LWVUS President Kay Maxwell was interviewed on CNNF
on October 15, on the passage by Congress of the Federal Election Reform
Bill. She said the-League is particularly interested in implementation
of all elements of the bill. "We are thrilled with the training for
poll workers," and "The bill does establish some national
standards which puts the onus back on the state to operate federal
D.C. Councilmembers Orange and Schwartz held a
hearing on the results of the primary election. The Chairman of the
Board of Elections and Ethics (BoEE) and staff were quizzed on the
adequacy of the number of poll workers at the precincts, the adequacy of
the budget for 2002 and 2003, and status of the voter registration card.
I gave testimony on DCLWV impressions and recommendations. We commended
the Board on their meeting some challenges, i.e., introducing the new
voting machines, hand counting thousands of write-in ballots, reporting
the results of the Mayoral race in a timely manner, and addressing the
petitions problems of Mayor Williams. Of much concern were barriers for
the handicapped to polling places, which is a problem throughout the
city. We recommended that a special effort be made now to notify all
voters whose polling places have changed, and to prepare ballot clerks
to handle the ballots and envelopes in order to retain secrecy. We also
emphasized the importance of the special ballot and its comparison to
the provisional ballot, which is to make sure no voter is turned away.
Another hearing will be held in midNovember to assess the results of the
I spoke to the Organization of Federally Employed
Women's Regional Training Program at the Conference Center at the
University of Maryland on "Why Women Should Vote." Melpie
Jeffries, State President of Maryland LWV, joined me. We gave a history
of the League, told how to register to vote in this area, and pointed
out the advantages of voting and consequences of not voting. The
presentation was well received.
I wish to remind members that the November Units will
focus on a vital issue and encourage all members to attend a Unit
meeting. The topic will be the status of DC Congressional Voting Rights,
plus a description of the current D.C. Budget Process and Financial
Status. — E. Patricia Hallman, President
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Fair implementation and federal funds are needed to
ensure that the reforms of the bill are more than empty promises. Kay
Maxwell, President of LWVUS, said: "Despite the disagreements about
some of the key provisions of the bill, everyone recognizes the
importance of the federal funding promised by the legislation."
"We hope that the U.S. Congress and the
President are not making an empty promise", she added. "Funds
must be appropriated -and quickly. Ultimately, voters will lose if the
Help America Vote Act is nothing more than a lottery ticket with no
She added: "States must be ready for a
significantly expanded role in administering elections - developing
state plans, buying new voting machines, and building statewide voter
registration lists. State election officials have a much bigger job to
do, and they will now have the responsibility to ensure that the
election process runs smoothly. We will keep our eyes open and; watch
how this bill is being implemented in polling places nationwide."
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Before You Vote
on November 5
visit the League's
On-Line Voter Guide
for candidate and
ballot measure information.
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The November Unit Council Meeting for Unit Chairs
will be held Monday, November 11 at 12 noon at the home of Kathy
Schmidt, 3601 Connecticut Ave., NW, #418. 237-5550.
UNIT MEETING SCHEDULE
Discussion Topic: The status of D.C. Congressional
Voting Rights and a description of the current D.C. Budget Process and
Tuesday, November 19
9:45 am, Southwest Unit at the home of Anna Marsh, 1253 Delaware
Ave., SW, 554-7719
12:45 pm, Northwest Day Unit at IONA Senior Services, 4125 Albemarle St.
NW, Co-chairs June Bashkin 337-0949, Barbara Kemp 362-4529
6:30 pm, In-Town Evening Unit at the Irish Channel Inn (Red Roof Inn),
500 H St. NW (Chinatown), 6:30-7 pm Social, 7 pm Meeting; Chair: Sheila
Willet 588-1734 or 347-3020.
Wednesday, November 20
9:45 am, Upper 16th St. Unit at the home of Judith Smith, 7628 17th
St. NW, 882-3021
Thursday, November 21
9:45 am, Chevy Chase/Ingleside Unit in the Lounge at 3050 Military Rd,
NW. Co-chairs: Ruth Allen 362-8953, Leslie Dunbar 364-6457, Joan Wilson
7:30 pm, The Evening Unit at the home of Joan Domike, 4200 Mass. Ave.,
NW #304, 966-3865
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Currently the Education Committee is revisiting its
studies of Charter Schools to learn how those in DC are progressing. The
committee will focus in particular on the study by the American
Federation of Teachers, published in July 2002, entitled Do Charter
Schools Measure Up? The Charter School Experiment After 10 Years.
