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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 82, No. 4, April 2006

A Voice for Citizens — A Force for Change

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

Clarence Darrow . . . The Search for Justice
86th Annual Meeting
President's Message
NCA News and Notes
International Relations
Remembering Long Ago
Contributions Acknowledged
Questions Anyone?
Naturalization Ceremony & Reception Tuesday, April 11th
Remembering Ann Goldberg
Travel with the League
Membership Form
Calendar, April 2006

Clarence Darrow ... The Search for Justice

Enacted by Gary Anderson
TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 2006 a t 7: 3 0 P M
National Presbyterian Center
4101 Nebraska Ave. NW at Van Ness
(Parking available behind church)
Presented by League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia Education Fund District of Columbia Bar Association Litigation Section

For advance reservations, call (202) 222-0711
Admission: $15 in advance $20 at the door

Payable at the door or in advance to LWVDC, 1717 Mass. Ave. NW #600, Washington, DC 20036-2008.
Checks payable to LWVDC Ed Fund. No refund for cancellations due to illness or weather

This Scopes 'Monkey Trial' Revisited reenactment is described as "provocative, immediate and inspiring,"..."Acting is in the same league as Hal Holbrook's Mark Twain." 

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1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW, #600, Washington, DC 20036-2008
Bring Picture ID for building admission. Metro Red Line Dupont Circle south exit;
buses on 16th Street or P Street, stops at P Street; Parking available in building basement for $15)

6:30 pm RECEPTION (hors d'ouerves substantial): followed by the BUSINESS MEETING
(See your personal member first-class mailing for details.) and concluding with GUEST SPEAKER Brent Blackwelder, President, Friends of the Earth
(Environmental Action Today: Legislation in the District of Columbia; Green Buildings; The World Context; Battery Operated Cars and Foreign Oil.)

$25/person (Make check payable to LWVDC)
Send to LWVDC Office at above address.
Reservation deadline is noon, Monday, April 24.

No fee for member participation in business meeting

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PLAN AHEAD: The annual convention of the League of Women Voters of the United States will take place June 9-13, 2006, in Minneapolis, MN, with Garrison Keillor as the banquet speaker. Tickets ($55) may be purchased on line. You can see the convention program sessions; locate airfare discount information and service schedules at

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Since the last VOTER deadline, a full calendar of happenings:

  • Reacting to the vigorous expressions at the unit meetings on the National Capital Medical Center proposal, the Board concluded that the League should support efforts to require a Certificate of Need before any decision is made. DC Council Health committee chair avid Catania will soon hold hearings to explore the matter. Health cochairs Goody Solomon and Rene Wallis are keeping in touch with events.
  • The Library Study passed a crucial milestone with a reporting session on March 9 held by committee chair Kathryn Ray.
  • The greeting message for taking reservations for our April 1811 Clarence Darrow fundraising event is 202-222-0711. Gina Trippi mailed ten fat envelopes of promotional materials to media targets on March 14th.
  • Note elsewhere in this issue the list of 53 recent contributors, most responding to the fundraising letter bulk-mailed on the 24th. Thank-you letters followed daily.
  • Annual meeting preparations: eighty-one dues notices mailed; bylaws scrutinized by Goody Solomon and Naomi Glass; General Fund Treasurer's reports prepared by fledgling money tracker Diana Young entered into a computer spreadsheet for the budget committee; the nominations committee is hard at work. To be completed in time for the March 27th annual meeting 30-day advance mailing requirement.
  • From alerts at the DC Bar DC Affairs section meetings: Eleanor Holmes Norton has again introduced legislation to provide fiscal autonomy to DC, noting that few DC Council acts are actually subjected to Congressional veto, or even challenged. Of 2000 DC Council acts since 1974, 43 were challenged and 3 were subject to resolutions of disapproval. Is this proviso obsolescent? On the Republican side, Tom Davis of Fairfax, VA, joins in sponsoring an end to this special DC straitjacket. Soon to be in court: DC Appleseed suit to end Congressional imposition of the commuter tax ban. — Grace Malakoff

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KATHY PRITCHARD REMEMBERED: Kathleen Pritchard of Montgomery County will be remembered well throughout the National Capital Area Leagues for her work in the National Capital Area League, most recently as Voter Editor for the Montgomery County Voter, which she continued until a couple of months before her death. In the past 30 years, she served in various capacities on the NCA Board, always contributing to its progress in her firm and gentle style.

