Friday, March 9, 2018

Justice Department withdraws review of ADA access at Harris County polling sites

From my experience, polling places are either at public school, or at government building. To me, I would assume that these places are in ADA compliance, but do not forget most of these buildings have been in used before there was the ADA.

Now here is the interesting part, if the new ADA laws are passed. Although these are public school and government buildings, there will be no officials to make sure they meet ADA guidelines. It will be up to People With Disabilities to notify the property owner of the violation. When PWD go vote and cannot get into the building, or booth the bigger crime is that our voices are not being counted.

Under the "new ADA" the property owners has 180 days to bring their facility up to ADA codes, really this would not be acceptable in an election cycle. Why should it be our jobs to tell the government to give PWDs access to the thing that America was founded for, the right to have ever voice count. First you are taking away our rights to accessibility, but more importantly the right to be part of the election process.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Wake Up Before It Is Too Late

CAL-NKY Advocacy Note:
Your action is needed as soon as possible!
As some of you may know the House of Representatives passed HR 620 recently. This bill will significantly weaken the reasonable accommodations provision of the ADA. This could be the first step on a slippery slope of weakening more provisions of the civil rights act for people with disabilities. No other minority in the country would have to wait as long as people with disabilities to get afforded their basic rights of equal access.
The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 would amend the Americans with Disabilities Act by:
• Removing the incentive for businesses to comply with the ADA
• Implementing a cumbersome, technical, and required notification process for each ADA violation before a civil complaint can be filed; this process is outlined below.
1. Individuals must file a written notice specifying the exact ADA provisions that are being violated. This notice must include:
* The address of the property
* The specific ADA technical standards that were violated
* Whether a request for assistance was made directly to the business
2. The business owner has 60 days to acknowledge the notice and outline the improvements they intend to make, then 120 additional days to begin the improvements; a total of 180 days (6 months).
No other marginalized group is forced to wait 180 days to enforce their civil rights or obtain intimate knowledge of building standards. It has been 27 years since the ADA was signed into law; it is unreasonable to ask individuals with disabilities to wait any longer for public access! For the first time in history, a protected class would have to provide notification of its intent to exercise its civil rights.
Please call and have your family and friends do the same and leave a message for our Senators demanding that they vote against this terrible piece of legislation.
Source: Center for Accessible Living - Northern Kentucky office

Friday, February 23, 2018

New bill targets the disabled

With the introduction of bill H.R. 620, disabled groups in America are put at a significant disadvantage.
This new bill will only put the soul responsibility on the disabled community for making businesses compliant to the ADA, but i think it would also increase us as targets for hatred. It will not make businesses see as valued customers, but thorns in their sides.

If their is no government agency to enforce these laws, nobody will take disable rights serious and there is no guarantee that the courts will rule in our favor.

This "bill" is a slap in the face and shows that people wish we would just disappear as a fly. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Problem is Drive-By & Google Lawsuits, Not The ADA

There is a cancer growing within the disability movement and that is why the U.S. House Representatives passed H.R. 620 and want to tear apart the ADA. The cancer are a few lawyers and PWDs that sue under ADA to fill their own pockets. This is a stain on any progress that has been made in our fight for equality.  These people are cowards and  know their law suits are petty, or they would confront the business owner to help solve the problem.

Their have been many times where I have been at hotel and critiqued what they called an accessible bathroom. I often, jokingly so the ADA has a magic word and it is "reasonable" accommodations.  I remember, one time Wife and I used a public restroom and the door of the stall opened inward that really made it in-accessible since the door could not close with  my wheelchair in the stall.  We did get manger and pointed out this situation.  To me, that would not be worth my time suing over and even if I did, I doubt if it would get the end result that we were in search of.  For me, my resolution is to take my business else where and I have done this many times.

If the House of Reps used Drive-By and Google Lawsuits as the reason to gut the ADA the were just looking for an excuse to undo it's laws, rather then fix the problems to protect both sides. The ADA is on autopsy table, cuts to Medicaid and President Trump's new budget cuts funding for community based program for the disabled.  The slippery slope in getting steeper and steeper.

A Closer Look at Drive-By & Google Lawsuits
Educating able-bodied people about the law and their potential violations of the law should not be the responsibility of the person with the disability. From a business’s perspective, drive-by lawsuits are seen as unfair because businesses claim that people with disabilities are not discussing violations with managers and personnel inside their establishments. But by definition drive-by lawsuits handle ADA violations outside of places of business, like in parking lots where lack of accessibility could make entering an establishment and discussing a violation unfeasible to begin with. For Google lawsuits, the 60 Minutes segment highlighted a hotel owner who was sued for not having an accessible pool. He stated the injustice of his situation by saying that: “At no point in time we ever had a customer on the property that requested it or that was even in a room that requested it.”[2] But that sentiment is part of the problem. In the age of Google, can this business owner really be surprised that no one with a disability would choose to stay in an inaccessible hotel? That does not mean that there was not a burden placed on people with disabilities who had to search extensively for an accessible place to stay. Nor should it be their burden to request that a business comply with a 27-year-old law.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Will senators make amends and protect the ADA?