GROCERY RECEIPT DRIVE FOR SCHOOLS: It is now time to
enter the 4th year of our grocery receipt drive that benefits the public
schools. This year's chosen school is Eastern High School. Safeway and
Giant are sponsors of the project. Following are excerpts from "Bob
Levey's Washington" article in The Washington Post of September 30,
2002, with explanation as to how and why: "Every time you shop at
Safeway or Giant, the dollars you spend can be credited to the account
of this year's lucky-duck school. By the time the Safeway and Giant
programs end next spring, the school will be able to buy textbooks,
computers, software, band instruments, sports equipment -- whatever it
. . . "This year's lucky-duck school is Eastern
Senior High School. . . . As always, I did not choose Eastern. . . .
Eastern students did the job, by improving the school's average daily
attendance rate more than that of any other D.C. high school between
last year and the previous year.
"If you'd like to take part, here's how: Via
Giant: Join Giant's A-Plus Bonus Bucks Plan, either online at www.giantfood.com,
or by contacting a customer service representative at any Giant store.
Designate Eastern as your 'recipient school'. Eastern's Giant Code
number is 00061. Purchases made at Giant between Oct. 6, 2002 and April
5, 2003 will count. Via Safeway, Obtain a Safeway Club Card...online at www.safeway.com,
or via the customer service desk at any Safeway store. Designate Eastern
as your 'recipient school'. The Safeway code for Eastern is 2226030.
Safeway purchases made between Oct. 1 2002 and May 3, 2003 will count.
. . . "Why aim all this help at one school?
(Eastern) Because it will allow that school to buy improvements on a
significant scale. Eastern would gain little if it gets two new.
computer terminals. It'll gain lots if it gains 25, plus software,
printers, and all the trimmings. . . ." — Constance Tate
(882-0387) & Gladys Weaver (554-3055)
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As Chair of the DC League's Healthcare Committee, t
attended the forum for community response to the Carefirst conversion
issue, sponsored by the Office of the Corporation Counsel (OCC). A DC
League statement opposing the conversion as it is presently presented
has been transmitted to the OCC. A majority of speakers opposed the
conversion, many from the point of view that Carefirst Blue Cross/Slue
Shield belongs to the people and the city has no right to sell it. [At
its regular meeting on September 24, the Healthcare Committee suggested
that the city should do more to educate the community as to the facts of
the issue.] Speaking at the forum, Stephen B. Lyons, presiding senior
Counsel for the OCC, announced the establishment of a public document
room at the OCC Library, 441 4th St. NW, Level C. Documents pertaining
to the proposed CareFirst conversion will be available there. —
Natalie Howard, 882-8762
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Welcome new members: Jeanne D. Carpenter, Mary Jane
Fisher, Jane S. Jones, Elmide Meleance, Barbara Seidman, Jane Varner
CONTRIBUTIONS: We gratefully thank and acknowledge
contributions from: Frances Gemmill, Inez Wheeler, Diane Wilbur.
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It was Friday, September 27, and the WorldBank/IMF
protesters were already out and about. It was raining. But that did not
stop the mailing crew from getting out the October Voter (some of us
actually received it on Saturday). Gathering at the home of Frances
Gemmill were: Naomi Berlin, Julia Cuniberti, Reva Diggs, Sheila Keeny,
Hope Marindin, Jeanette Miller, Iola Pigott, Mary Rodgers, Lillian
Rubin, Joan Wilson (and, of course, me). Sheila Keeny helped deliver the
boxes to the bulk mail desk at Friendship Post Office. Three Cheers! —
Barbara Luchs (363-0853)
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PROGRESS TOWARD VOTING RIGHTS FOR THE
On October 1, the Council of the District of Columbia passed the
District of Columbia Flag Redesign Act of 2002. The Act will change the
District flag to display "No Taxation Without Representation"
and increase awareness of our struggle for voting rights. A commission
with members appointed by both the Council and the Mayor's office is
being created to finalize the design details. The commission should
complete its work early next year, so that the new flag can be unveiled.
The original DC flag design could be restored once District residents
are granted equal voting representation in Congress.
On October 9, the Senate Governmental Affairs
committee passed the No Taxation Without Representation bill by a vote
of 9 to 0. All Democrats showed up to vote yea, while all Republicans
boycotted the markup, which included many other bills. According to
Senator Lieberman, the boycott was due to Republican angst over a
nomination. Mayor Williams, Council Chair Linda Cropp, and Council
members Adrian Fenty and Phil Mendelson were present for the markup.
