Even the “luckiest” of us are just TABs (Temporarily Able Bodied)*. Because this particular failure-to-legislate disgrace by the Dung Beetle Republicans is a minor personal obsession, Tammy Duckworth’s latest email caught my eye:
Before I was wounded, I never expected that the Americans with Disabilities Act would have such a profound impact on my life.
This landmark bill – passed with bipartisan support – made our nation the world’s leader in protecting individuals with disabilities from discrimination. It has also made it possible for me and thousands of other Veterans to continue living a full, mobile life.
Now the Senate has the chance to encourage other countries to adopt our own high standards by ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Tell the Senate to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
Approving this treaty should be a no-brainer. After all, it won’t change U.S. law. Ratification will simply encourage other countries to meet our standards. A more accessible world is also good for our service members stationed overseas who might have family members with disabilities there with them.
But Republican extremists have made this non-controversial treaty into a yet another partisan vote. Even after fellow disabled Veteran and former Republican Majority Leader Bob Dole visited the floor of the Senate in his wheelchair this past December to support the bill, Senate Republicans voted it down.
Fortunately, the Senate is expected to vote on the treaty again after August recess. We have an opportunity right now to encourage Senators to reject the Tea Party propaganda about this treaty, and do the right thing.
As to whether this issue is “really important” — who actually wants to discriminate against people with disabilities? — commentor Origuy linked just this afternoon:
A handicap ramp in front of a Fountain family’s house is in the middle of a neighborhood squabble.
Vincent and Heidi Giesegh say their neighbors are threatening legal action if they don’t remove the ramp. They say the next door couple is worried that the ramp will hurt the value of their home. The Giesegh’s say they need it for their 16 year old daughter Kirsten who has Cerebral Palsy…
The Giesegh’s neighborhood doesn’t have an HOA, and the family says the City of Fountain told them it was ok to install the ramp and widen their driveway for a handicap van. 11 News went next door to get the neighbor’s side of the story and they told us no comment…
* Edited, because commentors correctly pointed out that not all of ‘us’ are TABs.
My wish for those neighbors is … well, I can’t say it out loud. Let’s just say, KARMA. Good and hard.
Fountain is for people that think that Colorado Spgs. is too much of a godless place populated by heathens.
IANAL, but really, on what legal grounds would/could the next-doorers take any kind of action?
The complaining neighbors need to have their junk kicked & throat punched. The couple even went through the city to see if it was okay!
@ranchandsyrup: Yup, right in the middle of Focus on Family territory. That is as long as your family isn’t handicapped in anyway and in need of a ramp or other accommodations that inhibit your view.
how could a ramp at a neighbor’s house possibly hurt the value of your home?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
@SiubhanDuinne: Not only do they not have (solid) grounds for a suit, their damages are speculative. Their bluff has been called and I hope they’ll slink away.
I’m not sure, but I’d guess that there are at least one or two NLABs (No Longer Able Bodied) around here. Our bloghost spends far too much time as a TNAB (Temporarily Not Able Bodied). I understand the point that nobody can guarantee permanent ability, so everyone should be in favor of accommodations for the disabled, but I think you could put it better.
@SiubhanDuinne: I say bring it on. There is probably some good lawyer who could use the good publicity of defending this family pro bono while the neighbors incur large legal fees from the sleazy lawyer they’ll have to use because no one else will touch it. (Ok, I live in the land of unicorns and lollipops, but I like it here, so don’t burst my bubble).
Well that’s mighty christian of the neighbors.
Yes. Good and hard Karma which probably can’t come fast enough for these dipshits.
On another note, Bloomberg reports that of the 254 counties in the U.S. whose food stamp recipient rolls doubled between 2007 and 2011, 213 of them were won by Rmoney in last year’s election.
Gee, maybe if the Rethuglicans are successful in cutting the food stamp program enough they will essentially starve their base to death.
Considering who the plaintiffs are (asshole suburbanites obsessing over an insubstantial and probably non-existent decline in the value of their real estate), I’d go with loss of consortium via emotional distress.
I’m curious about this bit. I know HOAs can be notoriously anal and mean-spirited, but what would happen if one told a homeowner “no, you can’t have a ramp for your disabled daughter”?
I suggest that the family with the CP child file suit against the neighbors for failing to adhere to the ADA. After all, without a ramp, how could their daughter ever be expected to visit the neighbor’s home? Force them to construct one of their own, I say.
@efgoldman: I can live with that outcome as well, Mr. Goldman.
@Woodrowfan: because it’s clearly the same thing as having a burning cross on the lawn, or running a meth lab in the garage, or being blighted.
@dmsilev: The neighbor would say go f..yourself.. I imagine.
also, too.. If the HOA got involved then the ADA would get involved. Handicap entrances are acceptable.
