Disabled Americans Have Rights Too
On this page, we'll occasionally include news articles and/or opinions relating to disability issues.
27 December 2018
Airlines Will Begin Reporting How Often They Break Wheelchairs, Thanks to Tammy Duckworth
The Trump administration fought attempts to hold airlines accountable for breaking assistive devices.
December 27, 2018 6:00 AM
In the closing weeks of the Obama administration, the Department of Transportation completed a yearslong effort to begin holding airlines accountable for damaging passengers’ motorized wheelchairs and scooters. Then Donald Trump took office.
But the data the industry has fought against reporting will soon be made public. That’s because this fall, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who uses a wheelchair herself, convinced colleagues to insert a requirement that the rule be implemented into the Federal Aviation Agency reauthorization. As of December 4, airlines were required to start tracking how many wheelchairs and scooters they break, lose, or otherwise mishandle, and the DOT says the first data will become available in early February.
But two months into the Trump administration, the agency announced the rules would be suspended for at least one year.
Duckworth said she pushed her colleagues on the Senate Transportation Committee to circumvent the Trump DOT’s rule-making process and mandate the implementation of the data-reporting requirement, in part because the agency was so unhelpful.
15 November 2017
A law that would segregate disabled people? We must all fight to stop it!
For nearly 30 years, the Americans with Disabilities Act has protected the day-to-day rights of disabled people. A new bill threatens to take them away
H.R.620 - ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017
‘Illinois senator and Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, who lost her legs while on active duty, has penned a passionate rebuttal in the Washington Post, calling the legislation offensive.’
by Mary O'Hara of The guardian
Tuesday 14 November 2017 07.00 EST
Amid the chaos of US policymaking under Donald Trump it could be easy to miss all manner of damaging manoeuvres. However, when it comes to attacks on the rights of people with disabilities, far too much is at stake to let a single thing fly below the radar.
Right now a proposed new law is on its way through Congress that stands to put hard-won disability rights enshrined in the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into reverse. The ADA Education and Reform Act could be on the floor of the House of Representatives any day now – yet this “quiet attack” on disability rights, as the Center for American Progress (CAP) calls it, would directly undermine protections against discrimination.
The extraordinary battle against the repeal of Obamacare has shown that when disabled and non-disabled people join forces to reject regressive policies, moves to push them through can be stopped in their tracks. The same must happen now. Silence by the wider population on brazen attempts to strip away fundamental rights for disabled people is not an option.
November 19, 2016
Blind Man Files Complaint Against Brooklyn Popeyes After Owner Refuses Service Due To Guide Dog
November 17, 2016 6:33 PM
A blind Brooklyn man is filing a formal complaint against a Bushwick restaurant after he says the owner refused to let him eat there because of his guide dog.
“He pointed to a sign, but we explained to him that’s for regular dogs, but this is a service dog,” he said.
But not even a responding police officer could convince the owner who insisted it’s his property and he sets the rules.
President of Assistance Dogs International North America Paul Mundell disagreed.
“Under the American Disabilities Act, restaurants, and for that matter any other area of public accommodation, in other words areas where the public can come and go, service dogs are permitted and they can’t be denied unless they are creating a disturbance,” he said.
But the owner, reached by phone, said he stands by his decision. He questioned how he knows Richards is really blind and cited health concerns. “We have to protect ourselves too. I mean, the man walked in with a dog, no tags on the dog, no nothing,” he said.
People with disabilities do not need to show documents and service dogs do not require special markings. It’s an honor system that unfortunately gets abused, hurting people like him.
The NYPD said the officer called to the scene tried to explain the law to the owner, but he would not comply.
Popeyes issued a statement, saying:
“Thank you for making us aware of this guest’s concern. We welcome every guest at Popeyes and want everyone to have the best experience possible, and franchises are required to follow all federal, state and local regulations. The manager and owner of this restaurant are trying to work with this guest to address the concerns directly.”
October 27, 2016
The National Disability Rights Network and Asian Americans Advancing Justice issued a warning to states on October 13, demanding that they work to ensure that voters with disabilities and other minority groups are not harassed at the polls in the upcoming election.
Federal law imposes a fine or potential imprisonment on any person who “intimidates, threatens, coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he may choose.”
