Forward to October 1998 DC Voter Back to League of Women Voters home page Back to July 1998 DC Voter
1234 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Suite 208, Washington, DC 20006
202/347-3020, fax: 202/347-2522
Website: http://www.capaccess.org/lwvdc, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Freedom Charter or Straitjacket: The Constitution and the District, luncheon
|Full Voting Representation in
Congress for D.C. Whats New?
Petition submitted to the United States Congress, July 4, 1998
Welcome back students, teachers and vacation travelers. Exciting things have been going on in the League. Two days before the Fourth of July, Judge Ferren got 56 D.C. voters including eight Leaguers to petition Congress to restore American citizenship rights to U.S. citizens living in D.C. Jamin Raskin was on hand with his law students from A.U. to observe this application of Constitutional Law. I hope that you can join Professor Raskin and me for lunch on September 17th at the Channel Inn. (See page 7.)
WAMU radio reporter Lakshmi Singh interviewed me on the long history of struggle for democracy in D.C. The program first aired on Saturday July 27 at 11:00 a.m. Metro Connections (88.5 FM) and later on NPRs Morning Edition. (For a cassette recording of this program, contact WAMU.) More recently, Jonetta Rose Barras and I were interviewed about MOVC (Making Our Votes Count) on Nkenge Toures Friday call-in show In Our Voices WPFW 89.3 F.M., August 14 at 11:00 a.m.
Chris Matthews orchestrated a smooth office move from the Park Lane Building to the Massachusetts House, 1234 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. Thanks to Reggie Yancey for finding our new location. Just a block east of Thomas House, our new location has a 24- hour seven-day secretarial desk for package pick-up and delivery, 15-minute driveway parking for quick drops and free parking on M Street for those two-hour meetings.
Diane Rim, Louise Perry and a few other angels put our new address on hundreds of voting education brochures bound for D.C. public school classrooms. With these brochures, Gladys Weaver and the Education Committee prepared instructional packages and delivered them to D.C.P.S. (See "Education.".)
Making Our Votes Count, our coalition with 13 other non-partisan organizations convened two candidate forums which set an example for the city. With the ingenuity of Elinor Hart we produced three programs for D.C. Cable TV 25. (See p.3.)
The League encourages members to chose a party and be active. Only board members must not endorse or work for candidates. Regretfully we received the board resignations of Betty Nyangoni and Liz Martin.
Vice Presidents Barbara Yeomans, Anna Marsh, and NCA President Naomi Glass met with National Board Member Eleanor Revelle and Public Affairs Staff Director Lloyd Leonard to begin the process of integrating full, voting representation into the national Issue for Emphasis. Barbara made her archives and experience on the D.C. amendment struggle available to them to prepare the necessary materials. We also met with attorney Charles Miller who is handling the petition of Congress.
Past executive director Gracia Hillman and past environmental issues contact Lisa Foster (both national staff alumnae) helped TEXACO to host a reception at the Decatur Museum for our new LWVUS president Carolyn Jefferson Jenkins from Colorado Springs, CO. Demonstrating National's commitment to diversity, Carolyn is the first African American national president and she has appointed our first Native American member of the board, Marie Brown of Albuquerque. Marie is a member of the Dineh (Navajo) Nation of the great Southwest. At the reception I also met our new board liaison to D.C., Nancy Mahr of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA (a.k.a.PV). We look forward to a dynamic program working with National. Luci Murphy
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Sep 2 (Wed) 10:00 a.m., LWVDC Board, LWVUS,
1730 M Street, NW (RG)
Sep 9 (Wed) 10:00 a.m., Education Committee, LWVDC, 1234 Massachusetts, NW
Sep 10 (Thu), Deadline: Luncheon reservations
Sep 15 (Tue) D.C. Primary Election
Sep 17 (Thu) noon-1:30 p.m., Annual Fall Luncheon, Channel Inn (Dry Dock Room), Jamin Raskin, Esq. Guest Speaker
Sep 21 (Mon) 8:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m., D.C. Voters and Friends Coffeehouse, Brookland's Cup of Dreams, 12th and Otis Streets, NE
Sep 23 (Wed) noon, International Relations: Planning Mtg., LWVUS, Rosalie Goodman Room
Sep 24 (Thu) 10:00 a.m., D.C. Affairs Committee, LWVDC office
12:00 noon - 1:30 p.m. Channel Inn (Dry Dock Room). 650 Water Street, SW. For reservations, see page 9. Waterfront (Green Line) or L'Enfant Plaza (Green/Yellow or Orange/Blue Lines) Metro; 3 hours free parking.
