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

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

President's Corner – February 1998
Making Our Votes Count for a Better City
Office Staffing
March is Membership Month
Committee Updates

International Relations
Voter Service
NCA Water Task Force

Coffeehouse Planned to Draw Younger, Future Voters
Welfare Reform Collaborative Meeting
"Changing Workplaces, Changing Lives"
The Children at Risk Committee Recommends
Member News
Esther Peterson
Remembering Julia Graves
LWV/The National Capital Area
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
NW Evening Unit: December Units' Choice
In League . . . Around the Nation

President's Corner – February 1998
Luci Murphy

We remember Julia Graves and strive to follow her gracious and thorough example in League work. Excerpts from her memorial service appear below.

WETA CapAccess, which provides our e-mail service, experienced a systems failure on January 1 which lasted two weeks. I am sorry if you tried to reach us in those first two weeks of the year. Fortunately, this failure did not affect DC Watch's informative website, where the DC Voter is now posted in slightly modified form. Many thanks to Gary Imhoff and Dorothy Brizill of DC Watch for arranging this posting )

Hold the date for our Annual Meeting: Tuesday, April 21 with registration beginning at 5:30 p.m. It will be held at the Coach and IV Restaurant in the Reeves Center, 2000 14th Street NW. Washington Post writer Colbert King will speak following our business meeting. For more details, call the office at 202/331 4122.

Our issues forum on D.C. Public Schools: A Vision for 2000, sponsored by the Education Committee, will be held in lieu of unit meetings for the month of February. (See below for details.)

Many thanks to new D.C. member and second generation Leaguer Alisa Wilkins for coordinating a successful fundraiser at Franklyn's Coffeehouse Cafe, and thanks to those who came to support the D.C. League.

Making Our Votes Count for a Better City

The LWVDC Board, during the January meeting, approved in concept a civic and voter education project for the spring, summer, and fall of this election year.

A committee was appointed to explore possible collaboration and prospective funding. The project includes workshops, candidates forums, and a website. For further 4122information, or to lend a hand, call Elinor Hart, 202/331-4122. (See also Voter Service report.)


Feb 4 (Wed) noon, LWVDC Executive Committee, LWVDC, 2025 I Street, NW
Feb 10 (Tue) 10:30 a.m., Voter Service Committee, LWVDC office
Feb 10 (Tue), March DC Voter deadline
Feb 11 (Wed) 10:30 a.m., Education Committee, LWVDC office
Feb 11 (Wed) noon, Great Decisions: Cuba, LWVUS, 1730 M Street, N.W., Rosalie Goodman Room
Feb 18 (Wed) 8:30 a.m., General Meeting: Education, LWVUS conference room
Feb 20 (Fri), February DC Voter mailing
Feb 23 (Mon) noon, Brown Bag Dialogue: Utilities, LWVUS
Feb 25 (Wed) noon, Great Decisions: Africa, LWVUS, Rosalie Goodman Room
Mar 6 (Fri) 10:00 a.m., LWV/NCA Board Meeting, LWVUS conference room

Office Staffing

The D.C. League's new office manager, Chris Matthews, is now working 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays. Our faithful volunteer, June Duke, who filled in much of the gap between Frances Gemmill's departure and Chris' hire, continues to work Tuesday and Thursday mornings, beginning at 9 30 a.m.

March Is Membership Month

The Board of Directors of LWVDC has designated March 1998 as Membership Month. Details of one membership promotion appear below.

There are no unit meetings in February.

Committee Updates


The Education Committee, as well as organizing thee general membership meeting for February, has continued to work on the Voter/Civic Responsibility contest fur D.C. public high school l students (to contribute funds, see below). All of the public high schools have received information packets. If you would like to be involved, please come to our next meeting Wednesday, February l l, in the conference room at 2025 Eye Street, NW, at 10:30 a.m.

