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

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

Convention ’98: June 13-16, San Diego, California
President’s Corner: ’98 Convention Address by Becky Cain
Welcome to the Following New Members
Thanks and Kudos to Chevy Chase Unit
D.C. Financial Crisis: General Meeting, May 20, 1998
Other Meetings of Note
Jamin Raskin to Speak at Fall Luncheon, September 17
Is This America?
WISE GUIDE to be Published Mid-July
LWV/The National Capital Area
Committee Updates

D.C. Affairs Committee
Education Committee
Private Elections

NCA-DC Study: Act II Begins July 14
Thanks and Kudos to Chevy Chase Unit
Voter Registration. . . Get Out-the-Vote
National League of Women Voters Lobby Corps Report, 1996-98
After Motor Voter: Registration Online
D.C. Mayoral and Council Candidate Forums
Fall Luncheon Registration Form
Calendar/Address Book Notes


Making Democracy Work in Our Nation’s Capital
Who Speaks for the Public on Attitudes Toward the UN?, by Frank Bourne
The D.C. Wise Guide

June 13-16, San Diego, California

Here ye! Here ye! “Full Voting Congressional Representation for the District” is on the next biennial program of the U.S. League of Women Voters as an added component of the Issue for Emphasis, Making Democracy Work: Seeking Change.

LWVDC was represented by delegates Betty Nyangoni, Barbara Yeomans, Anna Marsh, Kathy Schmidt and Luci Murphy together with Naomi Glass for LWV/NCA and observers Sheila Keeny and Elinor Hart.

Dressed in white ankle length bloomers and white cotton blouse, Fran Garro’s three cornered hat and Jean Fleming’s white sash with “D.C. Last Colony” emblazoned in red, Luci Murphy became a Convention icon. Supported by energetic strategist Elinor Hart and the D.C. delegation, Luci succeeded not only in getting over the hurdle of converting our “not-recommended” item to “recommended for debate” but in fact approved. You would not believe (you would...) how much ignorance about D.C. exists in the country, in the League. Convention delegates, reacting to Luci’s appeal, agreed to pursue an educational effort to acquaint all with the facts of our situation and the merits of our goal. By the end, their support was overwhelming. Good thing! The next LWV Convention is in D.C. in 2000. Get ready.

Much information was generated to inform the delegates, including a fact sheet/call for support.

Hang on to it. We’ll be gearing up to make Leaguers really “politically correct.” And dust off your old records, old pins, old sashes, etc.

Our euphoria is tempered by the fact that the push to get approval of a re-study of selected aspects of the U.N. position failed, but only by a slim margin. The U.N. Restudy Task Force did, however, succeed in getting the issue debated and voted on, a more positive result than that generated by ’96 Convention efforts.

It is anti-climactic to report on any other action at Convention, although every hour of every day and evening was loaded. But for the record, we summarize the action taken on the agenda and related activities. Look out for reporting in the National Voter. Copies of significant items are filed in the office.

While not “official” action, the first big step was to get to Convention. Weather knocked many delegates’ flight plans for a loop. Even Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) did not make it to the opening ceremonies.

Day 1 was devoted to the organizing arrangements essential to performing work. Caucuses commenced, as delegates lobbied others to vote on issues important to them. Here is where Elinor Hart outshined all others in organizing.

On Day 2 we began the consideration of the proposed program for 1998-2000, proposed amendments to positions by concurrence, a rarely used process, items Not-Recommended by the National Board, and the Board’s Issue for Emphasis. Discussion was vigorous on many Not-Recommended Items, and a number of votes were very close. Out of nine such Items, four survived for the Consideration Debate (including our U.N. re-study and the D.C. issue).

On Day 3 the current program positions were adopted with the addition of consumer safety provisions on gun control. Still dressed in the afore-mentioned costume, Luci delivered our motion #1464 “that full voting Congressional Representation for the District of Columbia be added as a component of MAKING DEMOCRACY WORK [the proposed Issue for Emphasis],” and debate followed. After Mary O’Day of North Carolina, complained about her Senator Faircloth and Congressman Taylor meddling in D.C. politics when they should be representing her (and other North Carolinians), the Convention voted to adopt the “D.C. Amendment” to Making Democracy Work: Seeking Change. Thus amended, the body then voted to make this the 1998-2000 Issue for Emphasis.

Of three proposed by-law changes, one was adopted. It allows inter-League organizations (ILO), like LWV/ NCA, along with state and local Leagues, to make recommendations on program to LWVUS.