This Senate committee will be critical to our efforts hereafter, so it
is good to have them on record in support and thinking about voting
representation. — Kathy Schmidt (237-5550)
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"Africa and Development:" Our next meeting
will be held on Tuesday, November 26, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm at the Sumner
School, 1201 17th Street, NW. Invited to speak is A. Edward Elmandorf, a
senior economist at the World Bank with expertise on the state of
development in Africa.
"UN and US Celebration:" The United Nations
Association-National Capital Area held an exciting celebration over
three days (October 24-26, 2002). The LWVDC nominated the LWVUS Task
Force to restudy the position and continue support for the UN. —Anne
Porowski ( 364-0557)& Susan Rao (636-1688), Co-chairs
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In calling the meeting to order, President Hallman announced efforts
to reduce the length of Board meeting by limiting discussion to
suggested time limits, and by having a timekeeper to remind Board
members of the need to move the agenda.
Unit Meetings, October and November. In view of the
fact that we have no Unit Council Chair, Naomi Glass will convene the
Unit Council and discussion leaders to prepare for the October Units,.
which will review our primary elections, review the November general
elections as to candidates and ballot issues, and elicit comments from
members about our D.C. election process. The November Units will be led
by Kathy Schmidt and Elinor Hart on the subject of an update, on the
status of DC Congressional Voting Rights, and a description of the DC
Budget Process and Financial Status.
Education. Gladys Weaver reported plans by the
committee to re-visit their earlier study of DC's charter schools, using
evaluation criteria prepared by the American Federation of Teachers. She
also urges League members to participate in the benefits offered by
Giant and Safeway stores, and this year Eastern High School is this year
Eastern High School is the recommended recipient. (See
Voter Service. Elinor Hart announced that the DC
League will co-sponsor with the DC Federation of Civic Associations,
Inc. a candidates' forum for at-large and council chair candidates, on
Monday October 21, at the Martin Luther King Library. Denise Rolark
Barnes will moderate.
National programs. Sheila Keeny called attention to a
letter from Kay Maxwell, LWVUS President, to President Bush, restating
the League's support for the United Nations to help resolve
international disputes, such as Iraq. Regarding Congressional
representation, the Board approved a resolution to guide Kathy Schmidt
in her participation in DC Vote, as follows: "LWVDC supports
comprehensive efforts which will lead eventually to full voting
representation in Congress for DC citizens, at the discretion of our
Transportation Chair Grace Malakoff reported that the
committee plans to evaluate the proposed expansion of the Metrorail
system. The Board authorized attendance at the Washington Conference on
Livability by agreeing to pay the registration fee of $25.
Healthcare. Chair Natalie Howard shared a letter
prepared by the committee and sent by LWVDC stating continuing concerns
regarding the Carefirst conversion. The committee is also assessing the
impact of the proposed $32 million cuts in health care funding
necessitated by the $323 million deficit in DC's FY 2003 budget.
Fund Raising. Linda Softli and Joan Wilson described
three ideas for potential fundraisers: 1) A lunch featuring Dr. David
Hilficher, author of Urban Injustice. Wilson has reserved January
18, 2003 on Dr. Hilficher's calendar; 2) a tour of the Hillwood museum
and garden, and a social gathering with refreshments. Board members felt
that the garden would be more inviting in the spring than in November.
It is hoped that some 50 participants will invest $30 each; and 3) a
gathering at the National Botanical Garden. L. Softli envisions an
international evening with a featured speaker and refreshments, possibly
in conjunction with Women's History Month (March 2003).
Elinor Hart introduced a resolution urging the
restoration of the federal payment to the District of Columbia. The
resolution was approved. It is intended to encourage the LWVUS Board to
act on the national position supporting the federal payment.
Glass noted that the National Capital Area League
will host a reception for the LWVUS Board members when they gather in
Washington in late October.
Sheila Willet distributed the monthly membership
report. LWVDC membership is now 405. — Frances Gemmilll
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Do you. ewe about our public schools?
Take the advice of Education co-chairs Connie Tate
and Gladys Weaver — participate in the "Grocery
Receipts" project as described above.