@dmsilev: there would be a civil rights law suit, probably filed by the ACLU and maybe even Pacific Legal or some such group. Many dollars would be spent and the court would likely tell the HOA to stop being an asshole, because that’s the city’s job.
hey now. it’s not like jesus said ‘blessed are the disabled’. right?
@dmsilev: HOAs are still bound by the Fair Housing Act and must allow reasonable modifications to premises or else they can be sued under FHA. I think the HOA angle in the original story referred to exhausting the parties that the parents would have had to check in with. So it leaves just the city which signed off on it.
@chopper: It depends on what jesus you are talking about. Now a days you got the “get off your ass and work three jobs” jesus.
i like the ‘get off my lawn’ jesus myself.
When I saw the picture of the ramp, it made me wish that I had artistic talent. It’s would be neat to paint a mural on the walkway of the ramp, greeting the family.
I suspect they would have their ass handed to them in court. I know that my HOA has changed several terms of the CCR (e.g. one not allowing anyone under the age of 15 to be a permanent resident) because they’re illegal under California law. I have a hard time believing that one banning ramps for handicapped people will pass muster.
I know I’m just a wooly squishy liberal hippie, but to me, a handicap ramp would enhance the value of the property. Just like wide doorways and handrails by the bathtub.
@Gravenstone: The ADA doesn’t apply to private homes. Sadly.
Sadly, the people saying their property values may be impacted may not be wrong. Lots of disabled-accessible changes to homes can be really expensive to do in a way that doesn’t look crappy. I’ve seen particle-board ramps and 2×4 guardrails. Like it or not, prospective buyers often don’t want to live next to that. They’re assholes, and they don’t have the right to stop their neighbors from building the ramp, but they probably aren’t mistaken.
As the Boomers reach their Golden Years, the ramp can be seen as a desirable adjunct to the property, capiche?
@Suzanne: I’ve seen ramps that blended into the architecture of the house so well you would think it was in the original design. Sadly most families in need of these ramps don’t have the financial resources to do things like that. I personally think every residence should have at least one ADA accessible entrance, but I also understand that’s not always possible.
@batgirl: Yes you did.
Plenty of countries have legislation for persons with disability as good if not better than the USA’s. Who says the UN Convention is about raising the standards to America’s?
It’s always about American exceptionalism with you people. Always.
@Felonius Monk: I don’t understand why people are so concerned about what other people eat.
@Suzanne: The ramp that was in the picture could easily be masked with additional landscaping. I understand what you are saying but this is a chance for the neighborhood to come together and help out.
@SiubhanDuinne: yeah. This is one of those small town news stories. Maybe after they filed suit it would be news. But right now, they’re just dicks with loud mouths.
I could say that I’m going to bring a suit against my neighbors for allowing their daughter to play outside but what does it matter?
@Yatsuno: Ramps can be done well. They just usually aren’t. The families of the disabled aren’t typically known for having lots of spare cash lying around for renovations.
@efgoldman: Violence is sometimes the solution.
I’m pretty sure a lot of our problems would go away if CEOs, politicians and TV preachers had to worry about maybe their house burning down every now and then.
The height the elevator call buttons in the building lobbies became an issue in my complex. Where the button panel was originally was higher than people in wheel chairs could reach to press. Many people complained about the expense of resetting the panels lower — the solution was that when we did a major renovation of the elevators, we redid the button panels. It did add a cost to the project but it was the easiest time to reset the panels. The wiring had to be redone anyway in the renovation.
@JPL: You are right, nice people WOULD help out. These assholes don’t sound like nice people.
Homeowners aren’t immune, either. I do ADA upgrades in facilities all the time, and some of the existing crap I’ve seen boggles my mind. Airports, hospitals, universities….cheap, jury-rigged crap.
I would paint small swatches of my house vile colors and ask the neighbors which one they liked or mention that the lawn was being replace with sand to save water. Little things like this have made neighbors and CC&Rs go away in a hurry.
The video in the article shows a well constructed concrete ramp. When the landscaping in front of it grows up, it should be fairly unobtrusive.
I’m in an HOA in California. I was the board president for several years. At least here, Common Interest Developments are not private homes. There’s a lot of law about what CIDs can and cannot regulate. They can’t forbid satellite dishes, for example. They can require that they be installed by licensed contractors. IANAL, but I think the same sort of thing would apply to disability accommodations.
I’ll add that the comments on that page are almost universally in support of the family.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
Our neighbors put a pretty nice looking wooden ramp on the front of a red brick house. Then a few years later, they painted the whole thing white and put ugly cheap lattice work across the front and now it looks like some monstrosity from a trailer park.
Thankfully, I’ve got a giant inflatable Ray Lewis in my front yard that blocks it out nicely.
Neither Rogers’s letter nor the news article notes that this is a 3.8% improper payment rate, as also noted by SNAP under the Obama administration. That sounds really, really good. Also, from the same site, for those not interested in feeding hungry people:
My son, whom I’ve written about here before had a spinal stroke at 43 and is paralyzed from the waist down. He was an executive at a multinational company and was terminated on his 1st day back to work. He got an attorney who said he definitely had a case under the ADA but it could take a year or more for the case to come to court. With a wife, 4 kids he couldn’t afford to wait a year so settled for a 5 month severance. The bastards got away with it!!