In addition to the plenary sessions, awards for work done to increase diversity in leadership were made to the J.C. Penney Company and the YWCA. Guest speakers included Dr. Freda Lewis Hall, former professor of psychiatry at Howard University, now Director of the Center for Women's Health at Eli Lilly and Company; Bill Lann Lee, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights; Anita Perez Ferguson, President of the National Women's Political Caucus.

There were panel discussions and briefings on the budget, the Future Plan, etc. Our liaison to the National Board, Barbara Foston, coordinated a panel on diversifying membership. At this panel, Luci spoke on recruitment of youth (e.g., D.C. Voters and Friends Coffeehouse). Other panelists addressed the recruitment of people of color, men, and college chapter formation.

The next LWV Convention is in D.C. in 2000. Get ready.

Day 4 got down to the nitty-gritty of the budget for 1998-2000. National proposed a Per-Member Payment (PMP) increase from $19.00 to 23.00 for 1999-2000, the second year of the biennium. Delegates expressed concern about discouraging members and driving out local leagues. Delegates approved a PMP of $21.00.

$2,623,109 was approved for the LWVUS budget. After the Convention, Trustees of the Education Fund will consider a budget of $1,222,901 for the LWV's Education Fund.

Final action included election of the new directors and nominating committee members. We congratulate new officers, committee members and especially our board liaison, Barbara Foston, now 2nd vice president, and President Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins. The new president delivered an inspiring acceptance speech...especially poignant because her mother had died just after the start of the Convention. The last item on the agenda was an invitation by Luci Murphy for LWVDC, and Naomi Glass for LWV/NCA to all of the delegates to join us in Washington for Convention in the year 2000.

— Barbara Yeomans with Kathy Schmidt, Naomi Glass and Luci Murphy

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Important Note: New LWVDC Office Address (expected) July 8!!
1234 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Suite 208. Washington, D.C. 20005.


Jul 1 (Wed) 10:00 a.m., LWVDC Board, LWVUS, 1730 M Street, NW
Jul 9 (Thu) 7:00 p.m., Making Our Votes Count Workshop, Reeves Ctr., 2nd Floor, 14th & U Streets, NW
Jul 14 (Tue) 7:00 p.m., NCA-DC Study, MLK Library, 9th & G. NW
Jul 15 (Wed) Welfare Reform Collab. Mtg.
Jul 21 (Tue) 7:00 p.m., Mayoral Candidates’ Forum, Christ United Methodist Church, 900 Fourth Street, SW
Jul 24 (Fri) U.N. Conference Reg. Deadline
Jul 25 (Sat) DC-CURE Mtg,
Jul 28 (Tue) 7:00 p.m., Council Candidates' Forum, Christ United Methodist Church
Aug 11 (Tues) VOTER Deadline
Aug 21 (Fri) VOTER mailing

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President’s Corner: ’98 CONVENTION ADDRESS
by Becky Cain, President, LWVUS

I have had a very difficult time trying to decide what to talk about with you today. As you know, this is an unusual situation for me; I am rarely at a loss for something to say! I think my difficulty is two-fold.

This is my last opportunity to address you as your national president and words seem to fall short in describing my honor in the privilege of serving you over the past six years. It has been a personal joy. I have learned and grown in ways that will enrich the rest of my life. My experiences as your president have also confirmed, over and over again, the merit of the League of Women Voters and the vital role we play in our nation’s civic life.

I am filled with extreme pride in all that we have accomplished together — we have totally changed the process and philosophy of the voter registration system in this country with the passage and implementation of the National Voter Registration Act. We redirected the debate in Congress on campaign finance reform to address practical solutions to the most egregious practices of the 1996 election. We designed and implemented nationwide a campaign — Making Democracy Work — to focus our energies on a measurable, results-oriented program that could lead the country in massive changes to diminish citizen cynicism and apathy. We retooled the Education Fund with a strategic plan, VISION 2000, that provides the access, skills, and motivation needed to empower citizens to shape better communities worldwide. The new tools include strategic, research driven, grassroots get-out-the-vote organizing; new technologies such as video conferencing and the internet; community dialogues to bring stakeholders to the table to seek solutions for the common good; and programs designed to encourage women and minorities to run for public office.. To ensure the resources necessary to carry out the VISION 2000 strategic plan, we undertook a major capital campaign, the first of its kind in twenty-five years. We set the League on a path of inclusion, both in this programming and membership, by adopting and implementing a diversity plan of action. We completed an assessment of who we are and where we want to be by initiating the Future Plan

On the other hand, while I am filled with pride as I reflect on the challenges we have met and faced together, at the same time, I am wistful about the challenges that still face us. In my 1993 Council remarks when talking about charting the League's path to the future by renewing and retooling it for the 21st Century, I told the delegates that “equipping ourselves for the future won't be easy. Decisions will be made and then revised or even reversed. Misunderstanding will be frequent; inconsistency is inevitable. Completing one task will only make the next task more urgent: inside of every solution will be the seeds of new problems.” Boy, did I get that right!

