Forward to September 1999 DC Voter Back to League of Women Voters main page Back to June 1999 DC Voter
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202/347-3020, fax: 202/347-2522
Website: http://www.capaccess.org/lwvdc, E-mail: LWVDC@erols.com
Interest in Community Involvement Grows: New LWVUS Study Reveals Increase
LWVUS Council 99 June 12-14, 1999, Marriott Hotel at Metro Center, Washington, DC
Cable Television Franchise Renewal
I went to my first U.S. League Council in June and had the fun of welcoming the delegates to town. I told them of my first election to a League Board in the late 1950s where I served as Voters Service chair. I then reminded them that now I am disenfranchised. Jamin Raskin gave a rousing address to the Council about voting representation in Congress. Our sister leagues are behind us and ready to help us attain our rightful voting rights.
In case you missed the announcement in the Post, D.C. Emancipation Day was celebrated a little late this year. However, League member Margery Eliot was there along with Loretta Carter Hanes, who reinstituted the ceremony in 1993. In 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed an emancipation order for about 3,000 slaves living in the District. The monument in Lincoln Park features a black man based on the likeness of a real emancipated slave, Archer Alexander. Margery is the widow of the great-great-grandson of the Rev. William G. Eliot, who knew Alexander personally, rescued him several times from slave catchers and wrote a book about him. Margery recently republished the book.
I am pleased to announce that Carol Ragsdale has agreed to take on the League's fund-raising initiative for non-members this year. The League's 80th anniversary in 2000, should bring opportunities to raise dollars amid celebrations. Let us hear from you with ideas and offers to help.
Have a relaxing and cool summer. Our next Voter will reach you in early September.
Office Move: The office move was successful, and we are now at our new location (appropriate information on masthead). Many, many thanks to Chris Matthews, super planner and organizer, and to those who helped pack, especially members Geri Albers, June Duke, Fran Garro, Carol Ragsdale and Kathy Schmidt, as well as Liz's grandson, Nguyen Munoz.
Jul 7 (Wed) 9:30 a.m., LWVDC Board Meeting, LWVUS, 530 N Street, SW #S-605
Interest in Community Involvement Grows: New LWVUS Study Reveals Increase
Americans are actively engaged in their communities and are interested in becoming even more involved as long as they don't have to participate in politics to do so. That's what LWVUS reports that its new study, released on June 14, reveals. According to the survey, "Working Together: Community Involvement in America," a majority (56 percent) are at least somewhat involved in community activities and issues; almost half (46 percent) say they would like to be more involved, including nearly a fifth who say they would like to be much more involved. However, people are far less interested in political activities such as working for a candidate or even voting than they are in fundamental community activities like volunteering at church or for their PTA.
The report also identified barriers to community involvement, including the perception that engagement requires a high level of knowledge and demands a significant, inflexible time commitment. People also fear that their work will not have an impact. Strategies for overcoming these barriers include creating flexible volunteer schedules and developing activities that families can participate in together. Organizations seeking to mobilize volunteers should be certain to provide concrete details about the beneficial impact of their efforts, as well as information about the organization itself.
The complete survey is available on the web at http://www.lwv.org .
Many thanks to member (and lawyer) Alisa Wilkins, who for the second time within one year, helped us with the lease for the new office. We appreciate her professional assistance on short notice!!
Please note: there are no units in July, August, or September.
Units Hold End-of-Year Meetings: As we go to press, the Units are marking the end of the program year with special events. The Northwest Evening Unit reports nineteen members and guests heard from Councilmember-at-Large Phil Mendelson on June 17, when he discussed Council reform and urged members to make their voices heard on the budget and other issues, through petitions, letters (better), and most effectively in person. More on these meetings in our September DC Voter.
