Saturday, April 21, 2007

Disabled Woman with Service Dog Denied Entrance to Boston MA State House!!

A woman with a disability accompianied by her service animal was denied access to the State House Friday, April 20, 2007. She called Govenor Patrick's office on her cell phone, and asked they send someone to the entrance to assist her in gaining access. She had been told that she needed a letter from the Department of Public Safety before she would be allowed entrance. The DCR Ranger gave directions to One Ashburton Place, where she could find the Department of Public Safety. Only after the aid from the Govenor's office arrived, and after making a copy of the Delta Society description of the Civil Rights Act of 1990, and being reassured that no special tag was required, was the woman allowed entrance to the State House with her service dog.

"I shouldn't have to go through this in order to enter the State House," and the Department of Public Safety does not issue such letters, said the woman. The DCR Ranger accused her of being rude because she asked him what his name was. "This was caused by your rude behavior, you asked me what my name was," complained the DCR Ranger. I need your name to make a complaint, she responded.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mayor Ken Reeves and City Manager Bob Healy pull another fast one on neighbors concerned with crime in Cambridge

Above is a photo, taken at night, of flowers tied to a tree that marks the location where Corey Davis was gunned down on a quiet tree lined street in Cambridgeport, only 2 blocks from my home.

Fatal Cambridge shooting stuns family-oriented neighborhood
By Chris Helms and Thomas Caywood/ Cambridge Chronicle and Boston HeraldMonday, March 20, 2006 - Updated: 01:38 PM EST

Neighbors were concerned, naturally, with the continuing violence that raged across Cambridge, and we circulated a petition, and clamored for a special committee to address the complex problems that resulted in the shedding of blood on sidewalks right in front of our homes.

City Council passed an order setting up such a neighborhood crime task force, and finally a meeting was schedualled. A meeting as secret and closed as the Mayor's travel receipts. More clamor from neighbors resulted in the meeting being reschedualled, and notice to the public. The first meeting was held during the day when folks who were working could not attend. More clamor and finally the meeting was schedualled for the evening. The only problem it is in direct conflict with neighborhood meetings!!!!

Why are the hardworking, decent folks who are my neighbors being jerked around like this??

Here is the comment I left on the Mayor's Blog hosted by the Cambridge Chronicle...

"Dear Mayor Reeves, I sure can appreciate your argument for privacy, which is part of my complaint about the police action called by you on Oct 30, 2006, and the repeted attempt of the police and others to intimidate me, threaten me with (another false) arrest, threat and attempt to illegally confiscate my service animal. Not to mention comments re your mistaken view that I am mental.

The fact is, neither I nor my service dog has ever hounded you on your travel expenses.

But I do wish that you would hold the “neighborhood” Crime Task Force at a time when I and my neighbors can attend, and not during neighborhood meetings, which presents a direct conflict.

So, please do enjoy your dinners out at my expense, but cut the nonsense, and hold these important, criticle “Neighborhood” Crime Task Force meetings at a time when the neighbors can attend.


Below is the letter I submitted to my neighborhood list serve, please do comment as you like.

Hi folks, in case you were hoping the police update at tomorrow's CNA meeting would include an update on when the next meeting of the Neighborhood Crime Task Force would be held, and if it would be at a time and place convenient so
Cambridge residents and neighbors who work could attend, Mayor Ken Reeves and the City Manager have schedualled it in direct conflict with various neighborhood meetings, and in conflict with the Cambridge Commission for Persons With Disabilities meeting!!

The "Crime Task Force" meeting is schedualled for Thursday, April 12, at 6:30pm at City Hall Annex.

Residents, neighbors, and PWDs interested in hearing Myra Berloff from Mass Office of Disabilities, guest speaker, will not be able to be in two places at one time.

Is the Mayor or the City Manager out so out of touch with
the neighborhoods, and PWDs, that they do not know when the neighborhood associations hold their meetings? Or is this just an in your face reaction to our continued support for this committee being open to the public?

take care

Monday, April 09, 2007

City Council in Brief

City Council meeting was well attended with a multitude of speakers, and lasted for hours and hours, not breaking up intil midnight, as your favotite councillors pontificated on one issue after another. Many who had signed up to speak went home without speaking as the hours draged by.

Councillors waffled on the dogs, grass and medalion issues at Fresh Pond, one point that caught the attention was the enforcement and issuing of medalions before the City Council had voted/approved the program. city solicitor took the side of the Water Department.

Policy Order re Opposition to Urban Ring Phase II did not succeed, in spite of an excellently writen policy order by Craig Kelley, and impassioned speakers, and a letter to the editor at the Cambridge Chronicle supporting the order. Henrietta Davis tabled it, so it will be on the agenda until it is removed. Anyone who wishes can speak on this at the next Council meeting.

