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September 1968

Coming Events
Your Vote Makes a Difference (Betty Tobiasson)
From the President - Report of the 28th National Convention (Elaine Vik)
Taking Action - Human Resources
Open Housing Law Enacted by Congress
Application for Membership in the LWV-US
LWV Forum - Meet the Candidates for Mayor (insert)

From the President

A Report of the 28th National Convention

of the

League of Women Voters of the United States, Chicago, 1968

Many of you were at our June brunch and heard the delegates who attended the National Convention of the League of Women Voters discuss the Convention highlights; but for you who were not, I'd like to recount some of the Convention's accomplishments and tell how decisions reached there will be implemented at the local level.

First, it was a B I G Convention! Delegates had come from all fifty States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. They represented 880 local leagues, all the State leagues, as well as Puerto Rico, making a total of 1,432 voting delegates. In addition, there were representatives of provisional leagues, many visitors, special guests, media representatives and 537 working members of the local Convention Committee from nearby Illinois leagues. Both in voting delegates and total attendance, this was the largest Convention in League history.

One interesting statistic was the fact that 200 of the delegates were 29 years old or less! Apparently, greater numbers of young women are finding time apart from their young families to be active in their communities.

National Convention is much like our own Annual Meeting in that the delegates do the same things at the National level that we members do at the local level. We elected officers: suffice here to say that our new National League President is Mrs. Bruce B. Benson, formerly chairman of the Human Resources study item at the National level. We amended by-laws: there were two changes, one made it possible for local Leagues to create inter-League organizations to take action on local governmental matters of common concern, and the second amendment made possible the enlargement of the National Board by one elected and one appointed director. We adopted the budget: the adopted budget totaled $446,969, $421,610 of it supported by State League pledges, but a withdrawal from reserves of $11,109 will be required.

The main work of the National Convention, however, is selecting National Program items for the next biennium. We adopted a SINGLE list of six study items. They are enumerated in your recently received May-June issue of THE NATIONAL VOTER. Certainly, the focus of the convention this year was on our HUMAN RESOURCES Study item. Two events just prior to Convention undoubtedly brought this about: the recent death of Dr. Martin Luther King with the subsequent riots in the cities; and the passage April 11th of the Civil Rights Bill (PL 90-284), including a section on fair housing -—a bill that had languished in Congress for many months with even optimistic proponents dubious of the passage of the fair housing section. -

Prior to Convention, the National Board had proposed to word the housing section of the Study item as "an evaluation of equality of opportunity for housing." But the delegates felt that League should be AHEAD of events, not behind, that with the passage of the fair housing bill it was too late to "evaluate" and instead we should be "supporting" fair housing and seeing that the bill already passed is implemented. Also, nearly half of the Leagues represented had completed extensive housing surveys and studies at local and state levels--they were ready now to TAKE ACTION. So the adopted wording is "Support of equality of opportunity for education, employment and housing. Evaluation of means to achieve equality of opportunity for housing and of further measures to combat poverty and discrimination." The vote was overwhelming: 1257 yes, 30 no. Mrs. Evelyn Oishi is our local chairman directing this study.

Evelyn's committee has been hard at work for some time gaining first-hand information on how National programs for equal education and employment are locally implemented. They're getting locally involved by attending businessmen's meetings, Community Action Program meetings, and Job Corps meetings. They're commending constructive efforts of these groups by such means as "letters to the editor" and working for proper. funding of the programs by making our interests known to our Congressmen (see copy of correspondence elsewhere in this VOTER).

Shortly the committee will be shifting its emphasis to housing: to what extent does housing discrimination exist in Hawaii? to what extent are new housing units needed to replace substandard units? Twenty years ago Congress passed a major expansion of the housing program, setting a goal of 810,000 low-income housing units in six years. The goal has not yet been achieved! Will the same thing happen to current legislation? This is for Leaguers to guard against.

Under the support position for equal opportunity for housing, the League believes that all persons should have the same rights to buy or rent dwellings regardless of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. It means, further, that the League believes these rights should be secured by law. Until all local Leagues have completed a basic housing study, only limited action is possible, but we can take:

  1. Action to support the intent of housing provisions of the 1968 Civil Rights Act or prevent weakening or repealing them.

  2. Action to prevent weakening or repeal of existing local or state fair housing ordinances, regulations, or laws.

  3. Action to promote community understanding of provisions of fair housing regulations or legislation.

The final phrase of this study item is the evaluation of "further measures to combat poverty and discrimination." This could involve an evaluation of our Social Security system or present welfare system, for example, or studying guaranteed annual income proposals or negative income tax plans.. .

This gives you an idea of the scope of the Human Resources study item--overwhelming, but certainly timely and challenging. If any phase of it appeals to you, call Evelyn for the time of the next committee meeting and take part in this study.

For the first time in recent Convention history, a non-recommended item was adopted: Study of the Electoral College. I went to the first caucus for this item and left within an hour firm in my conviction that while it would be a great item, it didn't have a chance of being accepted by this convention. Little did I realize its appeal: 826 Yes, 512 No--the needed three-fifths majority for a non-recommended item.

