designated by the Mayor to plan, develop, and implement programs and services for residents 60 years and older. It is serviced by a network of providers consisting of 30 community-based non-profit organizations that operate 42 programs for senior citizens. These programs and services include: Adult Day Care, InHome Support, Legal Service, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Alzheimer's Services, Minor Home Repair, Respite Services, Meal Program, Transportation, Emergency Shelter, Multipurpose Senior Centers, Health Insurance Counseling, and Homebound Meal Program. Six Service Areas or lead agencies provide a wide range of social and health services throughout the city. They include: Barney Neighborhood House, Iona Senior Services, United Planning Organization, Greater Washington Urban League, Senior Counseling & Delivery Service, and UPO Project KEEN.

Although most programs are provided through the Senior Service Network, the Office on Aging operates a job training and employment program and an information and assistance unit for District residents.

Through the Information and Assistance Program, weekdays during the hours of 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, seniors, family members, care givers, and the general public can call one central location and find out how to access services that are available to seniors throughout the District of Columbia.

The D.C. Office on Aging is under the direction of E. Veronica Pace. It is located at 441 4th St., NW, Ste 900 South, D.C. 20001. The telephone number is 202-724-5626 and the web site is

The next meeting of the Healthcare Committee is Tuesday, February 25 at 1:00 pm. — Natalie Howard (882-8762), Chair

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[Chairman Hallman began the meeting of the LWVDC Education Fund Trustees at 10 am]

  • Linda Softli proposed a plan to solicit financial support for LWVDC by mailing a letter to businesses and corporations in the Washington area, especially businesses owned by women. The purchase of a mailing list would be necessary to initiate the plan. She is researching the costs of the endeavor, and she will bring specific cost estimates to the February Board meeting.
  • Judy Smith, for Voter Services, reported that the date for LWVDC to co-sponsor the swearing-in ceremony for new citizens has been set for Tuesday April 8, 2003, and she hopes for a good attendance by LWVDC Trustees and members.

[The Education Fund Trustees adjourned at 10:45 a. m. and President Hallman began the meeting of the LWVDC Board of Directors].
  • Pres. Hallman reported on the meeting she attended between LWVUS President Kay Maxwell and Ilir Zherka, Executive Director of DC Vote. She reminded the Board that the LWVUS Board is meeting in Washington on January 24t" through 26t" and the Advocacy Committee will meet beforehand, on Jan. 24th. The Board decided a letter reminding National Board members of the need for Voting Rights for DC residents should be sent from President Hallman.

Kathy Schmidt called attention to a letter to The Washington Post from Joe Grano of the Rhodes Tavern-DC Heritage group, in which he suggested that LWVDC serve as recipient of funds contributed to the cause of Voting Rights for DC. A motion that we write a letter notifying Grano that LWVDC is not able or willing to assume such a role was approved.

  • LWVDC will host a meeting of the DC Team Democracy group on January 13th.

  • National Program: Sheila Keeny said she has had a good response to the offer of Great Decisions for League members. The group will meet at her house.
  • Annual meeting is to be held on April 24. Elaine Melmed will contact Gallaudet University re holding it there again. Susan Rao will coordinate the plans for the meeting, and a committee will be appointed to decide on a speaker.
  • Naomi Glass reviewed the plans for the Healthcare/Education Forum to be held January 25 at The Logan School. We need to make a big effort to see that it is well attended. We will contact the calendars of community events in The Washington Post and the Northwest Current, emphasizing that the event is free.

  • Reggie Yancey asked for volunteers to assist in upcoming private elections at Potomac Park Plaza and Watergate West. — Frances Gemmill

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DC Democracy Fund, a political action committee (PAC) that financially supports Federal candidates who back the District of Columbia's right to full representation in Congress, announced (in a January 17th press release) its drive to have the District of Columbia's Republican and Democratic presidential primaries held one week prior to those held in New Hampshire which is tentatively scheduled for January 27, 2004.