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The D.C. Affairs Committee will continue to keep you informed about Whats happening in D.C. This calendar year we will focus on helping to get out the vote and on congressional representation.
Call Anna Marsh, 202/347-3020 at the LWVDC office if you want to be an effective participant in government affairs. co-chairs
Next D.C. Affairs Committee Meeting: September 24, 10:00 a.m. LWVDC office.
The Education Committee is delivering to approximately 75 social studies teachers of eighth grade classes a packet of materials to be used before the primary election this month. Each class will receive a booklet from the Board of Elections and Ethics describing the requirements for registering and for voting, a copy of The Constitution of the United States with those amendments pertinent to voting highlighted, a page published by Making Our Votes Count about the offices of D.C. government, a list of possible classroom activities prepared by Gladys Weaver and a sufficient number of sample registration forms and voting instructions for every student. Later in the semester the committee will follow up on the use and effectiveness of the materials. co-chairs
Next Education Committee Meeting: September 9, 10:00 a.m., LWVDC office.
U.N. Restudy Fails at Convention: Delegates from D.C. to the Leagues National Convention in June carried a double message to the Convention Making Democracy Work in D.C. by supporting Congressional representation for the District and Restudy the Leagues 1997 Position on the United Nations. The D.C. League was in the forefront of Leagues supporting the restudy, co-sponsoring (with Montgomery County LWV) a U.N. Caucus where we made our case and distributed materials to a broadly based group of U.N. mavens. As you know, we won one and nearly won the other. If only fourteen of the 803 delegates voting had voted yes rather than no, Leagues across the country would again focus on this challenging issue. A national restudy would have enabled members to be more knowledgeable advocates on behalf of the U.N. in its time of financial crisis, that is due in large part to a failure by the U.S. to pay its legally-obligated assessments. We expect the U.N. restudy issue to remain before us when Convention 2000 meets in the District in two years.
I.R. Committee Meets September 23 to plan this years program: Undaunted by the outcome of the Convention, the International Relations Committee is making plans to bring the U.N. and its role in U.S. foreign policy to our members attention. The Committee will meet on Wednesday, September 23 in the Rosalie Goodman Room at LWVUS Headquarters, 1730 M Street, NW, from noon until 2:00 pm (brown bag) all League members are invited to participate in the Committees work. Call Sheila Keeny (202/3473020) if interested.
Keeny and Bourne Discuss South Asia and The Bomb: The testing of nuclear devices by India and Pakistan in May has caused dismay in the world community, which sees this as a possible precursor to a nuclear arms race in Asia and a serious blow to efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. To help us understand both the origins of this development and its implications for the arms control regime established under the auspices of the United Nations, the Committee invited two LWVDC members to discuss this with us on July 25 at an informal summer meeting.
Spurgeon Keeny, President of the Arms Control Association and a former Deputy Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, led off with a description of the two major arms control treaties, the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which came into force in 1970 and the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTB), which has been the subject of negotiations since 1958 but is still unratified by the U.S. I.R. (Committee member Frank Bourne, a retired Foreign Service Officer who formerly directed the USIA research effort on South Asia while stationed for six years in New Delhi, followed with a description of the disrespect and neglect India perceives that it has endured as a result of U.S. policies.