This is an IDEAL League study:. We have an opportunity to make our democratic form of government more representative, to effect change through governmental action, and certainly with the imminent National election, the issue is timely. Again, if this study appeals to uou, call Mrs. Nancy Williams, 573-706, who is our local chairman for this item. As you noticed on the first page of this VOTER, her committee will be presenting the first unit discussions this fall. Background reading material will be included in your September NATIONAL VOTER.

Our Foreign Policy study item reads:

Evaluation of US relations with the People's Republic of China.
Support of US policies to:

strengthen the peacekeeping and peace-building capacities of the UN.
promote world trade and development while maintaining a sound US economy.

This item also received a heavy majority: 986 Yes, 333 No.

We will continue our present Red China study. The past two years have given us background information, the groundwork is laid. We will go on this coming year to gain "consensus" on such questions as "What should be the objectives of US policy toward the People's Republic of China?" "what changes would we support in specific US policies?" "Should we take the initiative in relaxing tensions?"

During the second year of the biennium, we will provide our members the opportunity to discuss and evaluate issues of trade and aid with Asia as a case study in development. This will enable the League to reassess member understanding and support of our present aid and trade positions.

The United Nations has survived another "crisis of confidence" period and needs persistent League support and constructive criticism. The League continues to believe that the peacekeeping functions of the UN should be more fully utilized. The League is concerned that the constructive accomplishments of the UN peace-building (economic and social) programs are not sufficiently well known or supported. UN Week in October will provide time for a new look at some of the problems and challenges confronting the United Nations. We will continue to answer community criticisms and strive to provide greater public understanding of the world body.

The last phrase of this study, "while maintaining a sound US economy," might involve the study of the gold crisis, defense spending, taxation--in short, the fiscal picture at home.

Mrs. Ann Ketell is taking the chairmanship of this study, replacing Virginia Bogard who has guided it so ably the past two years. (Virginia's husband is being transferred to the mainland--Aloha and Mahalo nui, Virginia!) Telephone Ann, 262-6435, to get in on this study.

There was no question concerning the re-adoption of our Water Resources support item, and our very able chairman, Mrs. Louise Marr, will continue to guide our local League as to ways of supporting national policies and procedures which promote comprehensive long-range planning for conservation and development of water resources and improvement of water quality.

The Convention further unanimously agreed that League responsibilities regarding Apportionment, the District of Columbia, and Tax Rates and Treaty Making were not yet fulfilled and these support items should be carried for another two years.

50TH ANNIVERSARY PLANS

1970 is the 50th Anniversary of the League of Women Voters of the United States, and the most exciting planning at Convention revolved around this event. Does $11 million sound like something to celebrate? That's what we'll have when our goal is reached in 1969 (already $1 million of this goal has been pledged)!

Our National Board has hired professional organizations to conduct a nationwide fund-raising drive and public relations campaign beginning early next year. Do you remember that our adopted National biennium budget requires a withdrawal from "reserves". (former bequests) of $11,109? This, in spite of the fact that virtually all work of the League is done by volunteers! Imagine what we could accomplish with MONEY!

Think what our womanpower could do in the area of our Human Resources study item with professional guidance. Imagine what our Voters Service Committee could do for the community with adequate money for professional layout and printing, for media publication of voters guides and pro-con analyses, for the development of voter indoctrination courses for depressed area citizens and newly naturalized citizens. Think of the added circulation our publications would have if we could give them to schools for their students; or to churches for their workshops. You girls who have typed your own stencils run off your own publications, could we use an office and secretary? How our production would be increased!

Our dreams are endless, and now they're possible, but we must begin immediately. Our local League in 1969 will be guaranteed by our National organization 125% of the total of our 1968 finance drive. Everything will depend on how well our plans are laid and carried out this fall. This is our GOLDEN opportunity--you can begin helping now by calling Judy McIntosh, our Finance Drive Chairman, phone 251-5710, and giving her names of community-minded individuals and organizations whom we might contact during our drive. It is essential that our contributor list be expanded. Won't you help?

Put on your "thinking bonnet"--we're eager for new ideas, new approaches -- pass yours along to a Board member. Our plans will be finalized and presented to you, the members, at our general meeting September tenth. If you believe in the purposes of League, you'll be enthusiastic for the success Of this DRIVE.

"CHOOSING THE PRESIDENT," 1968 edition.

The proud announcement was made to Convention delegates of the selection of the League publication, Choosing the President, by the Book-of-the-Month Club for a "Pro Bono Publico" extra in July. They refer to it as "an invaluable handbook of information about the nomination and election of the President of the U.S. ... indispensable for future voters too!" You may order copies from our publications chairman for $1 each.

I have expounded much too long and still not told you of the speakers we heard, the publications and movies of other Leagues we evaluated, as well as all the many ideas we gained from good fellowship with women of similar purpose. Attending National Convention is a most meaningful, total experience.

Elaine Vik

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