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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 74, No. 9, May 1999

733 15th Street, N.W., Suite 432, Washington, DC 20005
202/347-3020,  fax: 202/347-2522
Website:, E-mail:

President’s Corner
May Unit Meetings to Seek Consensus
Super Senior 1999 Award to Naomi Glass
Unit Calendar May 1999
Councilmember Catania Meets with Unit Members: Seeks DC Attorney General
Member News
Committee Updates

Health Committee
International Relations

Strengthening Children’s Health
DC League Joins Citizens’ Forum
Early Alert: Future of Social Security — Discussion Option for Units in June
LWV/The National Capital Area
Water Resources
Creed of a Just and Inclusive Community

President’s Corner — Luci Murphy

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who give motherly care to the children of our city.

Thanks to Elinor Hart's NCA Committee on D.C. for the discussion materials in this issue on D.C. Revitalization which I urge you to read for your May unit meeting.

Thanks to Mary Ann Luby of the Legal Clinic for the Homeless, for giving D.C. residents a Creed for a Just and Inclusive Society and a celebration to affirm longstanding League principles (see below). Thanks to Anise Jenkins for inviting me to the site of a former slave market at 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW to participate in "D.C. Emancipation Day" which recognizes the day on which Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves residing in Washington, April 16, 1962. The event called for people to support the law suits heard on April 19, 1999. Thanks to all who attended the court hearing for the two cases demanding democratic rights for D.C. Thanks to June Duke, Chris Matthews and members of the board who have supported my growth and development as president these last two years. I carry fond memories of last summer's convention where our team of delegates put D.C. up front on the national LWVUS agenda. While I leave the board, I will continue to be an active LWVDC member...helping Scott McLarty with the Health Committee, cochairing DC VOTE (aka the Coalition for D.C. Representation in Congress) and assisting the transition of our newly elected LWVDC president. Even though my daughter graduates from Trinity College this month, I will continue to assist the student unit at the school.

As the bombs fell in the former Yugoslavia, I was called to work as coordinator of the Washington Peace Center, a multi-issue volunteer organization with a monthly newsletter. Sound familiar? Feel free to reach me at (202) 234-2000 or email at

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May Unit Meetings to Seek Consensus

The LWV National Capital Area has completed its two-year study of D.C. finances and revitalization, culminating in consensus questions for May unit meetings. Leagues in Maryland and Virginia, as well as the D.C. League, will review the six questions which could form a strong basis for legislative advocacy and action in the coming year. The May Units are crucial as the League moves to strengthen its positions regarding the District's financial health. See Unit Calendar.

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May 2 (Sun) various, Soul Talk Poetry Event at Trinity, Call Tarisai for info: 202/518-6625
May 3 (Mon) 6:30 p.m., Health Committee, LWVDC, 1234 Mass. Ave., NW
May 5 (Wed) 10:00 a.m., LWVDC Board Meeting, LWVUS, 1730 M Street, NW
May 10 (Mon) 11:00 a.m., Brown Bag: Voter Roll Maintenance, LWVUS, see below
May 11 (Tue), Deadline DC Voter: June
May 11
(Tue) noon, Unit Council, LWVDC
Mar 12 (Wed) 10:00 a.m., Education Committee, LWVDC, see below
Mar 12 (Wed) 11:00 a.m., I.R. Great Decisions: Info. Age, LWVUS, Goodman Room, see below
May 18-20, Units, see calendar below
Mar 21 (Fri), June Voter Mailing
Mar 26 (Wed) 11:00 a.m., I.R. Great Decisions: Caspian Basin, LWVUS, Goodman Room, see below

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Super Senior 1999 award to Naomi Glass!

The League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia is pleased to announce that our Super Senior for 1999 is Naomi Glass, who currently serves as our Treasurer (since 1996) and President of the League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area. Naomi fills many shoes and has served in numerous capacities, including the presidency. Her educational training is in mathematics and experimental psychology. Most recently, she worked as Budget Officer for the D.C. Department of Finance and Revenue and then as Special Assistant to the Director of that agency. She has been a League member since 1966 and her tireless commitment to the League is invaluable. Thanks for all you do, Naomi!!

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Unit Calendar May 1999

Chevy Chase, 4601 31st Street, NW, Mary Rodgers, 202/244-1933, May 19 (Wed) 9:45 a.m.
Northeast Day,
Woodridge Library, 18th & Rhode Island, NE, May 20 (Thu) 12:45 p.m.
Northwest Day,
Iona House, Jeannette Miller, 202/362-1203, May 18 (Tue) 1:00 p.m.
Northwest Eve,
To be announced, Joan Domike, 202/966-3865, May 20 (Thu) 7:30 p.m.
560 N Street, SW, Gilda Varrati, 202/583-5453, May 18 (Tue) 9:45 a.m.
Trinity College dormitory, Stephanie Dorko, 202/612-5427, To be announced
Upper 16th St.,
4709 16th Street, NW, Paula McKann, 202/829-0656, May 19 (Wed) 9:45 a.m.