We learned that Kathy left a generous bequest to the NCA League, a tangible reminder of her respect for the League, and welcome support for the continuance of NCA's work for DC budget autonomy, the Airport Services we share throughout our region, Regional Housing, and Homeland Security.

LWVUS CONVENTION BUDGET BRIEFING: On May 5 at 11:00 am, delegates from NCA Leagues to the LWVUS Convention will be able to prepare for the Convention, which takes place this year in Minneapolis in June, by attending a briefing on the proposed budget and other matters to be considered at the Convention. NCA Convention Delegates can also pick up their workbooks for that convention at this briefing. — Frances Gemmill

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The Great Decisions program, an activity of the International Relations Committee, began its bimonthly meetings in January. Topics chosen by the Foreign Policy Association for discussion this year are: UN Reform, Iran, Human Rights, Brazil, India/China, Turkey, Energy, and Pandemics. Our group, which numbers seventeen this year, meets for two hours, where we show a video accompanying the briefing books. Eight of the participants take on the responsibility of leading our discussion, frequently using their own backgrounds or inviting resource persons.

Our League's Great Decisions discussion group will meet on Monday, April 10 from 2 - 4 pm to discuss: Pandemics and national security, with Joan Domike serving as discussion leader. We meet again on Monday, April 24 from 2 - 4 pm to discuss: The energy policy conundrum, with Naomi Glass leading our discussion. As usual, our discussion will be based on material provided by the Foreign Policy Association. Meeting place: LWVUS Board Room, 1730 M St., NW. 10th floor. Call me if interested in attending. — Sheila Keeny 966-1692, Great Decisions Facilitator

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LWVDC members who attended the Annual Black History Month Luncheon sponsored by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) on February 25 were delighted to hear from Dr. Dorothy Height, past president of the National Council of Negro Women, who received special attention for her many years in "the liberation struggle of black women. One LWV member who was particularly charmed by Dr. Height was Spurgeon Keeny, who asked her privately whether she remembered his father. She easily recalled working with him on their efforts to integrate both the New York WMCA and the NY YWCA - all this happened over seventy years ago. A remarkable woman indeed!

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This is to say many thanks for generous contributions to received since December 1, 2005: Martha and Allen Beach, Goody Braun, Madlyn Calbert, Susan Carpenter, William F. Carroll, Julia Cuniberti, Frank Daspit, Elizabeth and Julian Eisenstein, Natalie DiCappa Marra, Betty Good Edelson, Phoebe Fagan, Sylvia Fesler, Adrienne Fields, Robert and Frances Gemmill, Virginia A. Gorman, Audrey Hatry, Page and Gordon Hawk, Joanne S. Hirsch, Joan Keenan, Joanna London, Barbara Luchs, Grace Malakoff, John T. Mathison, Chris Matthews and Ken Nesper, Elizabeth M. Martin, Kathleen Mazure, Mary T. McCauley, Elizabeth McElroy, Carl Nelson, Loretta Newmann, Abigail C. Nichols, Carol Ragsdale, Dr. Jeanne Roberts, Mary S. Rogers, JoAnn Scott, Caroline L. Shugars, Nancy L. Sloss, Judith A. Smith, Barbara R. Stout, Fannie Webb Taylor, Josephine S. Wade, Grace E. Watson, Patricia E. Wheeler, Sue Whitman, Elaine Wiener and Lloyd Leonard, Diane Wilbur, Elizabeth Yancey.

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Remember the November 9, 2005, Mayoralty Forum which we cosponsored? The DC Bar DC Affairs Section has posted on its website the hundreds of questions that were submitted by the audience, by candidate and topic.