Some of these a-holes love to spout Support The Troops stickers on their SUV’s but sure as hell don’t want any of those vets especially those who are disabled. And vet has a wound that is visually disturbing, well he quickly shunned like a leper. I want KARMA land on these a-holes like a ton of bricks!!!
@Origuy: California has very favorable rights to homeowners – particularly around the issue of disabilities, so rights here may not have parallels in Colorado. Remember, California passed the first building codes and laws surrounding disability access in the nation. It was the model for the ADA which passed two decades after.
I’m almost positive that anything you install to comply with ADA regulations (even if you aren’t required to) is protected (provided it’s done to code, by a properly licensed contractor). If your neighbor or HOA doesn’t like it, tough shit.
I suspect that the real objection of the asshole neighbors is that they don’t want a kid with cerebral palsy living next door because they think that drives down their house value, but they have just enough leash on their tongue not to say so.
@Suzanne: And I’ve seen very attractive disabled friendly construction. The neighbors need to be reasonable. Rather than just saying NO, ala Nancy Reagan, they should try to be part of the process and offer suggestions on making it more pleasing to the eye.
@BillinGlendaleCA: I agree with you. I am merely noting that it isn’t unrealistic to think that some prospective homebuyers will be less inclined to buy your property if the another house nearby has some cheap-looking construction on its exterior.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
Another neighbor has an outdoor museum of Americana in the front yard. Fake wishing well, statues, fake windmill, etc. Just rows and rows of weed infested kitsch. I’ve always wanted to steal a “Welcome To West Virginia” sign on our travels and put it in front of their house.
Bob In Portland
Someone in Portland has been leaving flyers in different neighborhoods saying There are X number of people on disability in your neighborhood, and I will reveal their names.
The commission on disabilities (not sure what the proper name is) says that the flyers are threatening and plans to investigate.
The argument on the flyer is that the disabled are using our tax dollars so something should be done.
Pure compassionate conservative capitalism. My assumptions about my potential resale value trumps your actually making your house usuable by all members of your family. Oh, and about those drapes . . . FREEEDOM!!!!!!!!
Just One More Canuck
@JPL: how about something like this
@Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: I used to have a neighbor who had pictures of aborted fetuses in her front windows.
@Gravenstone: I like it.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
@Suzanne: Hard to tell if those folks are promoting or opposing abortion.
Mike in NC
My dad had to use a wheelchair ramp at the townhouse the last year of his life, built by my brothers who lived nearby. And yeah, some assholes in the neighborhood complained.
@Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: Just equally proud of all their offspring. Someone needed to congratulate them on that in a loud voice, crowded environment.
@Mike in NC: When we finally got the cash to build a ramp the way we wanted (concrete with stone facing, very gradual incline, blended into our front patio), my mother-in-law asked us “Are you going to make EVERYONE walk up that? Some people don’t like ramps, you know”.
And yes, our son who uses the wheelchair is (technically), my spouses stepson; his mom has never signed on as a grandma to him.
Passive-aggressive is her middle name.
This sad story reminds me of the woman who was told by her home town that she couldn’t grow vegetables in her front garden because it wasn’t in accordance with some spurious city standard of garden decorum.
I love how there’s an exception for vegetable gardens yet she’s in trouble anyway.
This reminds me of a planning and zoning fight in Mesa about 15 years ago on the issue of group homes for the elderly. I say the elderly because I don’t want this confused with group homes for psych patients or troubled juveniles. It was some kind of NIMBY issue because elderly group homes would supposedly bring down the values of other homes.. I have a friend who has such a home and they’re inspected constantly by social workers and the state. They have to look nice for them to keep their residents and attract more residents. How can a place like this cause other homes to lose value ?
Old people cooties. If only we weren’t exposed to those senile takers, we’d never get old & frail ourselves! (/NIMBYer)
Publicising what a bunch of dicks the neighbors are could reduce property value. Who would want to move into a neighborhood where you could risk being subjected to such unreasonable idiocy? For that matter who would want to be subjected to having to see such nasty creatures on a daily basis?
Will in MUC
@Bargal20: Maybe so, but I’m a transplanted NYer living in Munich and I am simply shocked at how handicapped INaccessible everything is. Germany has nothing like the ADA and it should. I am surprised by the complete lack of concern over here for differently-abled people.
I Heart Breitbartbees
@Bob In Portland: Holy fuck! I don’t want to Godwin, but it’s kinda unavoidable in this case. I’ve worked with handicapped people of several types. The most severe handicap, though, is being an asshole. In that sense, those neighbors and that asshole in your neck of the woods are far more handicapped than even a child with fumarase deficiency (aka Polygamist Down’s).