Would you like to be informed as to the status of
Healthcare Insurance in our city? Visit the public document room at the
OCC Library, 441 4th St. NW, Level C to review documents pertaining to
the proposed CareFirst conversion. See the Healthcare
Yes, we assume you support full voting representation
in the United States Congress for D.C. citizens. Sharpen your toolkit
for persuading your friends and relatives elsewhere to support this
cause, by attending a Unit meeting November 19, 20, or 21. If you aren't
active in a Unit, choose a convenient one, and be assured of an
interesting discussion. You will be welcome at any Unit, listed
above, but a call to let them know you're coming will be
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LWVUS President Kay Maxwell sent a letter to
President Bush do September 27 regarding the role of the UN in U.S.
foreign policy as it applies to the war on terrorism and the situation
in Iraq. The text follows:
"Dear Mr. President
The members of the League of Women Voters across the
country were deeply shocked by the attacks of September 11, 2001, on the
United States. Since the League firmly believes in international
cooperation to solve world problems, we strongly support multilateral
action to protect against further such attacks against any nation,
particularly those that may involve nuclear, chemical or biological
weapons. We, therefore, urge you to work with the United Nations to
develop clear policy goals and actions designed to protect against these
Over the past year, the grassroots members of the
League nationwide have reviewed, updated, and rearmed our
long-established position in support of the United Nations. For many
decades League members have strongly supported the role of the United
Nations in developing, maintaining, and protecting peace around the
We believe that the United Nations should be an
important component of U.S. foreign policy. We support U. S. policies
that strengthen the UN's capacity to solve global problems and believe
that the U.S. should work actively and constructively within the UN
system, exercising diplomatic leadership in advance of decision-making.
Working with the UN provides the United States with
many foreign and domestic policy advantages. First, it ensures a full
and exhaustive debate of a range of alternative policies and actions.
Second, it builds unity of purpose and resolve by clearly defining the
objectives to be fulfilled. Third, it assures the world that the U.S. is
not acting solely for its own benefit while reassuring the American
people that the U. S. is not acting alone. Fourth, it provides the
legitimacy of international law. And fifth, it increases the chances of
long-term success through international peacekeeping and nation building
As was demonstrated when coalition forces ousted Iraq
after its invasion of Kuwait, working with the United Nations can
enhance achievement of US. foreign policy goals. We urge you to follow
LWVDC President Pat Hallman sent a copy of the letter
to DC Delegate Eleanor H. Norton as the House of Representatives was
debating those issues. Our message concluded "We look forward to
the day when the Representative of the District of Columbia has the
opportunity to vote on such fife and death issues just like every other
member of the House of Representatives."
The Governor of Hawaii issued a proclamation
declaring August 2002 District of Columbia Voting Rights month. In a
letter to the President of the LWV of Hawaii, President Hallman thanks
whoever is responsible for bringing this civil rights issue to the
attention of the people of Hawaii, and asks for help from her League
when the opportunity arises in Congress to support full voting rights
The new National Position on the United Nations can
be found at www.lwv.org. Click on Where
We Stand then select International Relations. — Sheila Keeny
(966-16920) Vice President for National Program
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We've had a special request for bed &. breakfast
accommodations December 23rdfor three small families who are visiting a
relative at Ingleside apartments on Military Road, NW. The request came
through a LWVDC member. The families are expected to be with their
relatives at Ingleside most of the time, so the only expectation is bed
and a cold breakfast. This is a great fund-raiser for the League and the
hostess gets half the income! Call Chris Matthews (269-3890).
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Prepared by the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
For candidate information visit Democracy Net (DNet) -- the LWV On-Line
Voter Guide on the Internet at website www.dnet.org/dc
The candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the
ballot, as determined by lottery at the DC Board of Elections and
Ethics. Party Abbreviations: (Dem.) = Democratic; (Rep.) = Republican; (St.G)
= Statehood Green; (Ind.) Independent; (Soc.) = Socialist Workers;
(Non.) = Non Partisan.
DELEGATE TO THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Eleanor Holmes Norton (Dem.)
Patricia Kidd (Ind.)
MAYOR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Carol Schwartz (Rep.)
Steve Donkin (StG.)
Anthony "Tony" Williams (Dem.)
Tricia Kinch (Ind.)
Sam Manuel (Soc.)
CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL
Linda Cropp (Dem.)
Debby Hanrahan (StG.)
AT-LARGE MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL
Michele A. Tingling-Clemmons (StG.)
Chris Ray (Ind.)
Ahmad Braxton-Jones (Ind.)
Kweku Touro (Ind.)
Antonio D. Dominguez (Ind.)
David A. Catania (Rep.)
Phil Mendelson (Dem.)
Eugene Kinlow (Ind.)
WARD ONE MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL
Edward Chico Troy (StG.)
Jim Graham (Dem.)
