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A Voice for Citizens — A Force for Change
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
Human Rights Day Luncheon
Welcome New Members
|A Sincere Thank You
Calendar: December 2005
2006 District of Columbia Election Schedule
2005-2006 LWV Officers, Board Members, Committee Chairs, Unit Chairs
2005-2006 LWV Program and Program Calendar
Advisory Neighborhood Commission Monthly Meeting Schedule
December Meeting Schedule
Unit meetings are open to all members and guests. If you wish to attend one of the units meeting in December, please call the telephone number in parenthesis to insure there be ample seating available.
Tuesday. December 13
9:45 am, Southwest Unit will meet in the home of Audrey Hatry.
530 N St., SW #S605 (554-4450) Unit's Choice discussion.
Wednesday. December 14
9:45 am, Upper 16th Street Unit will meet in the home of Connie
Tate, 609 Delafield PI, NW (882-0387) Annual holiday brunch is
Thursday. December 15
9:45 am, Chevy Chase/Ingleside will meet in the Lounge at 3150
Military Road, NW. (362-8953 or 237-6264)
METRO FUNDING. Bill Womack of the staff of Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA-11th) briefed the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Transportation Planning Board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments at the meeting of November 14, 2005.
The Davis bill - HR 3496 - was passed unanimously by the House Committee on Government Reform October 20, 2005. The Federal commitment of $1.5 billion over ten years to support capital improvement and maintenance of the existing WMATA system is thus on firmer ground, but the bill requires local governments which are part of the interstate compact to commit "dedicated" revenues to match the Federal funds. These local commitments might be made in a variety of actions such as tax revenue guarantees. The funds would be explicitly matched to the Federal offering. The view of the sponsors of this effort is that Metro needs substantially more funding to continue to operate at its present level, and this legislation is intended to provide funds in addition to present expenditures from both the Federal and local sources. Federal transit funding under other legislation would continue. However, the projects using the new money would be required to show a 50-50 match between Federal and local sources, a change from the 80 per cent Federal match in many existing programs.
Additional Federal oversight comes with the funds. In the present version of the bill, four new members of the governing board (two voting and two non-voting) would be appointed by the General Services Administration. One of these Board members would be expected to be a "rider" of the system.
Also added: an Office of the Inspector General. The Inspector General would be appointed by a majority vote of the Board of Directors of the Transit Authority "solely on the basis of integrity and demonstrated ability in accounting, auditing, financial analysis, law, management analysis, public administration, or investigations, as well as familiarity or experience with the operation of transit systems." This officer would be appointed for a term of five years, with reappointment limited to two additional terms. Removal prior to the expiration the term is only by a unanimous vote of the Board with the reasons for such removal to be communicated to the Governors of Maryland and Virginia, the Mayor of the District of Columbia, and the chairs of the House Committee on Government Reform and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. This officer shall conduct an annual financial audit, provide semiannual reports to the Transit Authority and to the five principals named above. This officer may hear reports from employees, keep their identity confidential; and the bill makes retaliation for such reporting illegal.
The controversial provision blocking a Falls Church Metro land sale is no longer in the bill. Provisions relating to local land issues in Maryland were modified to require only consultation.
Exactly how the determination will be made that local jurisdictions have allocated "dedicated" revenues to match the Federal appropriation remains to be determined, as is the process for releasing the funds. — Grace Malakoff
The mayoralty forum we cosponsored November 9, had to be moved to the largest UDC auditorium for an audience of 900.
Questions from the audience showed League-like concerns: providing nurses in public schools; protecting residents from displacement by development; education; the cost of the proposed baseball stadium.
Housing - An overview of the programs which involve nonprofit housing organizations was presented October 26, 2005, by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DCHD) at the first of planned "brown bag" events, described by Bob Pohlman as "practitioners' forums". The intent: "to discuss methods to improve the Department's ability to develop affordable housing, improve community facilities, and address the needs for services that strengthen our neighborhoods." The one-hour blast of information from four departments contained financial and program summaries.
A few gleanings: Single-family home rehabilitation cost limit has been raised to $75,000 with waivers possible, excluding lead paint removal. Lead paint removal backlog has been conquered. Future programs: roof repair grants which will minimize home rehab problems and aid for handicapped access for tenants. A Portfolio Management Group oversees the Housing Trust Fund and Tenant assistance programs - technical and transactional.
A growing need: to provide help where tenants want to consider purchase of their buildings when an owner announces a sale, perhaps with a counseling office. The Housing Assistance Purchase Program (HPAP) used all funds available in the last fiscal year due to high housing prices. In preparation: new legislation to tie the assistance level not to income but to market prices. Funds reached to only 200 loans this year, compared with 500 six years ago.
