Organiza.gif (1182 bytes)

Home     Organizations

Forward to February 2005 DC Voter — Back to League of Women Voters home page — Back to December 2004 DC Voter

The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 81, No. 1, January 2005

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, Frances Gemmill
We Thank You
Healthcare Committee
Medical Homes Town Hall Meeting
Congressional Representation
Voting Rights and Human Rights
League Member Distributes Vote Tuesday Signs
Volunteers Needed for Free Tax Preparation Clinics
Transportation Committee
Unit News
Calendar, January 2005
Local and Regional Program Planning 2005-2006
Juvenile Justice Brown Bag Dialogue Series


The National Park Service has announced that it will prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) to analyze the impacts associated with the construction of a proposed boathouse near Key Bridge. A public scoping meeting will be held Tuesday, January 11, 2005 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Latham Hotel, 3000 M St. NW, in Georgetown. The purpose of the scoping is to offer the public an opportunity to identify the issues and alternatives that should be considered in the EA, including, but not limited to such issues as natural resource impacts, floodplain and wetlands, views and vistas, size and design, potential effects on historic properties, and potential impacts on the Capital Crescent Trail. The EA will then be made available to the public for subsequent to the public comment period, the National Park Service will render a decision.

As long ago as May 2003, we in the LWVDC urged the DC Zoning Commission, and later the National Capital Planning Commission, to insist on an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before final approval of the proposed boathouse plan. An EIS is broader in coverage and more rigorous than an EA. We will therefore maintain contact with the issue and participate in the Jan. 11 scoping meeting. LWVDC Board consideration will be on the January 5 Board meeting agenda. If you are interested, concerned about this issue, please contact Geri Albers or Geri Whitley. Copies of our earlier statements are available-call the League Office, 347-3020.

As we begin the New Year 2005, please accept my sincere thanks for your contributions to the League both in labor for the good of the community and financially.

Back to top of page

All Member
Program Planning Meeting

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
1-3:00 pm

1730 M Street, NW 
10th Floor Boardroom

Is there a local or regional issue you would like the DC League to work on in 2005-2006? Now is the time to speak. Local Program Issues will be selected for member approval at the April Annual Membership Meeting. At the same meeting, DC members will decide which issues to recommend to the delegates at the NCA Annual Meeting in May for adoption as Regional Program bans. See below for additional information.

Back to top of page

We Thank You!

The DC League gratefully thanks the following members for their continued support through their financial gifts: Anne Anderson, Dorothy Armstrong, Catherine Burnight, June Duke, Elizabeth Fox, Ginni Gorman, Natalie Howard, Norma Hunton, Walter Jacobson, Myles. & Ruth Johnson, Sheila Keeny, Anna Marsh, Elizabeth McElroy, Ellen Overton, M. L. Rankin, Mary Rodgers, Susan & Firoze Rao, Clara Schiffer, Kathy Schmidt, Caroline Shugars, Anne Smoke, Constance Tate, Sue Whitman, Patricia Wheeler, Diane Wilbur, Frances Wilkerson.

Back to top of page


DC's Largest Health Insurance Provider Accused of Shirking Its Responsibility

Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc., the DC affiliate of CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield should commit 40 times more money to support local public health needs than the $1.5 million it actually spends in a year, charged DC Appleseed for Law and Justice in a special report issued early in December.

The health insurance provider has an obligation under its federal charter as a "charitable and benevolent institution" to spend far more than it does on health care for needy people in the Metropolitan Washington area it serves, according to the report.

DC Appleseed, with the help of expert analysis from Covington & Burling and Mathematica Policy Research, compared similar nonprofit companies nationally, and concluded that GHMSI could and should spend between $67 and $100 million on charitable activities - and still remain a viable and competitive company.

The DC League of Women Voters heard a preview of the report at a forum it co-sponsored with the DC Primary Care Association and DC Appleseed on October 29th. Now that the report has been completed and made public, the DC Insurance Commissioner will hold a public hearing in January. The DC LWV plans to host a longer, more detailed discussion of the problem at a forum to be held in February. The forum will not only delve into the subject with some depth, but also will look for ways for LWVDC along with health care advocates to encourage GHMSI to meet its community health care responsibilities.

Back to top of page

Medical Homes Town Hall Meeting

Friday, January 28, ,8 am to 12:00
Kaiser Family Foundation
1330 G, Street, NW

Does Primary Care demand meet the supply in the District: At this January 28 meeting, co-sponsored by the Executive Office of the Mayor, approximately 200 healthcare professionals, advocates, and citizens are expected to be present for the release of the 2005 Medical Homes Data Assessment Report, assembled by RAND Corporation and Brookings Institution. Put it on your calendar now.   Goody Braun (723-2477) & Rene Wallis (638-0252), Co-Chairs

Back to top of page

DC Voting Rights Committee

Voting Rights for DC?