Keeny concluded that the tests only confirmed what was already known about the nuclear capabilities of the two countries and that the next step is to convince India and Pakistan to freeze their programs by adhering to the CTB and agreeing not to deploy nuclear weapons. He emphasized that to be credible in this endeavor, the U.S. must ratify the CTB promptly.
Although he deplored the test, Bourne observed that they may have the positive effect of forcing the major powers to recognize the aspirations and concerns of both nations. He noted that modest first steps have been taken by the U.S. to pull back from a rigid sanctions policy toward India and that high level consultations between Indian and U.S. officials seem to be moving in the right direction. A transcript of the presentations will be available from the Committee by calling Sheila Keeny, 202/347-3020. Sheila Keeny, Chair
Next International Relations Committee Meeting: September 23, noon, LWVUS.
Candidate Forums. You can see the candidate forums sponsored by the coalition on Channel 25, at a D.C. Library, or on your own VCR; VHS copies of the forums can be checked out from the Martin Luther King Library and from some D.C. Public Library branches.
The Mayoral and city-wide Council candidate forums were held on July 21 and 28 at Christ United Methodist Church which has a capacity of 300 people. The church, in southwest Washington, filled up during both forums. As moderator, author and journalist Jonetta Rose Barras kept everything lively and in order.
Channel 25 also showed each forum at least three times during August. The distribution of videotape copies of the forum is being made possible by the generosity of the American Association of Retired Persons, one of thirteen organizations in the Making Our Votes Count Coalition.
Channel 25 will re-air the forum for Mayoral candidates on Friday, September 4, at 2:30 p.m. and on Saturday, September 12, at noon. For Part II of the forum for city-wide District of Columbia Council candidates (with the Reverend William Bennett, Linda Cropp, Linda Moody, Kathryn Pearson-West, and Mark Thompson) watch Channel 25 on Thursday,
September 3, at noon, or Wednesday, September 9, at 10:00 p.m. Part I of the forum for city-wide Council Candidates (with nine others or almost every other citywide council candidate) will be show by Channel 25 on Wednesday, September 2, at 10:00 p.m. and Tuesday, September 8, at 12:30 p.m.
Coalition Efforts on the Web. After Fran Garro and Kathy Schmidt selected questions developed by the Making Our Votes Count Coalition, Kathy organized the questions and candidate responses into an electronic voter's guide which can be read on the WRC-NBC4 website. As we go to press, we are working on plans to get the complete responses of all candidates on the D.C. Leagues website.
Get-Out-The-Vote. Election after election, the District of Columbia suffers from low voter turnout. In 1994, only 49 per cent of those eligible to vote participated in the primary election. As we go to press, the coalition is considering pilot Get-Out-The Vote efforts in a few precincts which traditionally have low turnout.
Whatever we do, telephone reminders to vote close to the election will be vital and very labor intensive. Please plan to spend an hour or so the weekend before the election making Get-Out-The Vote (GOTV) calls. Call the League office to be a GOTV volunteer.
At-Large Council Candidates Programs: Part I, Wed, Sep 2, 10:00 p.m., Tue.
Sep 8, 12:30 p.m.
Council Candidates: Part II, Thu. Sep 3, 12:00 noon, Wed, Sep 9, 10:00 p.m.
Mayoral Candidates Forum, Fri. Sep 4, 2:30 p.m., Sat, Sep 12, 12:00 noon.
The Cardozo Senior High School (2nd Vice President Anna Marsh's alma mater) PTA is planning parent civic education activities in September. To help, call PTA President Terri Greene, 202/232-4730.
Alicia Montgomery's Saturday Learning Extension Program will offer a two-day training for volunteers to tutor elementary school students on Saturdays 9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. For information call, 62-TUTOR.