September 13, 2016
DON'T BE SURPRISED WHEN HANDICAP PARKING SPOTS ARE USURPED BY BUSINESSES
Here is the opening day (Sept 2, 2016) at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, WA.
It is certain that the Puyallup police have seen this. Puyallup is missing out on some income. Washington state law says that the fine for illegal handicap parking is $250. However, local entities have the option of adding an additional $200. Puyallup does this, charging $450.
This is September 4, 2016 at Fry's Electronics in Renton, WA.
www.Alienwarelive.com doesn't seem to care about the rights of the disabled. Once again, Profit trumps Law.
Bottom line: Even with national, state, and local laws, we are at the mercy of businesses.
Many, though not all, are interested in their own profits and don't seem to realize that disabled people can spend money too - assuming that they can find a place to park. A place that has the room for them to unload their electric scooters and wheelchairs.
July 6, 2016
This letter is in response to a problem I have had with Toyota, my local dealership and the Service Manager at this dealership. Burien Toyota is my local dealership. In January 2016, my husband bought a brand new Toyota Tacoma. His truck cost us $38,000.00. He had almost 200,000 miles on his old car and needed a new and reliable truck. His new Toyota truck came with 2 years of free maintenance. We are both retired and this seemed like a nice accompaniment as this was a big expense for us.
I was driving a van that was a 1999 modified van for a person with a disability. It was 17 years old, not reliable and often needing work done on it. I am a Polio survivor from 1946 and need reliable, dependable and modified transportation. In May 2016, I purchased a new, 2016 Toyota Sienna modified van. I can’t drive a “regular” car or van due to my disability and my reliance on a wheelchair or scooter. Therefore, I had to buy the modified version from Toyota and VMI from a dealership that specializes in vans for people with disabilities. Regular Toyota dealerships do not sell modified vans. I purchased my new van from Kersey Mobility in Sumner, Washington. Kersey is family-owned and has been around to help people with disabilities for more than 32 years. My van had 5 miles on it when I took possession of it. The van has been modified so I can use a wheelchair or scooter and is all electronic for easy use. It is new, reliable and dependable. It was also the biggest expense my husband and I will ever have. My van cost us $70,000.00 because you have to pay for the van and the modifications to the van. This is the last van I will ever buy and the single most expensive part of our retired lives.
This is where the problem began. In spite of the fact that the van cost almost twice what my husband’s truck cost and was brand new, I got nothing with it! I went to my local Toyota dealership to find out about the two years of free maintenance and was told that because I did not buy the van from them, Burien Toyota, and because it was “modified,” I did NOT get the two years of free maintenance! For some weird reason, when you buy a modified van, they consider it a “used” van because it was registered first with Kersey mobility. I called Toyota and spoke to a representative from Toyota who ran my VIN and told me the van came up as new and I did qualify for the two years of free maintenance. He told me to go back to Burien Toyota and speak to the Service Manager and tell him my story and there should be no problem receiving the service. The representative from Toyota did not feel this was serious enough to require a Case Manager at this time. I called the dealership and spoke with the Service Manager at Burien Toyota and told him what Toyota had told me. They still denied me coverage saying they needed to hear this directly from a Toyota representative. I left my name and phone number and expected to hear back from the Service Manager. Three weeks passed and we heard nothing from Toyota or the dealership.
My husband and I returned from a short vacation and he went in to speak to the Service Manager in person to see if there was an update. He was told there was no word from Toyota and there was still no coverage until and if that happened. The Service Manager also restated all the reasons why he could not accommodate us and told my husband we had 5 months to resolve the issue and wondered why we were so concerned about this whole thing. (He is the third Service Manager (one was temporary) at Burien Toyota in the last few months and I think he was afraid to go against what he thought was policy. I called Toyota again and explained my difficulties in securing the two promised years of maintenance. This time, I was assigned a Case Manager. The young woman I spoke with at Toyota was most helpful, concerned and kind to me. Within 24 hours the problem was solved and the Service Manager called me to say I was entitled to the coverage and it was in place in the computers and I had nothing to worry about.
This letter is not intended to hurt anyone, get someone reprimanded or fired. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else who is in the same situation. It appears that there is a gap somewhere between Toyota and the final dealership. I am not the only person with a disability to buy a modified van. I don’t feel like it should have been my responsibility to solve this problem by having to be the persistent one. It should not have taken my husband and me over a month, many discussions with a variety of different people and at least 6+ phone calls to solve this issue.
