Organiza.gif (1182 bytes)

Home     Organizations

Forward to December 1999 DC VoterBack to League of Women Voters home pageBack to October 1999 DC Voter

The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 75, No. 3, November 1999

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

President’s Corner
Mayor Addresses Health Care at LWVDC Opening Luncheon
Unit Calendar: October 1999
News from Our Units
November Unit Focus: On the Eve of the Pending Court Decision — Full Voting Representation in Congress for D.C.
Committee Updates:

Bed and Breakfast
Education Committee
International Relations

Summit Launches Neighborhood Action
Sixty New US Citizens Register to Vote

Special Documentary on Women’s Suffrage
New Voice at LWVDC
LWV/The National Capital Area
Conference on the Needs of Children
Religion and World Peace
Join the League of Women Voters
Member News

President’s Corner — Liz Martin

As most of you know, Chris Matthews is leaving as the League's office manager. She has been the heart and soul of the office for over two years now, and we shall miss her sorely. Her organizational abilities were a great asset to the League as well as her unfailing "can do" attitude and cheerful disposition. She, of course, is on the LWVDC board and will continue to volunteer, so we shall still have her good counsel.

On the bright side, we had many good candidates apply for the position, and we selected Sheila Willet (see below). Two League members were among Sheila's references. How could we lose? Welcome, Sheila. We look forward to a long and productive time together.

In November, Units will focus on voting rights for District residents (see below). We are all waiting for the Court decision which will dictate, to some extent, our next moves. As your president, I attended the board meeting of the Coalition for D.C. Representation in Congress. We had a lively discussion about a proposed "Business Plan" for the Coalition, which includes expanding the list of coalition members, house parties to involve and inform D.C. residents, and a new Hill initiative tentatively scheduled for February.

Dorothy Height and the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) are hosting a fund-raising reception for the Coalition on October 26. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp is the featured speaker. The event takes place at the NCNW, 633 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Senator Edward M. Kennedy is an honorary co-host. Call: 202/872-VOTE (872-8683) for tickets.

Back to top of page

Mayor Addresses Health Care at LWVDC Opening Luncheon

Thanks to Mayor Williams and his newly appointed director of the Health Department, Dr. Ivan Walks, our fall luncheon opened with flair and substance and a little publicity. Avram Goldstein, Washington Post health reporter, and Marie Woods from the National Voter both attended.

The Mayor reviewed the direction of the efforts he is taking to tackle the enormous health problems in D.C. The first step is to recognize that there is a health care crisis: D.C. spends more on Medicaid than any state; this is significant, even if we recognize problems posed by comparing a totally urban vs. urban-rural state jurisdiction; 17% of our citizens are without insurance; and 50% of D.C children live in poverty.

"Public health is a part of the fabric that defines a great city," he stated. A major initiative is to extend health coverage to all citizens at or below the poverty level. He aims to improve quality and access to primary and preventive care, with flexibility to choose one's own doctor. "Health dollars should follow the patient not the institution," he continued.

The Mayor also gives priority to long-term care and expanding the continuum of care. The newly established D.C. Health Care System Commission comprises broad-ranged and representative experience. It recently received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant that provides financial support.

He also noted the critical lack of drug treatment facilities and programs. There are approximately 3,000 to 4,000 addicts coming through the system with no priority to those in the criminal justice system.

On balance, he sees no magic program that will change the system over night, but, rather, a collection of efforts that must be measured against established objectives. This philosophy will be reflected in development of a new city-wide strategic plan. The Mayor will draw on experiences of other cities, notably Houston, TX; Racine, WI; and Portland, OR.

Mayor Williams invited Dr. Walks to join him at the podium. Dr. Walks touched on issues of prevention and school health, pointing out that healthy children means better learning.

The general atmosphere and exchange with our special guests was convivial. They agreed to provide written answers to questions taken at the luncheon. Responses will be published in the next DC Voter. -- Barbara Yeomans

Back to top of page


Nov 3 (Wed) 10:00 a.m., LWVDC Board Meeting, LWVDC, 733 15th Street, NW
Nov 8 (Mon) 12:00 noon, Unit Council Meeting, LWVDC, 733 15th Street, NW
Nov 8 & 9, PBS Documentary
Nov 9 (Tue), Deadline DC Voter: December
Nov 10 (Wed) 10:00 a.m., Education Committee, LWVDC, 733 15th Street, NW
Nov 10 (Wed) 1:00 p.m., International Relations Committee, LWVUS, 1730 M Street, NW
Nov 16-18, Units: Congressional Rep.
Nov 19
(Fri), December Voter Mailing
Nov 20 (Sat) 9:00 a.m., Citizen Summit for Neighborhood Action, Wash. Conv. Center,
Nov 22 (Mon) 11:30 a.m., Women in Criminal Justice System, LWVUS, 1730 M Street, NW

