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From:

To:
Cc:
Subject:
Date:

Dr. Parrott
Rita, Sherri
Nik Dehejia; Nancy Filippi
RE: transport at zoo for elderly, handicapped...
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:47:10 PM

Sounds good to me. Thanks!

From: Rita, Sherri [mailto:SRita@oaklandnet.com]


Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 9:03 AM
To: Dr. Parrott
Subject: RE: transport at zoo for elderly, handicapped...
Dr. Parrottthank you for your graciousness on Monday and for the good discussion.

I think it would make sense for us to wait until your visit with Ms. Ansfield to decide on how
best to respond to her with our formal resolution. I dont think it will differ much from what
we discussed (thank you for bringing these concerns to our attention; the zoo does not in
fact offer wheelchair rentals because of the steep terrain, and offering personal devices
such as wheelchairs is not something that is required to comply with disability access laws;
unfortunately you received incorrect information about there being a fee associated with
the cart reservation, but your concerns did prompt a revisiting of the policy regarding the
amount of notice required to make the reservation so it is now shortened to a week; and
the zoo will be exploring the development of tools and additional information to make it
easier for people with mobility disabilities to plan their visit) but we can also memorialize
what efforts youve made and anything relevant that comes out of your visit with her later
this week. Does that make sense?

Also, I wanted to share with you the San Diego zoo materials I mentioned:
http://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/content/guests-disabilities

Finally, I had mentioned that issue that our office recently resolved involving providing free
admission to 1:1 aides accompanying guests with disabilities at Childrens Fairyland; I am
attaching our determination (statement of findings and policy going forward with Childrens
Fairyland and similar programs, and the final response to the complainant) for your
records, so in the event you do encounter such a request, you will have this framework to
reference. And of course, should anything like this come up that youd like to confer on,
thats what Im here for

I will be out of town starting tomorrow morning but I do look forward to learning how your
visit with Ms. Ansfield goes.

Best regards,

Sherri L. Rita, J.D.


Acting ADA Projects Coordinator | ADA Programs Division
City of Oakland | Public Works
One Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 3rd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
510-238-6919 (voice) 510-238-2007 (TTY)

This e-mail message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged
information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended
recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message and any
attachments. The information, materials, and/or technical assistance that are provided by the ADA Programs
Division do not constitute a determination of your legal rights or responsibilities and do not create an attorneyclient relationship.

From: Dr. Parrott [mailto:drparrott@oaklandzoo.org]


Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2014 3:30 PM
To: Rita, Sherri
Subject: RE: transport at zoo for elderly, handicapped...

Sherri,

When you get to the entrance of the park at Golf Links Rd., tell the cashier that you are here to meet
with me and they will pass you through. Come through the park gate, stay to the right and come up
the hill to the main parking lot. Cross the parking lot and, as you get to the top, there is a large olive
green administration building on the left. That is my office. See you then!

From: Rita, Sherri [mailto:SRita@oaklandnet.com]


Sent: Monday, August 4, 2014 4:33 PM
To: Dr. Parrott
Subject: RE: transport at zoo for elderly, handicapped...

Hi Dr. Parrott--yes, let's plan on 3 on 8/11. Just let me know where/how I can meet up with you.
Thanks!

-----Original Message----From: Dr. Parrott [mailto:drparrott@oaklandzoo.org]


Sent: Sat 8/2/2014 9:46 AM
To: Rita, Sherri
Subject: RE: transport at zoo for elderly, handicapped...
Hi Sherri.
I am off 8/4, but I could show you around at 3:00 on 8/11. Does that work for you? Probably an hour should do it,
unless you want to feed the giraffe...
-----Original Message----From: Rita, Sherri [mailto:SRita@oaklandnet.com]
Sent: Friday, August 01, 2014 12:18 PM
To: Dr. Parrott
Subject: RE: transport at zoo for elderly, handicapped...
Thank you Dr. Parrott--do either 8/4, anytime, or 8/11 after 2:30 look like possibilities?
About how much time do you think we should allocate? Just so I know how much time to block off.
Looking forward to it!

Sherri L. Rita, J.D.


Acting ADA Projects Coordinator | ADA Programs Division City of Oakland | Public Works One Frank H. Ogawa
Plaza, 3rd Floor Oakland, CA 94612
510-238-6919 (voice) 510-238-2007 (TTY)
This e-mail message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged
information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended
recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message and any
attachments. The information, materials, and/or technical assistance that are provided by the ADA Programs
Division do not constitute a determination of your legal rights or responsibilities and do not create an attorney-client
relationship.

-----Original Message----From: Dr. Parrott [mailto:drparrott@oaklandzoo.org]


Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2014 5:15 PM
To: Rita, Sherri
Subject: FW: transport at zoo for elderly, handicapped...
Hi Sherry. Here is the message I sent to Alice.
I look forward to your visit!
-----Original Message----From: Dr. Parrott
Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2014 3:26 PM
To: 'Alice Ansfield'
Subject: RE: transport at zoo for elderly, handicapped...
Alice,
I checked with my staff to confirm our understanding and our policy, and it was accurate.
We take ADA very seriously, not because it is required,, but because our guests need the service and it is the right
thing to do. Accessible pathways are helpful for wheelchairs, walkers, any mobility problems, and strollers.
We inherited a zoo from the city of Oakland in 1982 that had non-accessible pathways, and a zoo that was
constructed in the hills. We could not change the terrain, so we worked with the city and federal consultants to
make the zoo accessible to anyone with mobility problems. Our solution fell to two primary commitments: all new
future construction pathways would meet all ADA slope and railing requirements; existing steep pathways would
be made accessible with two free electric carts. This has worked well so far.
The implementation of this needed to be practical and achievable. As a result, we simply ask that guests in need of
transportation help us by scheduling ahead of time. We cannot be expected to have a full-time staff member ready
and available every day, ready to drive a person with mobility needs at any given moment. We do not charge for
this service, and the carts can carry the entire family (up to five). I am going to re-evaluate the length of time (2-3
weeks) required for that prior notice, in order to reduce the amount of time advance notice is required. Hopefully,
this will make it more available to the general public.
Wheelchair rentals is another story. We were pulled by our insurance company from offering a wheelchair rental
program, much like you might see at Disney (Disney is flat terrain). Our insurance carrier would not provide
liability coverage for this service, due to the liability risk of someone pushing a wheelchair in the hills, and losing
control of the wheelchair going downhill. This would jeopardize the individual in the wheelchair as well as any
guest that might get hit. Motorized wheelchairs can also injure guests.
We currently take a risk with our free electric carts. We had a driver transporting a guest with MS. The driver
inadvertently hit another guest on the pathway during a very crowded day. We were then sued by the guest IN THE

CART with MS, due to the stress the accident caused, even though it was a courtesy handicap shuttle and the guest
in the cart suffered no injury. This risk of injury litigation with our electric carts is a risk our insurance carrier has
allowed us to assume.
I hope this Is helpful. Please feel free to phone me at 510-632-9525 x 172 if you would like to discuss this further.
Again, I can assure you that we believe deeply in making sure the zoo remains accessible to anyone that would like
to visit.
Joel Parrott, President/CEO

-----Original Message----From: Alice Ansfield [mailto:alice@radiancemagazine.com]


Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2014 11:57 AM
To: Dr. Parrott
Subject: Re: transport at zoo for elderly, handicapped...
thank you!
On Jul 31, 2014, at 11:50 AM, "Dr. Parrott" <drparrott@oaklandzoo.org> wrote:
> Thank you Alice. I will follow up. Dr. P
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> On Jul 31, 2014, at 11:35 AM, "Alice Ansfield"
<alice@radiancemagazine.com<mailto:alice@radiancemagazine.com>> wrote:
>
>
>
> Begin forwarded message:
>
> From: Alice Ansfield
> <<mailto:alice@radiancemagazine.com>alice@radiancemagazine.com<mailto:
> alice@radiancemagazine.com>>
> Subject: transport at zoo for elderly, handicapped...
> Date: July 31, 2014 11:14:59 AM PDT
> To: <mailto:bob@oaklandzoo.org>
> bob@oaklandzoo.org<mailto:bob@oaklandzoo.org>
> Cc: <mailto:services@disabilityrightsca.org>
> services@disabilityrightsca.org<mailto:services@disabilityrightsca.org
> >, <mailto:adaprograms@oaklandnet.com>
> adaprograms@oaklandnet.com<mailto:adaprograms@oaklandnet.com>,
> <mailto:ccalabrese@oaklandnet.com>
> ccalabrese@oaklandnet.com<mailto:ccalabrese@oaklandnet.com>,
> <mailto:haguilar@oaklandnet.com>
> haguilar@oaklandnet.com<mailto:haguilar@oaklandnet.com>
> Bcc: Alice Ansfield
> <<mailto:alice@radiancemagazine.com>alice@radiancemagazine.com<mailto:
> alice@radiancemagazine.com>>
>
> Hi Bob Westphal,
>
> I'm writing to inquire about the resources offered at the zoo for

> people who are elderly or disabled in some way and cannot walk to see a certain exhibit.
>
> I called the other day to try to set up a ride on the cart to go see the elephants, an exhibit at the far end of the
> park, and quite a ways to have to walk. The people at the zoo I spoke with said there are only "docent tours"
> that are pre-arranged 3-4 weeks ahead of time.... there is nothing
> available to people in need on a daily basis who may show up with their families to enjoy a day at the zoo.
>
> I called a few other zoos and found out they offer wheelchairs for
> rent (the push kind and electric). I understand the Oakland Zoo is
> quite hilly in areas and there may be a liability issue for the wheelchairs on hills. However, this should not stop
the zoo from setting up a resource to take care of those who show up and have a need for physical assistance.
>
> How about a position at the zoo of daily transport, like the airport, where staff give rides to folks in need on the
> electric carts -- drive them to their gate, back to the luggage area, etc. etc. You could have something like that
on a daily
> basis, for all hours the zoo is open, where for a minimal fee if
> necessary, people can get a ride to an exhibit or back to the parking
> lot if they get tired or are in pain during their visit. The cart drivers would carry walkie talkies/radios and be in
constant touch with an operator who will tell them where to go next, who is needing their help.
>
> This seems so obvious a need and I can't understand why this is not
> being done already. The SF Bay area is a leader in disability rights.
> It's shocking to know that the zoo has not taken this whole issue into account and come up with what looks to be
an easy solution for its visitors.
>
> Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please get back to me on this. I would be happy to discuss this
more.
>
> I will wait to hear from you before taking it further into various
> community, city, state groups who work on issues for the disabled and elderly and the media.
>
> Thank you.
>
> Alice Ansfield
>
>