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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 77, No. 6, June 2001

Making Our Voices Heard — Making Our Votes Count

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

President's Corner
Public Hearing on Housing: Monday, June 11 at 10 a.m.
News from the Units
Member News
June Units Meeting Schedule
International Relations Committee
LWVDC Board Meeting Highlights
Opportunity Knocks
DC League Writes to President Bush
Congressional Representation
Education Committee
DC League's Position on Charter Schools
Voter Services: Voter Registration for the Class of 2001
Health Care Update
League President Testifies: Text of Testimony Given by E. Patricia Hallman, LWVDC President, on April 27, 2001, at DC Council Public Roundtable
81st Annual Meeting
2001-2001 Officers, Board Members and Committee Chairs
June 11th LWVUS Symposiums Open to DC League Members
B & B Hostesses Are the Greatest
Dialogue with Michael C. Rogers
Calendar, June 2001


Thank you for your vote of confidence in me for the next two years. My first month as President has been a whirlwind, starting with testimony on proposed changes in the health care system which we submitted to the D.C. Council Public Roundtable presided over by Councilwoman Sandy Allen on April 27 (see text), and continuing with a letter to President Bush urging him to reconsider his opposition to full voting representation in Congress for the citizens of the District of Columbia (see letter). We shared this letter with the local newspapers, the National Voter, and State League Presidents in order to inform the public and members of our concerns.

We attended the Mayors Health Policy Council Meeting at which he introduced his Health Promotion Agenda/People 2010 -- his long-term health plan for all the people in the city. Dr. Ivan Walks presented the Health Service Reform Initiatives, and indicated that when the Trauma Department at D.C. General closes, all other services will remain at D.C. General.

It pleases me to note that my request for a list of short-term activities, that could be done by busy people, shut-ins, or new League members has received fulsome and prompt responses from Kathy Schmidt, League representative to DC Vote, and Natalie Howard, Health Care Chair. Please turn to OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS! to see if this opportunity is calling your name. This column will be a feature in upcoming issues, with input from other committees.

For increasing your knowledge and expertise, free LWVUS symposiums are available to members on Monday, June 11 (see listing) Also, on June 11, members of the DC's Housing Committee will be giving testimony at the Public Hearing on Housing (see article).

Members, remember that it is up to you to help increase our membership. Why not invite a friend to the June meetings? — E. Patricia Hallman, President

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Joint hearings of the Committee on Economic Development and the Committee on Finance and Revenue are scheduled for June 11, 10:00 a.m. at the DC Council Chamber, 441 4th St. NW, to discuss three legislative bills before the Council:

  • Bill #14-167 "Housing Preservation, Rehabilitation and Production Omnibus Amendment Act of 2001."

  • Bill #14-183 "Home Start Incentive Act of 2001."

  • Bill #14-177 "Abandon Property Rehabilitation Incentive Act of 2001."

Members of LWVDC's Affordable Housing Committee will be testifying at this hearing. We encourage all League members interested in this issue to attend the hearing. For more information contact Janet Brown (332-0789, The next meeting of the Affordable Housing Committee is June 7 at 6:30 pm. — Julia Cuniberti (387-0122,

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The Units will hold a final meeting in June (see schedule at right) before a three-month hiatus over the summer. Following LWVDC tradition, each Unit is deciding on its own program for the June meeting.

The Northwest Day/Chevy Chase Unit will welcome Board of Elections and Ethics Executive Director Alice Miller, a recent "Brown Bag Dialogue" participant, who will explain the new voting system for DC, which is to be in place for the 2002 elections. The Northwest Evening Unit will discuss the District's mental health situation with LWVDC member Norma Melendez, Vice President of DC Chapter of NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally III); the Southwest and Upper Sixteenth Street Units will look at the effects of redistricting on their current ward structures. Come and bring a friend to the Unit Meeting of your choice. Call Unit Chairs for details.

The Unit Council will hold its end of year post mortem on Sunday June 24 at the home Sheila Keeny, 3600 Albemarle, NW from 3 to 5 pm. All unit officers are invited. — Sheila Keeny, Unit Director (966-1692)

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With deep regrets we announce the death of long time member Theresa Harder. Our condolences are extended to her family.

New Members: Welcome to new member: Dominic Archibald.

Contributions: Vinna Freeman, Margaret R. Fox, Susan B. Learmouth, Jeanette Miller, Gladys Weaver, Sheila Willet.