Back to top of page

Unit Calendar: October 1999

Chevy Chase, 3633 Appleton Street, NW, Barbara Luchs, 202/363-0853, Nov 17 (Wed) 9:45 a.m.
Northeast Day,
Woodridge Library, 18th & Rhode Island, NE, Iola Pigott, 202/526-8315, Nov 18 (Thu) 12:45 p.m.
Northwest Day,
Iona House, 4125 Albemarle Street, NW, Jeannette Miller, 202/362-1203, Nov 16 (Tue) 1:00 p.m.
Eve, 5533 33rd Street, NW, Naomi Glass, 202/686-0124, Nov 18 (Thu) 7:30 p.m.
Southwest, 560 N Street, SW, Gilda Varrati, 202/554-5947, Nov 16 (Tue) 9:45 a.m.
"The Pub," Cuvilly Hall, Samantha Dallaire, 202/484-5474, call unit chair for info
Upper 16th St.,
4709 16th Street, NW, Paula McKann, 202/829-0656, Nov 17 (Wed) 9:45 a.m.

November Units focus on voting rights in D.C.

Back to top of page

News from our Units:

From time to time, League members may want to learn what other Units are saying. For another view of our large and diverse city, members are encouraged to visit Units other than their own where they have been so comfortable for so long. The League gives each of us an opportunity to discuss issues of common concern with members who we may not now know in Northwest, Southwest, Northeast--perhaps again someday in Southeast. And here is a heads-up for our working members and other free spirits: We have had a modest response to a proposal to establish a "movable feast" Unit which would meet (and eat) in the early evenings at a Metro-accessible restaurant; however we still need a critical mass. If interested, call me at 202/966-1692. -- Sheila Keeny, Unit Director

Back to top of page

November Unit Focus: On the Eve of the Pending Court Decision — Full Voting Representation in Congress for D.C.

Listen up members! Time to get primed! At this writing we are still poised for the decision under Alexander v. Daley on whether to issue a summary Judgment requiring Congress to provide remedy. When the decision of the U.S. Court for the District of Columbia is rendered on this issue, we will need to be well prepared to capitalize on the efforts which have been launched to date. This includes buttressing the DCVote coalition which both LWVDC and LWVUS have joined (formally known as the Coalition for D.C. Representation in Congress).

Before reading further, reflect on these quotes from Alistair Cooke's introduction to Robert Cameron's "Above Washington: A Collection of Nostalgic and Contemporary Aerial photographs of the District of Columbia" (1979):

"Washington, like Canberra or Brasilia, is a capital city created on a chosen site as the center of government, instead of having the honor of 'capital' imposed at some late date on a city whose natural advantages... made it predestined to become the center of things."

Comment: In effect Washington, D.C. was an artificial creation, one without its own constituents. The issue of possibly moving the capital to St. Louis evidently was still alive in 1869, until the old Ste War and Navy Building was erected. (See page 40 in the photo collection). St. Louis reflected natural advantages as referred to by Mr. Cooke, and it had citizens. Would they have lost the Congressional franchise if the capital had been moved? (Ruminate...)

"Both sides (North and South in 1787) were pacified by an agreement to set aside 100 square miles as a so-called District of Columbia, a neutral zone independent of state influence and one whose costs should be borne by the federal government. (This agreement dictated, down many decades of controversy, the present status of the city as one governed by an elected mayor and city council with a budget controlled by Congress; though the uniqueness of the arrangement might be challenged today by New York City, a chronic bankrupt regularly bailed out by Congress)"

Comment: Did New York City lose its full Congressional delegation? Have representation suspended while bankrupt? Silly questions, of course...

"It was not originally thought of as a residential city but as a seasonal meeting place for the conduct of the national government"..."The only permanent residents would be servants, laborers, merchants and the remnant of the thirty Indian tribes still in evidence when Congress set up shop there in 1800. It was conceived in effect, as a sort of convention city. "

Comment: Recall the few who had any voting franchise in this period of formation.

At November Units you will have a chance to refine your level of sophistication in defense of our goal of full voting representation in Congress. The "rules" this time:

Required Reading: Our June 1999 DC Voter inserts, i.e., Fact Sheet and 20 Questions & Answers (extra copies at the office; also on website under "What's New"); two National Voter articles -- by Charles Miller in the current September/October 1999 issue and by Jamin Raskin (a former luncheon speaker) in the March/April 1999 issue.

