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XX (b)(6

)
Kingston, NY XX
June 8, 1993
XX

The Honorable Daniel Patrick Moynihan
The Russel Building Room 464
Washington D.C. 20510

Dear Sir,
It has come to my attention that although there laws on
the books that require public buildings to be accessible for
persons with disabilities, the enforcement of these laws leaves
much to be desired. In fact, it leaves everything to be desired as
they are hardly enforced at all. Having XX who must use a
wheelchair which makes it difficult if not impossible to gain
access to many public buildings, I feel very strongly that
something must be done to increase enforcement of these laws.

According to the Americans With Disabilities Act: Title III
Sec 12182. Prohibition of discrimination by public accommodations
subsection a) General rule, "No individual shall be discriminated
against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment
of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or
accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person
who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public
accommodation." Apparently, the owners of many public facilities,
especially in the greater Kingston, N.Y area have not been informed
of this fact. Sadly, I can speak from first-hand experience of
many public buildings which are completely inaccessible by disabled
persons, and the owners of these facilities have no intention of
coming up to par on this law, because the authorities seem to let
this behavior slide. It is a sad time in America when a business
will knowingly discriminate against individuals with disabilities
because they know that they won't lose enough money due to
boycotts, and that the authorities will do nothing to remedy the
situation.

For example. The Hudson Valley Mall, in Ulster, NY, has doors
that are so heavy that "normal" people have trouble opening them.
Imagine trying to open such a door while confined to a wheelchair
with the limitations in movement that come with this. True, a
person in a wheelchair could get someone else to open said door,
but the word "accessible" implies that an individual can use or
operate a device without outside help. Remarkably, these doors
passed inspection and were allowed. When the mall added a new
section, these same doors were again installed. The mall
authorities were asked by the Resource Center for Accessible Living
if they would consider installing electric doors that would he much
easier for disabled persons to use. The answer was a resounding
Is no". The rationale used was that teenagers who frequent the mall
would use these doors as a source of entertainment by continually
opening and closing these doors. Speaking as a teen, I must say

that neither myself nor my friends would do anything of the sort,
despite the obvious temptation. True, electric doors are much more
fun than a video arcade any day, but I think that we would be able
to control ourselves. The I.B.M. plant in Kingston as well as
other retail stores such as Caldor and various supermarkets have
installed these doors, and I can't recall often hearing teenagers
discussing hanging out at these locations in order to play with the
doors.

Another example is the Kingston High School's MJM Building.
A few years back, the school board was allotted money by the
district to make the building accessible for the disabled.
However, the district decided to spend the money elsewhere. I am
aware of the regulation in the ADA Guidelines that states that all
buildings under three stories do not have to modify themselves to
meet the standards of the law, but isn't it ridiculous when a
disabled child can't be mainstreamed into society because the
school would rather build a baseball field? This kind of thinking
keeps the stereotypes about the disabled alive, that they can't be
active members of society because their bodies cannot always
respond to their brains, which happen to work as well as anyone (b)(6)
else's. As an example, my XX has had XX hip revisions XX
is currently serving as a XX and XX for the Town
of Kingston. I can understand that smaller businesses cannot
afford modifications, but what's to stop larger companies from
simply renting smaller office buildings so that they don't have to
spend money to flaunt the law? Perhaps this law should use income,
and not building size as a cutoff for determining accessibility.
Also, the school board itself meets on the second floor of it's
office building. Since there is no elevator in this building (as
it's under three stories tall), this seems to me to be a convenient
way for the board to not have to deal with the problem, as no one
confined to a wheelchair or walker can complain about conditions
since they can't attend school board meetings anyway.
A third, and particularly sad, example is the case of a local
doctor in Kingston. This man (who will remain nameless) refuses to
build a ramp to his office although most of his patients have
physical disabilities, as he is a practicing neurologist. He has
told his patients that he will meet them at the hospital if they
can't get in to the building, but this goes against the ADA on two
counts. First, it is discriminatory against people confined to
wheelchairs or walkers, and secondly, it is extremely difficult to
find parking in the middle of the city that a disabled person can
use which is close to the doors so that it is easier for the
disabled person to get inside. Is money so important now to the
medical profession that they won't spend money to make life a
little easier for the people who not only are the ones they are
supposed to help, but pay the doctors' salaries as well? According
to section 12181 of the ADA, paragraph 7, such an office is
considered "a professional health office of a health care provider"
and therefore must be accessible. Why is he allowed to get away
with this?

One final question. Why on tax forms do the blind receive tax
breaks while other disabled persons do not. Who decided that the
blind are always the worst off? I believe that the tax break
should be based on the severity of the disease, and not a simple
"he deserves it for being blind" decision.

People often wonder why disabled-rights groups such as the
aforementioned RCAL become militant and stage boycotts of local
businesses. Unfortunately, these people don't understand what it's
like to not be able to enter a building because a physical malady
prevents one from entering the front door. These people will never
understand until it happens to them or someone they care about.
It's like the person who always parks in a disabled parking spot
because they'll "only be a minute." As soon as they are injured
and need this spot, they suddenly understand the frustration of not
being as free as other members of society because of careless
citizens and a disability. I always thought that America was a
better country than that. I hope that I won't be proven wrong, and
I hope something can he done to remedy this situation. Hopefully,
some money can be appropriated to increase enforcement of the laws
already on the books if new laws can't he passed or new committees
created to prevent these problems before they occur. I don't think
it much matters how the problem is solved as long as we can be
assured that someone is at least making an attempt at trying to
solve it.
Sincerely,

XX
XX
(b)(6)

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