The ADA does not only apply to those that have been disabled from birth. It also applies if you, or a love one become dependent on a wheelchair, or just a leg scooter. The path has been paved for you because of the ADA and advocates as myself.

When our men and women come home hurt from serving our country: the ADA not only gives them the right to move freely around their community, but the right to vocational rehabilitation. It also gives them the right to go back to college, so they can still be contributing members of society.

As we live longer lives the ADA help set the blue print for Universal Design, so the elderly can still get around their communities and stay in their home for as long as they can.

I would hope everyone would consider all of the benefits the ADA has brought to our society. If the powers to be, continue this autopsy they are putting the dollar before people.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

What Does The U.S. House of Representative Define As "Drive-by Law suits"?

So what is the reality of suing for monetary gain under the ADA, to reminder this is the House of Representative passed H.R. 620. When the House member talk about "Drive-by Law Suit are they talking about work place discrimination, or the lack of accessible at a business? Either way it is not a drive-by process, they are the law make so they should know how long it takes to get something done. For the record it took me less than ten minutes to find the information below and do not have a staff, or interns.

From the sources that I found, One can hire a private attorney at your own expense and you both have to file the law suit with the DOJ. The whole purpose of filing a discrimination suit is to find a resolution to the problem. When filing this type of law suit, you cannot be awarded money for any damages.

If one is not satisfied with the law suit filed with DOJ, you have the right to file a private law suit for monetary gain. However if you proved you have experienced discrimination in the work place. You are entitled to back pay and attorney expenses.

I think this is very open to interpretation and the people that are using the ADA laws for their personal Piggy Bank, they do not understand the disability movement. We are trying to be part of society for the better of everyone, not create resentment.

Q. Can I file a private lawsuit regarding a violation of the ADA?
A. Yes. You have the right to file a private lawsuit in federal court if you have been discriminated against. If you have an employment complaint, and are employed by a private organization, however, you are required to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and receive a "right to sue" letter from them before you can pursue a private complaint. If you are successful in court, you will be entitled to injunctive relief and to recover attorneys' fees. Injunctive relief means "fixing the problem": such as reinstating you in your position with back pay, providing a reasonable accommodation, modifying a discriminatory policy, or removing an architectural barrier. When individuals file private actions, ADA does not provide compensatory and punitive damages. However, your attorney can advise you whether compensatory or punitive damage awards may be possible under other civil rights legislation.

Q. How do I file a Title I employment complaint?
A. Within 180 days of the discrimination incident, file a complaint detailing the discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC will investigate the charge. If it finds reason to believe that discrimination has occurred, the EEOC will attempt to have the employer voluntarily provide you with full relief. Or, once 180 days have passed since filing a charge, you may request a "right to sue" letter. Once you receive this, you may file a private lawsuit. You can file a complaint through the Minnesota Department of Human Rights or directly with an EEOC office.

Q. How do I file a Title II complaint against a state or local government agency?
A. You may file a private action in court or file a complaint with the Department of Justice. You can also file complaints with other federal agencies designated by the DOJ (for example, the Department of Transportation will investigate transportation-related complaints), or any federal agency that provides funding to the public entity responsible for discrimination. But it may be easiest to know that the DOJ will accept any Title II complaints and see they are directed to the appropriate agency.

Q. How do I file a Title III complaint against a private company or organization?
A. Individuals may bring private lawsuits to obtain court orders to stop discrimination, but money damages cannot be awarded. Individuals can also file complaints with the Department of Justice which may file lawsuits to stop discrimination and obtain money damages and penalties.
Be aware that the DOJ will only bring suit where there is a pattern or practice of discrimination, or a violation that raises an issue of general public importance. You may get quicker action by filing a private lawsuit, filing a complaint under the Minnesota Human Rights Act instead of the ADA (which has similar provisions), or by using an alternative dispute resolution process.

Friday, February 16, 2018

House Votes to Gut the Americans With Disabilities Act to Nip 'Abusive Lawsuits'

In a 225-192 vote Thursday, most House Republicans and a dozen Democrats passed a bill that makes it harder for disabled persons to sue for discrimination, in an effort to prevent opportunistic attorneys from taking advantage of business owners.

from my understanding, suing under the ADA is not meant for monetary gain, but to create awareness and an environment welcoming to all. To the people and attorneys out for the easy buck, they do not understand the disability movement and do not represent anything I fight for.

Their has been many times a business would rather compensate me monetary then to make changes to correct a situation. For example airlines: when they leave my wheelchair on the tarmac as we take off, or sit me apart from my travel companion, They offer me a travel voucher rather then to come up with a remedy for the next passenger.

There has been many times when I said no thank you, to their meaningless vouchers! To me that is a pay off and not solution.