Site acquisition standards are being buttressed by certification for quality. Demonstration projects for special needs populations, requiring deep subsidies, have numerous resources for operations. The agency should try to pair the "bricklaying" aspect of special needs projects with proposals from providers of operating funds. Requests for Proposals (RFP's) for special needs housing are missing from DHCD. RFP restrictions of $50,000 per unit, even adjusted for cost changes, are unrealistic for special needs construction requirements. If average annual subsidies are $30,000, $50,000 is needed for special needs units. Financing paperwork is being streamlined using standard documents. Need to make an effort to avoid putting all assets into Wards VII and VIII, although costs are lower there.
The question period: When will HUD sanctions on economic development funding be lifted? They have been lifted on certain projects - Anacostia, the Gateway, Skyland. Project applications will be worked out with HUD in close consultation, and pre-approved after the agency has shown a "good record." Sanctions have not been lifted on OBED loans; the agency must still prove to HUD it can manage economic development projects. — Grace Malakoff
10 am to 4 pm, Tuesday, November 29
In preparation for the DC League's upcoming move, we
are selling excess furniture and equipment.
At press time, the actual move date has still not been determined. We must be out of our present location by December 31, 2005 as the building is being closed for renovation. See below for new address, phone and fax numbers.
Great Decisions Still has Openings: Members interested in joining a LWVDC Great Decisions discussion group should contact Sheila Keeny ( email@example.com or 966-1692). See November DC Voter for details of this year's discussion topics, chosen by the Foreign Policy Association.
UN 60th ANNIVERSARY LUNCHEON OCT. 24:
Date: Friday, December 9th, 2005
Each year the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA NCA) hosts a Human Rights Day Luncheon on Capitol Hill. This year the Luncheon will be held again in the ornate Caucus Room in the Cannon House Office Building, on Friday, December 9. Over 200 people normally attend the luncheon. The keynote speaker addresses a critical international human rights subject and receives the United Nations Association Louis B. Sohn Award.
Costs: $30 single ticket, $50 for two tickets, or full table of ten people for $250 or half table of five people for $150. Please make your check payable to UNA-NCA and send it to 1808 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 101, Washington, DC 20009. If you have questions about the luncheon, please call the UNA-NCA office at (202) 518-0471.
Ericalyn M. Humphries
Thank you to those members who booked their travel arrangements through Travel Concepts, Intl. resulting in a $200 contribution to the DC League.
TRAVEL WITH THE LEAGUE PROGRAM
BE SURE TO TELL THEM YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
Questions concerning League membership can be directed to the League office at 347-3020. See the LWVDC MEMBERSHIP FORM.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. National Membership is included in the local League membership.
The DC Voter is the monthly publication of the LEAGUE OF WOMEN
VOTERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
This document is not considered as a substitute for the Official Election Calendar. The dates provided below should be used for planning only since current law may change prior to the election. For further information, please contact the DC Board of Elections and Ethics Voter Services Office at 202 727-2525 or visit the website www.dcboee.org.
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF THE DISTRICT OF
2005-2006 OFFICERS, BOARD MEMBERS, COMMITTEE CHAIRS, UNIT CHAIRS and 2005-2006 PROGRAM CALENDAR
# call first to fax.
Program Study and Action:
*Local and NCA current program.
Focus on Voter Services:
During the election year 2006, the DC League will work to register citizens, inform them about issues and candidates, and monitor elections.
Key 2006 Election Dates:
**Ceremony held in Courtroom 20, 6h floor of the U.S. District Courthouse at 3 `d and Constitution Ave., NW, (Judy Smith 882-3021)
Neighborhood Democracy: The Advisory Neighborhood Commissions consider a wide range of policies and programs affecting their neighborhoods, including traffic, parking, recreation, street improvements, liquor licenses, zoning, economic development, police protection, sanitation and trash collection, and the District's annual budget. In each of these areas, he intent of the ANC legislation is to ensure input from an advisory board that is made up of the residents of the neighborhoods that are directly affected by government action. The ANCs are the body of government with the closest official ties to the people in a neighborhood.
The ANCs present their positions and recommendations on issues to various District government agencies, the Executive Branch and the Council. They also present testimony to independent agencies, boards and commissions, usually under rules of procedure specific to those entities. By law, the ANCs may also present their positions to Federal agencies. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners are elected every two years. The next election will take place November 7, 2006. See your August 2005 DC Voter Insert (salmon color) for the specific meeting location, or visit the website www.anc.dc.gov (Source: http://www.anc.dc.gov)
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