WARD THREE MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL
Kathy Patterson (Dem.)
Eric Rojo (Rep.)
WARD FIVE MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL
Vincent Orange (Dem.)
Gail Dixon (StG.)
Edward Henry Wolterbeek
WARD SIX MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL
Jenefer Ellingston (StG.)
Sharon Ambrose (Dem.)
UNITED STATES SENATOR
Joyce Robinson-Paul (StG.)
Norma M. Sasaki (Rep.)
Paul Strauss (Dem.)
UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE
Ray Browne (Dem.)
Adam Eidinger (StG.)
PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
Peggy Cooper Cafritz (Non.)
DISTRICT III MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
Marshall R. Phillips, Sr.
DISTRICT IV MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
"Advisory Referendum on the Establishment of an Office of the
District Attorney for the District of Columbia Resolution of 2002".
To ask the voters on November 5, 2002, through an advisory referendum,
if the Home Rule Act should be amended to establish an Office of the
District Attorney for the District of Columbia, headed by a locally
elected, independent District Attorney. On the next Mayoral election,
following a one-time, initial appointment by the Mayor with approval of
the Council, a District Attorney shall be elected to serve a 4-year
term, be the chief legal officer for the District of Columbia, and
prosecute all local criminal laws and perform any related functions,
thereby relieving the federal government of the burden of prosecuting
the local criminal laws of the District of Columbia, and have authority
over civil enforcement of local law and over any other legal function,
as provided by local law.
Shall the voters of the District of Columbia advise
the Council to approve or reject this proposal?
YES, to approve
NO, to reject
ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION
"Measure 62 - Treatment Instead of Jail for Certain Nonviolent Drug
Offenders Initiative of 2002." If passed, Measure 62 will provide
substance abuse treatment instead of conviction or imprisonment to
eligible, non-violent defendants charged with illegal possession or use
Due to redistricting, all ANCSMD positions will be elected. For
candidate information visit Democracy Net (DNet) the LWV On-Line Voter
Guide on the Internet at website www.dnet.org/dc
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||1 10 am NCA Board
||5 Election Day Vote!
||6 10 am LWVDC Board
||11 12 noon Unit
||12 Dec. DC Voter
||13 10 am Education
||19 9:45 am Southwest
12:45 NW Day
6:30 pm InTown Eve
|20 9:45 am Upper 16th
||21 9:45 am Chevy
7:30 pm Evening Unit
|22 NCA Voter Services
Dec. DC Voter mailed
||26 6:30-8:00 pm IR
Mtg. "Africa and Development"
||28 Thanksgiving Day
* Held at LWVUS Office, 1730 M Street, NW, 10th Floor
** Held at LWVDC Office, 733 15th Street, NW, Suite 432
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Political Arena: On October 15,2000, the US Supreme Court
declined to hear an appeal of a decision rendered in March by a panel of
three federal judges, who had claimed that the courts had no
jurisdiction despite saying "None of the parties contests the
justice of the plaintiffs' cause_,(and) Defendants do not seriously
dispute that plaintiffs lack of representation in the House satisfies
the 'injury in fact' requirement. . . Many courts have found a
contradiction between the democratic ideals on which this country was
founded and the exclusion of District residents from congressional
presentation. All, however, have concluded that it is the Constitution
and judicial precedent that create the contradiction; nor, is the court
blind to the inequity of the situation plaintiffs seek to change. But
longstanding judicial precedent, as well as the Constitution's text and
history, persuade us that this court lacks authority to grant plaintiffs
the relief they seek. If they are to obtain it, they must plead their
cause in other venues [Congress]".
Chronology: Although qualified citizens of the District of
Columbia had full voting rights for a decade, they were disenfranchised
in 1800, when the federal government relocated here. For three years,
from 1871 to 1874, D.C. was a territory which might have evolved into
statehood. In 1961 the 23rd amendment granted D.C. the right to vote in
presidential elections. Since 1970, a non-voting delegate has
represented the District in the House of Representatives. (From 1993 to
1995, the delegate was permitted to vote in the Committee of the Whole
so long as the vote was not crucial.) The full voting rights amendment
of 1978 failed when confirmation by 2/3 of the states was not attained
Background: Although the residents of the five nonvoting
territories do not pay any federal income tax, District citizens pay at
the second highest per capita rate in the nation. They are subject to
all laws passed by Congress; they have fought in every war since the
Revolution; were the first National Guard Unit to be called after 9/1 l;
and serve on juries.