In that same ’93 Council presentation I asked, “What is the LWV about?” I then went on to answer the question. “We are about citizen participation in democracy. We advocate and educate for it, in this country and wherever democracy is emerging. The easiest way for citizens to participate is to register and vote. So that is central to our mission. But as we all know, democracy doesn't end with voting. Our representative democracy relies on an informed and ever active citizenry. To that end, we also empower our members to participate in the debate on public policy issues by joining together with others to advocate solutions in the public interest, and we empower members of the general public by providing information on issues and opportunities for community problem solving. We believe in the empowerment of the grassroots and the power of collective decision making for the common good. At the core of our education and advocacy activities, whether they be at the national, state or local level, whether they relate to government, national resources, social policy, or international relations issues, is the principle of empowering citizens to participate — to play an active role in the public policy debate and in creating the common good. We are in the business of building citizen participation in democracy — whether it be by advocating solutions in the public interest, or by educating citizens on key public policy issues so they can enter the debate, or enabling citizens to seek positive solutions to issues through conflict management. Our goal, our mission, is citizen participation in government regardless of the issues we choose or the methods we use.”

So why do we keep asking and answering that same question? Continuing to ask and answer that question is a very healthy exercise for the organization. It keeps us focused on where we want to go — on the greater end we are seeking to achieve — on the reason we need a League of Women Voters. It allows us to make change without letting the means triumph over the ends.

The “League Way” is not the safe way,... it is asking the right questions, collectively seeking the answers, and then, most importantly, having the courage to soar.

We have been asking the right questions and putting into place processes to collectively answer them. We have in many cases even developed strategies for revitalizing the League. All necessary steps but they are just that, steps, and frankly, easy steps. The next step — actually doing what is necessary to implement our strategies — has been the hardest one for us to take. How we handle the next step in our revitalization will determine whether we merely fly or whether we soar. We can choose to fly like a bird and get some forward movement with relative ease and safety or we can choose to soar like an eagle, thereby placing the LWV in its rightful place as the spirited, dynamic political organization that ensures the continued vitality of our political system.

What enables the eagle to soar is its willingness to leave the safety of the ground and take-off from the edge of the cliff.

Our challenge will be to leave the safety of the ground, “The so-called League way,” for the edge of the cliff. Our history tells us that our predecessors have repeatedly met that challenge. We were founded as a national organization, a federation of leagues. We went to the cliff and became a grassroots organization. We adopted our first program positions without study and consensus. We went to the cliff and set up an every-member process for study and consensus. If our organizational history teaches us any thing, it is that the “League Way” is not the safe way, it is not the easy way, it is not the tools we use to accomplish our mission, it is not serving the current institutional norms. The “League Way” is asking the right questions, collectively seeking the answers, and then, most importantly, having the courage to soar.

I believe our future depends on our ability to work together out of respect for each other and our common goal, our mission, to increase and diversify our membership and enhance our grassroots organizing activities. All speak to the need to renew, replenish, and support ourselves and each other in order to renew the League of Women Voters. None of this is new to the League. It is not the first time we have been to this precipice.

We have taken all the right steps to place us at the edge of the cliff. Will we let inaction and self-doubt keep us from spreading our wings or will we do it the “League Way?”

Will we muster the collective courage to spread our wings and take the necessary leap of faith and trust in ourselves and each other that will allow the League of Women Voters to soar?

As I leave the presidency, I have wrestled with what I might be able to leave with you. But what could I possibly give to you? Everything I have to offer you, you have given to me. When I went to my first League meeting, I looked around the room and said to myself, “This is the kind of woman I want to be.” Thank you for sharing your knowledge, your expertise, and your skills with me. Thank you for giving me the opportunity, as your national president, to use what you have taught me.

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Ian Alexander
Kathleen Bittermann
Sara & Robert Cory
Mrs. William Foster
Mr. Harper
Merideth Jones
Helen Richardson
Hanna Schussheim
Sarah & Marc Anderson
William Carroll
Steven B. Davis
Judith Guenther
Harriet Hentges
Marsha Liss
John Sater
John G. Stone
Diane Albert
Jerry Clark
Nancy Flournoy
Mrs. Hans Hamburg
Seymour Janaw
Emily Price
Judy Hubbard Saul
Monica R. Testa

Donations from the following members are much appreciated!