In the past month, there have been major changes for DCPS. Wilma Harvey is the newly elected president of the Board of Education. The Appellate Court has ruled that the firing of former Superintendent of Schools Franklin Smith and the creation of the Emergency Transitional Education Board of Trustees by the Control Board were illegal. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton has called upon all three bodies to work together despite their differences. Dismal average math and reading skill scores for each of the 146 schools have been published. – Kathy Schmidt, co-chair

Next Education Meeting: Wed., Feb. 11, 10:30 a.m., LWVDC conference room
General Meeting, see below

Next Great Decisions (I.R.) Meetings: Wed., Feb 11, noon (Cuba); Wed., Feb. 25, noon (Africa); LWVUS, Rosalie Goodman Room

International Relations

LWVDC Urges U.S. President to Speak out on U.N.: Stimulated in part by President Becky Cain's participation as resource person in an early January World Federalist conference call on paying U.S. arrears to the United Nations, the I.R. committee drafted and President Luci Murphy sent a FAX on this subject to President Clinton on January 12. The letter appears below.

We also sent a letter to Becky Cain commending her for her continued commitment to this cause. As we go to press, the LWVUS is working with a group of national organizations that are bundling their individual letters on the same subject and delivering them to the President on January 21. By the time you read this, the State of the Union message will reveal whether the President listens to his mail! Copies of the LWVDC and LWVUS letters are both available by calling Sheila Keeny at 202-331-4122.

Great Decisions To Look at Cuba, Africa in February. The D.C. League's Great Decisions series will begin in February, with a discussion of Cuba: Time to Rethink U.S. Strategy? on Wednesday, February 11 and Africa Today: Worst of Times, Best of Times on Wednesday, February 25. We meet from noon until 1:30 over a brown bag lunch in the Rosalie Goodman Room of the LWVUS office, 1730 M Street, NW (Metro: Farragut North). Visitors as well as regular participants welcome. Call Jean Jones for information and to obtain briefing book prepared by the Foreign Policy Association. – Sheila Keeny, chair

Voter Service

The Committee is hard at work studying a proposal by Elinor Hart to educate the voting population as to the issues faced by the D.C. government and the officials the voters will be electing. We'll also be studying the issues we deem of foremost importance to the city in the coming year, looking toward presenting an issues forum in the spring. A candidates forum and/or guide will follow. Looks like a busy year. Any volunteers out there? Call the League office (20213314122). – Fran Garro, chair

Next Voter Service Meeting: Tue., Feb. 10, 1030 a.m., LWVDC, conference room

NCA Water Task Force

The Water Task Force of the National Capital Area met at the LWVUS on Thursday, January 15. The Task Force will provide a speaker for the annual NCA meeting in May. The Task Force will also prepare a forum in September. The focus will be on a time line study of water resources (both quantity and quality) from 100 years ago, the present, 32 years in the future and even 100 years in the future. This is an ambitious program, so new people are welcome to join the fun. The next meeting will be at LWVUS, noon on Thursday, February 19, 1998. Please contact Bob Perry, NCA Water Resources Chair, 703/534-5421. – June Duke

Next NCA Water Meeting: Thu., Feb 19, noon, LWVUS, conference room

Remember, there are no Units in February. Instead, be sure to attend these events. . .

General Meeting on Education: A Vision for 2000
February 18, 1998
LWVUS conference room., 1730 M Street, NW.
8;30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Bruce MacLaury, Chair of the Emergency Transitional Education Board of Trustees
Don Reeves, Past-President of the D.C, Board of Education
Delabian Rice-Thurston, Executive Director of Parents United

Utility Deregulation: Brown Bag Dialogue
Monday, February 23, 1998
LWVUS conference room., 1730 M Street, NW. Noon.
Ms. Yvette Hutchinson, Washington Gas
Ms. Claudia McCoin, Bell Atlantic
Ms. Libby Lawson, D.C. Water and Sewer Authority
Ms. Beverly Perry, PEPCO

Tenth Floor. Metro: Farragut North (Red Line), or Farragut West (Blue/Orange Lines).

D.C. Voters and Friends Coffeehouse
Sunday, February 22, 1998
3:00 - 5:00 p,m.
Brookland's Cup of Dreams, 12th and Otis Streets, NE.

Coffeehouse Planned to Draw Younger, Future Voters

Jesse Brown, proprietor of Brookland's Cup of Dreams, has offered the use of his cafe free of charge for a League of Women Voters Coffeehouse Fundraiser. He is willing to make this available to us on a regular basis, possibly monthly or hi-monthly.

The Belles, the women's a capella vocal group from Trinity College has agreed to perform several songs for free, and Ms. Janice Bennett has agreed to donate her services as the emcee for the presentation of open mike poetry and music.

The D.C. League hopes this activity will

To encourage parents to bring their young artists and artists to bring their parents, ticket prices have been set at $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for college students, and $1.00 for younger students. The house will sell juice, hot chocolate, coffee, sandwiches, and deserts. Notices will he circulated among city high school and college theater and music groups, as well as political parties and civic organizations.

A sound check and performers' registration will be held an hour and a half prior to the program start. This will serve to screen materials in order to encourage thoughtful, life-affirming, non-racist, non sexist, nondenominational music and poetry.

The first D.C. Voters and Friends Coffeehouse will take place, Sunday, February 22 at 3:00 p.m.

Did you remember to add more active LWVDC committee involvement to that New Year's resolutions list?
If not, there's still time to add it!
If so, now is the time to act on that decision!
Make your League membership work better for you and your community.

Welfare Reform Collaborative Meeting

The Metropolitan Dialogue is a group of community-minded citizens who believe that civic issues can best be tackled by bringing people together to talk in a spirit of trust and honesty. This philosophy is brought to bear on the recent changes in welfare laws through the Regional Welfare Reform Collaborative, sponsored by the Metropolitan Dialogue.

The Collaborative was formed in April of 1997, in response to the often confusing changes in welfare policy taking place in the District and around the region. Collaborative members recognize the need for a common meeting ground where information and problems can be shared and partnerships formed. Participants currently include Temporary Assistance to the Needy, food stamp customers, and representatives of nonprofit, faith-based, and other organizations.

The Collaborative next meets on Wednesday, February 18, 1998, at 10:00 a.m. The location is to be announced. Please call 202/678-1978.

"Changing Workplaces, Changing Lives"

The Women's Center will hold its 13th Annual Leadership Conference on Saturday, March 14, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at the McLean Hilton. The focus of this year's conference, "Changing Workplaces, Changing Lives," will give particular emphasis to integrating our personal and professional lives.

Speakers will include: Patty Abramson, venture capitalist and founder of Women's Growth Capital Fund I; Nancy Brinker, Founding President of the Susan G. Komen Foundation; Susan DeFife, Founder of Women's Connection Online; Esther Dyson, technology guru; Samira Harfoush-Hrudsky, global worker on women's issues; Hugh McColl, CEO of NationsBank; and Susan Williams, chair of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

For information on attendance and volunteer opportunities, contact Stephanie Blackburn, 703/281-4928 x311 or e-mail:

The Children At Risk Committee recommends:

A D.C. Action for Children presentation, "Learning to Survive," a new PBS documentary on educational innovation, followed by a dialogue with Hedrick Smith, documentary creator Maurice Sykes, D.C. Director of Early Childhood Education; and Gary Gottfredson, psychologist. Wednesday, Jan. 28, 6:00-8:00 p.m., 1616 P Street, NW (7th Street Conference Room). Call 202/234-9404 for more information. – Joan Domike


Welcome to new members. Mary E. Clutter, Barbara Curtis, Kindra Davis, Anne Hull' Susan Lambert, Elizabeth Lynch, Etta Marshall, Gene Paslov, M. Irene Smolik, Athena Viscusi, Marchant Wentworth, Alisa Wilkins, Kelly C. Young, and Dr. Barbara Zia.

Esther Peterson

We are saddened to report the death of Esther Peterson at age 91. Mrs. Peterson was well known as the first consumer advisor for Giant Food, Inc. She also served four U.S. presidents in various capacities as a tireless advocate on behalf of women's issues, labor, and consumerism, and as a delegate to the U.N. General Assembly.