Even locally raised revenue may be spent only after a budget is
proposed by the Mayor, passed by the City Council, and approved or
amended by Congress. Frequently Congress has imposed riders on D.C.
appropriation bills, and a rider denying the District the right to
pursue voting rights has been added four times. The citizens of D.C. are
the only federal capital residents (of 185 democratic countries) who are
disenfranchised in their national legislature.
Recent Developments: Bills proposing no taxation for D.C.
residents until they were granted full voting representation in Congress
were introduced in both houses of the 107th Congress. In conjunction
with these bills, in May 2002 citizens lobbied all 100 Senators,
assessing the commitment to each bill; the lobby day provided an
opportunity to educate each staff about our current situation. On July
19, the Subcommittee on the D.C. House Committee on Government Reform
held the first hearing in 25 years about the lack of voting rights for
D.C. Both LWVDC and LWVUS submitted written testimony. On October 9,
2002, the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs voted out its version
of the bill, after stripping it of the taxation provisions it would
allow District citizens to vote for two Senators and a Representative.
Two years after the automobile license plates with the slogan
"Taxation without Representation" were introduced, a movement
to redesign the D.C. flag was passed by the D.C. Council. Over the past
two years, our shadow Representative Ray Browne has spoken with and
received endorsements for full voting rights from the cities of
Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San
Francisco, as well as the states of Alaska, Hawaii, arid Illinois. For
10 weeks in summer 2001, DC residents circulated petitions in support of
our cause on the Mall, signed by 10,000 people, most of whom were out of
town tourists. District citizen Timothy Cooper, after working for
several years with international organizations, presented his case in
Geneva to the UN Commission on Human Rights. He argues that the United
States is in non-compliance with the UN Declaration on Human Rights.
Coalition: The League of Women Voters of the United States and
the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia join People for
the American Way, Common Cause, the Leadership Conference on Civil
Rights, the United Methodist Church, and other organizations in the
Coalition for D.C. Representation in Con Congress, better known as DC
VOTE. Its website is www.dcvote.org.
LWVUS POSITIONS ON DC FINANCES
Budget Autonomy: In 1973, the original legislation to
create the District of Columbia's local governance structure called for
the District's budget to take effect after being passed by the D.C.
Council and signed by the Mayor. But William Natcher, a conservative
Congressman from Kentucky, insisted that the city budget, like the
budgets of all federal agencies, by subjected to the federal
Congressional appropriations process.
In 1982, LWVUS adopted a position calling for full home-rule powers for
the District. Full home-rule powers include budget autonomy. However,
because there was little; if any, action in support of this position,
few League members, even those in the District of Columbia were aware of
The D.C. Budget appropriations process has traditionally been
humiliating and costly for the District and embarrassing for Congress.
Social riders to advance the narrow agenda of members of Congress are
frequently attached. In many cases, the District has to delay spending
locally raised revenue until Congress passes the D.C. Budget.
In 1999, at the conclusion of a two-year study on DC Finances, the
League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area (NCA) adopted a
position calling for the District to have autonomy in budgeting locally
raised revenue and the elimination of the annual Congressional D.C.
appropriations budget-approval process.
Recent Developments: There is currently legislation
pending in both the House and the Senate that would give the District
autonomy over its budget. Unfortunately, there will not be time to
pass this legislation during this session. It is however, expected to
be introduced during the 108th Congress.
Federal Payment: The fact is and always has been that the cost
of providing services to a big city population as well as the federal
government exceeds the amount of revenue the District of Columbia has
the capacity to raise-capacity limited by both Congressional legislation
and the District's unique status as a "stateless" city.
For almost 130 years, the district received compensation directly
from Congress. Legislation passed in 1997 brought and end to this
revenue stream. Today, the District of Columbia in fact gets less
external financial support than any other urban U.S. city.
The National Capital Area League (NCA) in 1999 concluded a two-year
study on District of Columbia Finances and adopted a position calling
for a permanent federal payment for the District. At the LWVUS
Convention in 2000, LWVUS adopted the NDA position through concurrence.
Recent Developments: Two prominent economists from The
Brookings Institution have issued a report that presents a compelling
case for federal revenue support for the District. The authors of the
report are Carol O'Cleireacain, former budget commissioner for New
York City, and Alice Rivlin, former director of the U.S. Office of
Management and Budget. The General Accounting Office has been working
for some months on a report of the District's structural deficit. The
report is expected to be issued in February of 2003.
DC VOTER INSERT NOVEMBER 2002
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia