Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Will City of Cambridge Move City Council Meetings to the Morse School Auditorium Due to Ban on Service Dogs??

Hi Folks, due to so many rumors about the City banning guidedogs for the blind at City Coumcil Meetings, I am writing this update.

I recieved a letter from the City Manager stating that he had been advised that Councillor Decker had informed Mayor Ken Reeves that the presence of my "dog" "exacerbated" her allergies, and that the "City," after analizing her request to ban my "dog" from City Council meetings, has decided to exclude my "dog" from City Council meetings.

My "dog" is a service dog, and by law, the City must modify its policies to allow a person with a disability to be accompianied by their service dog wherever other members of the public are allowed. More than a year ago, Councillor Decker, Mayor Reeves, and the City Manager, as well as all the other City Councillors, except Kelley, have recieved from me in writing what my disability is, and how the dog is used to help me with my disability.

Councillor Decker's request to exclude my dog from City Council was first made as an assault during the business part of the public City Council Meeting on Oct 30, 2006. This assault, and the following coercian, threats of use of force, calls to animal control to confiscate my "dog", intimidation, went on for 19 min.

The City has edited the video tape. However, members of the public have recorded the action on their own recorders.

I filed a discrimination complaint with MCAD against the cioty, and the city has provided a response. The City's response to my complaint includes affidavits of the named violators, and the City's "position" or defence, if you will.

The City of Cambridge, in its response back to me, is claiming that.....

the presence of the dog is a health hazard like the presence of cigarrette smoke.

If I lose my MCAD complaint the City will ban dogs from Sullivan Chambers, during City Council Meertings due to Councillor Deckers allergies.

This will mean that guide dogs for the blind will also be excluded, because their argument is that the presence of the dog poses a threat th Councillor Decker's health, just like the presence of cigarrette smoke.
Sullivan Chamber is not a small room. If the meeting were held in a small room, then it would be possible for Councillor Decker to reguest a reasonable accomodation and have the meeting moved to a large room. for example, the meeting room at Woodrow wilson is a small room, as is the room on the second floor of the Sr Center.

However, Sullivan Chamber is a very large room, aprox 45' wide, 50' long and 26-30' high. If this room is too small, and has poor ventilation, then the City mayu be required to move the City Council meetings to a more accessible space, one with better ventilation, such as the Auditorium at the Morse School.

Today, when I was at the Mayor's Office, the Mayor's staff informed me that Mayor Reeves, and the City were not going to ban service dogs, including guide dogs for the blind from City Council meetings. However, she did not know about the letter sent to me by the City Manager, nor the City's position on the presence of "dogs" in public meetings.
Another thing you may not have been told, is that on Oct 16th, City Council staff asked me to sit in the back far side of the public area because councillor Decker had not taking her allergy meds due to an appointment with her dr to due allergy testing the following day. I immediately agreed, and moved right away. And when I arrived on Oct 30th, I immediately went to the back far side without being asked.

I find it incomprehensible that Councillor Decker and Mayor Ken Reeves would make a public statement implying that I had not shown her any consideration.

The purpose of this is to clarify the facts re the issue of the City's attempt to ban service dogs and guide dogs from City Council meetings. They are trying to do this, and I have it in writing, and I am fighting against it. however, i am poor, and with no money, cannot afford an attorney. So, I very well may lose, and then a very unfortunate president will be set.


At Thursday, February 08, 2007 8:52:00 AM, Blogger seahorse said...

You are fantastic. I love the way you use photography to empower your very pertinent posts. It just shows how powerful blogs can be - far more impact than a line or two in the local press. Keep going with your campaign. These people need educating.


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