Forward to June/July DC Voter Back to League of Women Voters home page Back to April 2005 DC Voter
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: http://www.dcwatch.com/lwvdc, E-mail: LWVDC@aol.com
|Presidents Message by
Congressional Representation: DC Voting Rights Committee
Education Committee: Vouchers Given Across Board
May Unit Meetings
Healthcare Committee: League Testifies before Insurance Commission Public Hearing
International Relations: United Nations Is Topic of May 23rd Brown Bag Dialogue
Transportation: League Supports COG Planning
LWVUS News: LWVUS Expands Communication to Members
LWV NCA News and Notes: NCA Annual Convention
We Gratefully Acknowledge
PLAN TO ATTEND
Brown Bag Dialogue Series
Saturday, May 14th
Arlington Hilton Hotel & Towers
950 N. Stafford St., Arlington
(Ballston Metro Stop)
Reservation deadline is May 6th
Highlights of the program include a speaker from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; update on Georgetown boathouse by Frances Gemmill; program proposal for update of positions on area airports, in addition to retaining existing positions; and election of officers. LWVDC member Naomi Glass is nominated again for a Director position on the LWVNCA Board. Other DC League members continuing on the LWWNCA Board are Elinor Hart, Director, DC Revitalization and Grace Malakoff, LWVDC Liaison to the Board.
Advance Reservations Are Required: The cost for the brunch is $28 per person. Send your check made payable to LWV NCA by May 6 to Bonnie Franklin 3076 S. Woodrow St #2, Arlington, VA 22206 (703-5781935). Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the name(s) attending, telephone number, email address and the name of the League you belong to.
Of interest to NCA League members is the AFFORDABLE HOUSING CONFERENCE OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND to be held on Monday, May 2, 2005 from 8am - 2pm, at the Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Rd., Bethesda.
The $60 Reservation includes lunch. To make a reservation or for more information: visit the web site www.affordablehousingconference.org, or send email to email@example.com; or call 703 698-8151. Grace Malakoff
Carol Schwartz, Chair of the D.C. Council Committee on Public Works and the Environment, has announced a public oversight roundtable on the Quality of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, and the proposed construction of a new Georgetown University Boathouse. The roundtable will be held on Wednesday, June 22, 2005, at 10:00 a.m. in the Council Chamber (Room 500) of the John Wilson Building. The public is invited to testify at the roundtable.
Those who wish to testify should contact Mr. Andrew Gerst by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at (202) 724-8105 by Monday, June 20, 2005.
In May 2003, after joining a group called "Defenders of Potomac Parklands", the DC League recommended that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be completed before approval of the building of a proposed boathouse by Georgetown University. In October 2004, after more than a year of hearings and meetings, the C&O Canal Association and the Washington Canoe Club filed suit against the National Park Service and the Department of Interior in the U.S. District Court to halt the proposed land swap with Georgetown U. to allow it to build a private boathouse on what is now federal land. To date, the proposed land swap has not taken place, nor has an EIS been initiated.
Six of the 13 Councilmembers endorsed two new bills banning cigarette smoking in public places in the District - including bars and restaurants. Both bills were referred to the Committee on Public Works and the Environment. Health advocates hope that if passed, the bills would protect District residents and workers from cancer and death caused by secondhand smoke. Last year's Smoke-Free Workplaces Act did not pass the Council. The District has one of the weakest smoke-free workplaces laws in the country.
HR 1586 "District of Columbia Fair Federal Compensation Act of 2005" was introduced by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and other Congressmen on April 12. This bill will establish an "annual Federal infrastructure support contribution. The bill's stated purpose is to offset the DC's substantial structural imbalance, ranging from $470 million to $1.1 billion annually, which is beyond the direct control of local District officials because it is caused by mandates, legislation and other requirements imposed by the Federal Government according to a GAO report in May 2003. The bill further states the findings of Congress as: " deficit are all Federal in origin and consist of the following: Locally provided services to the Federal Government; a Federal statute which exempts from taxation 66 percent of the income earned in the District; the exemption from taxation of 42 percent of the real property owned by the Federal Government; and the requirement to provide State services, such as special education and mental health, although the District is not a State." "...The District's tax burden is among the highest in the Nation because of the Federal requirements documented in the 2003 GAO report. However, the funding provided by these taxes is still insufficient to meet the obligations of the District.
The $800 million to $1 billion federal payment can be used to build schools, repair roads, other critical infrastructure and capital improvements, and to pay down debt: The payment would be adjusted annually to keep up with inflation.
To view the bill in its entirety, go to Internet web site http://Thomas.loc.gov. Enter the bill number in the appropriate place. A copy of the bill can also be seen in the DC League office.
We gratefully thank the following members for their recent financial contributions to support the DC League: Suzanne Campagna, lona Hargrave, Natalie Howard, N. M. Hutton, Joan Keenan, Ruth Miller, Barbara Yeomans.