More information:

House passes changes to Americans With Disabilities Act over activists’ objections  that
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), a lead co-sponsor of the bill, said in an interview that she has “witnessed too many rip-off artists in California that are in it for just making a buck.”

Here is how your State Rep. voted! 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Federal Law Now Requires States to GPS Track Disabled People Who Use Attendants

The United States government wants to track my movements. They want to know where I go, what I do, and who is with me every day. They’re setting up databases to track people like me right now. When they give the order, I’ll have to carry a special device, and I won’t be able to leave my home without notifying a government contractor.

I do not understand this at all, what are they really tracking here? When you are in the Self-Directed Waiver you are not going to hire someone that is not going to do their job. Nor would your Support Broker let people bill without showing up as with some other PCA programs.

How many people really shop within 1000 feet of your home, why do they need to know if we go to the 7-11, is I want a soda and a bag of chips? I did do a Google search on this EEV program and only thing I could find are guild lines for different states.

Part of many waiver plans is getting out in the community, so does this mean all outings need to be planned, or if someone runs out they get a call from this GPS service to explain where they go? Where is the freedom in that, and I thought it was bad enough when they asked me how often I take a dump?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Stem Cell Therapy for Cerebral Palsy

Not that I endorse, or would jump on the band wagon for this type of thing. I think it is more of a responsibility to keep myself informed of these things, especially as technology and medicine make advances. Also, the next generation of CPers may a different out look of dealing with there disability.

I do find it interesting that this group are using Stem Cells to "heal" the brain. If this is possible, this seems like a very long and expensive process. Just because the brain can be "reborn" does not mean it will automatically know how it should function?

I known I say, you are a student for life, but at what do you get off the tread mill to be comfortable in life?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Dan Habib Interview with Dr. Cheryl Jorgensen on Inclusive Education

In this podcast, film-maker Dan Habib interviews Dr. Cheryl Jorgenson. Dr. Jorgenson is an Inclusive Education Consultant in New Hampshire

Is Inclusive Education the same as Special Education?

Special Education- noun. The definition of special education is a form of learning provided to students with exceptional needs, such as students with learning disabilities or mental challenges.

Inclusion Education- The term inclusion captures, in one word, an all-embracing societal ideology. Regarding individuals with disabilities and special education, inclusion secures opportunities for students with disabilities to learn alongside their non-disabled peers in general education classrooms.…/inclu…/what-inclusive-education

Sunday, January 21, 2018

My 45th Birthday Celebration!

Thank for all of the Birthday wishes, I went away for few days of relaxation and adventure with the two women in my life.  That would be Wifey and Daisy, although Daisy would say she is the true Wifey. Like always we never have a plane, just pick an area and find a hotel for a good price.  I was fighting a cold even though I did not want to say that out loud, so I could still drink.  Be sides I thought hot toddies were the cure for everything.

On the way to our hotel, we stopped for the epic buffet at Hollywood Casino in Charles Town.  After 10 years of going there Wifey finally hit the JACK POT!!!!!!!  We were there at the right time to get the recipe for their Pho soup!!!!!  For the rest of our trip we treated this paper, as it was the Dead Sea Scrolls.

We lucked out with this hotel, because among it's past guess were Lucille Ball and Bob Hope. I stated these names to give you an idea of the age for the hotel.  You would think if it existed during the golden age of Hollywood, then you would be amazed of how accessible it was. I could even get to the basement restaurant with no problem.  After we got settle and had couple drinks, it was snack time.

Sheer discuss because I want what I want, it just was not enough for her.  This was just the start of Daisy's frustration, because she was excuse from the bed for poppy and Wifey time.  If the neighbors did not hear our passion, I am sure the heard the K9 kind. The next day we took our time heading back and even stopped at a indoor flea market, because we could not be too early for crab night at the epic buffet.

This was taken during our second hour of cracking shells, we were in no hurry. Daisy was just chilling, Wifey was happy having crab and Pho and I had a full stomach and drowning me cold with hot tea. That was a good Birthday to me, then I was ready to come home and succumb to a flipping cold.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Conflicts of Sexuality and Disabilities

Since NPR's Investigation Finds Hidden Epidemic Of Sexual Assault, I am all for sex education for People With Disabilities. It needs to fit on the intellectual leval of that person. This might be a double edge sword, because sex can be bliss and frustrating at the same time.

I recently had a conversation with a young friend, he had many questions. For example, do regret waiting until you old was older to become active?
No, once you have an apple, you want the orchard.

Why didn't you and a friend....?
Anybody can have sex, but can anybody be friends?

On flip side sex education creates awareness, against sexual assault. When you know how something should be, it brings awareness when it is wrong. It seems that sexuality is still taboo in the Disability community and the only time it becomes a topic of conversation is for the wrong reasons.

Conceptual Artwork is a photograph by Stephen Wood
#sexuality #disabilities #sexualassault