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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 82, No. 2, February 2006

A Voice for Citizens — A Force for Change

1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036-2008
Website:, E-mail:

Health Units February 21-23
ASALH Holds Annual Meeting
Balancing Homeland Security and Civil Liberties
Save the Date: April 18, 2006, 7:30 p.m.
President's Message
Welcome New Members
International Relations
Library Study
USA Patriot Act

Nominations Committee Seeking Recommendations
How Can Uncle Sam Keep All Those Promises?
Homeland Security Emergency Management Agency of the District of Columbia
Transportation Planning Board Meeting
Membership Form
Calendar — February 2006


Let your voice be heard about the Howard University Hospital Proposal for a new National Capital Medical Center and trauma facility on the site of the former DC General. Learn about:

  • Terms of the agreement between Howard and Mayor Williams for a state-of the-art hospital;
  • Why Howard wants the hospital;
  • Why many health advocates think the $400 million estimated cost would be spent more wisely on other ways of providing health care to low income residents in Northeast and Southeast Washington;
  • Next steps before the agreement can be made final, and more.

Unit Meetings listed below are open to all members and guests.


9:45 am, Southwest Unit will meet in the home of Leona Rumsey (863-7484)
12:45 pm, Northwest Day will meet at IONA Senior Services, 4125 Albemarle St. NW (Tenleytown Metro (red line), Barbara Yeomans, (363-8940)
6:30 pm, Capital Hill will meet in the Northeast Library, 330 7th St. NE (at Maryland Ave.), 6 blocks from either Union Station Metro (red line) or Eastern Market Metro (org/blue lines). LWVDC office (222-0710)


9:45 am, Upper 16th Street will meet in the home of Reggie Yancey (726-1929)


9:45 am, Chevy Chase/Ingleside will meet in the Lounge at the Ingleside Apartments, 3150 Military Rd, NW, Ruth Allen, 362-8953
7:30 pm, Northwest Evening will meet in the home of Joan Domike (966-3865)

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ASALH Holds Annual Meeting

Saturday, February 25, 2006 at 12:30 pm
Howard University, J. Armour Blackburn Center 

The Association for the Study of African Life and History's (ASALH) 2006 Black History Theme is: Celebrating Community: A Tribute to Black Fraternal, Social and Civic Institutions. The featured speaker at the annual meeting will be Lonnie Bunch, Founding Director, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Ph.D. in history, American University. Call Madlyn Calbert at 832-7305 for tickets.

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A panel program co-sponsored by League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area and the District of Columbia Public Library System, Division of Sociology, Education, and Government.

Saturday, March 25
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Martin Luther King Memorial Library
Room 443 (top floor)
901 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001
Located at Gallery Place Metro Stop
(Red, Green and Yellow Lines)
Parking available beneath library building'

Panelists will include: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyer, American Library Association spokesperson on PATRIOT Act, privacy issues, American Red Cross (National Capital Area) Manager, Disaster Operations, Bioterrorism Expert, Potomac Institute of Policy Studies, Metropolitan Washington Council on Governments' Executive Director, and, Metropolitan Washington Council on Governments' Legal Counsel.

This program is free and the public is encouraged to attend.
Questions? Call Andrea Gruhl at 301-596-5460
(Homeland Security Comm. Chair, LWVNCA)

*Directions to parking area: Go west on H Street. Turn left at Hyatt Hotel and go south on 10th Street. Turn left on G Place. Turn right onto diagonal access path into clean, well-lit, security guarded basement parking.

See below for article entitled: Homeland Security: Emergency Management Agency of the District of Columbia.

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SAVE THE DATE: April 18, 2006, 7:30 pm

Dramatic enactment of Clarence Darrow's battle for social justice, including Scopes trial on the teaching of evolution. Additional information and location will be available in the next DC Voter.

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We are happily settling in at our new abode, looking at insuring a good new year. Diana Young has ably taken on our bookkeeping chores, supporting our treasurer Joan Domike to keep our financial matters tidy. We owe years of thanks to Chris Matthews for her long service on our books.

