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733 15th Street, N.W., Suite 432, Washington, DC 20005
202/347-3020, fax: 202/347-2522
Website: http://www.capaccess.org/lwvdc, E-mail: LWVDC@erols.com
LWVDC Finds New Quarters
Units Plan Year-End Meetings
New Effort Urges National Conversation: Future of Social Security
Home Schooling: Highlights of Presentation to the Education Committee Meeting, May 12
National League Notes
LWVDC Responds to Evans-Catania Tax Cut Proposal
LWV/The National Capital Area
DC Healthy Families
Year-End Unit Calendar in Brief
DC Vote Initiative Begins with Bumper Sticker
The D.C. League was very fortunate to have Luci Murphy leading us these past two years. Her efforts attracted many new, younger members across the city to become active. One significant result was the formation of a student Unit at Trinity College. Luci also spearheaded fund-raising activities at coffee houses across the city, bringing in much needed funds. She will continue to be front and center as we push for representation in Congress, and I am very grateful that she has agreed to continue her outreach efforts for the League as she moves into her new job as coordinator of the Washington Peace Center. Thank you, Luci.
I also want to thank out-going board members Jehu Hunter, Betty Nyangoni, Fran Garro and Jean Jones for their dedication over the past several years. Jehu has served in many capacities in the league but most prominently as chair of the 16th street Unit and as first vice president. Betty ran a successful student essay competition two years ago as well as serving as vice president for administration. Fran personifies Voters Service and has given many hours to staying in touch with the Board of Elections, where she is well known. The District's high percentage of registered voters, at last count 85%, is due in large part to the efforts of Fran and the Voters Service committee. Jean has headed the Unit Council, one of the most important links to our members, for the past two years and has ensured that League projects and programs are communicated effectively.
The annual meeting was well attended but disappointing since Mayor Anthony Williams was unable to give us his ideas about D.C.'s comprehensive plan. He sent representatives in his stead who gave us food for thought: Marie Drissel, who is in charge of filling positions on advisory commissions and boards, e.g. the new Civilian Complaint Review Board; David Colby, director Strategic Planning and Development Review Division; and Lindsley Williams, consultant to the Mayor for zoning and planning. The information they gave us on planning will aid in an examination of the Comprehensive Plan which we intend to pursue. In other action members approved a dues increase, and approved by-law changes and program for the next two years.
Council reform is a hot topic. Please plan to attend a Citizen's Forum on D.C. Council Reform at UDC, Building 46 Auditorium on June 8 from 6:00 -8:00 p.m. Bruce Johnson, WUSA, Channel 9, will moderate and Linda Cropp, D.C. Council chair will make opening remarks. The D.C. League is a co-sponsor along with approximately 16 other organizations.
It's a busy time and we can use your help for an hour, for a day, or on a committee. Please call me at the League office, 202/347-3020, I am in most mornings with the exception of Tuesdays. -- Liz Martin
Jun 2 (Wed), 10:00 a.m., LWVDC Board Meeting, LWVUS, 1730 M Street, NW
We've found a new home! Thanks to endless phone calls and negotiating by our new leader, Liz Martin, we will have a new address by the time you receive this Voter. Here's what you need to know:
733 15th Street NW, Suite 432 (known as the Woodward Building), Washington DC 20005.
For our new office, we could use a few amenities: a small refrigerator and a small microwave. We've gotten spoiled having these before! -- Chris Matthews, office manager
To mark the end of the League's Program Year, some of the Units are planning special meetings in June, as has been done in previous years. If your Unit is not holding a meeting, or if you are not now associated with a particular Unit but would like to try out the possibilities, feel free to choose among a picnic on the a visit with a Council member, or a lunch on the edge of Rock Creek Park.
Southwest Unit: Tue., June 15. l 1:00 a.m.
Northwest Day Unit: Tue., June 15. 1:00 p.m.
Chevy Chase Unit: Wed., June 16. 12:00 noon.
Northwest Evening Unit: Thu., June 17. 7:30 p.m.
Note: The Trinity College, Upper 16th Street, and Northeast Day Units will not hold meetings in June; members of those Units should take this opportunity to circulate, but please call hostesses first.
Unit Calendar synopsis appears below.
-- Sheila Keeny, Unit Director
Your May issue of the DC Voter alerted you as to the availability of material on Social Security, which has been provided through LWVUS. The material includes various background information and a menu of reforms under discussion. Members of the Southwest Unit will be path-finders for the D.C. League as they "picnic with prose" (i.e., social security) in June. The material continues to be available to other interested Units.
As indicated in my May alert, the materials were produced by "Americans Discuss Social Security" (ADSS). ADSS, a two-year effort created and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, is designed to promote nonpartisan, informed discussion among citizens on the matter. ADSS does not take a position on any issues. Additionally, through ADSS, a "national conversation" on the future of Social Security is underway. ADSS has organized a nationwide "Education and Action Network." More than 10,000 citizens are already a part of this Network. To obtain free information or join in the Network, you can either call or "link up." Here are the choices:
You are encouraged to join in the national conversation, become more informed, and lend your informed opinions in broader discussions. While other Leaguers are encouraged to write to the "you know who's that we don't have," D.C. Leaguers may send individual views to Congresswoman Norton (The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, Longworth House Office Building-Rm. 1424, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515.)
For background I quote the relevant LWVUS Position in Brief under the section on "Social Policy: " The broad statement for the section reads:
The subsection on Meeting Basic Human Needs reads:
-- Barbara T. Yeomans, 3rd Vice-President (National Program)
The Education Committee met May 12. Included in the meeting was a presentation by Gladys Weaver on home schooling. See p. 4 for a summary report. The next meeting is Wednesday, June 9, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon at the new D.C. League office, 733 15th St. NW, Suite 432.
April Unit Meetings: "U.N. Treaties in Trouble" was the theme of our Unit discussions in April. The three treaties chosen for our discussion were the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which the U.S. refused to sign at an international conference last July, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a negotiating goal since 1958, which President Clinton signed at the U.N. in 1996 but which the U.S. has failed to ratify, and the U.N. Charter itself, ratified by the U.S. over fifty years ago but violated in 1999 by our continuing failure to pay our outstanding debt of over $1 billion. The LWVUS actively supports all of these except the Statute of the ICC, which it has never studied. Nearly fifty Unit members and friends took part in the discussions at six Unit Meetings.
The state of the world changed dramatically during the days just prior to the Unit Meetings when NATO undertook enforcement action in the Balkans without endorsement by the U.N. Some of our members questioned whether this was a further violation of the U.N. Charter (as Yugoslavia is arguing before the World Court); others expressed the opinion that the egregious violation of human rights by Serbia required military action that could not be vetoed in the Security Council. Although we failed to reach any conclusion on this difficult question, on which the LWVUS has no position, we discussed favorably the League position calling for the U.S. to pay its outstanding debt to the U.N. without conditions. The Committee was, therefore, pleased to note that D.C. Delegate Norton has recently signed on as co-sponsor of a House bill to authorize immediate and unconditional release of $575 million to the U.N. in partial payment of our debt. On May 13 President Martin sent Delegate Norton a letter commending her action. Unit Meeting attendees also welcomed the letter sent by LWVUS President Jefferson-Jenkins to members of the Senate expressing support for prompt consideration and ratification of the CTBT. As for the ICC, we all felt a need for further study and reflection. Stay tuned.
Open Invitation to Year-End Committee Meeting: On Wednesday, June 9, the Committee will hold an informal discussion with Esther grimmer, Senior Associate with the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. Her timely topic will be "The United Nations and Conflict Prevention." The meeting will be held at the home of Sheila Keeny. New and potential members are most welcome.
Great Decisions: The last meeting of our discussion group will be held on Wednesday, June 16, when we will consider whether the countries of Latin America will be able to resist "the twin temptations of state-led economies and authoritarian government." Our discussion will be led by a special guest, Christina Cerna, a staff member of the Organization of American States, where she is the Principal Specialist in Human Rights for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. As usual, the meeting will take place in the Rosalie Goodman Room at the LWVUS, 1730 M St., NW from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. If you are thinking about joining this group next year, come to our final meeting and test the waters.
-- Sheila Keeny, co-chair
Making Democracy Work: Three-Judge Panel Hears Arguments on D.C. Voting Representation in Congress
Readers were alerted earlier to the hearing held by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on April 19 for plaintiffs and defendants to argue two suits on the issue of full voting representation in Congress for the District, i.e., Alexander v. Daley and Adams v. Clinton. The first case is the one which includes D.C. Leaguers as well as Corporation Council Ferren for the District as plaintiffs and for which the firm Covington & Burling is providing pro bono legal services.
April 19 started early for the "Alexander" plaintiffs. They were invited to breakfast, hosted by the National Council of Negro Women, under the auspices of the Coalition for D.C. Representation in Congress, and supported by Covington & Burling. Reverend Calbert (husband of D.C. Leaguer Madlyn Calbert) gave the invocation. Remarks were given by Joe Sternlieb, a founder of the Coalition; Arthur Murphy, Executive Director; and Tom Williamson, Covington & Burling. These provided an overview of the two cases and the proceedings to come. The breakfast participants walked from the National Council's elegant headquarters on Constitution Avenue to the near-by federal courthouse. The Coalition's new slogan IT'S TIME was emblazoned on a banner escorting breakfast participants.
Before going to the hearing there was opportunity to participate in the public demonstration in front of the courthouse, organized by Congresswoman Norton. Because of the large attendance, the hearing itself had to be held in the ceremonial hearing room. It holds around 300 and was packed, with many waiting for a chance to get in. While plaintiffs and defendants were given limited time to present their views, around 90 minutes total, there was no limit on the judges' questions. The hearing extended to more than three hours. D.C. Corporation Council John Ferren helped argue the Alexander v. Daley case. This court appearance was virtually his last official duty before ending his public service as Corporation Council, a fitting close from our point of view. There is no specific deadline for the judges to reach a decision.
The Coalition has a new web site: http://www.dcvote.org . The Coalition's office is at 1730 M Street, NW, Room 907 (below LWVUS!). The phone number is 202/872VOTE (8683), and the fax is 202/872-8793. The Coalition's slogan is on a nifty bumper sticker (see note in this Voter, p.8). Visitors to the web site can sign a petition seeking D.C. representation in Congress. We will be coordinating with the Coalition to consolidate the collection of signatures which we already have; from now on the Coalition is the main avenue through which to petition.
For background and as you engage in discussion, in or out of town, see the "20 Questions and Answers" plus Fact Sheet inserted with this issue. On the hack of the Fact Sheet is a copy of the petition being circulated by the Coalition. Feel free to reproduce it to obtain signatures and turn them over (or ask that they be sent) to the LWVDC office. Don't worry if you circulate multiple copies of the petition and wind up with only a few signatures on any particular petition. Whatever works.... mere appearances are not the concern. (If you have questions, call me.) -- Barbara T. Yeomans, 3rd Vice-President (National Program)
Thanks to Fran Garro, Audry Hatry, Grace Savage and Glady Weaver for assisting with ballot counting on May 5th at Town Square Towers' election of Directors. The League received $200.00 for doing the job. Louise Perry, chair
Home-Schooling: Highlights of Preservation to the Education Committee Meeting, May 12
The home-schooling movement is gaining momentum through the United States.
Home-schooling is a school in the home, a place where instruction is imparted to the young. In the District of Columbia, parents elect to teach, to supervise, and take full responsibility to guide the education of their children and to provide space for this activity. Throughout the nation, there are approximately 1.5 million families involved in home-schooling. In Virginia, 33,000 families are identified; in Maryland, 10,000; and in D.C., 400.
Approximately 85 to 90 percent of home-schooling families are proponents for religious reasons. The curriculum is adopted to restore Christian values and beliefs and to bring unity to the family. These home schools often teach Bible-centered creation science (God created the world) instead of evolution. A study of 2000 home-school families found that more than 90 percent of the parents described themselves as being "born-again" Christians. No studies present information on the effects of home-schooling on the Christian values and beliefs.
The second reason to support home-schooling is the " incredible failure of public education. " Home-schoolers point to test scores. With reference to standardized tests, home-schooled students score above the national medium on standardized tests and often work above their normal grade level. A recent national study sponsored by Home School Legal Defense Association embraced the results as the endorsement of the quality of instruction received in the home. Lawrence M. Rudner, the study's author, cautions against reading too much into these test results. He claims the study "does not demonstrate that home-schooling is superior to public or private schools." The home-schoolers' successes are more related to family backgrounds than the educational settings. More than 85 percent of home schooling parents continued their education beyond high school compared with 50 percent of all American adults. The medium income for home-schoolers is $52,000 compared with $36,000 for all United States families with children.
The Michael P. Farris study shows the costs of home- schooling are $546 per student per year with public education cost being $4325 per student per year. Apparently no value is given to the parental time spent on instruction and supervision. Supposing, a parent who could earn $30,000 a year outside the home stays at home to educate two children, at least part of these lost wages should be included in the costs of home-schooling.
Parents use a variety of methods and approaches in their teaching: traditional, worktexts, unit studies, and unschooling.
According the Inge Cannon, Executive Director of Education for PLUS, more than 200 colleges and universities actively recruit home-educated students because of their maturity, independent thinking skills, creativity, and extensive academic preparation. There is no information available about the success stories of home-schoolers after higher education.
The National Education Association believes that home-schooling programs cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home-schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state requirements. Home-schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses home by the parents. Instruction should he by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should he used
One response to home-schooling might he to join those who continue their efforts to restore public confidence in public schools by working to raise standards for students and teachers, improve parental involvement, reduce class size, and promote proven methods for increasing student achievement. Gladys Weaver
We take this opportunity to report on recent action by LWVUS. The trouble on campaign finance reform currently is in the House. Following up on a March letter from Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins to House members in support of the Shays-Meechan reform legislation (H.R. 417), LWVUS is supporting a discharge petition to get H.R. 417 before the full House for a vote. On the issue of a Patient's Bill of Rights, our President wrote to all Senators in support of the pertinent bill, S. 6. LWVUS also has urged Senators to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The April Board of Directors was informed about the status of the lawsuit on the issue of D.C. representation in Congress (see article in this Voter beginning on p.3). A new publication (#349) is out: "Tell it to Washington, A Guide for Citizen Action Including Congressional Directory 1999-2000." A copy is on file. It can be ordered from LWV Pub Sales (toll free 888/287-7424); $1.50 for members, plus postage and handling. -- Barbara T. Yeomans, 3rd Vice President (National Program)
The following was faxed to the D. C. Council on May 10 before the Council took final action.
Council of the District of the District of Columbia
Dear Council Members:
We urge restraint and selectivity in your consideration of tax cuts. The scale and nature of the original Evans- Cantania proposal caused us great concern. We still have concerns with the latest proposals, as reported. Significant tax cuts at this time seems premature. We urge that you not return to the original proposal in frustration.
We recognize the Council's interest in pursuing economic development and bringing D.C. taxes more in line with our neighbors. We are mindful, however, of the financial crisis from which the District has just emerged and are deeply concerned that tax cuts would limit programs for our most needy, particularly in the areas of health care, education, children at risk and the elderly. Additionally, there are many areas of deferred maintenance to be corrected as well as the continuing need to invest in the city's infrastructure and upgrade core services.
The District's financial status is fragile and out-year projections of revenues difficulties are troubling. We urge that the Council move conservatively on any tax cuts at this time.
cc: Mayor Williams
Welcome New Member Vinna Freeman.
Thanks to the following members for donations: MacClaire Arlt, June Bashkin, Virginia Gorman, lone Hargrave, Audry Hatry, Elizabeth Hobby, Norma Hunton, Sheila and Spurgeon Keeny, Johnetta Kelly, Charlotte Kuh, Ernest Lent, Louisan Mamer, Anna and Luther Marsh, Jeanette Miller, Irving Panzer, G. Louise Perry, Mary Rankin, Leona Rumsey, Grace Savage, Joy Simonson, Constance Tate, Gladys Weaver, Mary Weiler, and Barbara Yeomans.
New League Fund-Raisers
For a $50 contribution you can have two hours of music at the place of your choice. Liz Dyson, piano, and Jack Rocca, trumpet, will play for your party or give a concert for a friend or relative. Liz has taught accompaniment at the Levine School of Music. She and Joe play for the Broadmoor Cooperative Christmas parties along with other selected places around town. Call Liz Martin at the League office, 202/347-3020, or at home, 202/537-3043, to book this duo.
Hope Marindin's daughter, Eleanor Marindin, bakes "the best carrot cakes" in town. Those of you who attended last Spring's bridge party can still taste those desserts! For $35 you can order a special layered carrot cake, chocolate with chocolate icing or white cake with chocolate icing. These 3" high cakes serve 10-12. Call Hope Marindin at 202/966-6367.
Email for League and leaguers
Thanks to a new member, Ernest Lent, Jr. we have a new email address and access to the Internet: LWVDC@erols.com. Our old email system was very cumbersome, and we are just delighted to have this service.
As you get your own new email addresses, please let the office know so we can add you to our list. We occasionally send out notices of meetings and information about the issues we work on. We will not give your email address to other organizations, as is our policy concerning all members' personal data.
Alice P. Scott
We are sad to report the death of Alice P. Scott on Monday, May 10, 1999, a long-time member of the Upper Sixteenth Street Unit. Alice served on the Board of Directors and was active in several areas, especially the education committee. Our condolences go to her family and friends.
To join the League of Women Voters please print out this form, and return it, together with dues (check payable to D.C. League of Women Voters), to: LWVDC, 733 15th Street, NW, Suite 432, Washington, DC 20005.
President: Naomi Glass, Editor: Forest Williams
NCA's 1999 annual Convention exceeded our high expectations! Jane Greunebaum, the recently appointed LWVUS executive director, shared with us her dreams of what the national League should and could be. They meshed nicely with the hopes expressed at various NCA meetings. She shared with us some of her specific short- and long-range goals, at least two of which give us the opportunity to help formulate or revise national policies deserving our involvement. Reflecting her high priority to improved member services and cooperation, she has established a membership task force that will consider local League recommendations such as those to be generated by the NCA Membership Roundtable; and she said she would welcome the opportunity to meet periodically with NCA-member Leagues for input and responses to national issues and plans.
The delegates approved a FY2000 budget of $3,825 a modest amount, particularly in light of the quantity and quality of the materials generated by our program committees. The recommended 30-cent PMP increase was unanimously approved. Implicit was a significant increase in fund-raising efforts. Furthermore, because of committees' high levels of activity, our education fund is nearly depleted. We will have to work hard at replenishing that pot as well, as there is no sign of decreased committee activity nor do we want to see such a sign.
The Convention also accepted the Board's program recommendations: continued emphasis on water resources and D.C. revitalization, plus a new (or, rather, revisited) emphasis on transportation/land-use planning. Member Leagues and interested individual members wanting to participate in the programs are encouraged to volunteer. Please call me (202/3473020) and I will get your name to the right people. It's important that many jurisdictions and points of view be represented.
The Convention reelected Shirley Olsen (Fairfax) and me (D.C.) as Secretary and President, respectively, as well as Ann Ross (Arlington) and Forest Williams (Prince George's) as Directors. Carried-over officials elected last year are: Vice-President Pat Dougherty (Montgomery), Treasurer Beryle Lednicer (Montgomery), and Directors Mary Elizabeth Gordon (Fairfax) and Bob Perry (Falls Church). The Board may appoint up to four additional directors.
The first Naumann Achievement Award, $300 and an engraved cup, was presented to the Falls Church League for their excellent submission, "Sustainable Development in the City of Falls Church and Beyond." The Arlington League won Honorable Mention for their submission, "Opening Decision Making at Our Drinking Water Plant to Public Participation." We will watch with great interest as work continues on those projects. Both Leagues received elegant framed certificates.
Finally, an engraved cup was awarded to Bob Perry in appreciation for his fantastic performance in developing the water resources task force working with Joy Hecht and other members to produce their outstanding report, an invaluable tool for communities and other entities involved with water resources. Bob decided to step down from the co-chairmanship of the task force at this juncture but continues as an active member of both the task force and the NCA Board.
Date to remember:
June 4 Fri 10:00 a.m. NCA Board Meeting at LWVUS
Correction: A previous Voter's NCA page incorrectly listed the address for NCA Treasurer, Beryle Lednicer. The correct address is: Beryle Lednicer, 10401 Grosvenor Place #409, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4631.
Pass the word...about DC Healthy Families, which is free health insurance for parents and kids. Applications are available at Safeway, CVS, Giant, Rite Aid, and local libraries, or call 800/MOM-BABY.
Chevy Chase, Wednesday, June 16, 12:00 noon
Enclosed with this issue of the DC Voter you will find a bumper sticker, "it's time: www.dcvote.org." Please use it on your car, pass it on to a neighbor who will, or return it to the League office, if you can't use it. Each sticker is plastic, guaranteed to be easily removable no paper residues.
The stickers are the first phase of a recognition campaign of the DC Vote coalition, of which the D.C. League is a founding member. The mission of DC Vote is education of residents about the lack of Congressional representation for D.C. citizens, and the initial goal is a "Bumper Sticker on Every Block." Please help.
DC Vote plans to have a representative at as many local events as is possible. Please call Kathy Schmidt (202/347-3020) with information about any neighborhood, church, club, or similar event. Name of event, sponsoring organization, contact person, phone number, address, and/or e-mail will be appreciated. The educational effort of each and every League member will greatly expand the effectiveness of the coalition. Thank you. -- Kathy Schmidt
The DC Voter is a monthly publication of the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia. It is available either through membership (S40.00/year) or through direct subscription ($10.00/year). President, Elizabeth M. Martin; Treasurer, Naomi Glass; Editor, Virginia Spatz; 202/547-8504 (email: vspatz@Radix.net ). LWVDC, 733 I5th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005. 202/347-3020. Fax: 202/347-2522. Website: http://www.capaccess.org/lwvdc . E-mail: LWVDC@erols.com .
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