I chair a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities and am the voice for people who can’t or don’t speak for themselves. Most people will just give up after a couple of nos. I am hoping that this letter will create a solution for this problem and save someone else from having to go through this same issue. I don’t know where the gap exists or who is responsible. However, Toyota has a long standing relationship with these vans and has been held in high esteem among patrons and dealerships alike. I do not feel like this is a huge problem without a solution. People with disabilities and I would appreciate any help you can give us to solve this problem.
I am happy to be of service in any way that I can. Please contact me if you have any further questions or concerns. Thank you for your attention to this matter and I look forward to hearing from you with a workable resolution to this problem that seems fairly simple to solve. You can reach me at home or at my organization. Thank you again.
Sincerely and accessibly yours,
P.O. Box 283,
Seahurst, Washington 98062
cc: Burien Toyota
Resveratrol appears to restore blood-brain barrier integrity in Alzheimer's disease
Date: July 27, 2016
Source: Georgetown University Medical Center
Resveratrol, given to Alzheimer's patients, appears to restore the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, reducing the ability of harmful immune molecules secreted by immune cells to infiltrate from the body into brain tissues, say researchers. The reduction in neuronal inflammation slowed the cognitive decline of patients, compared to a matching group of placebo-treated patients with the disorder.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The Guardian (UK) has a bunch of articles about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome going back 15 years.
A few of the articles' titles:
‘It was like being buried alive’: battle to recover from chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue sufferers need help and more research – not misleading headlines
Chronic fatigue patients criticise study that says exercise can help
Life is hard for us ME sufferers – and simplistic news reports don’t help
Chronic fatigue syndrome patients’ fear of exercise can hinder treatment - study
Why I let my husband die
Access Now uses crowdsourcing to pinpoint accessible businesses
'The idea is to be able to crowdsource accessibility information worldwide'
CBC News Posted: Feb 28, 2016 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Feb 28, 2016 5:00 AM ET
Mayaan Ziv created Access Now, an app that shows which locations are wheelchair accessible.
Imagine planning a night out with friends, calling ahead to a restaurant to make sure you have a reservation, and then finding out you can't get through the front door.
It's a situation countless people with disabilities regularly find themselves facing — one a new app aims to make sure anyone with accessibility issues can avoid.
The Access Now app was created in Toronto by Mayaan Ziv, who says making sure she can access places in her wheelchair has become her life's work.
"Recently, I went to a place and there were three steps at the entrance, and I was told it was accessible. I get to the entrance, and there are those steps and then I'm stuck in the middle of the street without any options," she told CBC News.
With Access Now — which crowdsources information about accessibility in cities all over the world — Ziv aims to prevent that situation from happening to her or anyone else.
Disabled people need not apply
It’s time to ban discriminatory clauses in job postings
February 5, 2016 2:00AM ET
by David M. Perry
The Arc of Texas, an organization dedicated to inclusion, advocacy and disability rights, is hiring a new CEO. Their job announcement, as originally posted, made one thing clear: Disabled people need not apply.
Towards the bottom of the application, a strange list of criteria under the headline, “Physical and Mental Requirements,” included “Seeing, Hearing/Listening, Clear speech, Ability to move distances between offices and workspaces, Driving.” The next post, for another well-paid leadership position, added “manual dexterity, lifting up to 25 pounds, carrying up to 25 pounds” to the list, making it even more restrictive.
What’s a disability rights organization doing pre-emptively discriminating against disabled individuals in their most important hiring? And is this kind of language — which can be found in job postings from the tech sector, the non-profit world, and countless academic jobs — even legal?
Samuel Bagenstos, now an expert on disability law at the University of Michigan and a former Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the US Department of Justice, called The Arc posting “a pretty blatant violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
“I really thought it was a bad joke, not a serious job advertisement,” he wrote me in an email. “The ADA prohibits employers from adopting selection criteria that screen out classes of individuals with disabilities unless the criteria are job-related. There is no strong business reason why the CEO or the advocacy director should have to be able to see, hear, drive, lift or carry. These aren’t manual-labor jobs.”