Life members: Congratulations to MacClair Arlt, Eone G. Harger, Louisan Mamer, and Felice Sorett for attaining Life member status in LWV.

Editor's note: Life member status is given to members who have maintained their membership in the LWV for 50 years. If you have been a LWV member since 1951 or before and your mailing label does not indicate Life Member, please call the League office (347-3020).

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Tuesday; June 19
Southwest 9:45 a.m., Hostess: Leona Rumsey, 550 N Street, SW #S202, 863-7484
Unit Chair: Gladys Weaver 554-3055
Northwest Day and Chevy Chase 9:45 a.m., Hostess: Jeanette Miller, 2841 Tilden St., NW, 362-1203
Unit Chair: Sue Whitman, 966-8754

Wednesday, June 20
Upper 16th Street 9:45 a.m., Hostess: Betty DuPree, 1335 Holly St., NW, 723-7897
Unit Chair: Paula McKann, 829-0656

Thursday. June 21
Northwest Evening 7:30 p.m.
Hostess: Sheila Keeny, 3600 Albemarle St., NW, 966-8754
Unit Chair: Joan Domike, 966-3865

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Trade continues to dominate the IR Committee agenda, with an open meeting to debate a new trade position still ahead of us as we go to press. Results of the meeting will be reported in your July DC Voter. Videotapes of the March Trade Symposium featuring nationally known speakers from government, academia and the Non-Governmental Organizations community are available by calling the LWVDC office. At the same time, Committee members are following developments at the UN, where the U.S. recently lost its seat on the Human Rights Commission, a seat held since the Commission's founding in 1947. How should U.S. respond? Unit Meetings on this issue are planned for this winter.

Don't miss the two symposiums: "Trade in Developing Countries" and "United Nations & Global Democracy" sponsored by LWVUS on Monday, June 11 at the Marriott Metro Center. See details. — Sheila Keeny, Co-Chair (966-1692)

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This summary of the May 9th Board meeting is prepared for the June DC VOTER to encourage communication with the Board by all League members. Your comments are invited; please send them to Frances Gemmill, e-mail, telephone 362-6784. Of course, visitors are always welcome at League Board meetings.

President Patricia Hallman called the meeting to order promptly at 10 a.m. noting that this is her first Board meeting as President. In her report, she mentioned her letter to President Bush regarding his statements on voting rights for the District of Columbia (see p. 4.) The D.C. League has been asked to comment on the D.C. Council's recent action rescinding term limits for elected District officials. After discussion, the Board asked Naomi Glass to draft a letter on the subject, affirming the League's support for the principle of voter choice.

Vice President Melmed reported that the award-winning DC Elections Program "Make DC Youth Count" is continuing with a meeting at Logan School on May 10th with student council leaders.

A D.C. League consensus regarding charter schools, presented by Education Committee Co-chairs Gladys Weaver and Constance Tate was approved by the Board as presented. (See p. 4.) 

Vice President Naomi Glass said she hopes to revive the Local Affairs Council for coordination of local programs, which includes education, health, and housing.

Sheila Keeny said Units are planning varied programs for June, traditionally the month when Units decide on their own programs. Please note: The Upper 16th Street Unit has set a new record all of its regular members attended this years Annual Meeting!

Reggie Yancey reported current Private Elections projects. Natalie Howard reported that her committee is maintaining oversight of current issues in health care in the District of Columbia. Several Board members suggested that the League be represented on the Health Advisory Committee to be appointed by Mayor Williams. See p. 5 for the testimony Patricia Hallman presented to the DC Council Public Roundtable regarding the structure of health care.

Vice President Barbara Yeomans reported on national program. Sheila Keeny, Co-Chair of the International Relations Committee urged all to attend the open meeting on LWVUS trade Update to take place on Saturday, May 26 at the Tenley Library.

It was agreed that the D.C. League will be represented at the NCA League Convention on Saturday, May 19 by Pat Hallman, Kathy Schmidt, Reggie Yancey, June Bashkin and Sheila Willet.

President Hallman emphasized the goal of increasing member involvement in all League program and activities. She asked committee chairs and Board members to focus on activities that could be done by busy people, shut-ins, or interns. — Frances Gemmill (362-6784)

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You can help the cause of voting representation in a short hour or two. Here are some opportunities to help out!