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In the July/August issue of DCVoter you learned about our success at Convention 98 in gaining acceptance of a league-wide educational effort to inform members about our situation: although we are Americans resident in the nation's capital, we have no voting representation in Congress. Recent developments outside the League will dovetail with our efforts and hopefully provide a multiplier effect. On August 6, a meeting was held at LWVUS with Eleanor Revelle, Board Member responsible for Program to develop plans for the LWVUS effort and in recognition of the new developments discussed herein.
Many of you reading Washington, D.C. papers at the time of Independence Day celebrations learned that a petition was being submitted to Congress on July 4 to rectify our situation. This effort has been organized by private individuals, drawing upon the legal reasoning of American University Law Professor Jamin Raskin, and will be reflected in an article to be published in the Fall issue of the Harvard Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review. Please note: Professor Raskin will address our opening luncheon on September 17 (see details elsewhere in this issue).
Fifty-six citizens, led by the D.C. Corporation Counsel, Hon. John M. Ferren and including D.C. Leaguers, exercised First Amendment rights to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The number 56 corresponds to the number who signed the Declaration of Independence, and the profile of the citizens is like that found anywhere in the United States. The fundamental grievance is lack of voting representation in the United States House of Representatives and in the United States Senate.
The text of the petition is included in this issue. It speaks for itself. A related legal memorandum is on file in the D.C. League office.
The petition process requires that a bill be submitted to Congress. Accordingly, on July 14, when the House returned from recess, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced a bill (H.R. 494). It reads: The community of American citizens who are residents of the District constituting the seat of government of the United States shall have full voting representation in the Congress.
The petition comprises a new approach. (1) It focuses on the rights of American citizens individuals like anyone else, not how the District as a jurisdiction fits into the federal legal framework. In other words, the individual American citizen, who happens to live in the District of Columbia, has the same right as other American citizens to full representation in Congress. (2) Notwithstanding some previous views, a constitutional amendment is not required. Congress has the legal authority to provide the remedy by virtue of the District Clause of the Constitution (clause 17, Article I, Section 8), which gives Congress full authority over the District.
The supporters of the petition aim to gain public understanding of these basic points, as well as background on the facts, through an organized educational effort throughout the country. At this stage, the goal is to gain acceptance of the basic principles involved rather than address any particular remedy. Additionally, as of this writing, a related lawsuit is to be filed after Labor Day.
LWVUS, including LWVDC, is joining in the coordinating effort in support of the petition. The organizational details are evolving as of this writing. At an August 6 meeting at National, discussions factored in these developments, including use of material available in the League as well as experience in the 1970's as part of the Coalition for Self-Determination for D.C. We also addressed use and linkage of LWVDC and LWVUS websites as well as lead-times for preparing a special information kit under the Making Democracy Work (MDW) imprimatur and an article in the National Voter. With respect to the latter, it appears that the first opportunity for any status report on MDW will be in the December/January issue. In the following issue we expect a fuller article on the D.C. component, the petition in particular. The details of a timetable and overall strategy are being defined so as to be compatible with efforts reflected in the petition and lawsuit.
On August 10, Luci Murphy, Anna Marsh, and Barbara Yeomans met with D.C. Delegate Norton to discuss results of Convention 98 as well as how the D.C. League could be helpful. She indicated her appreciation of the quality and credibility of the Leagues work. She believes that the lawsuit will be important to overall efforts.
The talent being brought to bear through the petition and lawsuit is significant. The organizational efforts contemplated are major. Internal planning in the League aims to assure ultimate success in reaching our goal. Since the D.C. representation issue is now a formal element of the LWVUS Issue for Emphasis, we will of course coordinate our policies with National as to the timing of any formal approaches in the League's name, especially to Congress. As a practical matter, given the known agenda and short time remaining in this session of the Congress, neither the House (nor Senate) are- expected to act on D.C. Delegate Nortons bill. We will pursue opportunities as they may arise. Barbara Yeomans, 3rd Vice Pres./Nat'l Program; Anna Marsh, 2nd Vice Pres./Local Program
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Link to petition on the DCWatch web site
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Can you commit one day a week or two days per month to work in the D.C. League office? Duties include communicating with members, working on special projects, and assisting with other office duties. Exciting work for one interested in strengthening our organization. Interested? Call Betty Nyangoni, 202/347-3020.