May Units focus on D.C. revitalization (see insert)
Please review the questions in the insert before your Unit meeting and come prepared to discuss and debate.

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Councilmember Catania Meets with Unit Members: Seeks D.C. Attorney General

At their March meeting, Northwest Evening Unit, their guests, and members from other LWVDC units heard At-Large Councilmember David Catania address a "shopping list" of issues facing the D.C. Council.

Mr. Catania discussed the need for Council oversight of the Executive, and invited anyone with problems with D.C. government services to call his office for assistance. He advocates amending the Home Rule Charter to establish an elected Attorney General empowered to prosecute corruption and enforce D.C. criminal laws.

Mr. Catania is chair of the Local and Regional Affairs Committee, which now includes oversight of the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. He also serves on the WMATA Metro Board, where he seeks to improve commuting transportation for D.C. residents to reach jobs in the suburbs.

At the meeting's end, Anna Marsh, vice president for local program and chair of the D.C. Affairs Committee, noted that the League needs volunteers to observe Council meetings at One Judiciary Square and on Cable TV.

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Dorothy Duncanson

We are very saddened about the death, March 22, of member Dorothy Duncanson. Dorothy had been an active member of the Upper Sixteenth Unit and served on the D.C. Commission on Aging. Prior to her serving on the Commission, she had been an extremely valuable supporter of the League in many capacities: Education Committee, International Relations Committee, Voters Service, and recorder for U.S. unit.

Robert H. Cory, Jr.

We are also very saddened by the death of member Robert H. Cory, Jr. He was the Quaker representative to the United Nations in the early 1960's and a founder of the William Penn House on Capitol Hill, which he and his wife, Sally, directed for more than a decade. Bob Cory was a life-long advocate for peace and social justice. We express our sympathy to his wife, Sally Cory, also a League member.

Welcome New Members:

Bonnie Barhyte, Ozeal Syne Brown, Anita Gurney, Ronald Dellums, Amy Dunbar, Pablo Eisenberg, Penelope Feuillan, Janet Fox, Traci Kammer Goldberg, R. Kenaston, Eugene Dewitt Kinlow, Mary Kruger, Maureen McCarthy, Dusty McClintock, William Meadows, Marion Moore, Kathryn Nelson, Kenneth Nesper, Ann Perman, Cereta Perry, Elizabeth Peterson, Mary Restifo, Doris Rich, Ann Teras, and Ethel Williams.

Welcome back to reinstated members: J. Hopper, Marshall Hornblower, William Olson, and Norman Portenow. Send in those member interest forms! We want you to be "plugged in"!

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Committee Updates


On the second Wednesday in May at 10:00 a.m., LWVDC member Gladys Weaver will address the Education Committee. Her topic is home-schooling. Anyone interested in learning more about this fast growing trend is welcome to join us at 1234 Massachusetts Avenue, NW in the LWVDC office. -- Kathy Schmidt, Chair
Next Education Committee Meeting: May 12, 10:00 a.m., LWVDC

Health Committee

According to Impact on Issues 1998-2000: A Leader's Guide to a National Program, the League of Women Voters of the United States "believes that a basic level of quality health care at an affordable cost should be available to all U.S. residents" (p.58).The League also "calls for a national health insurance plan financed through general taxes, commonly known as the 'single-payer' approach" as the ultimate goal of reform. The question of health care reform is certain to emerge as a major issue in the 2000 elections.

On March 13, Maryland's Coalition for Universal Health Care held a forum in Bethesda which also drew the participation of people from D.C., including Shadow Representative Florence Pendleton and several LWVDC members. After the forum, we met informally and agreed that the District, with its unique and urgent health care needs, should have a similar coalition — now the revived LWVDC Health Committee.

We will build on the League's record of advocacy of health care reform, using the extensive research the League conducted in the early 1990s, as well as its high visibility locally and nationally. Since then, we've met a few times and discussed at length how we might educate and mobilize D.C. residents in support of universal coverage.

The LWV Health Committee has proposed a District-wide town meeting, to be sponsored by LWVDC. We hope to initiate a united grassroots coalition for tax-based universal health care.

For more information about universal health care or the Health Committee of LWVDC, call 202/518-5624. The next meeting of the Health Committee will take place Monday, May 3, 6:30 p.m. at the LWVDC office, 1234 Massachusetts Avenue NW. -- Scott McLarty
Next Health Committee Meeting: May 3, 6:30 p.m., LWVDC

International Relations 

As we go to press, Unit Meetings on "U.N. Treaties in Trouble" are still two weeks ahead and member interest in foreign policy issues remains to be assessed. Look for a report on the sense of the meetings in the June DC Voter. Meanwhile, at its recent meeting, the LWVUS board concluded that there is insufficient member understanding and agreement on the NATO/Kosovo question for the League to take a position "on this very complex issue" (e-mail communication from LWVUS Program Chair Eleanor Revelle).

