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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 74, No. 7, March 1999

1234 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Suite 208, Washington, DC 20006
202/347-3020,  fax: 202/347-2522
Website:, E-mail:

President’s Corner
General Meeting
Unit Calendar
Member News
Trinity Unit Fund-Raiser
In League . . . Around the Country

Chicago’s “Future Voters”
Housing Study in Arlington

Committee Updates

Education Committee
International Relations
Making Democracy Work
Prison Study

LWV/The National Capital Area

Water Resources Study
Naumann Achievement Award
Membership Roundtable
NCA Convention Update

DC Council membership chart
Report of LWVUS January 29-31 Board Meeting
“Equality Begins at Home”
Statehood Conference

Drinking Water Supply in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area: Prospects and Options for the 21st Century
The International Criminal Court — US Opposition or US Support?

President’s Corner

March features units choice. Please check with your unit chair. March also brings the meeting on D.C. drinking water March 24. Special thanks to D.C. members of the NCA Water Task Force: June Duke, Myles Glasgow and Geri Albers.

February was a short, but action packed month. Thanks to hosts Madlyn Calbert and Constance Tate, the D.C. League was well represented in the attendance, and acknowledged at the 74th Annual Black History Month Luncheon sponsored by the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History on February 6th. Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke focused our attention on education and brought with him an impressive group of teachers and students who are making a difference in his city.

The following day, Feb. 7 the Trinity Unit hosted their first coffeehouse fundraiser.

The unit met on February 9 and decided to focus their "unit's choice" on the issue of Welfare (March 16, 9pm Cuvilly Hall).

February 9 saw a very informative discussion on the International Criminal Court, led by Monroe Leigh and John Washburn, two attorneys with extensive experience negotiating rules and procedures for the ICC. We cosponsored this meeting with UNA/NCA.

February 12 and 13, leading legal minds from around the country gathered to discuss "Campaign Finance as a Civil Rights Issue" at Howard's School of Law. Campaign Finance has been a major issue for the League and members from as far as Florida and Michigan came to share their experiences. Tallahassee leaguer, Anita Davis, who raised $125,000 for her election campaign, earned 40% of the vote, but lost to the candidate who raised $980,000. Others asked are we a democracy or a plutocracy? When a candidate receives most of her contributions from outside of her jurisdiction, who will influence her the most? Her constituents or her contributors? The conference coincided the Public Campaign's web publication of "The Color of Money" ( tel: 202-293-0222.

Lively discussion developed around the issue of D.C. voting rights and attendees signed the Coalition petition. Dean Alice Bullock who co-hosted the conference with John Bonifaz of the National Voting Rights Institute (NVRI), promised to make the meeting an annual event. For conference proceedings: 617368-9100, email: Howard students who facilitated the meeting are planning a symposium on D.C. Statehood on March 31, 5-10 p.m. (contact Talib Karim, NBA 202-737-4116 email: ) — Luci Murphy

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Mar 3 (Wed) 10:00 a.m., LWVDC Board Meeting, LWVUS, 1730 M Street, NW
Mar 9 (Tue), Deadline DC Voter: April/Annual Mtg
Mar 9 (Tue) noon, Unit Council, LWVDC, 1234 Mass. Ave., NW
Mar 10 (Wed) 10:00 a.m., Education Committee, LWVDC
Mar 10 (Wed) noon, I.R. Great Decisions: NATO, noon LWVUS, Goodman Room, see below
Mar 16-18, Units: Units' Choice, see unit calendar
Mar 17 (Wed) 11:00 a.m., I.R. Open Mtg: U.S.-U.N. Relations, LWVUS, Board Room, see below
Mar 19 (Fri), April Voter Mailing
Mar 31 (Wed) noon, I.R. Great Decisions: Japan, LWVUS, Goodman Room, see below

Mar 5 (Fri) 10:00 a.m., NCA Board Meeting, LWVUS, 1730 M Street, NW
Mar 24 (Wed) 10:00 a.m., General Mtg: NCA Water Resources, Sumner School, see below

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General Meeting:
Future of the Drinking Water Supply in Washington, D.C.

March 24, 1999 10:00 a.m. — Noon
Sumner School Lecture Hall
1201 Seventeenth Street NW (at M Street)

Joy Hecht and Robert Perry, co-chairs of the LWV/NCA
Eric Hagen and Roland Steiner, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin

An insert included with this Voter provides background for this forum. See also NCA notes

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Unit Calendar: March 1999

Chevy Chase, Call for address, Barbara Luchs, 202/347-3020, Mar 17 (Wed) 9:45 a.m.
Northeast Day,
Woodridge Library, 18th & Benning Road, Mar 18 (Thu) 12:45 p.m.
Northwest Day,
Iona House, Jeannette Miller, 202/347-3020, Mar 16 (Tue) 1:00 p.m.
Eve, Call for address, Geri Albers, 202/347-3020, Mar 18 (Thu) 7:30 p.m.
Southwest, Call for address, Phoebe Layton, 202/347-3020, Mar 16 (Tue) 9:45 a.m.
Trinity College Cuvilly Hall, Stephanie Dorko, 2021347-3020, Mar 16 (Tue) 9:00 p.m.
Upper 16th St.,
Call for address, Johnetta Kelly, 202/347-3020, Mar 17 (Wed) 9:45 a.m.
March Units are Units' Choice: Getting to Know Elected Officials

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Welcome new members: Jacqueline Jones, Ernest Lent. Welcome back: Lucinda Dennis.
Thanks to those who donated to LWVDC or LWVDC Ed Fund: Lucinda Dennis, Jean Fleming, Kelly Young.
Bed & Breakfast Hosts and Hostesses needed:
If you have an extra room that could be used occasionally by LWV members from outside D.C. when they are in town, please call Jacqueline Russler at 202/347-3020.
This is not only a great service to League members, but serves as a fund-raiser for the D.C. League and allows you to connect with other Leaguers!
D.C. Council Observer Wanted:
LWVDC is in need of persons to observe D.C. City Council. The individuals should be able to report in writing observed actions taken and recommendations. If you want to see better citizen participation in government, please call or write Anna Marsh, Vice-President for Local program, at 202/347-3020.

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Trinity Unit Fund-Raiser

Trinity College Unit held a coffeehouse evening fund-raiser on Sunday, February 7 in the college Pub. The event attracted a variety of guests and performers from both Trinity and the community. Performers ranged from poets to actors to singers and even featured a sing-along segment. League president Luci Murphy and her daughter, Topaz Terry (a Trinity student), were among those performers.

The event was a great success and raised over $60.00 for membership dues. An extra thank you goes to Jenn Kletter, the Trinity student who planned and organized the entire event. Be on the lookout for upcoming coffeehouses at Trinity! — Stephanie Dorko, Trinity Unit Chair

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In League...Around the Country

Chicago's “Future Voters”

January's Chicago Voter reports on a "Future Voter" program in their public schools. This program includes school-wide campaigns, mock party conventions, mock debates, visits with notable elected officials and civic leaders, and field trips. Eight flexible modules were designed by the Chicago League with help from consultant Lisa January.

Housing Study in Arlington

The February Bulletin of the LWV-Arlington (VA) encloses their Housing Study Committee's extensive report, complete with regional (Washington Metropolitan Area) data as well as information specifically concerning Arlington County.

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Committee Updates

Education Committee

At the next meeting of the Education Committee, Marlene Berlin will lead a discussion on the special education services of the D.C. Public Schools. All are welcome Wednesday, March 10 at the D.C. League office. At the last meeting we agreed on activities for the coming year. — Kathy Schmidt, Chair

Next Meeting: "Special Education," March 10, 10:00 a.m., LWVDC.

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International Relations

Open Meeting on U.S.-U.N. Relations March 17: All members are invited to another open committee meeting on "U.S.-U.N. Relations: Outlook for Work in the 106th Congress," on Wednesday, March 17 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (brown bag). Our speakers will be Zarrin Caldwell, Assistant Director for Research, United Nations Association of the U.S., and Jee Hang Lee, lobbyist on U.N. makers for LWVUS. Zarrin covers Capitol Hill as the principal reporter for the UNA/USA's new on-line publication, Washington Report. Jee Hang is relatively recently arrived at LWVUS where he also lobbies on the campaign finance reform issue — a busy man. We will meet in the Board Room at LWVUS, 1730 M Street, NW (Metro: Farragut North). Join us for some special insights into Capitol Hill's take on the U.N. and what the League hopes to do to remedy the arrears problem. For information, call Sheila Keeny (202/347-3020).

LWVUS Supports U.N. Funding as 1999 Legislative Priority: As reported elsewhere in this DC Voter, the LWVUS Board at its January meeting again adopted support for full funding of the U.N. as a level-two priority (after Making Democracy Work) in its legislative agenda for the 106th Congress. This means funding not only for U.S. annual dues for the U.N.'s regular biennial budget and peacekeeping requirements but also for paying accumulated arrears of over $1 billion which the U.S. owes the U.N. These arrears originate in regular budget assessments from the past with which the U.S. disagreed as well as the costs of peacekeeping operations for which we voted in the Security Council but have failed to support financially.

But no Position on the International Criminal Court: Although the League will also support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, it has no position on the International Criminal Court, subject of a standing room only meeting sponsored by the LWVDC, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area and the American Bar Association on February 9. The enclosed summary of the speakers' presentations provides important background information on the Court which will be discussed at Unit Meetings on "U.N. Treaties in Trouble" scheduled for April. President Luci Murphy, in thanking our outstanding speakers, seized the opportunity to urge all those present to sign our petition to Congress regarding D.C. voting representation in Congress, noting that the right to representation is a human right enshrined in various U. N. human rights declarations and covenants to which the U.S. is a party.

Great Decisions: March schedule — The Great Decisions discussion group will meet on March 10 (Wednesday) to discuss "NATO Enlargement," with Coralie Farlee leading the discussion, and again on March 31 (Wednesday) when Evelyn Falkowski will lead our discussion of "Japan in Crisis." We meet in the Rosalie Goodman Room at LWVUS Headquarters, 1730 M St., from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Guests and visitors are welcome; call Janet Burmester at 202/3473020 for information. — Sheila Keeny, Chair

I.R. Committee Meetings:
March 17: Brown Bag on U.S.-U.N. Relations, LWVUS.
March 10: Great Decisions: NATO, LWVUS.
March 31: Great Decisions: ''Japan in Crisis," LWVUS.

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Making Democracy Work/D.C. Congressional Representation

As we go to press, we anticipate a major article in the spring issue of the National Voter relating to Making Democracy Work — for real in the District, namely, the lawsuit being pursued by Covington & Burling to remedy our lack of voting representation in Congress. We will all read the article with great interest. I note here that informational material submitted to the Coalition has been finalized (fact sheet, Q&A package, and chronology). Below Kathy Schmidt brings you up to date on the Coalition for D.C. Representation in Congress:

The Coalition for D.C. Representation in Congress continues to seek redress in the District to seek redress for the citizens of the District of Columbia. Along with the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia, organizations which have indicated support for the coalition are the League of Women Voters of the United States, Foundry Methodist Church, D.C. League of Republican Women, American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Democratic Action, American Veterans Committee as well as several groups which have indicated interest but have not yet completed forms.

The mission of the Coalition for D.C. Representation in Congress Education Fund is to educate the public and the Congress of the United States about the need for citizens of the District of Columbia to enjoy full voting representation in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The Coalition brings together any and all organizations, citizens, and other supporters of the principles enumerated in the Constitution that guarantee democratic representation of all citizens and assert the principle of "one person one vote." The Coalition is open to all who wish to pursue those goals through non-violent means and with respect for all other members of the Coalition. — Barbara Yeomans and Kathy Schmidt

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Prison Study

As I have reported earlier, the 1997 D.C. Revitalization Legislation (see our "ABC's...XYZ's" publication) required a study on "...correctional privatization, including a review of relevant research and related legal issues, and comparative analysis of the cost effectiveness and feasibility of private sector and Federal, State, and local governmental operation of prisons and corrections programs at all security levels." I have obtained a copy of the report submitted to Congress in 1998, via letter from the Acting Attorney General Sutin to Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch. The report was prepared by Abt Associates Inc., titled "Private Prisons in the United States, An Assessment of Current Practice." The report and cover letter are filed in the general program files under "Criminal Justice."

It is clear from the cover letter that more research is needed. Following are some salient points from the cover letter:

  • "...the Abt study concludes that there is not yet sufficient information to allow confident conclusions concerning whether the cost and quality of operations in private prisons is lower, higher, or equivalent to that of public sector prisons."
  • Abt's review of earlier research and studies indicate that "to date all such studies have been methodologically flawed."
  • The short time allowed for the report (effectively less than one year) precluded Justice from undertaking the sort of primary research that is necessary to fully understand the nature of private prison operations regarding a variety of important issues (e.g., types of programs available to prepare inmates for release). Additionally, the time constraint meant that the Abt study had to be selective in order to meet the reporting deadline.
  • "Few would disagree that the potential cost savings that may result from privatization would not justify creating substantial threats to public safety or wholesale failure to prepare offenders for what hopefully will be a crime-free return to the community after release from prison."
  • "The available data reported in this study suggests that the private sector has very limited experience with 'high' or 'maximum' security inmates."
  • Even though legal issues associated with privatization can be averted, "...the potential for serious problems remains when inmates are transferred to privately-operated facilities outside the custodial jurisdiction..." This is because the facility is subject to the laws and regulation of the state or jurisdiction where located. Yet state or local jurisdiction is not a party to the contract with the operator. "Thus, the two sources of control ordinarily available to public agencies who contract for private prison bed space (legislative/regulatory and contracting) are somewhat compromised when inmates are housed in facilities in other jurisdictions."

Barbara Yeomans

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LWV/The National Capital Area

President: Naomi Glass, 202/686-0124.
Editor: Forest Williams, 301/552-1681. email:

Water Resources Study

The NCA Water Supply Task Force has just completed its study of the adequacy of the Potomac River water supply to meet the needs of the Washington metropolitan area in the 21st Century. While a severe drought may not deplete our stored water supplies until 2035, such a drought could require water-use restrictions as early as the next decade. The study reviews a number of strategies for responding to this threat, including conservation, construction of new reservoirs, and recycling the effluent from Blue Plains. The task force does not prioritize those options, but recommends a region-wide public process through which they can be analyzed and a consensus reached about the appropriate choice.

At the February 5 meeting of the NCA Board, task force co-chairs Bob Perry and Joy Hecht presented the report and the group's hopes for follow-up. The task force in interested in joining the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments in a League/COG partnership to facilitate the region-wide process to address water supply issues identified in the study. Such a process around the water supply issue might be the start of an ongoing partnership between League and COG to foster regional discussion of other questions, such as transportation and land use. The Board unanimously favored such cooperation. The report provides background for unit meetings and general meetings of member leagues. Check your League's program schedule. Contact Bob Perry, 703/534-5421.

Funds needed. Printing and distributing the Water Resources report will take a big bite out of our bank account. Printing 500 copies and mailing several hundred will cost about $ 1,300.00. Contributions to help defray the costs will be much appreciated and allow us to continue sponsoring such valuable pursuits. Make checks payable to NCA (or to NCA Education Fund, for tax-deductibility) and send to Treasurer Beryle Lednicer, 826 Bowie Road, Rockville, MD 20852.

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Naumann Achievement Award

Because of the weather-imposed Board-meeting cancellations in January, approval of the Award rule was delayed until February 5. Member leagues have since been formally invited to submit applications by March 20. The Award will be presented at NCA Council (May 8). Contact Pat Dougherty, 301/983-4916.

Membership Roundtable

The NCA Roundtable's first meeting was January 22. We are making lists of objectives, including problems and questions that we want to resolve. Next meeting: February 19, at LWVUS, 10:00 a.m. for everyone with membership responsibilities, resources, and interests. Main topic: retaining members. Contact: Forest Williams, 301/552-1681.

NCA Convention Update

Our convention, on May 8, will be held at Channel Inn on the scenic D.C. waterfront. $20.00 per person. Details later. Contact: Mary Elizabeth Gordon, 703/280-5186.

Next NCA Board meeting, March 5. Interested members invited; to propose an agenda item, call Naomi, 202/686- 0124.

Dates to remember:

March 5 Board Meeting, LWVUS, 1730 M Street, NW
March 20 Naumann Award Applications Deadline, see above
May 8 Convention, Channel Inn, SW D.C. (details to follow)

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DC Council, 441 4th Street, NW, 20001. Directory 1999: Council Period Thirteen

Serving Name Room # Phone Fax Party Assistant
Chair Linda Cropp Room 704 724-8032 724-8085 Democrat William Rumsey, Jr.
At-Large Harold Brazil Room 701 724-8174 724-8105 Democrat
At-Large Carol Schwartz Room 706 724-8105 724-8071 Republican Jacques Rondeau
At-Large David A. Catania Room 712 724-7772 724-8087 Republican Joshua Dunkelman
At-Large Phil Mendelson Room 720 724-8064 724-8099 Democrat Chris Weiss
Ward 1 Phil Graham Room 718 724-8181 724-8109 Democrat Twanna Clark
Ward 2 Jack Evans Room 703 724-8058 724-8023 Democrat John Ralls
Ward 3 Kathleen Patterson Room 709 724-8062 724-8118 Democrat JoAnne Ginsberg
Ward 4 Charlene Drew Jarvis Room 708 724-8052 724-8120 Democrat Audrey Duff
Ward 5 Vincent B. Orange, Jr. Room 702 724-8028 724-8076 Democrat Esteil Mathis-Lloyd
Ward 6 Sharon Ambrose Room 710 724-8072 724-8054 Democrat Marge Francese
Ward 7 Kevin P. Chavous Room 705 724-8068 724-8097 Democrat Denise Reed
Ward 8 Sandra Allen Room 707 724-8045 724-8055 Democrat Ron Dennis
Secretary Phyllis Jones Room 716 724-8080 724-3070
Counsel Charlotte Brookins-Hudson Room 711 724-8026 724-8129
Budget Artie Blitzstein Room 971 724-8139 724-7819