Barbara Atkinson
Dorothy Duncanson
Eve Mandlestam
Louise Steele
Susan Crawford
Natalie Howard
Pat Hallman
Gladys Weaver
Rose Dermis
Charlotte Kuh
Joy Simonson

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Thanks and Kudos to Chevy Chase Unit

Congratulations to Sue Whitman and her team who managed to make parting with money so enjoyable. In addition, thanks to all those who attended (and donated to) recent fund-raising activities!

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D.C. Financial Crisis: General Meeting May 20, 1998

A general meeting was held at Sumner School May 20, 1998, with our treasurer Naomi Glass presiding as president of LWV/NCA. About 20 people attended a lively discussion of The Financial Crisis in the District of Columbia.

Characteristics peculiar to the city of D.C. were pointed out: our inability to tax income at its source, a city with state financial responsibilities, restrictions on the ability to collect sales taxes, a high percent of property exempt from taxation, a prohibition on building height over a specified number of floors, a requirement to assume costs accruing from the federal presence, and an unfunded pension liability. As a result, the income tax on city residents is higher than that in surrounding areas.

Revitalization legislation enacted by Congress will assume some state functions. Medicaid reimbursement although raised from 50% to 70% is still less than that granted to some states, and some cities provide no local contribution. With assumption of the pension liability, the federal government also assumes assets. Those hired after June 1997 will be in a local pension plan. About 60% of D.C. employees until 1985 had been under federal pension plans. Tax incentives have not yet proved as beneficial. Georgetown and GW University neighborhoods qualified as poverty areas.

Number of years of eligibility for the tax incentives has not been determined. Federal contribution is no longer obligatory although originally not considered a reimbursement for state functions. Management reform (Control Board) was also part of the legislation.

Questions were raised. If federal government supports public schools in areas with large military bases, why not those for D.C., too? Can we ask Control Board to publicize its accomplishments? Is there baseline data so that the effect of “Revitalization” legislation can be measured? Can the good financial status of ’98 be continued? When agencies are returned to D.C. management, will conditions be such that similar problems do not recur?

Suggestions for LWV/NCA future plans were put forward. Look at proposed budgets 5 years out. Determine reaction of MD and VA to taxing income at the source. Educate about D.C. budget. Study ways to get Congressional representation. Compare federal districts of other countries with D.C. Study economic relationship of surrounding regions with core cities.

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D.C. Mayoral Candidates’ Forum, Tuesday, July 21, 7:00 p.m.
D.C. Council Candidates’ Forum, Tuesday, July 28, 7:00 p.m.

Both events will be held at:

Christ United Methodist Church, 900 Fourth Street, SW
Metro: Waterfront (Green Line). Parking: low-cost or free.

Other Meetings of Note:

Welfare Reform Collaborative
July 15 (Wed), 11:30 a.m.
One Judiciary Sq., Rm. 940
Info: Brenda Lee Richardson, 202/678-1978
D.C. Water and Sewer Authority
testimony deadline: 7/13, Call 202/645-6296
July 16 (Thurs) 6:30 - 10:00 p.m. Room 33
Washington Convention Center
DC-Cure (Meeting on prisoner/family concerns)
Jul 25 (Sat), 10:30 a.m.
St. Aloysius Church
North Capitol, between H & K Streets, NW
Info: Pauline Sullivan 202/789-2126

U.N. Conference: September 14-16, 1998
The Annual Conference in New York for nongovernmental organizations (NGO) sponsored by the U.N. Department of Public Information (DPI) will take place September 14-16, 1998. Registration deadline, 7/24/98. Info: Sheila Keeny 202/347-3020.

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Jamin Raskin to Speak at Fall Luncheon September 17

After hearing Professor Jamin Raskin of the Washington College of Law at American University speak at Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s meeting for D.C. residents, the League of Women Voters of D.C. contacted him in preparation for the LWVUS convention. He offered a copy of his article, “Is This America? The District of Columbia and the Right to Vote,” which is published by the Harvard Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review. He also asked if the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia might be a plaintiff in any court challenge. The LWVDC board considered the request and delegated responsibility for a decision to the Executive Committee. After a careful reading of the legal article the committee voted unanimously to join the suit.