Member Natalie Marra has joined the Lobby Corps of the US League. — Grace Malakoff

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Corrine Alexander
Samantha Nolan, ANC Commissioner
Carol Waser

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UNITED NATIONS - For details on the results of the "World Summit" on the United Nations see Summit website: Moving Forward with UN Reform, a panel presented by the Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity and The United Nations Information Centre of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, revealed that increasing the professionalism of the UN staff and modernizing UN back office record keeping remain in focus. Broadening the membership in the Security Council is being discussed as a matter of getting membership which is able to carry the heavy burden of imposing UN authority, not merely representing a geographic site. Japan was cited as a clear leader among possible members. —  Grace Malakoff

GREAT DECISIONS - The DC League's Great Decisions discussion group invites other interested League members to come to its discussion meetings, which will take place the second and fourth Mondays of the months February through May. The topic for February 13 will be UN Reform; our discussion leader will be Sheila Keeny while the topic for February 27 will be Iran when our discussion leader will be Julia Cuniberti.

If either meeting interests you, call Sheila Keeny (966-1692) for time and place. Looking ahead - we will discuss Human Rights in March. — Sheila Keeny, Great Decisions facilitator

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Applying for McKinney-Vento Funding

The LWVDC Board on January 11, 1005, approved action to join the list of organizations supporting application for educational support for homeless children. The Board of Education passed a resolution calling for the action, reading in part:

'WHEREAS, the District of Columbia Board of Education (Board) recognizes that an alarming number of children in the District of Columbia (DC) are homeless, and that homeless children require additional support in the form of transportation, supplemental services, access to the educational programming that housed children receive, the opportunity to maintain school stability despite residential moves, and school enrollment assistance;

... children make up 31 % of the homeless population in DC; ... homelessness often requires a family to move from shelter to shelter with more than half of homeless children transferring schools at least once and 15% transferring three times or more in one year;

... with each school transfer a child is set back an average of four to six months and may need as many as eighteen months to regain a sense of equilibrium, security, and control; ... at least 20% of the homeless children do not attend school at all and one in four DC homeless children misses more than ten days of school per year; 

... homeless children in the District of Columbia are one and a half times as likely to repeat a grade or perform below grade level on reading assessments than their non-homeless peers; 

... school transfers are directly associated with higher drop out rates with less than half of mobile students graduating from high school; 

... homeless children exhibit more academic problems such as alienation, withdrawal, or discipline problems, than their non-homeless peers; 

... students who are homeless are more likely to suffer negative educational impacts and are at an educational disadvantage; 

... homeless children are twice as likely to have poor health and more likely to suffer from asthma, stomach ailments and allergies which cause them to miss school;

... the Board recognizes that education is one way for young people to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness in their families; 

... the Board acknowledges that providing every child with equal opportunity to a high quality education may require the targeted investment of resources; and,

... the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act: Education for Homeless Children and Youth is the primary federal legislation focused on homelessness and designed to address and alleviate the problems experienced by homeless children;

... BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the District of Columbia Board of Education directs the Chief State School Officer to submit an application, within 60 days, to the United States Department of Education for participation in the homeless program under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act." — Frances Gemmill

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Three ongoing activities that raise money to support the League are:

Bed and Breakfast: Coordinated by Chris Matthews. League members provide a room for visitors. Chris explains terms to those seeking bed and breakfast and arranges a League hostess. Contact Chris at 202 269-3890. 

Private Elections Volunteer Opportunity: Private elections are steaming along. We need volunteers for 6:30-9:30 pm February 23, 2006, for an ANC 4B open seat, with two candidates. Also, the Consumer Health Foundation mail election will require opening and tallying mail-in ballots at the office soon. Call 222-0710 for more information or to volunteer.

Travel with the League: The DC League will be sent $100 for each person who mentions the DC League when booking their travel. Contact: Travel Concepts International Inc. 5550 Bucks Bar Rd., Placerville, CA 95667 Telephone: 1800 762-4216 or 1-530-621-3007; Email:; Web site: 

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Housing testimony was presented on Dec. 13, 2005, on Bill 16-22 by Grace Malakoff, LWVDC President, to the Committee on Economic Development of the DC Council. It supported Zoning Commission recommendations on the duration (99 years) and proportion (30%) of public lands used for housing that should be offered at affordable prices.

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The Mayor's Library Task Force on Libraries is holding a series of Public "listening sessions" to present its findings:

Jan. 28, 1:30 pm, Martin Luther King Library, 901 G St. NW
Jan. 31, 6:30 pm, Cleveland Park Library, 3310 Connecticut Ave. NW 
Feb. 7, 1:30 pm, Martin Luther King Library, 901 G St. NW
Feb 11, 12:30 pm, Petworth Library, 4200 Kansas Ave. NW 
Feb. 15, 6:30 pm, Georgetown Library, 3260 R St. NW
Feb. 21, 6:30 pm, Mt. Pleasant Library, 3160 16th St. NW
Feb. 25, 12:30 pm, Northeast Library, 330 7th St. NE
Feb. 27, 6:30 pm, Francis A. Gregory Library, 3660 Alabama Ave. SE.

Library Bill Enacted: On Wednesday, January 4, 2006 the City Council voted for the "Library Enhancement, Assessment, and Development Amendment Act of 2005," Bill 16-49. The full text of the bill can be found on-line at:  

The bill establishes a "Library Enhancement Task Force" of 11 members. They are to review half a dozen existing planning documents. Then, they are to "Assess and recommend methods of using DCPL assets to raise funds to modernize and enhance the DCPL system, including:

  • "(A) Developing mixed-use projects that incorporate library facilities with revenue producing ventures;
  • "(B) Selling or leasing air rights above library buildings;
  • "(C) Selling or leasing facilities or real property used by or under the control of the DCPL."

They have 180 days to develop a strategic plan to do this, and they are to "provide opportunity for public input." Finally, it establishes a "Library Development Trust Fund" for any funds raised under this Act, or otherwise.

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Transportation Committee Forming - Bus Service Emphasis: With the DC Director of Transportation now in charge of Metro, we can be in the middle of change for the better. Please join Pat Hallman to form a transportation committee, with emphasis on bus service. Date: Thursday, February 16. Place: LWVDC office 1717 Mass. Ave NW, 6th floor (bring picture ID for entry). Time: 1:00-3:00 pm.

DC Bus Shelter Design and Location Hearings: Saturday, February 4, 2006 at 11:00 am at 441 4th Street, NW (Judiciary Square Metro Station - Red Line).

Metro Dedicated Funding: A bill to provide a reliable revenue stream for the support of METRO transit has been introduced by Jim Graham, chair for DC Council transportation policy. This is the DC response to the regional call for dedicated sources of funding from each jurisdiction.

Citizen Planning: A Working Group on regional mobility and accessibility (RMAS) chaired by Vice Chair Emmet Tydings of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Transportation Planning Board (TPB) of the Council of Governments has presented several regional forums. A Special TPB Work Session on January 18, 2006 heard a presentation of RMAS results:

  • Increasing household growth and concentrating that growth in regional activity centers would 
    1. increase transit use, walking and biking
    2. decrease driving and congestion.
  • Encouraging more development on the eastern side of the region (east of Georgia Avenue) would improve regional travel conditions."

Discussion from the TPB: DC stressed that the Comprehensive Plan efforts are already incorporating these ideas. Fairfax warned that investing in transportation should not be neglected as less essential if land use is given a role in planning.

A second CAC Working Group chaired by Stephen Caflisch produced recommendations on "how to improve information and analysis for the TPB's key planning activities - the Constrained Long-Range Plan for 2006-2008 (CLRP) and the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)".

In addition to recommending making more and better information available to many more citizens further in advance, the group requested that the TPB produce a list of unfunded regional transportation priorities.

The LWVDC testimony (reproduced below) questioned funding of the CLR. We were joined by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration, according to remarks from Ron Kirby at the TPB Technical Committee meeting January 5, 2006. He said that the TPB argued that its support of the shortterm funding package for METRO had satisfied certain requirements for transit funding to meet air quality attainment goals.

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LWVDC Testimony on the Constrained Long Range Plan for 2006-2008 

"The League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia has been participating in intensive transportation study and monitoring activities since 1963. We have supported broad policies; such as citizen participation in planning at the regional level. We have especially called for public policy to insure "some form of transportation for all". We have been disappointed at the lack of explicit criteria for projects which indicate what plans are in place for those who are not vehicle drivers due to lack of licenses, resources, or ability or willingness to drive. We have noted that this part of the community ranges easily as high as 50% of the population.

The financing cited for massive single projects in this package will tie up a large share of public resources into the foreseeable future. We believe the authority of the TPB may be legally limited to a shorter outlook, and to sources of funding which are less tied to hypothetical government actions.

Our consensus stresses the importance of open decision-making, free of conflicts of interest, and adequate information about the financial and environmental impacts of policy. We urge projects which give priority to providing a "realistic alternative to private auto use, and ending hidden support to auto use such as subsidized parking. CLRP proposals include: widening roads to twelve lanes, for which alternative transportation proposals have not been studied. They propose levying untested tolls which, if found practical, might be applied to meet more urgent needs. 

Equally disturbing, the proposals seem to pretend that they use resources that are in some way "private". However, the resources described seem to amount to a Federal bond guarantee, local government levies on the use of the roads (tolls), and a claim on shares of typical government revenues allocated to transportation projects (for interchanges, for example). How can these be understood to be "private"?

Although the price tag for these projects is almost unprecedented (nearly a billion dollars for a fifteen-mile road improvement), the actual transportation purpose to be served is not at all clear. Expensive roads already span the distance.

A project plan adds toll collections. This does not seem to require a billion dollar test site. If toll collection methods are to be tested, a more modest proposal should be made.

We cannot respond in detail to the 227-page proposal before the Transportation Planning Board. However, we urge the members of the Board to be on the lookout for, and disapprove, overblown costs, costs which compound problems of subsidized traffic congestion, and costs which tie up resources far into the future which are needed for more modest proposals." (Emailed to Chair Phil Mendelson, Chair of Transportation Planning Board, October 2005)

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From the Action front at the LWVUS: "Reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act was blocked in the Senate to allow more time to reconsider the law's impact on civil liberties. ...the House and Senate agreed to a one-month extension of the expiring portions of the Patriot Act to allow for more time to consider how civil liberties are balanced with homeland security. This is a victory for the League and other organizations that have worked tirelessly to bring attention to concerns about civil liberties since the enactment of the Patriot Act.

Proponents of the conference report on H.R.3199, the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act, failed to get the necessary 60 votes to end debate and allow for a floor vote on the report. Many senators were concerned about the increase in government secrecy in the name of homeland security and antiterrorism without the checks and balances needed to protect civil liberties.

Go to Roll Call to see how each Senator voted. A nay was in opposition to ending the much-needed debate and in favor of further consideration of civil liberties."

"The conference report to H.R. 3199 would have expanded the USA PATRIOT Act in the following important ways: 

  • "Sneak and peek searches (Sec. 213) will continue using a broad standard that does not provide for adequate judicial oversight.
  • Information about Americans, such as medical, banking or library records, can still be obtained by law enforcement without necessary safeguards. (Sec. 215).
  • The FBI will continue to obtain the records of innocent Americans through National Security Letters (NSL) without even going to court.... reported.. .NSL letters being used has increased to an alarming 30,000 annually.
  • Extends the sunsets for most controversial provisions." For more info: Angela Canterbury at 

Quoted from LWVUS Action Alert Dec. 23, 2005

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Are you interested in a leadership position in the DC League? Or, do you have a recommendation of a member for one of the following LWVDC positions: Board member, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and 2007 nominations committee?

Contact this year's nominations committee: Chair Judy Smith 202-882-3021; Kathy Schmidt 202-237-5550; Elizabeth Martin 202-537-3043.

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Alexandria League of Women Voters invites you to hear Dr. C. Eugene Steuerle, Urban Institute Senior Fellow


Saturday, February 25, 2006
9:30 A.M.
Burke Library
4701 Seminary Road, Alexandria

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and many tax breaks... The list of programs growing on autopilot is scheduled to present federal and state governments with staggering future bills. Meanwhile, the nation's tax system - even before recent tax cuts - is insufficient to meet those promises. To compound the problem, future benefits for the large baby boomer population must be provided through the efforts of a relatively smaller group of younger workers. Many believe that the expected benefits cannot be delivered. Congress and the public have become increasingly concerned with this situation, so this subject is a timely one for the League and others to study and to support remedies.

Dr. Steuerle is an Alexandria resident and nationally recognized expert, author of "Contemporary U.S. Tax Policy" (, 2004. Also see

DIRECTIONS: From Interstate 395 north or south: take Seminary Road exit east (toward Alexandria). Left turn from Seminary Road onto Library Lane at first traffic light after the interchange. The library parking lot entrance is on the right. The conference room is on the upper floor.

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The Emergency Management Agency of the District of Columbia was established shortly after 9/11. Establishment guidelines followed those of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security. Similar agencies were set up throughout the region, including Maryland and Virginia. The DC office is located on the eighth floor of the Reeves Center at 14th and U Streets NW.

When I visited the office I was surprised to find a classroom of students who had been invited to the office. They were being taught the importance of the office, how it operates, who is responsible for its activities and how they could help to make these known to their schools, churches, communities, and homes. They learned how to prepare their home for emergencies, and to prepare their parents automobiles in case they had to travel to another destination. A test was given at the end of the lecture to determine whether they could be leaders in this area.

Eighteen hazards were presented: terrorism (the priority), winter storms, water supply failure, utility power failure, thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and civil disorder. The support functions that are available from DC are Health and Medical Services, Urban Search and Rescue, (DC Fire and EMS departments), Mass Care (Department of Human Services), Law Enforcement, DC Energy, Community and Media Relations (Office of Communications).

The mission of the Emergency Management Agency is to administer a comprehensive community-based emergency management program in partnership with residents and businesses of DC so that together they can reduce the loss of life and property and protect the environment. The Agency executes its mission in coordination with District, regional, Federal and private sector agencies to meet new and continuing challenges.

The Emergency Operations Center consists of 24 fifty-inch Mitsubishi rear projection television tubes. It can observe or monitor 14 different television stations at one time, 57 traffic cameras and video feed transmitted via satellite microwaves or the internet in any standard format. The Center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In 2002, meetings in the community consisted of two per ward, with the Mayor conducting meetings in each ward. We had the first interjurisdictional integrated wireless. We have been able to integrate transportation and public safety radio, data and voice systems. Much has accomplished, much still needs to be done.

Other agencies involved are: the DC Council of Cooperating Agencies, Dept of Public Works and Transportation, Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications, Washington Gas Co., Potomac Electric Power Co., DC Public Schools, American Red Cross, Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, Office of Latino Affairs.

Included in the planning are four military installations, 20 million annual visitors, 572,000 DC residents , 20,000 business firms, colleges, universities, museums, monuments, theaters and other sites of historical significance, plus houses and apartments throughout the region. In addition,

  • Procedures: tune in local new radio for evacuation routes and shelter instructions.
  • Schools in each ward have been identified as emergency shelter locations; two schools in Wards 1 and 8; three schools in Wards 2, 3, 6 and 7; four schools in Ward 5.
  • For the frail and elderly: thirteen hospitals and all clinics will be utilized.
  • Funding is provided by both local and Federal governments.
  • A publication has been prepared: "It's A Disaster, and What Are You Going to Do About It?"

Report by Leona Rumsey for NCA League Homeland Security Program 2003

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Protesters Target "Spot Improvements" on 1-66 at TPB Jan. 18, 2006 meeting

At least half a dozen witnesses appeared at the opening of the Transportation Planning Board (TPB) meeting, as allowed in their monthly agenda. All protested a proposal to add pavement to 1-66. They argued that it is a sneak widening project, and that alternatives for alleviating congestion would be far more effective. 1-66 was constructed inside the Beltway after intense opposition by Arlington, supported by the National Capital Area League of Women Voters. At the time, part of the bargain was permanently limiting it to three lanes each way. This proposal is seen as violating that agreement.

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LWVUS Wants Your Email Address: The national League is requesting that all members provide their email addresses to the national League database. Your email address will be your logon ID to access the LWVUS web site. For the moment, we are following the lead of other Leagues who are urging their members to forward their own email addresses to the LWVUS. To do this, go to, click on login in the upper right hand corner; then, follow the login instructions.

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Questions concerning League membership can be directed to the League office at 222-0710. See the LWVDC MEMBERSHIP FORM.

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    31 6:30 m DC LLS 1 10:00 am, LWVDC Board Mtg. 3 10:00 am, NCA Board Mtg. 4 11:00 am, DDot Public Community Meeting on Bus Shelters
5 6 7 1:30 pm DC LLS
March DC Voter Initiative
8 9 10 11 12:30 pm DC LLS
12 13 14 9:45-11:00 am, Voter Registration at Naturalization Ceremony for New US Citizens 15 6:30 pm, DC LLS 16 1:00 pm, Transportation Committee Mtg.  17 18
19 20 21 9:45 am, Southwest
12:45 pm, Northwest Day
6:30 pm, DC LLS
22 9:45 am, Upper 16th
? pm, Capitol Hill
23 9:45 am, Chevy Chase/Ingleside
6:30 pm, ANC4B Election
7:30 pm, Northwest Evening
24 March DC Voter mailing 25 9:30 am, How Can Uncle Sam Keep All Those Promises?
12:30 pm, DC LLS
12:30 pm, ASALH Annual Meeting
26 27 6:30 pm, DC LLS          

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