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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 79, No. 8, September 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
Boathouse Proposal Update
Affordable Housing Committee
Education Committee
Congressional Representation
Help Register New Voters
Transportation Committee
International Relations Committee
LWV NCA News & Notes
Member News
National Program
Calendar, September 2003
Member Handbook and Directory Program Calendar 2003-2004
Hillwood Tour and Tea Reservation Form
Opening Fall Luncheon Reservation Form


With this September VOTER, we end our summer wanderings and begin a new League program year. Be sure to peruse the enclosed Member Handbook and Calendar for events to come.

Our traditional "Opening Luncheon" on September 18th will bring us an opportunity to advance our understanding of the District's fiscal problems. Dr. Alice Rivlin of the Brookings Institution, co-author of "A Sound Fiscal Footing for the Nation's Capital: A Federal Responsibility," will speak about some of the potential solutions to those problems. The luncheon will take place at our own University of the District of Columbia, in the rooms of the David A. Clarke School of Law.

We'll begin October with the October 4th visit to Hillwood, the mansion left by Marjorie Merriwether Post to house her art collection. The room where we'll gather for tea will only accommodate 50 persons, so I hope you've already made reservations for yourself and your guests.

October will continue by bringing Unit discussions on regional transportation planning (October 14-16), an issue which concerns all Leagues in the National Capital Area. The NCA League has provided fact sheets on which Unit discussions will be based to try to discern a consensus among all NCA members. Watch for fact sheets in a separate mailing.

November will bring opportunity to learn about and reach a consensus in the D.C. League as to the potential impact of school vouchers on D.C. public schools and their students. In the week following an informational forum presenting pros and cons on November 12, Units will discuss vouchers and aim to reach a consensus on that subject.

December will bring a general meeting on Presidential Selection in its second week, and Unit discussions on subjects of their choice in the third week. Meanwhile, the International Relations Committee will meet each month on topics of interest in that field.

The election year 2004 will begin with the FIRST Presidential Preference Primary here in D.C. on January 13th. Spread the word: December 15, 2003 is the deadline for voters to register to vote on January 13. — Frances Gemmill, President

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Don't Miss These Events

Thursday, Sept. 18th
Opening Fall Luncheon
Guest Speaker
Dr. Alice Rivlin
Saturday, Oct. 4th
Tour & Tea

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The D.C. Zoning Commission has postponed until mid fall a vote on Georgetown University's proposal for a private boathouse at the gateway to the C&O Canal National Historical Park. This will allow opponents of the plan, as proposed, to comment on the still unpublished wording of the regulations for a new waterfront-zoning category, W-O, applicable in this case. The opponents, who prefer an alternative location for the boathouse -- outside the C&O Canal National Historical Park boundary -- have formed a coalition called "Defenders of Potomac River Parkland," which includes the C&O Canal Association, the Capital Crescent Trail Coalition, the Washington Canoe Club, and others. The Board of the DC League of Women Voters also voted to join the Defenders group, and recommended to the Zoning Commission that an Environmental Assessment of the impact of the proposed boathouse on the river and its surrounding area be developed before a decision is made. — Frances Gemmill

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Meets September 11

The Affordable Housing Committee will meet Thursday, September 11 at 5:30 pm at the LWVDC office to review pending DC housing legislation for possible action. — Sharron Hines (395-9348), Chair

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The League's study of the pros and cons of school vouchers: The Education Committee presented the following proposal to the DC League Board on May 7, 2003, for consideration and approval. The Board approved the plan.

The rationale for the study: President Bush selected the D.C. Public Schools as one of three systems to carry out a pilot voucher plan. The position of the Mayor, School Board President and members, and some DC Council members, originally opposed to the voucher concept, changed.

LWVUS has a position on quality education, but not specifically on vouchers. Following is the LWVUS position on Quality Education, as it appears in the 2002-2004 Impact on Issues:

"The 1974-76 LWVUS program included the phrase 'equal access to ... quality education,' reflecting League recognition that 'equality' and `quality' ultimately are inseparable. However, LWVUS has never undertaken a process for determining a common League definition of quality education that could serve as a basis for action nationwide. Therefore, when the definition of quality is a key factor in a state or local community, a state or local league must conduct its own study rather than relying on the LWVUS position to take action. Many Leagues that have member agreement on quality education in specific terms use their positions to support an array of local and state educational reforms. A number of Leagues have used this position to oppose private school vouchers. The LWVUS is a member of the National Coalition for Public Education, which opposes vouchers."

Thus, LWVDC needs to develop a position on vouchers relating to our own public schools.

The Process of the Study:

  1. To determine the present thinking of D.C. League members and their interest in the proposed use of school vouchers, financed by federal money.
  2. To determine whether there is a consensus on the use of school vouchers. This should include basic reasons for their positions.
  3. To report to the Board the results and the rationale.
  4. The timing for this study will be November 2003, including an all-member meeting followed by discussion in unit meetings.

The next meeting of the Education Committee will be Wednesday, September 10, at 10 am at the LWVDC Office. The meeting is of course open to all members. — Connie Tate (882-0387) and Gladys Weaver (554-3055), Co-chairs

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Study Meeting September 11

A committee to study the options to alleviate D.C.'s lack of full voting representation in Congress is being formed. Our first meeting will be held Thursday, September 11, from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Park Library meeting room.