To keep the LWVUS informed our liaison was notified of our decision. She requested that the League lawyer review the article and its intent. After doing so Mr. Lloyd Leonard gave the LWVDC his full support and thought that the LWVUS would also endorse our decision. At Convention ’98 it did just that.

The firm of Covington and Burling, which will argue the case, has decided as of this Voter deadline that no organization will be a plaintiff — only individuals, some of whom will be LWVDC officers.

A copy of Professor Raskin’s article is in the LWVDC office for anyone who wishes to read it.

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Is This America?

In “Is This America?” Professor Raskin argues that the District’s present situation violates the Constitution in the following ways — one person, one vote; the First Amendment right to run for state legislature; an “Uncomfortable resemblance to political apartheid”; a burden on the right to travel and move freely within the U.S.; state taxes, similar to poll taxes, imposed; and full voting rights for citizens living abroad but not those of D.C.

Without Congressional representation a political solution is improbable, but the Court can declare the present D.C. condition unconstitutional.

He argues that the Constitution does apply in the District. Previous litigation has failed because it had focused on taxation without representation or the constitutionality of un-elected local bodies. The Control Board violates one person-one vote. D.C. citizens are U.S. citizens. Specifically, he cites decisions to support his contention that Congressional representation is a right of the people, not the states; District residents are part of “the people”; D.C. is not a territory: it is the seat of government and pays federal taxes; residents of federal enclaves other than D.C. have full voting rights; without Congressional representation D.C. residents lack a vote in its equivalent to a state legislature. Disenfranchisement of the heavily minority D.C. population resembles apartheid: suburban legislators' questionable comments reflect a white majority and neglect, not action. To retain the right to vote, D.C. citizens would need to move from the District; therefore, to sell a home becomes comparable to poll tax. Unlike other citizens who live overseas or retain a residency outside of D.C., those who live in D.C. have no representation.

He answers reservations urged as the basis for denying voting to D.C.: the lack of diversity of population, the District clause of the Constitution, the Electoral College voting as a substitute, District representatives as too parochial, Congress as the sole arbiter.

Possible Congressional remedies are enfranchisement of District residents comparable to that accorded citizens living abroad, statehood, or reunion with Maryland. — Kathy Schmidt

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WISE GUIDE to be Published Mid-July

The D.C. League WISE GUIDE — an indispensable compilation of information about District Government — is being updated. The new edition includes a listing of elected officials with phone numbers as well as information about the Control Board, ANC details, voting registration information and election dates, phone numbers of many city offices and agencies and other pertinent information to help District residents as they navigate the city.

The GUIDE will be printed by mid-July and distributed at libraries, churches, schools, MOVC and other candidates’ meetings and supermarkets.

Many thanks to Jeanette Miller, Liz Martin and Lillian Rubin for updating the D.C. GUIDE. It was a time-consuming task to verify the telephone numbers and to check the myriad of details. And thanks to June Duke for her typing and keen eye for detail. — Liz Martin

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Committee Updates

D.C Affairs Committee

On June 5, the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, University of Maryland, sponsored a meeting on “Leadership for a New Century,” at the Washington Press Club. Anna Marsh and Barbara Yeomans were privileged to represent LWVDC at this prestigious meeting, the first conference of the Academy. About 200 attended, with the numbers swelling for the luncheon address by former senator Bill Bradley. LWVUS President Becky Cain was on a panel. Professor Burns, the eminent American scholar and Pulitzer-prize-winning author, also served on a panel. Your representatives found the day totally stimulating and include the agenda (below) to give an idea of the range of participants.

This Voter could only include brief biographies for participants. A full copy of “Biographies” is available, as is a Summary Statement of Becky Cain on “Charting Health of American Democracy,” the focus of her remarks on the panel, which drew on “Making Democracy Work.” We were pleased to become aware of the leadership in and around Washington, and hope to contact them in the future. — Barbara Yeomans for Anna Marsh

James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, “Leadership for a New Century” meeting, June 5, 1998 (addendum to D.C. Affairs Committee report)

Welcome by Georgia Sorenson (served in Carter White House and Senator Bradley’s staff);

Panel on “Our American Democracy: Looking Back, Moving Forward,” Moderator: Ken Bode, “Washington Week in Review.” Panelists: Alan Brinkley, author and Professor of History, Columbia University; Professor Burns; Steve Case, Chairman and CEO, American Onone, Inc.; Doris Kearns Goodwin, historian, regular commentator on PBS and author (Pulitzer prize); Roger Wilkins, eminent civil right leader and currently Clarence J. Robinson Professor of History and American Culture at George Mason University and commentator for NPR.