Viet Dinh, a conservative lawyer associated with the Bush administration, concluded that Congress has the right to grant voting rights in the House of Representatives to DC; a constitutionall amendment is not required. Representative Tom Davis, chair of the House Committee on the District of Columbia, has announced that he is committed to reintroducing his bill to accomplish just that in the 109th Congress. — Kathy Schmidt (237-5550)

Back to top of page


On December 15, Grace Malakoff, Madlyn and Rev. William Calbert, and I attended the annual Human Rights Luncheon sponsored by the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area at the Cannon House Office Building. The purpose of the occasion was to reaffirm our commitment to advancing the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to honor significant contributions to human rights. Ambassador Philip C. Wilcox, (Ret.), President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, was honored for his work for peace during a 31 year career in the Foreign Service, especially for his last overseas assignment   in which he served as Chief of Jerusalem.

Sheila Keeny of the DC League was among other individuals and organizations who also received awards for their work for Human Rights. Nominated by the League of Women Voters of DC, Sheila's commendation read, in part: "Sheila Keeny has dedicated her life to the improvement of human rights locally in the District of Columbia and around the world. Over the years, she has worked to educate others about the dangers of nuclear and conventional weapons, about the importance of international awareness in general and the United Nations in particular, and about human rights. Her lifetime efforts are more than deserving of this award."

Thanks to our online communications with other Leagues across the country, we were able to download and print LWV bookmarks containing the Bill of Rights. Andrea Gruhl of the National Capital Area League helped us distribute them to other guests at the luncheon on this Human Rights Day. — Frances Gemmill

Back to top of page


Natalie Howard has photos of the vote signs of 2004 with her sorority friends. She distributed them around her neighborhood (the UDC area), and provided a great photo of a vote sign with some of the friends who helped her distribute them. Do stop, by the office to see the photo -- our voter doesn't accommodate color-needed for the red & white signs. Remember to save your signs for the next election year.

Back to top of page

Volunteers Needed for Free Tax Preparation Clinics

Volunteers are needed to help low-income workers complete their federal and state income tax forms; provide translation assistance; and administrative & operational support at tax site locations in the DC, MD and VA. Contact Chantelle Britton by phone at (202) 347-4811 or email at 

Back to top of page


On December 9, 2004, the Metro budget committee approved new perspectives in the 2005 budget revision presented by a new champion of the riders themselves, Executive Director of the system Richard White, who has only recently become a regular user of the system. He emphasized how important correct maps and schedules are at bus stops as well as how to get the bus to your stop on time. Right away, on-time arrivals will be improved through a re-programming of $.6 million. Most of the changes will adjust running times and headways. The adjustments will affect 13 routes in DC, 16 in Maryland, and over 20 in Virginia. Metro has also been looking at systems to tell you how late the bus will be, if your cell phone is working.

We look forward to the planned organization of opportunities for riders to offer feedback to Metro to improve service. League member June Duke has explored the city with friends via metrobus, and many others have given up using their cars in favor of Metro.


More than ever, this is not merely the slogan to dramatize the current campaign to get funding for Metro. Today our region is confronted by the yearly crisis - how to meet the predictable, inevitable; and urgent continuing need for funds to maintain the basic Metro hardware and software --buses, trains, tracks, garages, communications systems, and a professional operating and management staff. Each year, Metro must present its budget to ten governments in time to meet the budget enactment schedules they follow. This marathon starts in just a few weeks.

Although Metro is trying to move to a two-year budget to improve planning, it will act on a one-year budget proposal for 06/07. No fare increases are proposed, and the recent fare increase did not result in a projected drop in revenues. Prospects for 06/07 also include a request for increased subsidies. Even though Metro cost recovery from fares is the best in the nation, fares do not cover costs

The League of Women Voters maintains a firm posture in defense of alternatives to automobiles such as Metro. We have publicized some of the hidden subsidies to auto use, such as "free" parking offered by public and private agencies, including Metro itself, may be little noted, but will be remembered, once we begin to calculate and publish some of the numbers.
For Metro, the subsidies cannot be hidden. Total income combines local and Federal government subsidies, plus non-fare -income such as charter services, parking, and public-private partnership developments. In 2005, the total funding from regional governments in the Transit Zone was $543 million, with a percentage distribution of: DC 37%, MD 38%, and VA 25%. Of this locally funded amount, in FY2005 $402 million in subsidies was provided state-by-state as follows:

Rail 43% 33% 24%
Para transit 23% 62% 15%
Debt Service 34% 33% 28%
(Source: Review of Operating and Capital Subsidy Allocation formulas).

Annual weekday bus revenue miles, by state: 37.5% DC, 37.3% MD, 25.2% VA; total 32,099,574 miles. The 85 rail stations that will be in place for FY06/07 include 40 DC, 47.6%; 25 MD, 29.6%; 19 VA, 22.8%; 1 Federal (Arlington Cemetery. Some stations and boundaries are partly counted in each jurisdiction. In. the next year, 06/07, the total operating budget is projected to rise by 6.5% to more than a billion dollars, with a projected subsidy increase of 10.4%, to $444 million (9.3% of the total). Some of this increase is for additional staff for improved station crowd and cleanliness management. DC representatives on the budget committee include Gladys Mack, Chair, appointed by the Mayor and a member of the Board since its inception, and Jim Graham and David Catania, appointed by the DC Council.