Units on Vacation: The next three months will be vacation time for members of our six neighborhood plus one college Units. During the break, the Unit leadership will reason together on how to maintain and expand this traditional League structure that has provided direct access to the League's work for so many of us. We solicit your suggestions. Unit activities begin again in October. Sheila Keeny, Unit Director
LWVUS Council 99 June 12-14, 1999, Marriott Hotel at Metro Center, Washington DC
Council is held in the second year of the biennial program adopted at the previous Convention. The overall theme was "This Day, This Century, This League," weaving strands of what we have accomplished and where we are headed. Council is structured to include training, networking, and informational meetings in addition to formal plenary sessions. Newly elected President Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins presided skillfully.
Your delegation, led by President Elizabeth Martin, also pushed attention to the D.C. Representation-in- Congress issue, wearing "boater" straw hats with the logo "WWW.DCVOTE.ORG" (procured by Kathy Schmidt) and providing the information items appearing in the June DC Voter to each attendee (see below). Because D.C. was the host League, our issue was woven into the formal "welcome" given for Convention 2000 to be held here next June, which will be hosted by LWV/NCA, with D.C. Immediate past president Luci Murphy participated with NCA President Naomi Glass providing the formal call.
The main action at Council is approval of the budget for the second year of the biennium. A key matter adopted was the planned raise from $19.00 to $21.00 in "Per Member Payment" owed by state leagues to help support LWVUS. A new proposal from the floor also carried, raising national's rebate to students from $10.00 to $11.00
Other formal matters included addresses and reports (Future Plan, Budget, Treasurer, Nominating Committee, and Diversity Implementation). The Future Plan represents a new, more systematic way to coordinate individual League's roles in implementing the LWV strategic vision for the 21st Century. In a related workshop on program planning, the new approach raised many questions as well as opportunities. Your board will be sorting this out.
At the second plenary, invited outside speakers were Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) and, well known to us, Professor Jamin Raskin, Washington School of Law, American University. Rep. Jones was a vigorous speaker, who reviewed how she reached the House. She wore one of our hats and came out squarely for D.C. representation in Congress. Professor Raskin's remarks resembled his presentation before us at last year's Fall Luncheon. An able and convincing speaker, he appeared toward the end of the program, which was followed by a formal dinner. The break and dinner gave us opportunity to seek signatures on the DCVOTE petition, and Kathy Schmidt button-holed delegates in the corridors.
On page 1 of this Voter you will learn about a special presentation on Monday, June 14, giving results of LWVUS-sponsored research on civic participation. Also held that day were workshops on membership, fund- raising, and citizen participation/lobbying. Papers from Council '99 are available at our office. LWVUS is also posting information on its web site, www.LWV.org. -- Barbara T. Yeomans, 3rd Vice President
League member Arlene Holliday has alerted us that the current cable television franchise, District Cablevision Limited Partnership will expire in 2000. The D.C. Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications is currently holding public hearings and undertaking a needs assessment process. At the public hearing in May speakers testified about the need for more public access resources. Suggestions included: capital fund to purchase new equipment; unified facility with full-time studios; signal quality equal to the rest of the cable system; wiring of sites around the city to transmit community events and meetings live; and internet access for public access programming.
To make your views known write to: D.C. Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications, 2217 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009 -- Attention: Needs Assessment.
The Education Committee met June 9. Included in the meeting was a discussion of the 1999-2000 program for the D.C. League and the role of the Education Committee in that Program. The Committee will continue the study of current alternatives in the education of children and youth. At the same time attention will be given to the topic of voting in the social studies curriculum of the D.C. Public Schools, particularly at the senior high level. The next Committee meeting will be Wednesday, July 28: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the D.C. League office. Gladys Weaver, co-chair
During the month of May Private Elections, headed by Louise Perry, Board member extraordinaire, completed five elections earning over $4,000.00. One election was without charge for the Board of Trustees of Festival Americano. Thanks to members Reggie Yancey, Fran Garro, and Kathy Schmidt for assisting.