Test: None, but only if you exchange ideas at the Unit Meetings...!!

Members need to understand fully the essence of the current strategy, which still turns at this time on conveying one message:

A basic principle is at stake: Americans living in the nation's capital should be fully represented in the body which makes their laws, taxes them, and can call them to war.

As you have been cautioned before through your newsletter, when the DCVote Coalition was organized, it was decided that a broad detailed public debate about remedies — before any court decision was rendered — would be premature and could cause confusion. This is not to say that remedies will be ignored. In fact there are numerous conceivable ones. These will be discussed at the November Units.

Then, when the Court hands down its decision you will be able to join in the subsequent concerted action as we continue to strive toward our goal. -- Barbara Yeomans, 3rd Vice-President (National Program)

P.S. The kit being produced by LWVUS has been released. Each League will get a copy ($3.00 plus shipping): "DC Voting Rights, Grassroots Kit," #2019, LWV Pub Sales/PMDS (1-888-287-7424).

Back to top of page

Committee Updates

Bed and Breakfast

One of the greatest things about serving as host for other league members who use the D.C. League of Women Voters Bed and Breakfast program is getting to meet interesting people. While it is no surprise that leaguers from throughout the U.S. are intelligent, involved, outgoing, pleasant people — it was an added bonus for both my husband and me when we came to know a couple from Louisiana. They have subsequently moved to Maryland and are among our closest friends.

Guests invariably have been easy to accommodate. The contribution to the LWVDC is a big bonus. What could be nicer. How about volunteering to be a host? Call the LWVDC office at 202/347-3020. -- Kathryn Schmidt

Education Committee

In the past, LWVDC members submitted sales receipts from Safeway and Giant to schools to purchase computers or other education equipment. Recently these stores programmed their computers to automatically credit sales to the school designated by the member. To initiate this activity, members or customers go to the office of their store, register their savings card numbers and the school code of their preferred recipient. As an example, the school code for Shaw Junior High is 0222. Your participation in this activity supports the education of children and youth. -- Gladys C. Weaver, Co-chair

International Relations

Our next meeting will be held on Nov. 10 (Wed.) from 1:00 -3:00 p.m. at the Rosalie Goodman room at the LWVUS office, 1730 M Street, NW. The program will be a continuation of our review of the LWV I.R.'s positions. If you need a copy of the positions, please contact Sheila Keeny (202/966-1692) or Susan Rao (202/626-1688).

Other news of interest to I.R. Committee members: The U.N. Association of the National Capital Area recognized the I.R. Committee at its Global Community Day on October 23rd for our programs to advance the goals of the U.N. Barbara Yeomans received the award on behalf of the committee.

Congratulations are in order to our recent speaker, Dr. Esther Brimmer, whose remarks before the Committee on The U.N and Conflict Prevention were summarized in the September Voter. Dr. grimmer has recently been appointed to the Policy Planning Staff at the State Department where she will be responsible for U.N. matters, a challenging assignment.

Again we welcome the addition of any interested LWVDC member to our committee. -- Susan Rao and Sheila Keeny, Co-chairs

Back to top of page

Summit Launches Neighborhood Action

Mayor Anthony Williams is launching Neighborhood Action, an exciting initiative designed to engage D.C. citizens in developing and implementing common goals for our city. LWVDC members are encouraged to attend this event to be held Saturday, November 20, 9:00 a.m., at the Washington Convention Center. For more information contact: Lafayette Barnes, Executive Office of the Mayor, 441 4th Street, NW, Room 920S, Washington, D.C. or 202/727-6979.

Sixty New U.S. Citizens Register To Vote

On the Second Tuesday of each month in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, a Naturalization Ceremony takes place swearing in new citizens to our country. The October ceremony was attended by Guy E. Coriden (Voters Services Director). Sixty of the 95 new citizens signed voter registration cards. Fran Garro assisted Guy in collecting the signed cards. The LWVDC appreciates the helpful assistance of Sherryl Horn, Naturalization Deputy, U.S. District Court. The new citizens hailed from many nations in Europe, Africa, Central and South America. To attend the next ceremony and help register these new citizens to vote, call Guy at 202/232-6759.

Special Documentary on Women's Suffrage

Don't miss the TV documentary by award-winning film maker Ken Burns: Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. It will air at 8:00 p.m. on PBS in two segments: Sunday, November 7 and Monday, November 8. Tell your friends!

New Voice at LWVDC

The LWVDC office has a new part-time office manager. Sheila Willet assumed the position recently held by Chris Matthews, who will continue as an active volunteer. Sheila moved to the District from Thousand Oaks, CA in 1995 when she began working for the Older Women's League as Field Services Associate. She has a degree in information systems management and specializes in database management and publications. She is a long-time volunteer activist and is delighted to be working for LWVDC. We welcome Sheila with open arms!


Computers: Firoze Rao, board member Susan's husband, has volunteered to donate his computer expertise to our cause! Firoze is willing to assist people with their computer needs for a $50 donation to the League for up to two hours of help. We have already made some money on this...what a great deal! (202/636-1688)

Dessert: Remember if you need a special dessert, call Hope Mandarin, 202/966-6367. Her daughter, Eleanor, bakes "the best carrot cakes" in town. Order one for a $35 donation.

Music: $50 will get you two hours of music -- piano and trumpet. Call Liz Martin, 202/537-3043.

All donations go to the general operating fund.

League Souvenir Pens

Celebrating 80 years of service (1920-2000), these pens are available for $1.00 each. Call Reggie Yancey 202/726-1929 or Louise Perry 202/882-0519.

Back to top of page

LWV/The National Capital Area

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

NOTE: There is no NCA page this month. It will re-appear in the next DC Voter.

Board meeting

Friday, November 5, 10:00 a.m.
LWVUS, 1730 M Street, NW
Board meetings are held on the first Friday of each month. All are welcome.

Back to top of page

Transportation/Land Use Volunteer Needed: The D.C. League needs a member to join the National Capitol Area's (NCA) Transportation/Land Use Committee. The committee will first review NCA and member league positions and then will define and outline their objectives. Please call Liz Martin, president, if you're interested.

Back to top of page

Conference on the Needs of Children

A conference on the needs of children in the District of Columbia, sponsored by D.C. Action for Children (DCAC), will take place on Tuesday, November 16, 1999, at the Blackburn Center of Howard University (2041 Georgia Ave., NW). There is a registration fee of $25, which includes lunch. For more information, call DCAC, 202/243-9404.

Back to top of page

Religion and World Peace

A conference on "The Search for World Peace and Justice — what can the world's religions do?" will be held on Saturday, November 13, at the Foundry United Methodist Church, 16th and P Streets, NW. Registration fee, including lunch, $7.00. The conference is sponsored by the World Federalists and endorsed by the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area.

Back to top of page

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.

Back to top of page


We are saddened by news of the death of Vela Holmes on September 30, a long time active member of the D.C. League. Ms. Holmes was the mother of Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. She was very active in the Upper Sixteenth Street Unit and worked at the polls for the Board of Elections. In addition to her league work, Ms. Holmes was an active volunteer and professional in a number of other areas, particularly in education.

We were sorry to learn of another members death, Margaret Hanson.

Josephine "Jo" Wade has recently moved to Charter House, 1316 Fenwick Lane #112, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Her new number is 301/628-1784.

Welcome new members: Richard Austin, Robert Drinan, Richard Gross, Theresa Harder, Rosalind Knapp, Doris Rich, B. Richardson, Marilyn Sephocle, Warren Sharfman, John Showalter, Shirley Siegwart, Nancy Sloss, Carol Stocking. Also, Susan Carpenter is transferring to the D.C. League from Montgomery county. Welcome all!

Thanks to the following members for donations! Geri Albers, Mary Amory, Hope Bogorad, Suzanne Campagna, Margaret Cooper, Guy Coriden, Virginia Devine, June Duke, Lucinda Dennis, Margaret Fox, Elizabeth Fry, Morella Hansen, Audrey Hatry, Norma Hunton, Anne Hull, Louisan Mamer, Martha Myers, Carol Ragsdale, Lillian Rubin, Leona Rumsey, Jacqueline Russler, Clara Schiffer, Warren Sharfman, Marie Stark, Constance Tate, Gilda Varrati, Mary Weiler, Sue Whitman, and Elizabeth Yancey.

Back to top of page

The DC Voter is a monthly publication of the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia. It is available either through membership ($45.00/year) or through direct subscription (($10.00/year). President, Elizabeth M. Martin; Treasurer, Naomi Glass 202/686-0124; Editor, Virginia Spatz; 202/547-8504 (email: LWVDC, 733 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005. 202/347-3020. Fax: 202/347-2522. Website: E-mail:

Send mail with questions or comments to
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)