  • Make phone calls from your home for DC VOTE
  • Deliver flyers to churches, libraries, or other distribution points in your own neighborhood

  • Attend and report on public events of DC VOTE
  • Notify DC VOTE of newspaper, TV, or radio report concerning DC VOTE

  • Help plan neighborhood events, or prepare and give talks to local groups.

  • Financial support on a regular bases for DC VOTE. 

Other opportunities in the DC League include:

  • Phone calls or attend meetings concerning Health Care issues.

  • A Transportation Committee Chair for oversight.

  • A Land-Use Chair for oversight. 

Do any of these opportunities speak to you? Please call Kathy Schmidt at 237-5550 for DC VOTE or call the League Office, 347-3020.

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The following is the text of the letter sent to President Bush in response to his stand on DC Voting Rights.

May 10, 2001

President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We urge you to reconsider your view that American citizens residing in the nation's capital should not have full voting representation in the body which makes their laws, taxes them and calls them to war. The lack of Congressional representation for DC residents constitutes a special irony. Not only is Congress our national legislature as it is for all US citizens, it also serves, in many ways, as our state legislature. Congress may veto any DC enacted legislation it chooses, reviews our budget as if we were a Federal agency and may even deny us the use of locally raised funds.

"No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined." [Supreme Court Justice Black, Wesberry v. Sanders (1964)]

Enclosed is background material that we urge you and your staff review.

E. Patricia Hallman

1. Fact Sheet
2. Twenty Questions & Answers

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Good news! In the past few weeks Philadelphia and Chicago city councils have voted to support full voting representation in Congress for DC citizens. We hope to see more city, county, and state governments doing the same. — Kathy Schmidt, Liaison (232-6460)

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After two years of study, two general meetings, and Consensus Unit Meetings, the Education Committee presented the following Charter School position at the May Board Meeting. It was approved and will be included in the League's Where We Stand. The next Education Committee meeting will be held June 13 at the LWVDC Office at 10 am.

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The D.C. League of Women Voters has no position either supporting or opposing charter schools. Since charter schools are established in the District of Columbia, we have the following positions:

  1. We support having guidelines for chartering D.C. public schools.

  2. There should be the same academic, administrative and financial oversight of all charter schools, regardless of the authority providing the charter.

  3. Guidelines should be established for: purchase of facilities and/or lease of vacated school buildings by charter school owners as well as for conversion of a traditional public school to a charter school.

  4. Measurable standards should be established both for student achievement of basic skills as well as for carrying out the stated mission of any particular charter school.

  5. An independent body should collect academic data for individual student achievement and make public annually the progress of each school.
  6. Funds should be allocated to both traditional public and charter schools according to the same formula per pupil expenditure for both traditional public and charter schools. Reallocation of funds mid-year should be dependent on enrollment.

— Gladys Weaver (554-3055) and Constance Tate (882-0387) Co-chairs.

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Photo of workshop

On May 10th, the process of registering approximately 3000 graduating seniors to vote began with a voter registration workshop for student council leaders and advisors. Students learned about the registration process and picked up registration materials for their schools. During the last two weeks of May, voter registration packets were distributed to graduating seniors. Each packet included a registration form, a brochure for new voters, and an Absentee Ballot Request.

The workshop, organized by Elaine Melmed, Elinor Hart and the DCPS Student Affairs Office, featured a presentation bar Boat of Elections and Ethics officials. League members Vinna Freeman, Minnie Fitzhugh, Connie Tate, Gladys Weaver, and Reggie Yancey organized the registration materials for the students. — Elinor Hart (387-2966)

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The District's proposed solution to health care problems is to downsize the public hospital to clinic status and privatize its health care system for the needy. Meanwhile, the number of Americans who are uninsured continues to rise despite national efforts to make health care more affordable.

Please join the DC League's Health Care Committee as this debate continues. Plans for the year (so far) include 1) oversight of health care in our community as it evolves into its new structure. Some of you have already evidenced an interest in the city plans for the uninsurable; 2) the future of DC General, and 3) the social and economic reasons for DC's low health statistics.

The League has strong positions supporting national health insurance and health care reform. Congress continues to hold hearings on public versus private health care. Citizen participation at the grassroots level is highly desirable. Community organizations are in touch with local needs, conditions and resources.