Policy Order supporting the UN Convention on Disability Rights passed. Yea!! As founder for Citizens for Feasible Compliance I wish to thank Craig Kelley for the effort and research he put into this order, and which resulted in raising awareness.

(oops, where did my colour go??)

The Cioty Managers Item #3 re response to request for info re the City's snow clearing efforts after the Valentine Day storm was not tabled, but placed on file. There was some discussion on this, and comments that more needs to be done. That is an understatement, and the same old rhetoric!! Enough is enough!

All the City Councillors were still in their seats at midnight, a record I am sure!!

Snow Job by Cambridge City Manager Healy In City Council Tonight!!

Seniors and people with disabilities, PWDs, who have mobility disabilities, have a difficult time getting around on the best of days. Snow and ice, when not removed, cleared or treated, create a barrier that threatens the safety of those with mobility disabilities. The photo above shows a man using a cane in each hand approaching an crosswalk on an icy sidewalk. he was just standing there, slightly bent over, and wondering what to do, because the curb ramp and cross walk were still covered with snow, and iced over.

The photo above shows that my service dog, Shannon, has stopped because the curb ramp at the street level, is covered with snow and iced over, even though the abutter has cleared snow from the sidewalk leading to the cross walk. The City must keep accessible routes clear of snow, and State Law requires the City to remove snow from public ways. That means sidewalks as well as streets. Here the street is icy too.
Above is a photo of the Bus Stop on Mass Ave in front of the City Wide Senior Center. Please observe that the snow has been cleared inside the sheltered bus stop, but not from the accessible route from the bus shelter to the curb where seniors and PWDs board the bus. This failure to clear the snow creates a barrier to PWDs trying to access transportation to and from the Senior Center, the Post Office, and City Hall right across the street.
The photos above and below show how the City plows snow into cross walks and curb ramps. Each photo shows that the abuttors have cleared snow from the sidewalks and curb ramps abutting their property, but the City has plowed snow from the street into the cross walks and curb ramps. Please do take note of the impression of the snow plow blade on the huge pile of snow. This results in a senior or a PWD not being able to equally enjoy the services the City provides, the sidewalks, because the pile of snow pushed into the curb ramp creates a barrier to access.

Below is a photo of snow 6-7" deep still not cleared from the sidewalk of a senior PWD on the City's Snow Exemption Program (CSEP). It is the City's responsibility to shovel snow from this sidewalk, and all other sidewalks of homeowners on the CSEP. As you can see the snow prevents the gate from being opened, and the PWD is totally blocked by the snow.

Will the City come and shovel the snow? Wanna bet on it?

As you can see in the photo above, the City did not shovel the snow at all, they dumped a shi* load of salt on top of the 6-7" of snow without removing the snow first. The salt didnt melt the snow, because the sidewalk is on the north side of the house and gets no warm afternoon sun. The heavy deep salt laden snow in the photo above is a barrier that folks with mobility disabilities cannot negotiate. Folks who are blind and use canes cannot shing their cane thru this snow, and if you look at the photo below, a closeup of the amount of salt and depth of snow, PWDs using service dogs, guide dogs, cannot walk here with their dogs, because the amount of soaking wet salt gets into the sensitive pads of the dogs feet, burning them, and causing the service dog, guide dog to limp.

Above is a view of the parking area behind City Hall. This is also the "handicapped" entrance, and the emergency egress to the building. The City owns this property, it is not a public way. As ypu can see the parking spaces for the cars on the left have been cleared of snow, and the accessible route into the building has also been cleared of snow, but the accessible HP parking space on the right continues to remain blocked by snow.
Above is a photo taken on Franklin Street showing how the City plowed snow out of a parking space reserved for delivery vehicles. They pushed the snow right up against the rear of the HP space. They did not clear snow from the HP space. They did stop short of plowing the snow into this HP space.
More photos from Franklin St shows a dedicated HP space with snow plowed into it. Above shows the whole space as one would drive by, and below how it looks if a PWD with a HP plate of plackard would try to access this HP space. As you can see it would be impossible to park here as the HP space is filled with huge piles of snow. This series of photos shows how the City does clear some spaces, but not HP spaces, and even plowes snow into HP spaces. This outrageous discrimination continues despite dozens of complaints, and two years after I filed a MCAD complaint against the City of Cambridge for failing to clear snow and denying access to PWDs during the winter.

I would like to point out that the City managers report In City Council re snow clearance after the Feb 14th snow storm is unacceptable, and fails to include any evidence that supports his disingenuous claims. In fact his report does not include and ststement from the Camb Commission for Persons With Disabilities, who discussed the City's failure to clear snow even 5 days after the storm. It also does not include any statement from Susan pachico who is the director at the Senior Center who oversees the City's Snow Exemption Program.
These photos are just some of the dozens of photos I took to document the City of Cambridge's failure to clear snow, and continues violations of the civil rights of PWDs.
Who wouldn't be outraged??????