In other action, LWVUS sent a letter on April 2 to Members of the Senate regarding the Comprehensive Test Bank Treaty, which still awaits a hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She wrote, "Polls indicate overwhelming public support for the treaty. We urge you to speak out in support of expeditious consideration of the CTBT this year." The letter is accessible on the website and on file at the LWVDC office..

Our Great Decisions discussion series continues. This month's topics are "The Information Age" (Wednesday, May 12) and "Iran and the Caspian Basin" (on Wednesday, May 26). We meet in the Rosalie Goodman Room of LWVUS, 1730 M Street NW, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Visitors are most welcome; call Janet Burmester 202/237-6928 for information.

Other outreach activities: On April 14, Pat Hallman and Sheila Keeny responded to an invitation from the Institute of International Education to meet with a delegation from Jordan, participants in USIA's International Visitor Program. Asked to discuss "how one of the oldest and best known citizen organizations in the U.S. promotes citizen participation in government and promotes public understanding of major public policy issues, Pat and Sheila gave a quick sketch of League history from its women's suffrage origins to today's emphasis on outreach to a diverse community. We even had a chance to explain the peculiar condition in which D.C. citizens find themselves with respect to representation in Congress. A parting gift from our five visitors, a small hand-embroidered wall hanging, will grace our new office. -- Sheila Keeny, Chair
I.R. Committee, Great Decisions Meetings, May 12, "The Information Age"; May 26, "Iran and the Caspian Basin" both at 11:00 a.m., LWVUS (R. Goodman Room)

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Brown Bag Dialogue: Voter Roll Maintenance,
Monday, May 10. 11:00 a.m.

Speaker: Ms. Toni Smith, Voter Information Specialist
D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics
LWVUS office, 1730 M Street, NW.

Contact: Connie Fortune, 202/832-5281 or Pat Hallman, 202/829-8852

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Strengthening Children’s Health

The George Washington University of School of Public Health & Human Services and Graduate School of Education & Human Development held a symposium on April 8 focusing on "better health outcomes for all young people in the District." The statistics provided by Melissa Littlefield and Jenifer Prout, DC Kids Count, and Dr. Howard Freed, D.C. General Hospital, were daunting. Twenty-five per cent of the 96,700 children in D.C. as of 1996 are in poverty compared to the national average of 17%. Two-thirds of the children were born to unwed mothers, and 55 are in fatherless families. Twenty percent of new mothers received no pre-natal care. There is an average of one gunshot wound per day and one stabbing per day. Young males 12 years and up are the majority of the victims.

Mark Robertson, D.C. Public Schools, reported a dropout rate of 50%. He enumerated problems with mismanagement, funding and maintenance of buildings which will cost $1 billion and lack of staff development. On the other hand Superintendent Ackerman has instituted a number of initiatives including: social promotion ended; safety net in place, e.g. summer school; standards set for school achievement; health program including AIDS awareness.

For more information contact: Joan Domike, Chair, Children Action Committee, at 202/966-3865.

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D.C. League Joins Citizens’ Forum

The D.C. League has joined a coalition, spearheaded by the D.C. Public Affairs Section, District of Columbia Bar and the ACLU of the National Capital Area, to sponsor a forum on how to improve the D.C. Council. The planning is still in process, but the Forum is tentatively scheduled for June 8 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at UDC.

The impetus for the Forum was two reports; one from the National Conference of State Legislatures "Building a Stronger, More Effective Institution" and another from the DC Appleseed Center "Operational Reform of the District of Columbia Council: A Fix-It-Yourself Manual." As the District emerges from its financial crisis, citizens are looking at the Council to help shape that future. Does the Council have the resources to analyze and develop detailed proposals? Are citizens given timely, adequate information and the opportunity to participate?

Linda Cropp, D.C. Council Chair, will open the session. A panel including the Latino Civil Rights Center, D.C. Action for Children, Gay and Lesbian Activists' Alliance. Also invited are the D.C. Chamber of Commerce and Metropolitan Washington AFL-CIO follows.