Morning Breakout Sessions:

Luncheon address by Bill Bradley, with introductory remarks by Dean Irwin Goldstein, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Univ. of Maryland.

Afternoon Panel on “Do Local Initiatives Matter?” Moderator: Chris Gates, National Civic League Panelists: Bobby Austin, President and CEO, Village Foundation; Becky Cain; Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Executive Director of Americans Discuss Social Security and the founder and former Executive Director of “America Speaks” (former Clinton/Gore White House); Michael Sanchez, co-founder and President of “Do Something;” and Rev. Jim Wallace, co-founder of Sojourners Community in inner-city D.C. and Editor-in- Chief of “Sojourners” magazine.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions:

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The Education Committee has begun its unit to give support to D.C. public junior high and middle school social studies teachers. We have met a contact teacher at 22 schools. Our work has been supported by Roceal Duke, the Social Studies Contact Leader for DCPS. We have submitted to the contact teachers for criticisms prepared packets. Included were The Constitution of the United States with the five amendments relevant to voting rights highlighted, Elections 1998: District of Columbia Candidate Qualification and Ballot Access Guide. The LWVDC prepared “To Vote,” a list of five possible classroom activities, a voter registration form for practice use in the classroom, and the “Elections Scheduled through 2000.”

We are comparing teacher reactions. Over the summer we have gathered requested materials for interested teachers in anticipation of their use in September before the primary election. If you are interested in helping with this project, call Kathy Schmidt (202/347-3020). — Education Committee

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Private Elections

Private Elections were busy earning income for the League during the month of May. On May 18th, Ethel Cooper, Mary Drob, Jennie Elliott, Anna Marsh and Fran Garro counted election results for the National Association for Bilingual Education. On May 21st, Audry Hatry, Lois Laster and Elizabeth (Reggie) Yancey did the same for the Consumer Health Foundation election of Trustees. The League benefits by nearly $3000.00. Many thanks are extended to all who helped. — Louise Perry, Private Elections Chair

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NCA-DC Study: Act II Begins July 14

The focus for the second year of the NCA Study on D.C. will be determined by the Study Committee on July 14. The second year of the Study takes on added significance in light of the National League’s decision to make Full Voting Representation in Congress part of its two-year Issue for Emphasis. Join us at 7 p.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. — Elinor Hart

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Thanks and Kudos to Chevy Chase Unit

Everyone who is part of the Making Our Votes Count Project is excited about the creative and successful fundraising efforts of the Chevy Chase Unit. Congratulations to Sue Whitman and her team who managed to make parting with money so enjoyable. We are very grateful and promise to spend the money effectively.

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Voter Registration...Get-Out-the-Vote

For the first time in several years, the D.C. League is part of a Get-Out-The-Vote Project which was launched on the 21st of June at the annual Celebrate Mt. Pleasant Festival. As a result of the vigorous effort coordinated by new League member, Kelly Young, 80 new voters were registered. The effort doesn’t stop there. Each new registrant will have to be called before election day. And contacting these registrants, plus others the project will be registering in the coming weeks, needs person power. If you can help with a phone bank, call the League to volunteer.

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LWV/The National Capital Area

President: Naomi Glass, Editor: Gloria Harvey

From the President: Annual Convention, May 16, 1998. National Press Club

Following a buffet breakfast, NCA President Naomi Glass called the meeting to order. The Guest Speaker was Roland C. Steiner of the Interstate Commission of the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB). The ICPRB is an agency with five commissioners (one from each of five states — Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland Virginia, and the District of Columbia), and one commissioner from the U.S. Government. It disseminates information gathered from studies but has no jurisdiction. Mr. Steiner was generous in his answers to questions from delegates. Questions included: (1) Children's Island — ICPRB provided decision support, technical support, but never took a stand, (2) Safe drinking water — involved in studies and bringing consistency among the constituents, (3) Stream set-backs — each jurisdiction has its own definition; ICPRB supplies information on vegetation for nutrients and shade, (4) Biggest problem — human impact, and (5) Quality of drinking water — regulated by end product (no taste or odor criteria.

The minutes of the 1997 meeting were read, corrected and accepted. Louise Perry and Agnes Williams were appointed to the Reading Committee. Committee reports were made by Bob Perry (Water Resources) and D.C. Finances. Howard County requested that D.C. Finances be revisited continually.