This year the deferred maintenance of METRO assets moved the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to create a "Regional Panel to Address Dedicated Funding for WMATA" (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority), in response to alarms raised in reports by the General Accounting Office, the National Capital Regional Transportation Planning Board (chaired by DC Councilmember Phil Mendelson) and the Brookings Institution. The panel was due to report a new funding plan December 15, 2004. — Grace Malakoff (387-7540), Chair

Back to top of page


The January 18th Program Planning Meeting will be held in lieu of individual Unit meetings this month. We encourage all members to attend this important planning meeting.

Back to top of page


Cody Rice, ANC Commissioner (6A03) visited the December 15 meeting of the Capitol Hill Unit, which took place at the home of Betty Pierce, Chair. Mr. Rice reviewed the history, operations, and activities of the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, and introduced those present to the web -site. Councilmember Catania is the councilmember who oversees ANC operations. The position of ANC Commissioner is nonpartisan and unpaid, but Commissioners do have access to funds for community grants as well as for expenses, such as publication of newsletter. The Capitol Hill Unit members decided to meet again on Wednesday, January 19, when Ward 6 Councilmember Sharon Ambrose has accepted an invitation to attend. They will meet at 7 pm at the home of Janice Kruger, 317 5th Street, SE (544-1812). 

Back to top of page


2 3 4 5 10:00 am, LWVDC Board Mtg. 6 7 10:00 am, NCA Board Mtg. 8
9 10 11 9:45-11:00 am, Voter registration at naturalization ceremony for new citizens
6-9 pm, Public scoping meeting
February DC Voter meeting
12 13 14 15
16 17 18 1-3:00 pm, local and regional program planning meeting 19 7:00 pm, Capitol Hill Unit hosts Councilmember Sharon Ambrose 20 21 February DC Voter mailed 22
23 24 11:30 am-1:30 pm, Brown Bag Dialogue 25 26 27 28 8 am-12 noon, Medical Homes town hall meeting 29
30 31          

Back to top of page

733 15TH Street, NW, Suite 432, Washington, DC 20005-6020 (tel) 202 347-3020 (fax) 202 347-2522 (email)



Program Planning 2005-2006


Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2005, 1-3 pm


LWVUS Board Room, 1730 M Street NW, 10th floor conference room

Why Attend?

Your opportunity to be part of the planning for DC League activities for

  • Local Program

  • Regional Program

Each League Member Has A Voice In This Process!

Consider what local and/or regional issues you would like studied and/or acted upon in the coming two years.

  • Do some of our positions need to be revisited?

  • Are there areas we have never examined, or areas that we examined too long ago? [Libraries? Rental housing? Comprehensive Planning? Environment? Other?]

But, remember... it's not enough to cite an area of interest... that's the easy part. We need people willing to work on the issue, and especially we need enthusiastic leadership for any given issue. Are you that person? If you have suggestions for issues and want to be involved, but unable to attend this meeting don't hesitate to mail or email that information to the office or to Madlyn Calbert, 2nd Vice President (Local Program). 

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 Tuesday, January 18, 2005. See the reverse side for particulars.

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.

We will first review our current DC and NCA positions and then focus on new issues raised by our membership. If you cannot attend, make your views known to Madlyn Calbert by written note or email. But, 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 that 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 criteria 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 ... how to use our limited resources.

Again, this is your opportunity to tell the rest of us what YOU think and want accomplished. Join us Tuesday, January 18th.

Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport!

Madlyn Calbert
2nd Vice President (Local Programs)
(202) 832-7305
1261 Kearney St., NE
Washington, DC 20017-0022

Back to top of page

LWVDC Acclaimed Brown Bag Dialogue Series

Juvenile Justice

Guest Speaker
Ms. Retta Morris
Director of the Justice for DC Youth Coalition

Monday, January 24. 2005
11:30 am-1:30 pm
1730 M Street NW Suite 1000

Bring Your Lunch, Your Questions & a Friend!!

What is Justice For DC Youth Coalition: A coalition of youth, youth providers, policy advocates, parents and concerned residents who are working for a more fair and effective youth justice system in the District. We are trying to shift the city's focus from punishment and incarceration to education and youth development. We are doing this because:

  • 100% of the youth locked up in Oak Hill are Black and Latino. This is NOT representative of DC youth demographics.

  • 70% of youth are locked up for non- violent offenses (including status offenses like running away and truancy)

  • It costs over $50,000 to lock-up a youth in DC, while we spend less then $12,000 to educate one in DC public schools.

  • Taxpayer dollars could be better spent more effectively on community based alternatives-to-incarceration.

Why you should attend this Dialogue: By attending you will learn what action the Coalition is taking to instigate a shift in the city's focus from punishment and incarceration to education and youth development and what you as a DC citizen can do to help.

LWVDC's BROWN BAG DIALOGUE SERIES brings together the DC citizens and community or government leaders around a table to discuss issues that affect our lives.

For Further Information Call 202 347-3020 
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
733 15th Street, NW, Suite 432, Washington, DC 20005-6020

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Send mail with questions or comments to
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)