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Early Alert: Future of Social Security — Discussion Option for Units in June

LWVUS has provided us with educational materials on the future of Social Security. The material has been prepared by "Americans Discuss Social Security" (ADDS), a two-year effort created and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and designed to promote nonpartisan discussion among citizens on the issue. The ADDS material includes pamphlets, a "Discussion Leader Kit" and a "Discussion Starter." Sets of materials can be provided to each Unit should they wish to make the subject part of their "Units' choice" program in June. If interested, Units have been asked (through Council) to name a point of contact and notify me accordingly (202/363-8940). Some basic information will be included in the June issue of the DC Voter. -- Barbara Yeomans, 3rd Vice President (National Program)

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LWV/The National Capital Area

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

Convention. As incredible as it seems, NCA's Annual Convention, which punctuates our League year, is just around the corner: Saturday, May 8, at 9:30 a.m. at the Channel Inn. We frequently hear from Leaguers regarding the relationships among the various levels of League organization and the activities of the LWVUS. Because our guest speaker is Jane Gruenebaum, the still- new Executive Director of the LWVUS, we will have an excellent opportunity to explore those areas! We will also, of course, choose program for the next two years and elect half the Board. A first this year is the presentation of the Naumann Award. Perhaps most important, we will receive reports of NCA's and local Leagues' activities since the last Convention. For a reservation contact Mary Elizabeth Gordon, 3314 Parkside Terrace, Fairfax, VA 22031. 703/280-5186.

Membership Roundtable. At the Membership Roundtable open meeting on May 21 attendees will be invited to identify current and potential LWVUS incentives to local League's membership efforts. We hope to take advantage of the opinions and extensive membership experience in our member Leagues.

D.C. Revitalization. Watch for this: the D.C. Revitalization Committee is leading area-wide consensus meetings," he culmination of the two-year study approved by our 1997 Annual Convention. This set of meetings builds upon those held by the Committee last year and, in addition, upon the exemplary support provided last June at the LWV-US Convention for the successful effort to add Congressional Representation for D.C. to the Making Democracy Work campaign. The study phase may not be completed by May 8, but the finish line is in sight, and we will have an up-to-the-minute progress report. Many thanks to Chair Elinor Hart and her committee.

Water Resources. Laudatory responses to the Water Resources Committee report continue to pour in. We've received inquiries from as far away as Boston and from as close as the Martin Luther King Library in D.C. We have testified before the Maryland General Assembly and before the Council of the District of Columbia. And this is still the beginning. Kudos to the Water Resources Committee, led by Bob Perry and Task Force co-chair Joy Hecht.

Dates to Remember:
May 8, 9:30 a.m., NCA Convention at Channel Inn
May 21, 10:00 a.m., NCA Membership Roundtable, LWVUS, "Strengthening Our Bond with LWVUS," open meeting on membership interests

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Water Resources

On March 24, 1999 the D.C. Chapter of the League of Women Voters sponsored a workshop at the Sumner School to discuss the LWVNCA Water Supply Task Force Discussion Paper entitled "Drinking Water Supply in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area: Prospects and Options for the 21st Century, February 1999." This is a discussion paper focusing on the next 50 years in the D.C. region and its supply of drinking water during that period. The Co-Chairs for the Task Force, Joy E. Hecht of Arlington and Robert R. Perry of Falls Church, offered a clear presentation of the issues that gave rise to engaging questions from the audience. The audience included representatives from some of the water suppliers and local governments as well as interested citizens. Roland C. Steiner and Erik Hagen, key staff from the ICPRB, also participated. The ICPRB studies the water supply every five years, and the possibility of LWV working with ICPRB on the next study was considered.-- Myles Glasgow

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The LWVDC Board signed on to the following

“Creed of a Just and Inclusive Community”:

We are committed to the recovery of the District of Columbia as a truly inclusive community -- rooted in justice, which respects the rights and dignity of all of its members while striving for the common good;

We believe in a community where all have opportunities for improved quality of life;

We believe that education, training, and recreation enhance life both for the individual and the community;

We believe that employment opportunity and income security stabilize communities;

We believe that an affordable home is essential to human growth and development;

We believe that the diseases of substance abuse and mental illness can be remedied and relieved by quality treatment services and encouragement and community support;

We believe that all residents of the District are entitle to quality medical care;

We believe that our brother and sisters who are incarcerated deserve humane treatment and the opportunity for rehabilitation;

We believe that an effective "safety net" can minimize the impact of social/economic crises on the lives of women, men and children and on the life of the community;

We believe that residents and elected officials of the District of Columbia should exercise self-determination vis-a-vis local budget, policies and laws.

We believe that only when needs are addressed and opportunities offered will the community be truly inclusive, rooted in justice, respectful of the rights and dignity of all and focused on the common good.

This statement was at the heart of an April 15 celebration held at Luther Place Memorial Church 14th and N Streets, NW — organized by local non-profit and advocacy organizations, business and faith community leaders, and other concerned D.C. residents — endeavoring to "make visible our vision of a just and inclusive community." In addition to the D.C. League of Women Voters, the Creed was signed by 100 community, educational and faith- based institutions. For more information about effort, call Mary Ann Luby at 202/872-1494

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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.
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