Save the date: The D.C. Voter Service Committee will meet September 22 at 6:30 p.m. In the meantime, send, phone or fax your ideas and suggestions to cochairs Guy Coriden or Elinor Hart (phone 202/3473020; fax 202-347-2522)
On June 9, the International Relations Committee held its last meeting of the program year, when it heard from Dr. Esther Brimmer, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. As follow-up to our April Unit Meetings on the U.N., Dr. Brimmer spoke on the United Nations and Preventing Deadly Conflict, a topic of intense concern to the Committee as the NATO military action to end human rights abuses in Kosovo draws to a close. A summary of her presentation will be printed in the September DC Voter; we hope to make the full text available on the LWVDC Webpage sometime in the future. The Committee also agreed to review the various LWV positions in International Relations, i.e., on arms control, military policy and defense spending, trade, the U.N., and U.S. relations with developing countries. Some of these are over twenty years old; all were reached during the Cold War. Call Co-Chairs Sheila Keeny or Susan Rao (202/347-3020) if interested in working with the Committee to begin the much- needed updating process. -- Sheila Keeny, co-chair
ERRATA: The letter to the Mayor that was printed in the June DC Voter was the draft version, not the final version. The final version was basically the same, but more polished.
Thanks to members who made contributions to either the League or the Ed Fund: Mary Amory, Fran Garro, Morella Hansen, Phoebe Layton, Martha Myers, and Clara Schiffer.
A special thanks to a member who has volunteered in the League office for over 20 years!! Ruth Mosley started in the 1970s counting ballots and eventually worked in D.C. League offices in five (5!) different locations. She continues as a member of the League as well as volunteering in other activities, including tutoring. Thanks, Ruth!
Jennie Eliza Johnson Elliott
Jennie Elliott was a dedicated member of the D.C. League of Women Voters. Her involvement included serving as secretary of the D.C. League from 1989-1990 and participating actively in the Northeast Unit. Mrs. Elliott graduated from Dunbar Senior High School, earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Miner Teachers College and a Masters Degree from Howard University. She taught science in the D.C. public schools, receiving national recognition as the most outstanding science teacher of 1958. She also served as Assistant Principal at Douglas Junior High School, Sousa Junior High School, and Stuart Junior High School. In addition to her League work, Mrs. Elliott was active in community and educational volunteer work and in her church.
Von Fogan and Toni Smith, voter service officials from the District of Columbia Board of Elections, briefed the League at a May 10 Brown Bag gathering on voter list maintenance. The Board is completing its biennial canvass that takes place during the odd-numbered years when there are no elections. 200,000 notices have been sent to people on the voting rolls who did not vote in the last general election, and the Board has moved 45,000 people to the inactive list after receiving two notices from the Post Office that they are no longer at the addresses on the voting rolls. Their names will be removed from the inactive list after two years. However, if a person has been placed on the inactive list by mistake, he or she can vote at the polls by special ballot.
In order to maintain an accurate list, the Board is constantly exchanging information with other District agencies as well as with key government offices in other jurisdictions. The U.S. District and Federal Courts inform the Board of felony convictions. Felons are prohibited from voting during the time they are incarcerated. Election boards in Maryland, Virginia and other states provide information about former D.C. voters who have registered to vote in other jurisdictions. The D.C. Office of Vital Statistics provides the names of people for whom District of Columbia death certificates have been prepared. As of May 31, the number of registered voters in the District was 316,847.
The Board of Elections is recruiting election workers for next year. For more information, call 202/727-2525 or visit the Board's website, http://www.dcboee.org . Elinor Hart
The DC Voter is & monthly publication of the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia. It is available either though membership ($45.00/year) or through direct subscription (($10.00/year). President, Elizabeth M. Martin, Treasurer, Naomi Glass, Editor, Virginia Spatz; 202/547-8504 (email: vepatz@Radix.net ). LWVDC, 733 15th Street, NW, #432, 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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