Mrs. Peterson was a long-time, loyal member of the Upper 16th Street League Unit. Despite her full and active life, she often found time to host Unit meetings in her home, the Alexander R. Shepherd mansion, in Shepherd Park.

As the ultimate lobbyist for "doing the right thing." for consumers she spent more than 50 years working to make it so. Her many contributions leave all of us indebted to her.

Remembering Julia Graves

The following remarks were given by Luci Murphy at the January 17 memorial service, held at People's Congregational Church in the District. Frances Gemmill, Mary Weller, and others contributed their thoughts.

Julia Craig Graves (Judy to many of her friends) brought to the world and to the League of Women Voters a unique set of abilities. We were enriched by her work among us and saddened by her loss.

After her retirement from a career of service as a teacher, counselor and administrator in the D.C. Public Schools, Julia chose to continue serving the community she loved through the League of Women Voters, our political but non-partisan volunteer organization which is active in all quadrants of D.C., from Chevy Chase to Brookland to Anacostia to Maine Avenue From the early 1980s until last year, her leadership served the Upper 16th Unit, and at various times the Voter Service Committee and the International Relations Committee. She was First Vice President from 1994, and President from 1995 to 1997.

Serving as League President is far from a routine job. The League, whose members include many leaders from communities across the city, works in a scrupulous way to encourage citizens not only to vote, hut also to inform ourselves and others on the issues. We study and consider issues from all points of view, in order for members to reach consensus on a given issue. In this capacity, through grace, civility, integrity and courtesy, she encouraged this process, she also enabled committee chairs to continue and extend such League activities as Voter Service, International Relations, and D.C. Affairs.

As our President, Julia's special style was calm, objective, and open. She had exceptional ability to pay attention to detail while maintaining a firm view of the overall picture. While her written communication was strong on content, she had an unfailing eye fur design and presentation. A past president recalled to me that when a committee report was requested, Julia submitted a well-organized, substantive account, neatly typed. Julia was thorough as well as reliable, When she agreed to do a job, she did it.

Julia's sense of humor and sensitivity were hallmarks of her special style. We also remember her prompt and personal thank you notes .

This loss seems untimely. This beautiful, intelligent, and vibrant human being was at the peak of her powers. . . It is hard to accept her loss. We are grateful for the unique contribution which she made to League work, and we will remember her family, especially her husband, Or. Lawrence Graves, for their gracious communication with so many of us during the past difficult year, surely one of the most difficult of anyone's life. Surely their support eased the road for Julia, and helped her to depart this life in the style she maintained.

At her memorial service, Julia was also remembered for her work outside the D.C. League, especially her 32 years in the D.C. Public Schools. One former Banneker Junior High School student recalled how Mrs. Graves inspired her to become a teacher and mentored her throughout her career. Other representatives of the school system remembered Julia's years of loving service to students and fellow professionals, as teacher at Banneker and Randall Junior High Schools, counselor r and librarian at Roosevelt High, assistant principal at Anacostia High School, an d assistant chief examiner and special assistant for teacher employment for the system.

Speaker after speaker expressed gratitude for the gift of Julia Craig Graves' life, especially for the loving kindness she shared with all she met, in her family life, community service, and professional work.

Julia had been born in New York but lived in Washington from infancy. She graduated from Dunbar High School and magna cum laude from Miner Teachers College. She received a master's degree in guidance, counseling, and library science at Catholic University. She also completed courses at George Washington University, the University of Utah. and the Washington School of Psychiatry.

She is survived by her husband of 50 years, Lawrence E. Graves; her son Lawrence Craig Graves; sisters Joyce Craig Moore and Jeanne Craig Sinkford (all of the D.C. area), and her sister Janet Craig Archer of Amherst, NY. She is greatly missed.

Dunbar High School Scholarship Fund Renamed in Her Honor

Contributions in Julia's memory may be made to the League of Women Voters, 2025 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006, or to the newly renamed Julia Craig Graves Scholarship Fund (formerly Dunbar High Scholarship Fund).