If you attend a candidate forum, you can try to get the answers. The web address: 

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At the "brown bag" lunch on February 27, 2006, About 15 of us were briefed on the Proposed "DC Education Rights" Charter Amendment, with presentations from Patrick Moynihan, attorney and school parent, supporting the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs; and Iris Toyer, Chair of Parents United for the DC Public Schools, school parent, former member of the Board of Education, and also a participant in the Washington Lawyers Committee. Later we were joined by Rod Boggs, Executive Director, Washington Lawyers Committee, also a school parent and veteran PTA member.

The proposed amendment would recognize the fundamental right to high quality educational opportunities as a basic value and obligate the DC Government to provide a system of high-quality public schools for every child. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton supports DC Council action to get it on the November ballot for voter approval.

The idea for pursuing the amendment came from a student of the American University's Law School, who participated in a program wherein DC law firms partner with DC schools. In 2004 the Lawyer's Committee did some stock-taking of the schools fifty years after Supreme Court desegregation cases. Mr. Moynihan described a range of factors reviewed, comparing where DC Public Schools stood in 1954 to the present. Despite the end of official segregation, the schools are worse off today with fewer offerings and requirements for languages, arts and music and extra-curricular activities, deteriorating condition of buildings, availability of, and so forth.

It is not simply a matter of money. Also contributing was the loss of middle-class parents who could focus on school performance. Furthermore, comparing DC expenditure per student with other states confuses important differences between big city-school systems and rural ones. When comparing other schools systems in the region, DC's expenditure per student is actually lower.

The Committee reviewed state constitutions and found that 48 contain a straightforward right to quality education clause. Given the deterioration in the schools, the Committee believes that DC voters need some better leverage to force support for schools from the government. The amendment is seen as an attention-getter. In the run up to the fall ballot voters would be educated city wide. Such attention would be maintained over time to keep the heat on elected officials. All recognized that is this a complicated time, with Superintendent Janey's announcing is Master Education Plan (that same day), his prior proposals for curricula, and the efforts already launched to renovate school buildings.

The Lawyer's Committee wants to build and sustain civic commitment to the schools. So many do not think that what goes on in the schools affects them. Yet we need to keep residents in the city who tend to leave when they have school-aged children. As Jeannette Miller reminded us, "What goes on in DC Public Schools affects your life every day in every way." —  Barbara Yeomans

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Plan to attend this very impressive ceremony if you have never attended. The ceremony is held in the US. District Courthouse located at the corner of 3rd St and Constitution Ave. NW. It is in the ceremonial courtroom (20) on the 6th floor at 10 a.m. We should all be in our seats in the front left or right section by 9:45 am.

The DC League will cater the reception for new citizens in April. Can You Help? We need to have willing bakers to produce cookies, cakes or brownies, a021) or Amy Proft (320-7722.) if you can help.

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Remembering Ann Goldberg

Ann moved to Seattle some years ago, accompanied by letters from the LWVDC explaining that we wanted the western League to understand that she was a rare and wonderful breed of Leaguer. Recently, when a friend there called to inform us of her death, our admonition was well known by the caller. Ann not only gave us money - even after she moved away, but served in numerous committees and capacities for us. As a lawyer, in a day when females were less commonplace in that profession, we were especially grateful for her expertise and diplomacy. — Grace Malakoff, Naomi Glass, Frances Gemmill

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Did you know? When you Travel with the Leaque, 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 1530-621-3007
Web site:

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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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Monday, March 27, 11:30 pm, Brown Bag Dialogue, What Is Happening at Metro? Speaker: Gladys Mack, Chair of METRO Budget Committee 1
2 3 4 5 10:00 am, LWVDC Board Mtg. 6 7 10:00 am, NCA Board Mtg. 8
9 10 2:00 pm, Great Decisions 11 9:45-11:00 am, Voter Registration at naturalization ceremony for new US Citizens
May DC Voter Deadline
12 13 14 15
16 17 18 7:30 pm, Clarence Darrow, The Search for Justice 19 20 21 May DC Voter meeting 22 Earth Day
23 24 2:00 pm, Great Decisions 25 26 27 6:30 pm, 86th Annual Meeting 28 29

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