Thanks are due the following members who recently made donations to the League: Henrietta Braunstein, Margaret Feldman, Maurine Mulliner, Kathyn Ray, and Eleanor Trowbridge. Also, thanks to Holly Syrrakos for working to restore the logo.
Theresa-bel Virginia Harper Danley
The League mourns the death of Theresa-bel Danley on July 29, 1998 at age 95. Mrs. Danley was a member of the Upper 16th St. Unit, a former Board member and Newsletter editor. She joined the Organization in the 1930s. A graduate degree Social Worker by profession she was an active member of numerous social justice groups aside from her employment in Illinois, California, Hawaii and Washington, DC. She was especially involved with the Episcopal Diocesan missions and St. Stephens and the Incarnation Church. Theresa-bel assisted with background for three books published on the Black Women Oral History project. She served as hostess for dozens of foreign exchange students. Mrs. Danley was active in the American Association for United Nations, the Institute of Cultural Affairs, ecumenical activities, including genealogical research of her family and others.
Mary B. Wallen
Mary Wallen, a long-time, active member of the Chevy Chase Unit of the LWVDC, died in August of this year. She joined the League in 1980 and was prominent in the effort to give the District representation in Congress. Ms. Wallen was also involved in neighborhood affairs, especially those affecting children, including development of community playgrounds.
Mary Louise Coriden
Mary Louise Coriden died in late July 1998. She had worked for 33 years for the Central Intelligence Agency as chief personnel statistician, retiring in 1982 after receiving the Career Intelligence Medal. Following her retirement, Mrs. Coriden volunteered as a tutor for fourth-grade math students in the D.C. Public Schools, traveled, and collected artwork. She was born on an Illinois farm but lived in Washington for nearly 50 years. Early in her career she served as home service correspondent and regional accountant in the Red Cross, spending time in Europe, including V.E. Day, which she observed in Paris.
Mrs. Coriden is survived by Guy Coriden, LWVDC member and active MOVC partner through the AARP, as well as four siblings.
Grace Smelo Milgram, 83, a LWVDC member from 1975-1998, died July 23 at Thomas House. She was a housing specialist with the Library of Congress Congressional Research Service from 1975 to 1994 and a founding member of the Congressional Research Employees Association. Ms. Milgrams early work included jobs with the Workers Defense League, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the International Ladies Garment Workers union. She helped form racially integrated developments in the Philadelphia area while working in her family's business there. She also served on a task force in the 1960s that helped develop the Model Cities Program.
In addition to her League work, Ms. Milgram also served on the residents association at Thomas House, was a member of the American Planning Association, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, and Lambda Alpha, a land economics honor society. Her marriage to Morris Milgram ended in divorce. She is survived by a son, Gene (of Annapolis), and a daughter, Betty (of Silver Spring).
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Would you like to observe our elected officials? Are you able to monitor and/or attend hearings, meetings, gathering, etc. of persons acting on and/or discussion D.C. Issues? Some of the areas to be covered are criminal justice, housing, education, ANCs, budget, confirmations, health and child advocacies.
Council of the District of Columbia/Council Period Twelve 1998 Schedule:
Legislative Meetings, Oct. 6 (Oct. 1); Nov. 3 (Oct.