See International Relations Committee Report for background on this letter.

January 12, 1998
The President
The White House
Washington, D.C.
FAX: 456-2461

RE: Upcoming State of the Union Address

Dear Mr. President:

The League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia urges you to voice your strong support for the United Nations in your State of the Union address. U.S. failure to pay our outstanding debts to the organization continues to jeopardize our credibility and leadership there.

Although the efforts of grassroots organizations like the League have helped mobilize public support for the U.N., in the final hours of its 1997 session Congress again failed to pay our outstanding legal obligations to the U.N. We now believe that nothing short of an unequivocal appeal by you in your upcoming address can lay the groundwork for pressure on Congress to pay what we owe.

Recent studies by the Pew Research Center and the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, both widely reported in the press, provide convincing evidence of continuing public support for the U.N. Further, the studies show that Congress does not speak for the American people on this issue, as some members claim. Americans need to see you, the President, rather than Senator Helms, as speaking for them where the U.N. is concerned.

Your leadership is needed to enable the United States to play its role as world leader at the U.N. rather than world deadbeat. This would be an important legacy of your administration.

Very respectfully yours,

Luci Murphy
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia

LWV/The National Capital Area

President; Naomi Glass, Editor: Gloria Harvey

From the President: The long-awaited updated Transportation Connection is now available for distribution throughout the national capital area. Contact your local league or Katy Cannady for copies. The information is invaluable as our roadways become more and more clogged.

The Water Resources Committee had a good meeting in November with staff from the Interstate Committee on the Potomac River Basin. The January committee meeting focused on organizing for a study of water quality in the NCA area (see above). Call Bob Perry (703/534-5421) it you would like to join them.

The D C. Finances Committee met with D.C 's Deputy Chief Financial Officer. The committee is now girding itself to prepare for spring information meetings a challenging effort. The particular format for presentation will vary depending on each local league's parameters. Representation on the committee by local leagues is extremely important; call Elinor Hart if you would like to participate in committee work.

The NCA Board wants to pay tribute to two Leaguers who have died in recent months: Jan Rosenbloom from D.C. and Anita Aribe from Howard County. Roth gave generously of their time energy and extraordinary intellectual resources, through the League as well as through their other professional and community involvements. They epitomized the qualities that make the League special; they are sorely missed.

The "Capitol Steps" will appear at a Howard County LWV fund-raiser on March 28, 1998 LWV-HC suggests that tickets for this event would be an excellent gift and "do good" at the same time. (Call 410/730- 0142.)

Belated holiday and new year greetings to all from the NCA-LWV Board. – Naomi Glass

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

The League needs many resources in order to continue doing its good work. It needs money, leaders, ideas, and issues. In Washington, D.C., we certainly have a complexity of issues Most of all, we need members. Members are our most important resource:

Therefore, please go to the membership form and:

NW Evening Unit: December Units' Choice

The Northwest Evening Unit heard two speakers at its December 18, 1997, meeting: David Anstaett, LWVUS staff lobbyist on U.N. issues; and Vicky Wilcher, executive assistant to recently elected Ward Six D.C. Councilmember Sharon Ambrose. The speakers were arranged by Sheila Keeny and Naomi Glass. – Joan Domike, Unit Chair

In League. . . Around the Nation

Space prohibits reporting on the many, varied activities of our sister leagues this month (their Voters are in the office, for those interested) but the following, from the Maine Voter, is quoted in light of membership month (author unknown; Maine Voter credits "LWV of Massachusetts, by way of the LWV of Brunswick, ME):

Why Don't I Just Quit?

It seems to me that every year
I'm busier than before
I'm tempted to resign from League –
Instead I take on more!
Now why is that? I ask myself,
(For surely there's a reason).
I'll have more time, I tell myself,
Right after the rush season....

I want America to be
A better place to live
Just talking won't improve it –
We also have to give.
I want to find myself among
The workers, not the floaters,
And that is why I am neck-deep
In the League of Women Voters.

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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