The next committee meeting will be held Tuesday, May 29, at 1:30 prn at the LWVDC Office. Your energy and enthusiasm are welcome. If you can't make the meeting but want to be involved, please call Natalie Howard. — Natalie Howard, Chair (882-8762)

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Text of Testimony Given by E. Patricia Hallman LWVDC President on April 27, 2001
At DC Council Public Roundtable

"Health care for the uninsured and underinsured citizens of the District of Columbia is a continuing interest and concern of the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia. In any proposal which the City considers to maintain that care, we urge that the safety net for our most vulnerable citizens not only be kept intact but be strengthened.

It is clear that the current system with the Public Benefit Corporation and DC General Hospital has many serious financial and management problems. However, the proposal from Doctors Community Healthcare Corporation and Greater Southeast Community Hospital to take over this function appears to have problems also,

Given the concerns about the financial condition of Doctors Community Healthcare Corporation and their ability to deliver the services required, we request that you use care in dismantling the current system before a new system is put in place."

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After the business meeting and buffet dinner, Dr. Paul Vance, Superintendent of DC Public Schools gave the keynote address then answered questions from the audience. The success of the 81st Annual Meeting is owed to the efforts of Elaine Melmed who did an outstanding job of putting it all together.

Photo of award presentation

Michon Peck (r) and Roceal Neal (1) of DC Public Schools presented to Elaine Melmed & Reggie Yancey (center) a Certificate of Appreciation to LWVDC for Partnering in MAKING OUR VOTES COUNT for the National Student/Parents Mock Election 2000. We in turn presented (not shown) Certificates of Appreciation to Steven Jumper of Washington Gas, Roceal Duke and Michon Peck of DCPS, and Daniel Solomon of DC VOTE for their outstanding contributions to the League's overall Making Our Votes Count endeavor.

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President, E. Patricia (Pat) Hallman
1 St. VP (Administration), Elaine Melmed
2"d VP (Local Programs), Naomi Glass
3rd VP (National Programs), Barbara Yeomans
Secretary, Ken Nesper
Treasurer, Chris Matthews

Elected Directors: Guy Coriden, Natalie Howard, Barbara Luchs, Jeanette Miller, Anne Porowski, Elizabeth Yancey.
Appointed Directors: Sheila Keeny, Elizabeth Martin, Kathy Schmidt, Constance Tate, Gladys Weaver, Sheila Willet.
Affordable Housing Committee Co-Chairs: Julia Cuniberti & Liz Martin.
Brown Bag Dialogue Coordinator: Anna Marsh.
Children At Risk: Joan Domike.
Education Committee Co-Chairs: Constance Tate & Gladys Weaver.
Health Committee Chair: Natalie Howard.
IR Committee Co-Chairs: Sheila Keeny & Anne Porowski.
Units Director: Sheila Keeny

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Members are encouraged to attend committee meetings listed in the Voter.

On Monday, June 11 a series of symposiums sponsored by LWVUS are open to League members at the Marriott Metro Center (Metro: Red Line Metro Center 12th St. exit.) The day begins with a continental breakfast followed by two morning symposiums. Three concurrent symposiums will be held in the afternoon. The topics and times are listed to the right. For more information and to RSVP call the national office at 429-1965.

8:30 am Continental Breakfast
9:00 am Trade in Developing Countries
10:30 am Election Administration Reform
12 noon Lunch on your own

Afternoon 1 - 3 am (choose one)
Best Practices: Membership, Fundraising, Public
United Nations & Global Democracy
(Led by LWVUS U.N. Observers)
Technology: DNet, Clearinghouse, Web Sites.

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The end of the League year draws near and we find ourselves awash in annual meetings, councils and conventions, but league work and concerns continue, as you know full well. NCA's pre-LWVUS Council meeting was both edifying and interesting. LWVUS staff member Greg Leatherwood took us through some of the "ins and outs" of the budget that National intends to propose to the Council when it convenes June 9, 2001. His presentation supplemented the information we gained when some of us observed the most recent LWVUS Board meeting.

National feels that the difficulties of last November's elections constitute for us an opportunity and, indeed, a responsibility to consider issues of election administration reform and they have been spending dollars and energy in those efforts. Thus, due to limited budget and human resources. National will propose to drop the Drug Study approved by Convention last year. Convention 2000 also approved a study of Election Systems, contingent on obtaining the necessary funding. Supporters of the study have provided $10,000 in seed money. The LWVUS Board plans to recommend naming a task force of volunteers to define the scope of the study and identify potential funders; the seed money would be used to actually seek the funding.

