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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
January 1998

2025 Eye Street, N.W., #916-917, Washington, DC 20006
(202) 331-4122/(202) 331-4196 (fax)

President's Corner
Unit Calendar
March is Membership Month
National Program Planning for the Biennium
Committee Updates:

DC Affairs
International Relations
Voter Service

Member News
DC Leaguers Jean Flemming, Connie Fortune Honored at UN Association Event
Brown Bag Dialogue, January 26, Pending DC Sentencing Legislation
Recent Brown Bag Dialogues
Kwasi Holman Discusses Chamber of Commerce, DC Revitalization
Convention '98
DC League Fundraiser to Entertain Superbowl Widows
In League . . . Around the Nation
Help See that "Everybody Reads" in DC

President's Corner — January 1998
Luci Murphy


Thanks to Reggie Yancey's search committee, we found a new office manager in December. Her name is Christine Matthews, and she brings a wealth of experience — library science, computer skills, and community activism. We are grateful to her neighbor, Madlyn Calbert, for introducing her to the D.C. League.

On December 9, Rick (not Rich) Little of the International Youth Foundation (IYF), based in Baltimore, spoke to a luncheon given by Muni Figueres at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). He spoke about the crisis of hope and massive unemployment of high school and college age youth here and around the world. Counseling us not to focus on the symptoms of drug addiction and teen pregnancy, he suggested instead that the "solution" was the development of civic volunteer and job programs with the participation of young people at the planning stage. Mr. Little's organization brings business, non-profits, and government agencies in a given region together to develop local economic projects. The Civic/Voter Contest of our Education Committee is already moving the D.C. League in this direction. In hosting the IYF, the Bank is preparing for a "Global Meeting of Generations," here in January a year from now (1999). Interested? Call Robert Berg at 202/884-8499 for more information.

The following day, December 10, was U.N. Human Rights Day. The UNA/NCA honored a distinguished group of academics and activists at a luncheon attended by over 300 at the Cannon House Office Building. Among those honored, we were pleased to include Jean Fleming and Connie Fortune, both of whom have struggled for Article 21, the right to be represented in one's government (see also p.4).

Thanks to the generous donations of both space — by Franklyn's Coffeehouse Cafe — and music — by singers and guitarists Andy Lawrence and Derek Mathis — there will be a musical fundraiser on Sunday, January 25 to benefit the D.C. League. (That's Superbowl Sunday, by the way, for those of you who prefer a non-football related afternoon!) I'll be singing with them from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Hope to see you there.

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Jan 7, Wednesday, noon, LWVDC Board Meeting, LWVUS, 1730 M Street NW
Jan 13, Tuesday, noon, Unit Council, LWVDC, 2025 Eye Street, NW
Jan 13, Tuesday, February DC Voter deadline
Jan 14
, Wednesday, noon, International Relations, LWVUS, Rosalie Goodman Room
Jan 19-22, Units: National Program Planning, see Unit Calendar
Jan 23, Friday, February DC Voter mailing
Jan 25
, Sunday, 4:00 p.m., Musical Fundraiser at Franklyn's, see below
Jan 26, Monday, 11:30 a.m., Brown Bag Dialogue: Sentencing Legislation, LWVUS office
Jan 28, Wednesday, 2:00 p.m., D.C. Affairs Committee, LWVDC conference room
Feb 6, Friday, 10:00 a.m., LWV/NCA Board Meeting, LWVUS conference room
Feb 18, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., General Meeting: Education, LWVUS conference room

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Unit Calendar

Chevy Chase, to be determined, Jan 21 (Wed) 9:45 a.m., Jean Fleming, 202/331-4122
Northeast Day, Woodridge Library, Rhode Island & 18th, NE, Jan 22 (Thu) 12:45 p.m., Ruth Smith, 202/331-4122
Northwest Day, Iona House, 4125 Albemarle St, NW, Jan 20 (Tue) 1:00 p.m., Jeanette Miller, 202/331-4122
Northwest Eve, call for directions (near Friendship Heights), Jan 22 (Thu) 7:30 p.m., Joan Domike, 202/331-4122
Southwest, call for directions, Jan 20 (Tue) 9:45 a.m., MacClaire Arlt, 202/331-4122
Upper 16th St., NCBA Estates, Jan 21 (Wed) 9:45 a.m., Jehu Hunter, 202/331-4122

January units are devoted to national program planning for the next biennium (see next article). Included in this issue of the DC Voter are copies of the "Positions in Brief" under current LWVUS program (1996-1998) and a list of possible Issues for Emphasis. Please be sure to bring them with you to January Unit meetings.

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March Is Membership Month
Reggie Yancey, Membership Chair

The Board of Directors of LWVDC has designated March 1998 as Membership Month. There will be a concerted board-member effort to recruit at least one member each (new or reactivated). Special recognition will be given in the June DC Voter. Details will be forthcoming in the next Voter issue.

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National Program Planning for the Biennium, 1998-2000
Barbara Yeomans, 3rd Vice-President (National Program)

January Units will be devoted to planning the national LWVUS program for the next biennium. The National Board has issued guidance for planning the program, which is to be adopted at Convention in June 1998. The adopted program should

  1. allow Leagues at all levels to play a key role in influencing public policy,
  2. empower League members and the public to work for positive change, and
  3. use League resources—people, time and finances—effectively and efficiently.

Each League will be asked to suggest one Issue for Emphasis. Such an issue is defined as "a public policy issue so important that the whole organization decides to emphasize it during the biennium. It may, for example, entail advocacy and education on a current position or it might be aimed at developing a new position through study (or restudy) and member agreement." LWVDC's input, along with that of other Leagues, will be used by National to propose one Issue for Emphasis at Convention in June.

Optional issues for multi-level advocacy, chosen from four legislative areas (details below), may also be suggested by local Leagues. In addition, at Convention, program votes mandated by the bylaws will include those on existing positions — to retain, revise, or adopt a study; any concurrence proposals; and study or restudy questions.

The planning process for the 1998-2000 biennium began in the summer of 1997, when all Leagues were surveyed concerning their special interests. LWVDC submitted two candidate items: U.N. (reform, Security Council enlargement, financing, peacemaking vs. peacekeeping) and Full Voting Representation in Congress for D.C. (as an "on the ready" item for action when propitious).

The national League grouped the resulting suggestions into three categories of possible Issues for Emphasis (see insert). At our January Units we are to reach consensus on only one of these issues.

In addition, however, we are invited to indicate if we want LWVUS to conduct a moderate level of multi-issue advocacy on legislative issues within each of the four program areas:

  1. Government (includes the D.C. item),
  2. International Relations (includes broad support for the U.N. but nothing specific about revision of the Charter),
  3. Natural Resources, and
  4. Social Policy.

This approach responds to criticism of the current "sole issue" focus in national program.

The deadline for LWVDC's submitting its input to National is March 6, 1998.

As we start 1998 and contemplate a program leading to the new millennium, the LWVDC Board needs to hear your views.

Come to January units and launch us toward Convention 1998, and the millennium.

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Committee Updates

D.C. Affairs, Pat Hallman

An action alert was called (phone calls and letters) to express LWVDC's opposition to the Children's Island Act First Amended and Restated Lease and Grant of Easement Agreement Emergency Approval Resolution of 1997. The League supports a full public review of environmental, social and economic impact of the proposed major development. An Environmental Impact Statement would address many concerns of the community.

The Committee is also continuing to plan an ABC publication of "District of Columbia Revitalization" P.L. 105-33. A process plan is being reviewed in order to reactivate an Observer Corps. More information will be available late January or early February 1998.

Next D.C. Affairs Meeting, Wednesday Jan. 28, 2:00 p.m., LWVDC conference room

Education, Kathy Schmidt, co-chair

The committee again urges any members who might like to contribute to the Voter/Civic Responsibility contest to send a check to the League of Women Voters of D.C. Education Foundation, 2025 Eye Street, NW, DC 20008. Please include on the memo line "Contest" (Form on p.6). We have been encouraged by the support of many of you. Thank you.

Due to an error in the 1997-1998 Handbook, the General Meeting for February was omitted. The Education committee is planning a panel discussion Wednesday, February 18, by three officials from the Washington public school education community -- Don Reeves, President of the D.C. Board of Education; Delabian Rice-Thurston, Executive Director of Parents United; and a representative from the Emergency Transitional Education Board of Trustees. It will be open to the public, held at 1730 M Street, NW, tenth floor (the LWVUS office) from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. A continental breakfast will be available. Although there will be no charge, reservations are encouraged. Additional information will be included in the February DC Voter. Mark your calendars.

The Committee needs your help. If you are interested in joining the committee, please call Kathy Schmidt 202/331-4122.

General Meeting: Education, Wednesday, Feb 18, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., LWVUS conference room.

International Relations, Sheila Keeny, chair

November 1997 Units: The I.R. Committee sponsored Unit Meetings on current issues confronting the U.N. in November. These meetings were intended to update our members on recent developments at the U.N. and in Congress. They were not intended to reach new positions, nor to anticipate the results of the program planning unit meetings in January, when LWVDC recommendations for national program during the next biennium will be decided. The meetings updated members on the critical developments in the U.N. funding situation. Our timing was such that we were able to discuss the last-minute Congressional decision to recess without providing funding to pay any of our arrears to the U.N., this at the very moment we needed all the support we could get in the Security Council for our dispute with Iraq.

If a sense of the meetings can be stated, it is that the members strongly support Becky Cain's efforts on behalf of paying our legally obligated arrears. They welcomed her active participation in the Emergency Coalition on Funding the United Nations, in the NGO conference at the U.N. in September 1997 where she was a featured speaker, and in the vigil in front of the White House on the eve of U.N. day. Some felt that her leadership as a woman on this issue was particularly important.

Members of the I.R. Committee will be attending the program planning unit meetings this month with very specific recommendations for keeping the U.N. as an active and up-to-date national program item during the 1998-2000 biennium, a decision to be made at Convention this June

Great Decisions Discussion Series Begins Again: The I.R. Committee will again sponsor the annual Great Decisions Discussion Series, beginning this winter. Organized by the Foreign Policy Association, the program engages a nationwide group of individuals interested in learning about and discussing some of the major foreign policy issues of the day. A discussion of the topics among experts will be broadcast from 2:00-3:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, January 6, 13, 20, and 27 by WETA. In addition, a briefing book with extensive background material will be available for purchase.

This year's topics are:

Cuba: Time to Rethink U.S. Strategy?
Africa Today: Worst of Times, Best of Times?
Human Rights: What Role in U.S. Policy?
Financing Development: Time for Reform?
Turkey: Emerging Regional Power or State in Crisis?
Religion's Role in World Affairs: Challenges for U.S.
Special Interests: Is U.S. Foreign Policy for Sale?
China and the U.S: What Priorities in a Changing Relationship?

Jean Jones is again coordinating this special program for the I.R. Committee, which welcomes all Leaguers and their friends to join us. To register or for further information, call Jean at 202/331-4122. Next I.R. Committee meeting to plan program recommendations and Great Decisions assignments: 12:00 noon, Wednesday, January 14, LWVUS, Rosalie Goodman Room

Voter Service, Fran Garro, chair

The Committee has begun work on two projects assigned to it by the Board for the electoral season of 1998. The first is the Issues Forum tentatively scheduled for April or May; the second is a Candidates Forum, to be held in the Fall, after the primary. There is much work to be done on both projects, along with the usual voter registration drives and a get-out-the-vote effort (still in the brainstorming phase). Any volunteers out there? Let us know.

Does your New Year's resolutions list include more active LWVDC committee involvement? If not, now's the time to add it! Make your League membership work for you and your community.

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Member News

The LWVDC regretfully notes the death of Chevy Chase Unit member Alice Kreigel Wolffe, on November 24, 1997. She lived at Collington Retirement Community in Mitchellville, MD.

League member Mary Shaw, formerly of the Capitol Hill Unit and former member of the Voter Service Committee, is very ill and bedridden at her home. She might appreciate cards, although she cannot talk on the phone. Her address is: 6880 Oregon Avenue, NW, 20015

Welcome New Members: Christine Matthews, Roger Newell, and Beth Walton

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D.C. Leaguers Jean Flemming, Connie Fortune Honored at U.N. Association Event

The following text appeared in the program for the United Nations Association-National Capital Area Annual Human Rights Day Luncheon, December 10, 1997:

The League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia honors past President Connie Fortune and Life Member Jean Fleming for continuing leadership in League efforts to secure full voting representation in Congress for the citizens of the District of Columbia. Although the right to take part in government directly or through "freely chosen representatives" is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this right is not fully granted to the citizens of the District. Therefore, to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 1970, the League of Women Voters of the United States adopted a suggestion by the D.C. League to initiate a nationwide petition drive asking Congress for legislation leading to a constitutional amendment giving D.C. full voting rights, as if it were a state. Members of the League brought over one million petition signatures to the League's National Convention for delivery to members of Congress by their League constituents. As a result of the petition drive, D.C. received a non-voting Delegate to the House of Representatives. Over 100 local and national organizations formed the Self-Determination for D.C. Coalition to press for full voting rights. Although a Constitutional amendment passed Congress, it fell twelve states short of ratification. With Connie and Jean to help, the League will try again to secure for the citizens of the nation's capital equal representation rights consistent with the principles of a great democracy.