PEOPLE'S COUNSEL ON "THE TRUTH ABOUT ELECTRICITY DEREGULATION" IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Though it was a rotten, rainy day, DC Leaguers, attending the March Brown Bag Dialogue, were treated to a lively presentation on our deregulated status by Attorney Elizabeth A. Noel - People's Counsel for the District of Columbia. The Office of the People's Counsel (OPC) is an independent agency of the District of Columbia government, which operates as a public interest law firm on behalf of D.C. utility consumers. OPC has a staff of 34 persons.
OPC's legal mandate is to represent consumers' interests in utility-related proceedings before the Public Utilities Commission ("Commission"), federal agencies and the courts. The People's Counsel is appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council of the District of Columbia. Ms. Noel was accompanied to the meeting by several of her staff members and provided attendees with a substantial education packet.
Your electric bill has three components: (a) Generation services or the electricity itself, which accounts for about 60% of your electric bill, (b) Transmission services or the power lines that bring electricity from the electric generating plant to Win DC and (c) Distribution services or the power Ones used by PEPCO to deliver the electricity to residential or commercial consumers.
Like 25 other states that chose to deregulate, D.C. pursued "electricity deregulation" and consumer choice in the 1990s with the enactment of the "Retail Electric Competition and Consumer Protection Act of 1999". One motivation for the District Council's action was the concern that the federal government would set the deregulation rules if the city did not act on its own. The Retail Competitive Marketplace was opened on January 1, 2001, which meant that consumers could independently contract with energy suppliers other than the traditional regulated utility, PEPCO. As part of deregulation, the Public Service Commission price capped distribution and generation services. For generation services, the Commission lowered Pepco's electricity rates 7% and capped the generation rate at the reduced price. The Commission also allowed Pepco to sell off most of its, power plants (Seven power plants in Maryland were sold to the Mirant Corporation which is now in bankruptcy) but it retained two D.C. "peaking" plants, which are used during periods of high demand in the region.
The cap on generation services ended in February 7, 2005, and the distribution rate caps end on the others on August 7, 2007. There are certain exceptions, under a Residential Aid Discount (RAD) program and pursuant to established contracts.
Those who own electric power plants (coal, nuclear, natural gas) sell power competitively on a wholesale basis to retail energy marketers all around the country. In D.C., there are many firms which have been licensed to provide services, but most serve only commercial customers. Only a few have sought residential business. Of these, only two are actually providing service, i.e., Pepco Energy Services and Washington Gas Energy Services, both of which are unregulated affiliates established by their utility parents. Recently, the Commission decided that PEPCO would become the Standard Offer Service (SOS) provider for customers who did not choose an alternative, competitive supplier after the rate caps expired on February 7, 2005. To meet all its SOS obligations, Pepco enters into contracts with wholesale energy suppliers. Thus, the rates are determined by the competitive market and are no longer regulated by the Commission. In addition, the OPC does not have opportunity to contest the rates. OPC can only monitor the process to make sure that PEPCO follows the procurement rules established by the Commission.
Big commercial and governmental consumers have banded together to negotiate electricity contracts and have used their leverage i.e., larger amounts of usage to get better deals. The residential customer is at a disadvantage. The D.C. deregulation legislation allows residential customers to aggregate or band together on an "opt in" basis. However, suppliers are not interested in this form of aggregation because it does not reduce their costs associated with signing up individual residential customers. One solution for residential customers would be to change the provision from "opt in" to "you are in unless you opt-out".
[Editor's Note: One copy of the educational packet mentioned on page 2 at the end of the second paragraph can be viewed in the DC League office. Elizabeth Noel reviewed the report before printing.) Anna Marsh, (554-7719) Brown Bag Dialogue Convener
INTRODUCING HELP THE LEAGUE AS YOU TRAVEL.
FOR EACH TOUR BOOKED BY A LEAGUE MEMBER, LWVDC WILL RECEIVE $100
Be sure to tell them you are a member of the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia.
Click for membership form. Questions concerning League membership can be directed to the League office at 347-3020.
|1||2 8:00am-2:00pm Affordable Housing Conference||3||4 10:00am LWVDC Board Mtg.||5 10:00am Congress. Voting Rights Cmte Mtg||6 10:00am NCA Board Mtg||7|
9:45-11:00am Voter Registration at Naturalization Ceremony for
New US citizens
June DC Voter deadline
|11||12||13||14 NCA Convention|
9:45am SW Day
12 noon NW Day
9:45am Upper 16th St.
7:00pm Capitol Hill
9:45am Chevy Chase/Ingleside
7:30pm Evening Unit
|22||23 11:30am-1:30pm Brown Bag Dialogue||24||25||26||27 June DC Voter mailed||28|
|29||30 Memorial Day||31|
Dr. Susan E. Rice, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution.
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, 1998-2001.
Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping, National Security Council 1993-1995.
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.
Monday, May 23, 2005
11:30 am-1:30 pm
1730 M Street NW Suite 1000
Bring Your Lunch, Your Questions & a Friend!
Free. Open to the Public.
In anticipation of the summit of world leaders to be held at UN Headquarters in September and the growing debate over the future participation of the US in the UN, we are fortunate to have former Assistant Secretary of State, Dr. Susan Rice, address the topic, "To Wreck or Rebuild? Whither the US in the UN?"
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
Bio of Dr. Susan E. Rice from
THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION
1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036-2188
Tel: 202-797-6000 Fax 202-797-6004
Dr. Susan E. Rice is Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., where her work encompasses a wide range of issues related to U.S. foreign and national security policy. Her long term research focuses on the national security implications of global poverty and inequality. Her other areas of expertise include transnational security threats, terrorism, weak and failed states, development issues, foreign assistance, post-conflict peace-building, the United Nations, and U.N. international stability and peace operations.
In 2004, Dr. Rice took a leave of absence from Brookings to serve as Senior Advisor for National Security Affairs on the Kerry-Edwards campaign.
Dr. Rice served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1997-2001. In this capacity, she formulated and implemented overall U.S. policy towards 48 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, including political, economic, security and humanitarian issues. She oversaw management of 43 U.S. Embassies, over 5000 U.S. and Foreign Service national employees, a Bureau operating budget of over $100 million and a program budget of approximately $160 million, annually.
From 1995-1997, Dr. Rice was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC) and, from 1993-1995, was Director for international Organizations and Peacekeeping at the NSC. Prior to her White House tenure, Rice was a management consultant at McKinley and Company, where she served clients in oil and gas, transportation, retail, public/non-governmental and pulp/paper sectors.
Her recent publications include: "U.S. National Security Policy Post-9/11: Perils and Prospects," The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs (Winter 2004); "The New National Security Strategy: Focus on Failed States," Brookings Policy Brief #116 (February 2003), "The New National Security Strategy and Preemption," with James Steinberg and Michael O'Hanlon, Brookings Policy Brief #113 (January 2003); "Tough Love or Tough Luck?", Washington Post (3/8/2005); "Money Talks," Washington Post (2/21/2005); "We Need a Real Iran Policy," Washington Post (12/30/2004); "The Darfur Catastrophe," with Gayle E. Smith, Washington Post (5/30/2004); "WTO Hands a Critical Victory to African Farmers," with Gayle E. Smith, YaleGlobal Online (5/21/2004); "Nuclear Clients: Don't Overlook the Unusual Suspects," with Michael A. Levi, International Herald Tribune (4/5/2004); and "To Avoid Calamities, Boost African Intervention Force," with Michael E. O'Hanlon, Los Angeles Times, (4/5/2004). Rice appears frequently on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and CNBC news, NPR, The Lehrer News Hour, the BBC, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's television and radio programs.
Dr. Rice was the co-recipient of the White House's 2000 Samuel Nelson Drew Memorial Award for distinguished contributions to the formation of peaceful, cooperative relationships between states. She was awarded the Chatham House-British international Studies Association Prize for the most distinguished doctoral dissertation in the United Kingdom in the field of International Relations. Dr. Rice is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group. She also serves on several boards, including the National Democratic Institute, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., the Partnership for Public Service, and the Internews Network.
Rice received her B.A. in History with Honors from Stanford University and her M.Phil. and DPhil. (PhD) degrees in International Relations from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.
Congress held a hearing on five separate bills that would give Washington, DC some form of Congressional voting representation. Three of the bills were introduced by Republicans and two by Democrats. The hearing was conducted by Congressman Tom Davis, Chair of the House of Representative's Government Reform Committee. Members of Congress, DC Mayor Williams, Council Chair Cropp, Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Walter Smith of DC Appleseed, Ilir Zherka of DC Vote, Betsy Werronen of the DC Republican Committee, Ted Trabue of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, and former US Solicitor General Ken Starr testified. It was agreed that Congress has the authority to grant Congressional voting rights to DC citizens by legislation rather than through Constitutional amendment.
Viet Dinh, a conservative lawyer associated with the Bush Administration, submitted a 23 page opinion on the legality of granting voting rights in the House of Representatives to DC. He concluded that Congress has the right to do so: a Constitutional amendment is not required.
In January 2005 a summit of DC nonprofit organizations concluded that only with political pressure from throughout the country will legislation granting Congressional voting rights pass.
The May unit meetings will concentrate on our current situation and possible solutions to the lack of activist support throughout the nation. Discussion items will include:
Send mail with questions or comments to email@example.com
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)