At the May 19th NCA Convention, The DC League was awarded The Madeline Naumann Achievement Award for the DC League's "Making Our Votes Count (MOVC) program with the DC Public Schools. An engraved silver cup, a framed certificate and $300 was presented to DC President Pat Hallman and MOVC Cochair Reggie Yancey. (Editor's Note: The cup and certificate are on display at the DC League office.)

As part of the Council proceedings, but open to all leaguers. National will sponsor a workshop on Election Administration Reform and one on Trade, focusing on its impact on developing countries. Both will take place on Monday morning, June 11 at the Marriott at Metro Center.

This is the last column I will be writing as president of NCA, a rewarding experience that even I won't soon forget. Hope to see you at the June 11 workshops on either Election Administration Reform or Trade; but, if not, there will be lots of opportunity for our paths to cross as we pursue our various league activities. — Naomi Glass, President (686-0124)

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We wish to thank the following April & May B&B hostesses for their graciousness as they opened their homes to LWV visitors to the DC: June Bashkin, Morella Hansen, Chris Matthews, Jeanette Miller, and Sue Whitman.

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Executive Director,
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG)

(Editor's Note: This is Part II of a two part series reporting the March Brown Bag Dialogue. Part I appeared in the May DC Voter.)

This year, Chairman Schwartz has chosen affordable housing, a growing problem for the region and the District. As noted in recent news items, public service workers are finding it increasingly hard to afford to live in the area. Mr. Rogers reminded us not only of the connection between housing and economic development; but also traffic congesting. He noted that under Federal transportation legislation COG will work on improving job access and mobility, including reverse commuting. Strategies will aim at accessing the needs of both very low-income families and middle class working families. COG will examine four broad areas: 1) Affordable-housing policy on a regional basis; 2) Innovative housing, especially "Section 8" rental assistance mobility-counseling under HUD demonstration grants and including 3) encouraging local jurisdictions to share information (currently "Section 8" programs are run by the different governments); and 4) Enrich regional housing information and data. Other COG efforts pursued include: · Improving energy conservation and efficiency; · Noise abatement at National and Dulles Airports; · Restoration of the Anacostia River; Meeting the Federal air quality standards required by 2005; and, · Regional drought management of our drinking water supplies. 

The Question and Answer session focused mainly on regional issues. For example, there is a COG Health Officers Committee. The discussion of health led into a discussion of the local issue - D.C. General Hospital. Mr. Rogers served as a D.C. Council representative on the contract selection committee. As City Administrator in the mid-1990s, he chaired the D.C. General Hospital Government Board, and he also served on the committee that created the Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). In that period there was an excess of hospital beds in the District. In 1995, D.C. General Hospital had a $1.3 million deficit. In cost-cutting measures, 500 beds were reduced to 250 and the employment level of about 2000 was reduced to 1250. Mr. Rogers noted that when he left the D.C. Government in 1996, the new PBC was bequeathed accreditation for D.C. General Hospital with high marks as well as a $5 million surplus. In wrapping up, Mr. Rogers urged LWVDC to engage in two particular issues: Affordable Housing and Deregulation of Electricity since current regulations come up for re-examination by 2005. —

Pat Hallman & Barbara Yeomans

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Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
4 5 6 10 a.m. LWVDC Board Mtg. 1730 M Street, NW, 10th Flr. 7 6:30 p.m. Affordable Housing Committee, Julia Cuniberti, 1635 19th Street, NW, 387-0122 8
11 10 a.m. Public Hearing on Housing
8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. LWVUS Workshops
12 13 10 a.m. Education Committee, 733 15th Street, NW, #432 14 15
18 19 9:45 a.m., Southwest., Leona Rumsey, 863-7484, 550 N Street, NSW, #S202
9:45 a.m., Northwest Day/Chevy Chase, Jeanette Miller, 2841 Tilden Street, NW, 362-1203
20 9:45 a.m., Upper 16th Street, Betty DuPree, 1335 Holly Street, NW, 723-7897 21 7:30 p.m., Northwest Eve, Sheila Keeny, 3600 Albemarle Street, NW, 966-1692 22
25 26 27 28 29

Sunday, June 24, 3-5 p.m., Unit Council Meeting, Sheila Keeny, 3600 Albemarle Street, NW, 966-1692

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