Come as early as you can, but I shall stay until the end so that any part of the meeting you miss I shall try to repeat. The library is just one black south of the Cleveland Park Metro (red line). Get off on the west side of the street. — Kathy Schmidt (237-5550), Chair

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If you want to help register high school students in time for the January Primary, call or email Elinor Hart at 387-2966 or

Ongoing voter registration of new citizens after their Naturalization Ceremony will take place Tuesday, September 9. Contact Judy Smith at 882-3021 to participate. — Elinor Hart (387-2966) and Judy Smith (882-3021), Voters Service Co-chairs

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Put on your regional hat. Can we improve on the process for making decisions and for funding regional approaches? A two-year study conducted jointly by League members within the National Capital Area will be presented for consensus in the October Unit meetings. Resource materials and consensus questions on Regional Transportation Planning will be mailed to League members at the end of September. Mark your calendar for October 14-16 and plan to attend one of the unit meetings to give your input. The location, date and time of the unit meetings will be announced in the October DC Voter: Call the League office if you do not receive the October Voter in time. — Grace Malakoff (387-7540), Chair

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Meeting On September 28

The International Relations Committee will meet on Sunday, September 28, 2 pm, at Sheila Keeny's home. Her address is: 3600 Albemarle, NW. Street parking is available. (Red Line Metro stops Tenleytown-AU & Van Ness-UDC are within walking distance.) We will discuss our activities during the past year and determine the best way to proceed for the next year.

Those interested in arms control may wish to stay after the regular meeting to watch a recent C-Span interview with member Spurgeon Keeny commemorating the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Limited Test Ban Treaty. — Ann Porowski (364-0557) and Susan Rao (636-1688), Co-chairs

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Andrea Gruhl reported that the location of the first meeting of the Homeland Security Committee has been changed to the boardroom at LWVUS Headquarters (10th floor, 1730 M Street, near Farragut North Metro stop). It will convene at 10 a.m. on the symbolic date of Sept. 11th. Each local league will send at least one rep to the meeting, which will be followed by a Dutch treat lunch at the Mayflower Hotel. For more info contact Andrea Gruhl, Chair at (301) 596-5460.

Melpi Jeffries requested more committee members for the Housing Update Committee. Melpi's phone number in Montgomery County is 301-530-5452; her email address is

The Presidents' Brunch will occur Fri., Oct. 3rd. Kay Maxwell will attend. There will be no agenda for our NCA Board. The Presidential Roundtable will function throughout the event.

The next NCA meeting will be held Friday, September 5 at 10 am in the LWVUS Board Room, 1730 M Street, NW. All are welcome. — Andrea Gruhl & Barbara Sherrill, LWV National Capital Area

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NEW MEMBERS: We welcome Dr. Elizabeth Clark-Lewis and Irena L. Webster.

CONTRIBUTIONS: We gratefully acknowledge and thank the following for their contributions to the League support: Audrey Hatry, Helen Latimer [in memory of Mrs. John Francis Latimer (Helen) who was LWVDC President 195355], and Anna Marsh.

IN MEMORIAM: We are sad to report the recent death of Paul Whipple, a member of the DC League who, with his wife Irma Stark Whipple, worked for DC Home Rule and contributed a great deal to the League's study of the DC budget and other matters relating to DC government in the 1960s and early 70s, when several of us maintained a full set of copies of the DC budget on our dining room tables annually. Irma (who died in 1988) and Paul Whipple are well remembered by many League members for their keen interest in issues and government. They lived the slogan: "Democracy is not a spectator sport."

SHARE THE LEAGUE: Share the League with your friends and acquaintances in 3 easy steps:

  1. Show them this newsletter.
  2. Print out and give to them the membership form 
  3. Invite them to attend the Fall Opening Luncheon and the Hillwood Tour and Tea. Additional flyers and membership forms are available from the League office.

Questions concerning League membership can be directed to Linda Softli (667-8210) or Suzanne Campagna (338-1055). — Linda Softli (667-8210), Membership Chair

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Presidential Selection Update: LWVDC plans to review and update the League position on Election of the President, now called Presidential Selection, include a General Meeting on the Electoral College in on December 10, followed by Unit meetings in January, with a concurrence deadline of 1 February. Be sure to look for your September issue of the National Voter (in mail immediately after Labor Day), which contains a second article and second survey on the update. A small committee has been formed to lead our review of the Presidential Selection update - if you are interested in joining this group, call Sheila Keeny at 966-1692. 

Monthly Newsletter from LWVUS: The first issue of the League's monthly newsletter was sent out on-line in early July. In addition to a welcoming message from President Kay Maxwell, the issue contains Kay's message of support for legislation requiring TV and radio stations to provide free airtime to candidates and political parties. In a letter to members of Congress, Kay also expresses concern about the impact on our civil liberties of provisions of the USA Patriot Act as well as of a possible Patriot Act II. The newsletter also congratulates League members for helping maintain Title IX, the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in all aspects of education including athletics. Finally, the newsletter reports League partnership with World Wrestling Entertainment Smackdown the Vote.

To receive the National League's monthly electronic newsletter "The LeaguE-Voice," send an email (with the subject line and message blank) to league-voice — Sheila Keeny, (966-1692), 3rd Vice President - National Program

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  1 2 3 10:00 am, LWVDC Board Mtg. 4 5 10:00 am, NCA Mtg. 6
7 8 9 9:45 am, Voter Registration of New US Citizens 10 10:00 am, Education Cmte 11 10:00 am, NCA Homeland Security Mtg.
3:30-5:00 pm, Voting Representation Study Cmte. Mtg.
5:30 pm, Affordable Housing Cmte Mtg.
12 13
14 15 16 17 18 11:30 am, Fall Opening Luncheon 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 October DC Voter mailed 27
28 2:00 pm, IR Cmte Mtg 29 30       OCTOBER 4
12:00-2:30 pm, Hillwood Tour & Tea

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