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Brown Bag Dialogue, January 26: Pending D.C. Sentencing Legislation
Pat Hallman

The seventh in a series of Brown Bag Dialogues with other local organizations on D.C. issues will take place on January 26, 1998 at the National League headquarters, 1730 M Street, NW, 10th floor, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The guest speakers are Mary Jane DeFrank of the local ACLU and Jack Evans of the D.C. Judiciary Commission. The topic will be the pending revision of the D.C. sentencing legislation.

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Recent Brown Bag Dialogues: Urban Planners Discuss Monumental Core, D.C. Comprehensive Plan

On October 24, 1997, the D.C. League hosted the fifth in a series of dialogues on D.C. issues with other organizations in the District. Guest speakers were David Hamilton, urban planner with the National Capital Planning Commission; Jill Dennis, Director of the D.C. Planning Office; and Vanessa Akins, urban planner. The discussion focused on the Monumental Core and its role in the D.C. Comprehensive Plan.

Current plans for the Core call for open corridors, more war memorials (World War II, Air Force, Gulf War), and new special purpose federal buildings. Although 60 new memorials are in the works, the city is almost out of space for such monuments.

South of the Capital, preserving the residential character of the area is the primary focus of work. Relocation of the Supreme Court to the water front was proposed but vetoed by the sitting justices. To the Northwest of the Capital, however, the concern is to increase the entertainment opportunities in the Federal Triangle area.

Another major planning concern is enhanced utilization of the rivers. This is expected to be achieved through the addition of water taxis and bridges over the channel and through removal of barriers to access, such as freeways and railroad tracks

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Kwasi Holman Discusses Chamber of Commerce, D.C. Revitalization

At the sixth in a series of dialogues on D.C. issues, Kwasi Holman, Executive Vice President of the D. C. Chamber of Commerce, on November 24, 1997, outlined some of the most promising projects and pressing challenges for the Chamber and the District.

Promising Projects:

  1. Tax Increment Financing Districts, a program designed to use surplus taxes generated in a specific area for that area's improvement. Mr. Holman sees this program as an incentive for retailers to move or remain downtown; (see related article)
  2. Business Improvement Districts, another program for downtown businesses, unites the businesses in an effort to provide cleaner, safer, more welcoming streets for customers and clients;
  3. A D.C. Office of Tourism and a Visitors Center, possibly to be located in the Ronald Reagan building when it opens, to provide city-wide information for visitors; and
  4. Educational programs preparing young and unemployed people for jobs in the hospitality industry

Pressing Challenges:

  1. Pulling tourists off the Mall, attracting visitors downtown and to various neighborhoods where rich entertainment opportunities already exist—cafes, restaurants, music and other performance venues;
  2. Enhancing parking opportunities both in lots and on the street; the city must recognize that Metro does not work for everyone and that a municipal parking authority is needed;
  3. Making the most of the MCI Center to bring customers to surrounding businesses, while providing ample Metro and parking possibilities and avoiding congestion; and
  4. Eliminating the climate of distrust about service delivery, including crime prevention, in D.C. which currently hampers city-business relationships

Mr. Holman discussed his organization's involvement in the development of the President's D.C. revitalization plan and other current efforts to improve commerce in the city. He expressed regret that the President's plan did not include an economic development corporation and stressed the importance to the city of an economic development plan.

Mr. Holman proposed a possible collaboration between his organization and the D.C. League in developing an issues forum for the next election, which he sees as the most important one to take place here in the last 20 years.

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Convention '98. June 13-16, 1998, Hotel del Coronado. San Diego, CA

The League of Women Voters of the United States will convene in San Diego, CA, June 13-16, 1998. On the delegates' agenda will be deciding on the national program, voting on the League's 1998-99 budget, hearing great speakers on topics that concern League members, and attending leadership training workshops. The Hotel del Coronado, site of the 1998 Convention, offers many amenities, including sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.