29); Dec. 1, (Nov. 26)
Committee of the Whole Meetings, Oct. 20 (Oct. 1); Nov. 17 (Oct. 29); Dec. 15 (Nov. 26)
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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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President: Naomi Glass, 202/347-3020. Editor: Gloria Harvey
From the President:
From all accounts, NCAs Annual Convention was well attended and well received, despite a few mishaps. Our intended speaker, Leaguer and Chair of the Interstate Commission of the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB), Jean Packard, suffered a severe accident; we wish her well. Fortunately for us, Roland C. Steiner of ICPRB was able to substitute on short notice and spoke knowledgeably and responsively about a variety of regional water issues. A second mishap was that the Press Clubs elevator system malfunctioned and a significant number of convention attenders were stranded on the ground floor incommunicado with those of us who had made it up to the 13th floor before the breakdown. Confusion reigned for about 15 minutes but gave way to reasonable order after the Press Club solved its problem. Pat Dougherty and Beryle Lednicer were reselected to the positions of vice president and treasurer, respectively; Bob Perry and Mary Elizabeth Gordon were elected to directorships; and Katy Cannady, June Bashkin and Molly O'Brien were elected to the nominating committee. Ginny De Simone, Molly O'Brien and Forest Williams were appointed to the Board at its subsequent organizing meeting. Watch here for further information about portfolios and such after the Boards August meeting.
No doubt, the League event of overwhelming excitement since my last column was the national convention last June. Our pre-convention meeting for delegates from the NCA region helped prepare us and attune us to each others' concerns and aspirations, and our post-convention meeting held in mid-July provided us with good opportunity to discuss convention actions, plans pursuant to those actions, and suggestions for improvements in future convention procedures.
Reminder: The National convention in year 2000(!) will be held here, in the nation's capital; NCA leaguers will be called upon for a host of activities, but more about that later.
Interleague Organizations (ILOs), of which the NCA League is one, fared well at the convention. A by-law change was approved which will permit input from ILOs into the national program planning process, enabling the inclusion of particular and valuable viewpoints in issues of regional concern. But perhaps the most exciting convention outcome for the NCA region is reported in the D.C. Leagues July/August Voter: Hear 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....
Unfortunately, not all the interests of the NCA area leagues met with such success. The proposed re-study of selected aspects of our U.N. position lost by only a few votes. Undaunted, local supporters of the re-study have plans for the future; well keep you informed.
Elinor Hart, Chair of NCAs committee on D.C. finances and structure, held a modified version of our Spring 1998 units for convention delegates and the background information which had been developed for our Spring units was widely distributed. Both were received with great interest and, no doubt, these efforts contributed to the success of the D.C. representation in Congress issue. Her committee is planning to provide for a second set of National Capital Area meetings in the Spring of 1999, the exact timing to be determined by each local league.
On a second front, Bob Perry's Water Resources Committee will next meet at noon on September 3, 1998 at the LWV-US offices (1730 M Street NW, 10th floor). They plan to provide for NCA area meetings in the Winter of 1999. So one way or another, well be with you a lot during this next League year. Naomi Glass, LWVDC
LWV/NCA Dates to Remember:
Water Resources Committee, September 3, noon, LWV-US offices
LWV Howard County Book Sale, Sept. 11 & 12, Columbia Mall
D.C. Voters and Friends continue to build on previous success, hosting another coffeehouse on Monday, September 21, 8:009:30 p.m., at Brooklands Cup of Dreams (12th and Otis Streets, NE). The featured performer is poet Lori Tsang. Call LWVDC for more information.
Leaguers can increase their computer literacy through free and low-cost computer classes for D.C. residents at Waterside Mall, SW (child-care provided free). September 15 registration. Call 554-7400 for more information.
THE D.C. WISE GUIDE, a four-page information resource on Washington, D.C., has been published and distributed to key sites, such as D.C. Public Libraries. The LWVDC is grateful to Julia Cuniberti, June Duke, and Jeanette Miller for their very substantial contributions to this publication. Contact the D.C. League if you need a WISE GUIDE copy for yourself or to share with friends or neighbors.)
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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: email@example.com).
LWVDC, 1234 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005. 202/347-3020. Fax: 202/347-2522.
Website: http://www.capaccess.org/lwvdc E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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