Committee Room Phone Chair Members Clerk
Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Room 710 724-8072 Ambrose Allen, Brazil, Catania, Graham Ester Bush
Economic Development Room 708 724-8152 Jarvis Brazil, Chavous, Evans, Orange John McGaw
Education, Libraries, and Recreation Room 705 724-8068 Chavous Ambrose, Mendelson, Pattterson, Schwartz Jerry Johnson
Finance and Revenue Room 703 724-8058 Evans Brazil, Chavous, Jarvis, Patterson Lyle Blanchard
Government Operations Room 709 724-7808 Patterson Ambrose, Catania, Jarvis, Schwartz Jason Juffras
Human Services Room 707 724-8045 Allen Catania, Mendelson, Patterson, Schwartz D. Hunger
Judiciary Room 701 724-8116 Brazil Ambrose, Chavous, Evans, Orange Jim Abely
Local and Regional Affairs Room 712 724-8900 Catania Allen, Graham, Mendelson, Orange Kathy Sternberg
Public Works and Environment Room 706 724-8271 Schwartz Allen, Evans, Graham, Orange Adam Maier
Committee of the Whole Room 704 724-8196 Cropp All Members fo the Council Christopher Murray

For information on legislation, call Legislative Services, 724-8050
For Calendar of the Week 24-hour updates, call 724-8554

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Report of LWVUS January 29-31 Board Meeting

Extracted from an early February report by Eleanor Revelle, Chair, LWVUS Program Committee

The LWVUS legislative priorities for 1999 are:

  • Level One (i.e., central to Making Democracy Work [MDW])
    • Campaign Finance Reform
    • Enhancing Voter Participation
      • Protecting the national Voter Registration Act,
      • Voter participation initiatives,
      • Voting representation for the District of Columbia;
  • Level Two (non-MDW areas)
    • The Patients' Bill of Rights
    • United Nations Funding
    • Global Warming/Clean Air

With respect to the D.C. representation issue, LWVUS does not expect legislative action in this session; however, other political strategies are to be pursued to advance this issue. On the other hand we recall interest in hearings in the last session. We will be following the matter of hearings closely.

LWVUS will maintain the flexibility to take action in any program area should circumstances and needs change. In particular, LWVUS will be alert to opportunities for action on a limited number of other key issues, e.g., Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. LWVUS has already signed on to a letter to President Clinton urging him to redouble his efforts to secure Senate approval of the CTBT. LWVUS is an active member of two coalitions of arms control and peace groups — the Monday Lobby Group Organization and the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Danger. (Recall my report in the February issue concerning the reasons for the decision not to endorse the Abolition 2000 campaign.)

The Board report also noted that LWVUS joined in a letter to President Clinton in December urging greater investment in initiatives essential to the well-being of the American people — investment in education, meeting human needs, infrastructure, environmental protection, and research and development. At this time National has no plans to examine, and make a statement on, the proposed defense budget.

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National Council ’99

The official call is out. Council is held in the year between conventions, and typically in Washington, D.C. This year it is to be held June 12-14 at the Marriott Metro Center Hotel, 775 12th St., NW. Per LWVUS Bylaws, Article X, Section 4, the purposes of Council are: "give guidance to the national board on program and methods of work, adopt a budget, and transact such other business as shall be presented by the national board." LWVDC is entitled to send two voting delegates, plus other participants. Determination of the delegation will be made in due course. Stay tuned. — Barbara T. Yeomans, 3rd Vice-President (National Program)

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To join the DC League of Women Voters, print out the membership form and mail it to LWVDC, 1234 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

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Equality Begins at Home”: District Self- Determination Rally

Freedom Plaza. March 21, 1999, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Rally promoting self-determination for District residents and focusing attention on the ballots concerning Initiative 59, legally cast by D.C. residents in last fall's General Election and still uncounted due to U.S. Congressional funds restrictions. For more information, call Wayne Turner, 202/547-9404, or Arthur Spitzer, 202/457-0800.

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Statehood Conference

Howard University School of Law, March 31, 1999. 5:00 – 10:00 p.m., Call Talib Karim, 202/737-4116 for more information.

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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:
LWVDC, 1234 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005. 202/347-3020. Fax: 202/347-2522.
Website:   E-mail:

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