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Sunday Afternoon with Luci Murphy: A Soiree for Superbowl Widows
Sunday, January 25, 1998. 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
snowdate: February 1, 1998
Franklyn's Coffeehouse Café
2000 18th Street, NW (near Florida Avenue), Washington, DC
All proceeds benefit LWVDC

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D.C. League Fundraiser to Entertain Superbowl Widows

Franklyn's Coffeehouse Café will host "Sunday Afternoon with Luci Murphy: A Soiree for Superbowl Widows" from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 25, 1998 (snowdate: February 1, 1998). This fund-raiser for the D.C. League will feature LWVDC President, mezzo-soprano Luci Murphy; baritone, Derek Mathis, who will also accompany the vocals on lute and guitar; and singer-guitarist Andy Lawrence.

Tickets will be sold on a sliding scale, according to the generosity of the donor, from $10 to $50. All proceeds of ticket sales will go to the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia. Food and drink is not included in the ticket price but will be available for additional charge from the Café. Franklyn's has also agreed to keep LWVDC brochures on restaurant table throughout the month of January so that customers can learn more about the League. (Order form below.)

Franklyn's is located at 2000 18th Street, NW (near Florida Avenue), Washington, DC.

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In League . . . Around the Nation

Monitoring Welfare Reform

The November 1997 issue of The Colorado Voter reports on a Welfare Monitoring Project mounted by fourteen of the state's local leagues. The project is designed to gather information bout how the "new system is working from the client's viewpoint. Leagues are going to their local welfare offices and asking clients if they would like to answer a few questions on a survey form" developed with the help of the AFDC Coalition (of which LWVCO is a member). Colorado leaguers have also attended a two-day conference sponsored by the Colorado Department of Human Services considering new welfare legislation after several months of implementation and are compiling information about welfare reform implementation in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Considering Tax Increment Financing

The Chicago League held an All-Member Meeting in November 1997 to consider three views on Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Arthur Lyons of the Center for Economic Policy Analysis saw TIF's as tools that sift out smaller companies, giving benefits to larger, well-connected contractors and greater shares of profits to real estate interests. Ted Sysocki of CANDO said properly managed TIF's can bring much needed jobs back into a city; he sighted four examples underway in Chicago's industrial sectors. John Donohue of Chicago Coalition for the Homeless noted that existing Chicago TIF's have focused on downtown areas (from Navy Pier to McCormick Place, along Lake Michigan), prime development targets regardless of TIF's, where little housing for lower income people has been made available. --adapted from The Chicago Voter, December 1997


The Chicago League reports in their December Voter on an experiment conducted by the New Jersey League. Groups of ten members participated in conference calls during which they selected one priority issue and chose a representative. Groups of ten representatives chosen in the first round of calls then met via conference call, reiterating the process. The third and final conference call determined the state League priorities. George Washington University Professor Amitai Etzioni, who studied the process found it very democratic. "Every member got to participate in the decision making process without leaving home, and yet the elected representatives were free, within an area indicated by those who elected them, to work out a League-wide consensus."

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Help See that "Everybody Reads" in D.C.

The D.C. Public Schools call upon the community to provide a tutor for every second grade student who needs one. "Everybody Reads" will focus on second graders, who must pass their first "gateway" exam, the Stanford Achievement 9 reading exam, in order to move on to third grade. Of second graders who took the reading exam last year, 41% scored "below basic." Chief Academic Officer Arlene Ackerman says the SAT 9 scores will be heavily weighted in decisions to retain students in grade.

Each volunteer will read with a single student for two 35-minute sessions each week, preferably during the school day—although some schools can use evening and Saturday tutors, for 12 weeks. A two-hour training session, provided at several locations, is required. Tutors are also asked to provide proof of TB screening, references, authorization to release information, and a liability waiver. Call Carolyn Smith, 202/724-4400 for more information

The DC Voter is a monthly publication of the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia. It is available either through membership ($40.00/year) or through direct subscription ($10.00 per year). President, Luci Murphy, Treasurer, Naomi Glass; Editor, Virginia Spatz (email:
LWVDC, 2025 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006. 202/331-4122. Fax: 202/331-4196.
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