The Nominating Committee (Carolyn Cooper, June Bashkin, Katy Cannady, Fred Lawrence and Molly O'Brien) submitted the following slate for election for two-year terms (1998-2000): Vice President, Pat Dougherty; Treasurer, Beryl Lednicer; Director, Robert R. Perry; Director, Mary Elizabeth Gordon; Nominating Committee — Katy Cannady, June Bashkin and Maureen O'Brien. The delegates, having been credentialed, voted to approve the slate as presented. — Naomi Glass

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National League of Women Voters Lobby Corps Report, 1996-98

Just over two years ago, I reported in The DC Voter on the work of the Lobby Corps, 1993-1995. In the January 1996 Voter I observed that the Corps has been especially active supporting health care reform, campaign finance reform, and a ban on assault weapons and opposing a balanced budget constitutional amendment, term limits, anti- regulatory legislation, the Istook Amendment to silence non-profit community, and attempts to undermine Motor Voter (National Voter Registration Act).

While many of these issues are still with us, new ones have emerged as well. The following passages from President Becky Cain's letters, addressed to Senators and House members and carried to “the Hill’ by the Lobby Corps, illustrate the Lobby Corps’ continuing role in realizing the National Program of the LWV:

  1. Campaign Finance Reform Legislation, H.R. 2566 (Jan. 1996). The LWV “urges you to cosponsor H.R. 2566, the campaign reform legislation introduced by Representatives Smith, Shays, and Meehan. Congress must act to restore public confidence in our political system. The public knows that special interests dominate in paying for congressional elections.”
  2. Term Limits Constitutional Amendments (Mar. 1996). “We oppose congressional term limits for one basic reason — term limits interfere with the fundamental right of voters to elect their own representatives.... We believe that voters can be trusted to elect their representatives without government stepping in to regulate their choices.”
  3. Campaign Finance Reform (Apr. 1996). The LWV “urges you to sign H. Res. 373, the petition to discharge the rule to consider campaign finance reform legislation. We would also urge you to consider H.R. 2566.... Congress must act to restore public confidence in our political system.... The public knows that the current campaign finance system is unfair.... It is time for the politicians to respond to the needs of the public. It is time for Congress to act.”
  4. H.R. 3760, The Campaign Finance Reform Act of 1996 (Jul. 1996). The LWV “strongly urges you to oppose H.R. 3760, the Campaign Finance Reform Act of 1996, sponsored by Representative Bill Thomas (RCA). We believe this bill is a fraud. It flies in the face of what citizens say they want to change about the way campaigns are financed.... It is time for politicians to respond to the needs of the public. This legislation responds to the needs of politicians. We urge you to vote against H.R. 3760.”
  5. S. 356, The Language of Government Act (Sep. 1996). The LWV “strongly urges you to oppose S. 356, the Language of Government Act, or similar ‘English Only’ legislation during the remaining weeks of this Congress. These ill-advised initiatives would effectively repeal the minority language provisions of the Voting Rights Acts.... The LWV believes it would be a grave mistake for this Congress to turn its back on the traditional commitment to making voting accessible to all American citizens.”
  6. Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment (Feb. 1997). The LWV “urges you to oppose the constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget. This amendment is a dangerous and misleading proposal. It would eliminate important flexibility in U.S. fiscal policy and would permanently allow a minority of Congress to control the federal budget.... The League shares public concerns about the federal deficit. Current deficit reduction plans are on the right track.... We strongly urge you to oppose this dangerous, ‘quick-fix’ proposal.”
  7. The Chemical Weapons Convention (Mar. 1997). The LWV “urges the Senate to expeditiously ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) without killer amendments or conditions. The League believes that the Senate’s failure to act before the treaty takes effect on April 29 would adversely affect U.S. national security and damage American economic interests.... Senate approval of this landmark treaty is long overdue.”
  8. Clean Air Standards (Apr. 1997). The LWV of the U.S. “urges you to support EPA’s proposal to strengthen the national ambient air quality standards for ozone and particulates.... The real issue is about setting national health standards that guarantee that no matter where one lives, the air will not endanger one's life. A vote against the standards is a vote against protecting the health of our elderly and our children.”
  9. Hatch-Kennedy Children's Health Insurance Act (May 1997). The LWV “urges you to join with Senators Orrin Hatch. . .and Edward Kennedy. . .to sponsor and support the CHILD Act, S. 525 and its companion bill, S. 526. We are deeply concerned about the 10 million American children who live day-to- day without health insurance... [We] believe that breadth of coverage is the true test of the humanity of our health care system.”
  10. Campaign Fmance Reform in the 105th Congress (Jun. 1997). “The 1996 campaign saw an explosion in the use of loopholes to get around election laws, undermining basic protections against corruption that have been in place for decades.... Now we are facing a scandal, with almost daily revelations of improper activities by presidential and congressional candidates and by both major political parties.... The League of Women Voters urges you to support an effective package of incremental reforms to the campaign finance system.”
  11. H.R. 1428, the Horn Bill and Voter Eligibility Verification Act (Feb. 1998). “H.R. 1428, introduced by Rep. Steve Horn (R-CA), is expected to come to the floor soon again for a vote.... The Horn bill would establish an unworkable, unnecessary federal program that would allow participating states to discriminate against voters. The League of Women Voters urges you to oppose this proposal if it comes to the floor again for consideration.... Under H.R. 1428, the time required to process names and allow voters whose names are returned ‘unconfirmed’ to effectively respond makes a mockery of registration deadlines and imposes an overwhelming burden on the right to vote.”
  12. United Nations Funding (Mar. 1998). The LWV “urges you to support full payment of U.S. arrears to the United Nations. The United States currently owes the U.N. more than $1 billion in arrears. Failure to pay our arrears is jeopardizing not only the financial viability of the U.N., but also the credibility and vital interests of the United States around the globe.... Our failure to pay our legal treaty obligations is threatening the financial viability of the U.N. and is seriously undermining our international credibility.”
  13. S. 1890, the Patients’ Bill of Rights Act of 1998 (Apr. 1998). The LWV “urges your support for S. 1890, the Patients’ Bill of Rights Act of 1998. The League strongly supports Congressional efforts to promote a health care system that focuses on patients, not their pocketbooks.... We believe that the Patients’ Bill of Right Act...provides much needed basic protections and legal rights for health care plan participants.”
  14. The Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance Reform Bill (May 1998). The LWV “strongly urges you to vote for H.R. 3526, the bipartisan Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform, without amendment.... The integrity of our election system and the confidence of the American people in their government is being substantially eroded by the current campaign finance system, particularly the corrupt soft money system and the sham issue advocacy loophole. The bipartisan Shays- Meehan bill (H.R. 3526) deals in effective and realistic ways with these twin problems.”

Albert J. Schmidt, member LWVDC and the National Lobby Corps of LWV

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After Motor Voter: Registration Online

According to the Washington Times, June 22, 1998, eligible voters may register to vote on a new website, sponsored by District-based MCI Communications Corporation, the American Association of Retired Persons and the Rock the Vote initiative. The site — http://netvote98.mci.comprovides a registration form for prospective voters and was launched at a news conference on June 23rd at the downtown Hard Rock Cafe.

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D.C. Mayoral And Council Candidate Forums

Mark your calendars for two Making Our Votes Count (MOVC) Candidate Forums this month. The mayoral forum will be July 21. At-Large and Council Chair Candidates will make their cases on July 28. Both forums will be at Christ United Methodist Church, 900 Fourth Street, SW (corner of 4th and Eye) and will start at 7 p.m. Author and journalist Jonetta Rose Barras, will moderate both forums.

The MOVC project is collecting issues and questions from around the city and will be having an open meeting July 9 (7:00 p.m. at the Reeves Center) to decide the content of the questions for the forums. For the forums, there is free and low cost parking available near the church. The location is near the Waterfront Metro Station on the Green Line.

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Luncheon Reservation Form

Link to the reservation form, print it, and return it to the League of Women Voters to make reservations for the fall luncheon.

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The D. C. League of Women Voters
notes with sadness
the passing of Dorothy Oelke,
who died on 4/18/98.

Calendar/Address Book Notes

The D.C. League's office move is planned for July 7. The new office will be located at: 1234 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Suite 208. Washington, D.C. 20005. The new phone number will be: 202/347-3020. Fax: 202/3472522. Metro stops for the new address are McPherson Square (Blue/Orange Line 3 blocks) and Metro Center (Blue/Orange or Red Line, 5 blocks). Also, the new location will be five blocks from LWVUS offices.

Thanks to member Alisa Wilkins and friend the League, Lance Ford, who helped us with the lease.

Mark your calendars now for the Annual Luncheon, Thursday, September 17, 1998 (noon). The guest speaker will be Professor Jamin Raskin of the Washington College of Law at American University. See above to learn more about Professor Raskin, his article, “Is This America? The District of Columbia and the Right to Vote,” and his effort to spur acknowledgement of D.C. residents’ right to “one person, one vote.”

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.
Website:   E-mail:

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