Winter-Spring 1984 Home   Newsletters

Summer 1984

Fall 1984

Gender Gap: It's Real!
Water, Our Most Precious Resource (What Shall We Do?) (Linda Lai Hipp)
Happy Birthday Hawaii County LWV
Mr. Herman Goes to Convention (Peter Herman)
League Talks To... Sen. Chang, Rep. Okamura, Bill Dendle
League Welcomes Dot

Mr. Herman Goes to Convention

I arrived in Detroit on Saturday morning, May 12, after having been on an airplane for over 12 hours. A very pleasant surprise was the Renaissance Center, where our national convention was being held (and where the 1980 Republican National Convention was held). The center is called "the tallest hotel in the world". With over 73 stories, it is a self-contained little city with many shops and restaurants. You really never have to leave the center to go outside, and since it was quite cold (in the 50s and 60s) on several days, it was fine with me.

We were also warned not to venture outside of downtown Detroit since it is known as a "combat" zone. Ironically, after leaving the hotel we learned that there had been two gunfights and two stabbings in the hotel in the last few months. The hotel guards are now pleading to be allowed to carry guns. Well, what can I say?

The Convention, which lasted from Sunday through Thursday, was very intense, exciting, tiring and finally, a very unique experience. Over 1,100 League delegates and several hundred guests attended the gathering, which was presided over by Dorothy Ridings. Those of you who saw Dot in Hawaii in June know how well she can handle crowds, with humor, patience and intelligence.

One of the highlights of any convention is the guest speakers. We had George Schultz, U.S. Secretary of State; Lee Iacocca, head of Chrysler; Judy Woodruff, from PBS News; and Paul Conrad, Los Angeles Times' Pulitzer prize-winning cartoonist. All of these, under League rules, were required to respond to our questions and they got some doozies.

The League's current program was reviewed and debated and then readopted. Two new program items were also adopted. First, financing the Federal government in which we have already adopted criteria for judging an equitable tax system; now we'll get into some of the finer fiscal issues such as evaluating U.S. fiscal policy, including revenue sources, borrowing, tax expenditures and the funding of entitlement programs. Delegates also voted to continue the national security study.

Health care financing, as well as a more expanded national security study (called GLOBAL SECURITY by its proponents) were rejected. The latter had a particularly spirited debate since its proponents carried balloons throughout the auditorium. Many of these balloons floated up to the ceiling and stuck in various light holes. George Schultz was warned in advance that they might pop and that he shouldn't think somebody was trying to bump him off. In fact, when one of them did pop, everyone got kind of nervous with the Secret Service around. Schultz cracked a very good joke about it.

We also spent hours and hours debating revisions of the League bylaws. For the first time, a revision was approved that requires local leagues to pay per member payment (increased to $13 from $12) or lose voting rights at the Convention.

In addition, during one of the evening programs, we saw what the Ed Fund is doing with RKO Radio to encourage voter registration among younger voters. It's an exceptionally jazzy and youth-oriented approach that, hopefully, will result in increased registration in some of the major U.S. cities.

Of course, the name change issue came up again. Proposed was everything from "League of Men and Women Voters" to "League of Voters" to "League of WoMen Voters". All were rejected and I voted against changing the name. At one point, the women had taken over all four bathrooms, two of which had been originally meant for men. When I had to go, the women cleared out and guarded the door and I had the place to myself. But I finally had to tell Dot to please make an announcement that men have bladders too. She agreed, and one of the bathrooms was left open for the few of us male members. Hopefully, this will change in the future.

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