"The 2004 presidential primary will demonstrate to America the injustice faced by the nearly 600,000 residents of the nation's capital," said DC Democracy Fund Executive Director Sean Tenner. "Presidential candidates will have to address DC's lack of voting rights and autonomy if they want ourvotes and our delegates as the nominating process kicks-off."

The call to make the DC primary, "first in the nation" was raised at a historic January 13th meeting of all the District's voting rights groups. Your DC League hosted this meeting. The press release indicated that preliminary commitments have been made by two prominent DC Councilmembers to introduce Council legislation fostering the primary date change. We will keep its members informed as this issue goes to the DC Council.

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League members routinely and proudly assert that the League is a "grass roots" organization; we regard that as one of our basic strengths. And the grass roots process begins in our program planning meetings. Planning for local and regional issues will take place this year on Saturday, February 8, 2003 at the Logan School.

When & Where
Saturday, Feb. 8 10 am -noon
The Paul Vance Resource & Training
Center Annex at Logan School,
212 G St. NE, Washington, DC 20002
Logan School is east of Union Station
(Red Line Metro Stop)
Parking available
in the Logan School Parking Lot,
where the Annex Building is located.

What new issues do you want the League to study? Which of our current positions are still valid? Which need updating? Which should be dropped because they no longer reflect our membership's views or perhaps they no longer are relevant? Tell us what YOU think.

In this issue of the DC Voter is a copy of "Positions in Brief," a summary of the local LWVDC positions stated in our publication "Where We Stand." Also included is a copy of the National Capital Area (NCA) positions. Please bring these to the meeting.

We will first review our current DC and NCA positions, then focus on new issues raised by our membership. If you cannot attend, make your views known to Naomi Glass by written note or email. The exchange of ideas during discussion is always enlightening, so come if you can.

Remember that League action is based on its positions, which result from study and consensus. It is useful to keep some definitions in mind as we review our current positions:

  • Retain: Keep position as basis for action; the position is still valid.
  • Drop: The position is no longer valid as a basis for action. Note that we would need to restudy and reach consensus anew to bring the position back.

  • Update: We think there is value in the position but there are new factors which need to be considered. Meanwhile, the position is retained and can be a basis for action.

As we consider new program items, we should keep in mind the criteria listed below (You may have additional criteria; share them with us):

  • Is the issue timely?
  • Can the issue/problem be solved by local or regional government?
  • Do political realities permit effective action?
  • Is member interest sufficient to sustain study and action? This criterion cannot be overemphasized. In fact, it is helpful if leadership for any new study under consideration can be identified.

An important byproduct of the planning meeting is clarification of the areas on which our members want to see the League place emphasis for action. This is your opportunity to tell the rest of us what YOU think and want accomplished. Join us. — Naomi Glass (686-0124), 2nd Vice President (Local Programs), 5533 33rd St., NW Washington, DC 20015-16681

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2 3 4 5 10:00 am Mtg. LWVDC Board, LWVUS office, 1730 M St NW 10th Floor 6 7 10:00 am, LWV NCA Board Mtg., LWVUS Office 8 10:00 am-noon, PROGRAM PLANNING
9 10 11 10:00 am, Voter Registration of New Citizens
March DC Voter deadline
12 10:00 am, Education Committee, LWVDC Office, 733 15th St NW, #432 13 14 15
16 17 President's Holiday 18 9:45 am, Southwest Unit
12:45 pm, Northwest Day Unit
6:30 pm, In-Town Evening Unit
19 9:45 am, Upper 16th St. Unit 20 9:45 am, Chevy Chase/Ingleside Unit
7:30 pm, The Evening Unit
21 March DC Voter mailed 22
23 24 11:30 am, "2004 DC Budget" 25 6:30 pm, IR Committee 26 27 28  

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The following is a summary of current LWVDC and LWVNCA (LWV of the National Capital Area) positions. The full statements of position are contained' in the LWVDC publication, Where We Stand, which was last issued in larch 1996. Any proposed LWVDC action must be based upon the full statement of position.


Local Self-Government and Full Voting Representation: The League of Women Voters believes that citizens of the District of Columbia should be afforded the same rights of self-government and full voting representation in Congress as are all other citizens of the United States. (Full statement of LWVUS position, adopted March 1982; this is to replace existing LWVDC position)

(Statehood for D.C.: Although LWVDC has studied statehood as one of the options for achieving self-government and full voting representation in Congress, it has not reached consensus on this issue. LWVDC neither supports nor opposes statehood for D.C.)

General Policy Statement: District government officials and employees, .as public servants, should demonstrate a commitment to serve the people of Washington, to consider their wishes and to meet their needs. District government programs should implement the economic, social and physical plans for the District. (1971)

Advisory Neighborhood Commissions: Legislation should provide for flexibility in the organization and operation of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions; boundaries should be drawn to protect the neighborhood concept while, if possible, making ANCs consistent with either political divisions. ANCs should communicate effectively with their constituencies; sufficient funding should be established; ANCs should be accountable for maintenance of proper records and use of funds. (readopted April 1989)

Comprehensive Planning:

General: LWVDC supports comprehensive planning for the District's social, economic, and physical development under the leadership of the Mayor, who should assure adequate public participation in planning, coordination of department and agency plans, and D. C. participation in regional planning. (1967, 1972)

Physical Development: LWVDC supports land policies that maintain the District's role both as the national capital and as the urban core of the metropolitan area; and at the same time create a stable and attractive community for the residents of all income levels by meeting their social, economic, and environmental needs. (1967)

Eminent Domain: LWVDC supports cautious use of the government's right of eminent domain within the context of an overall land use plan. (April 1975)

Comprehensive Plan: A comprehensive plan for the physical development of the District is desirable, with ample opportunity for citizen participation. Criteria include service to the public rather than the private interest, neighborhood protection, accessibility of schools, services, employment, recreation and cultural opportunities, preservation of historic districts, compatibility of development with neighborhoods, mixed functions downtown, preservation of small businesses for a diversified , population, and protection of the environment. (1962, 1972)

Council Oversight: LWVDC encourages active oversight by the legislature of the executive branch to assure that the government programs it has approved and funded are carried out efficiently, effectively, honestly, and for the purposes intended. Such oversight is a year-round responsibility requiring a well-informed legislature with access to independent and objective sources of information. (August 1989)

Federal Block Grants: LWVDC supports action to strengthen the oversight functions of the D.C. Council and citizen groups regarding the administration and allocation of federal block grants to the District. (April 1985)

Integrity of Government: LWVDC supports measures to ensure the integrity of the District's Home Rule. government, including more effective use of existing: "watchdog" agencies and protection for "whistleblowers," improved Council oversight, and an elected District Attorney to enforce D.C. criminal law:

Election Laws: (see also LWVUS positions on the Election Process)

Financing: LWVDC supports public financing of locale election campaign expenses: It favors the concept of matching public funds with privately raised funds within budgetary limits. (March 1974)

Initiative: LWVDC supports prior submission of an Initiative to the Council for its action as well as voter information on the initiative's impact. (October 1985)


Budget: The D. C. government .should present a budget fully documented as to expenditures, workload, and achievements to the Mayor, Council, Congress, and the people.' The budget should reflect a true picture of the District's current needs and long-range objectives, and should allocate available financial resources so that the greatest progress toward community goals can be made at the lowest level of expenditure. Congressional action on the budget should be completed before the new fiscal year. (April 1981) .

Revenues: All sources of revenue, including the federal payment, borrowing authority, grants-in-aid, revenue sharing systems, and area-wide financing, should be used, with substantial reliance on the income tax as a reflection of ability to pay. LWVDC believes non-residents should pay District income taxes at the full rate on earning in the District and that organizations exempt from the property tax should pay a use tax. LWVDC supports certain other taxes in the context of the practice of neighboring jurisdictions. The relationship of the District to the suburbs in both tax rates and total tax burden should be considered (see Housing). (March 1970)

The Federal Payment: The federal payment, an obligation of the federal government to the District, should be predictable. (Proposed addition November 1990)

Gun Control: (see also LWVUS position adopted June 1990). LWVDC supports strict and effective enforcement of gun control laws and regulations governing the possession of firearms in the District. Basic penalties for illegal possession or use of a gun in the commission of a crime should be increased, although LWVDC does not support mandatory sentencing. Regional and national regulation is necessary to supplement D.C. legislation. (1975)


Aging: The D.C. Government should support development of services to enable the elderly to remain in their homes as long as possible and to avoid premature/inappropriate institutionalization. (July 1979)

Housing Options for Older Persons: LWVDC supports housing options for older persons including congregate housing, group homes, shared housing and accessory apartments in owner occupied house. (November 1985)

Antidiscrimination: LWVDC actively supports policies to eliminate segregation and discrimination based on race, sex and age in the District. (Adopted 1964, 1968, 1970; age added November 1990)

Children at Risk: The D.C. League will take action under LWVUS positions that support children at risk, and where the LWVDC believes that specific problems in the District of Columbia should be addressed. Services to children and families should be integrated to provide all family preservation and support services under one organizational unit.

Consumer Protection: The office of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs should have stronger referral and enforcement powers and should more actively enforce existing consumer protection laws. (March 1972)

Criminal Justice: (see also gun control, NCA drug positions)

Correctional Institutions: The Department of Corrections should prepare residents of the institutions to re-enter the mainstream of society through motivation, counseling, and use of strong, community-based facilities dispersed throughout the city. Alternatives to incarceration should be explored before expanding present facilities. (March 1973)

Criminal Sentencing: The primary goal of imprisonment should be the protection of society. Other goals are rehabilitation and deterrence. Judges should retain discretion to tailor sentences to fit the crime and the wrongdoer. The prison population should be reduced instead of building additional prisons. (April 1982)


Educational Quality: Curriculum should have visible connection with outside world and must equip the student with marketable skills or the means to continue learning. Continued growth for teachers should be encouraged and superior teaching rewarded. LWVDC supports decentralization of school services. Counseling, special education and other services must be provided. (February 1971)

Board of Education: The Board should be a policymaking body. Members should be chosen in nonpartisan consolidated general elections on both an at-large and a ward basis. The Board should chose its own President. Board membership should not be considered a full time job arid present salaries should be reduced. (February 1982)

Higher Education: LWVDC supports publicly financed higher education in D.C. to include a four-year program for liberal arts and sciences and education, a two-year community college, and a two-year technical school; graduate schools should be developed on a strong undergraduate base as financing is available. The Board of Trustees should have broad representation from diverse interests. (December 1975)

Drug Abuse:

LWVDC supports drug testing when part of the hiring process for jobs affecting public safety and national security. Measures for solving the drug problem should include interdiction, enforcement, education/prevention and treatment, with special emphasis on education and treatment for all drug users. Treatment should be part of the sentence of any drug user convicted of a crime. Financial responsibility should be shared; each jurisdiction should set up its own treatment program. (NCA August 1989)


Planning: LWVDC supports effective health planning on the local and metropolitan level. (April 1983) LWVNCA supports governmental regulation of health planning, regional coordination among Health Systems Agencies and regional implementation of public health education and information services. (NCA 197677) The local health planning agency should care for D. C. citizens, while preventive health measures should be a high priority. Coordination with DHS to ensure implementation is essential. (April 1983)

Services: Concept of twenty-four hour clinics should be developed and use of paraprofessionals expanded; there should be better care for the elderly with emphasis on non-institutional services. (NCA 1977, 1989)

Employment: The D.C. government should take measures to train, re-train, and rehabilitate those who are unemployed or marginally employed so that their earnings will provide a living wage. (1971)

Housing: (see also aging) LWVDC supports a strong commitment by D.C., to provide and finance, affordable housing. 'Economically, culturally and racially diverse residential communities should be encouraged in all areas of the city, and specific requirements or goals for affordable housing should be included in the Comprehensive Plan. Tax policies should further the District's housing goals and homeownership should be encouraged. Well managed and maintained public housing should be provided. In expanding assisted housing, the District should first pursue subsidized rental assistance in housing developed by nonprofit or private organizations. (May 1978, September 1989)

Regional Planning: The goal of the housing component of a regional land use plan should be to provide adequate housing for all income levels, balanced distribution of housing and employment for all income levels and improved housing and neighborhood environments. (NCA 1975, 1989)

Recreation: LWVDC supports adequately funded and staffed quality recreation facilities for the District. (1976-68)


Energy Conservation: The D C. government should develop and implement a comprehensive program for conservation of energy by the government and its citizens, businesses, and institutions. The program should include standards for energy efficiency and a system of charging that encourages conservation. (April 1975)

Environmental Quality:

Solid Waste Management: LWVDC supports reduction of discarded waste at its point of origin; it also supports reuse, such as mandatory deposit legislation, and recycling as significant ways to conserve resources and reduce disposal requirements. It accepts interim measures like sanitary landfill and incineration until reclamation technology and markets are available. (June 1972)

Air Quality and Smoking in Public Places: LWVDC supports realistic enforceable measures for the regulation of smoking in public places in order to protect health of nonsmokers, particularly those suffering from respiratory ailments. (March 1976)

Management of D.C.-Owned Lands: LWVDC supports an inventory of D.C.-owned lands, the establishment of one department or agency responsible for their care and a citizen advisory group to evaluate resource needs and recommend enforcement procedures. (November 1984)

Transportation: Recognizing the need for some form of transportation for all, LWVNCA/DC supports a coordinated system that includes bus and rapid rail transit, and encourages the use of mass transit to reduce air pollution. Priorities include services that are frequent, regular, speedy and economical to the user and for the benefit of the larger community. It calls for full cost-benefit information, and supports public investment to encourage greater use of mass transit. It supports a dedicated tax to spread the costs among the total population and encourage mass transit as an alternative to the automobile. LWV supports public participation in transportation decision-making. (NCA 1963-1989)

Transportation Decision-making in D.C.: There should be a single focal point for the development and advocacy of a D.C. transportation position; this would include D.C. citizens as well as representatives of governmental authorities concerned. (March 1981)

Water Resources: LWVNCA/DC supports a safe and adequate water supply and restoring the quality of our streams and rivers through conservation and protection measures. These include contingency plans developed on a regional basis for water sharing measures, mandatory restrictions on water use in emergencies, and protection of ground water. Construction of upstream dams should not be undertaken unless other options are insufficient to meet the essential needs of the region. LWVNCA/DC supports regional planning to improve waste treatment management, with the objective of protecting public health and minimizing environmental, energy and cost impacts. (NCA 1979, 1989)



1. Balanced use among the three major metropolitan Washington airports may be achieved through a variety of incentives to the use of Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) and Dulles Airports as well as disincentives to the use of the Ronald Reagan National Airport:

a) Improved ground transportation is needed at both BWI and Dulles Airports.

b) Reagan National Airport is overused, and it is necessary to put limitations on its use.

2. The means to limit the noise problem at National Airport include:

a) limiting plane type

b) enforcing decibel limits

c) reducing the number of flights per hour (the scatter pattern plan should not be introduced)

3. To avoid occurrence of noise problems, limit and control development around BWI and Dulles Aor[prts. and maintain present buffer zones, we support:

a) responsible, comprehensive planning and zoning policies which limit development to industrial and/or commercial uses in the immediate vicinity of the airports

b) the restriction of residential development in the surrounding areas (1985)

Beltway Safety

1. In order to control speeding and unsafe driving on the Capital Beltway and its feeder roads, we support:

a) the use of additional patrol officers for increased visibility and enforcement

b) the use of automated photographic speed enforcement devices as an additional system of speed enforcement

2. We support measures to increase truck safety on the Capital Beltway and its connector roads that include:

a) mandatory commercial vehicle safety inspections in Maryland, Virginia and. the District of Columbia

b) increased fines for truck safety violations

c) limiting hazardous material carriers to certain hours

3. Weight and length limitations for commercial vehicles using the Capital Beltway and its feeder roads should not be increased.

4. Efforts between federal, state and local governments to improve coordination of inspection and enforcement activities on the Beltway should be a continuing process (1991).

Comprehensive Health Planning

1. LWVNCA supports:

a) governmental regulations of health planning (1978, 1989)

b) regional coordination among Health Systems Agencies in the Washington Metropolitan Area to include gathering data, sharing information, avoiding duplication of facilities and services, and controlling costs (1976, 1989)

c) regional implementation of health education and information services to the public (1977, 1989)

2. In order to increase the availability of medical services, LWV supports the concept of 24-hour clinics and the use of para-professionals (1977, 1989).

3. There should be improved care for the elderly and an emphasis on community support as an alternative to long-term institutional nursing care (197?, 1989).

Controlled Substances

1. We support legislation to permit the use of marijuana and heroin for medicinal purposes (1989).

2. We believe that testing for illegal drug use is a justifiable invasion of privacy when required as part of the hiring process for jobs affecting public safety and national security (1989).

3. Employees who test positive should be:

a) retested prior to any disciplinary action

b) allowed to continue working or put on administrative leave

c) required in each case to participate in an employee assistance program

d) subjected to random drug tests for a one-year period following a positive test (1989).

4. Measures for solving the drug problem should include interdiction, enforcement, education/prevention, and treatment. Education and treatment should receive special emphasis and should be stressed over criminal justice sanctions (1989, 1991).

5. Drug treatment programs that should be given public funding priority include detoxification and self-help programs, outpatient care, and the use of therapeutic communities, with aftercare as part of all programs (1991).

6. Treatment programs for drug users under 18 and for pregnant women should receive priority for public funding (1991).

7. Drug treatment should be incorporated into the sentence for any juvenile or adult convicted of a crime who tested positive at the time of arrest (1989).

8. Pregnant drug users should not be subjected to criminal prosecution just because they are pregnant. Pregnant drug users who are before the court for crimes other than the use of drugs should be placed in mandatory treatment through a justice system diversion program. We support the use of outreach nurses and counselors for pregnant drug users without the threat of legal penalties (1991).

9. Financial responsibility for drug treatment should fall; to some extent, on all of the following: insurance, patients, patients' families, governments (federal, state, and local), employers, and labor unions (1989).

10. Each jurisdiction in the metropolitan Washington area should set up its own treatment programs for drug users (1989).

11. The area jurisdictions should establish a public/private partnership through the Council of Governments (COG) to develop a long-range plan to meet treatment needs and to identify financial and in-kind resources. This partnership should include the private sector and citizen groups (1989).

D.C. Finances

Budget Autonomy. The District of Columbia should have autonomy in budgeting locally raised revenue. The League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area (NCA) supports legislation eliminating the annual Congressional D.C. appropriations budget-approval process.

Federal Payment. To address the District of Columbia's need for a stronger revenue base, the League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area (NCA) supports Congressional legislation setting forth the factors for determining an annual, predictable federal payment. The most important factors to be considered are:

1. taxes that the District of Columbia cannot levy because of Congressional prohibitions on the District's ability to tax; and

2. the cost of services provided by the District to the federal government.

Other factors might include the cost of state services provided by the District and the percentages of revenue that other U.S. cities receive from external sources.

Land Use/Housing

1. Regional land use planning for the Washington Metropolitan area should include a coordinated and comprehensive approach to meet housing needs. The goal of the housing component of a regional land use plan should be to:

a) provide adequate housing for all income levels

b) promote a balanced distribution. of housing and employment for all income levels

c) improve the quality of housing and neighborhood environments (1975, reaffirmed 1989)

Regional Governance

1. We accept the Council of Governments (COG) as the basic instrument for cooperative regional planning and the solution of governmental problems that cannot be solved by local governments or other planning boards and agencies (1966, 1982).

2. We support granting COG sufficient authority so that it can resolve governmental problems that cannot be solved by local governments (1973, 1982, 1987, 1989).

3. Any Washington Metropolitan governance should have some funding powers. Specifically, we support assessments of member jurisdictions, user fees, and state and federal grants.

4. We support citizen participation at the regional level for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and other inter-jurisdictional agencies (1973, 1983).


1. In support of the concept that there be some form of public transportation available for all, we endorse public policy in services and planning that:

a) supports a coordinated public transportation system which includes bus and rapid rail transit (1964, 1970, 1983, 1989)

b) promotes and improves the present and proposed public transportation systems to encourage the use of mass transit (1963, 19?0, 1989)
2. Priorities in transportation services and planning should include:

a) transportation systems services that are convenient, frequent, regular, speedy, and economical to the user and for the benefit of the larger community (1983, 1984, 1870, 1983, 1989)

b) reduced air pollution through the promotion of mass transportation systems (1970, 1989)

c) allocation of mad space for use of high- occupancy vehicles (buses, carpools, vanpools) to speed services, including traffic control measures

3. We support public participation and supervision in determining information needed and in evaluating transportation proposals, transportation planning, and operations. Public involvement and decision-making should include:

a) appointment of citizen members to decision-making boards with full authority to, participate in their functions, and enough tenure to master the subject (These members should be residents of the jurisdictions involved and include consumer advocates who do not have business connections or official roles in the transportation and appropriations process.) (1971, 1989)

b) every effort by local governments to include minorities, senior citizens, economically and/or physically challenged persons and other traditionally under-represented citizens on transportation and land use advisory committees and to facilitate this participation (1997)

c) open public meetings of all regulatory and public management boards (1971, 1989)

d) compulsory paid publications in general circulation newspapers or proposals on which public review is to be held (1971, 1989)

e) decision-making on the level of services for the regional :mass transit system by WMATA with local input; including citizen input early in the decision-making process (1981, 1989)

4. We support financial measures that include:

a) informing the public of the total costs of auto use and full public disclosure of the costs of transportation service, of who pays for service and who receives it, and of full cost/benefit information

b) public investment to finance public transportation systems, to encourage substantially greater use of mass transportation, to increase resources for bus and rail transit, to achieve a realistic alternative to private auto use, to provide Rinds for bus shelters and information services (1971, 1983, 1989)

c) reduction of subsidies to auto use, such as tax favors which support parking and free parking for employees paid out of public funds (1971, 1989)

d) The use of a dedicated tax to help fund public transportation. The objective of such a tax should be to spread the costs of mass transit among the total population and to encourage the use of mass transit instead of the automobile. A sales tax which excludes such necessities as food and medicines would be the best means of financing mass transportation transportation in the metropolitan area. The most important criteria to be used in evaluating particular taxes dedicated to transportation should be revenue potential, timelines, and reliability (1980).

Note: The above position applies only to the Washington metropolitan area and may be acted upon within the context of interstate regional cooperation, despite its partial conflict with the LWVMD, LWVVA, and LWVDC positions.

5. We support the integration of transportation and land use planning on local and regional levels (1997).

Water Resources

1. In order to ensure a safe and adequate water supply for metropolitan Washington and to restore the quality of our streams and rivers, we support::

a.) conservation and protection of drinking water and supply sources - sources of drinking water serving the metropolitan area, such as the Potomac River and Occoquan and Patuxent Reservoirs, must be maintained and protected against pollution from both point and non-point sources

b) regional demand reduction and water conservation measures to reduce annual per capita use

i. Contingency plans should be developed on a regional basis to provide for mandatory restrictions on water use in time of emergency.

ii. Measures to recycle treated waste water in industrial, agricultural, and other non- potable systems and measures to reduce the use of water of drinking water quality as a conveyer of wastes should be encouraged to the extent consistent with public health and hydrological requirements.

c) water-sharing measures to meet emergencies and to protect the physical and biological integrity of the sources

d) protection of ground water

e) official consideration of new drinking water sources

i. Sources within the metropolitan region should be investigated as possible adjuncts to existing water sources.

ii. Construction of major upstream dame on the Potomac or its tributaries for the purpose of providing additional water supplies for the metropolitan region should not be undertaken unless other options have been found insufficient to meet the essential needs of the region.

2. We support regional planning to improve waste water treatment management. Final selection for new or expanded waste water treatment facilities should be based on meeting national clean water objectives, protecting public health, and minimizing environmental, energy, and cost impacts (1979, 1989).