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Tim Davis, County Executive Patrick A.

McGrath, Director

County of Summit
Department of Human Services
Disabled Citizens Program
"Making A Difference"
Deval Patrick, 3/31/95
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738

Dear Mr. Patrick,

First I want to congratulate you on the fine job you did
speaking at the Cleveland City Club Form. I was fortunate to
be able to sit in on that meeting. I have also read an ar-
ticle in the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund News
(DREDF) where you were the keynote speaker on Nov. 10, 1994
at their fifteenth year celebration. With your background in
civil rights for all people I feel confident that we have the
right person as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.
There is also another reason for me contacting you and
requesting your guidance and help in resolving an issue that
is of major concern to me and many of other people with lim-
ited mobility in keeping their independence.
The ability to drive yourself to work, to go shopping,
travel, and/or other activities that we do everyday, is a ne-
-cessity that people have long depended on. Just look at the
number of cars & trucks on the highways. However this activ-
ity is slowly being taken away from many of us who can no
longer buy gas without having someone with us that is able
bodied.
More and more gas stations around the country are becom-
ing "Self-Service" only gas stations. Just ask your friends
that have disabilities how difficult it is to get gas today.
This means that if we do need to get gas, we have to find a
gas station with at least one full service pump. The trend by
the oil companies is to eliminate "Full-Service" altogether,
in order to save money. This is taking the opportunity of
living independently and keeping a job next to impossible.
I have been working on this problem for over a year now,
asking and getting support from other disability groups but
we need to do more. I wrote a letter to Janet Reno, who is
suppose to be in charge of the DOJ, pointing out the problem
we are having. I received a response that is like receiving
no answer at all (enclosed). I have also written to many of
our Congressmen and Senators, as well as President Clinton,
and have received letters that amount to a pat on the head
and nothing else in the way of what actions could be taken to
overcome this discriminatory policy that the oil companies
have in place towards people with limited mobility.
47 N. Main Street. 2-148 Akron Ohio 44308 phone: (216) 643-7257

Many of our senior citizens have also told me they too
are having a hard time pumping gas because of limited
strength and problems with mobility and/or dexterity that
they have because of their age and changes in their bodies.
I am hoping that with your help and guidance, and that
of the members of other disability organizations, we might
find a solution to this problem. Perhaps we need to file a
class action suite against a major oil company to have them
change their policies so people have a choice between
Self-Service or Full-Service at their stations. At one time
this was available, but few stations, as I pointed out be-
fore, still offer this option.
I know that the oil industries have a number of lobbyist
on Capitol Hill, which will make this a difficult task, to
say the least. I feel that they believe they are above the
law and that the principals and policies of the Americans
With Disabilities Act does not include them or their gas sta-
tions.
Enclosed is a copy one of the articles that I had in our
"Newsletter" that went out to over 3,000 people and organiza-
tions that work for the benefit of people with disabilities.
Also a copy of a letter I sent to the local Newspapers, from
which I got a number of phone calls thanking me for putting
into words what they were also facing with this discrimina-
tory policy.
I am also writing a letter to Marilyn Golden at DREDF
and ask for her opinions and ideas concerning this matter. I
hope I get more of a response from you than what I got from
Merrily A. Friedlander, Acting Chief Coordinator and Review
Section, Civil Rights Division. Someone at DOJ has to step up
and take charge of situations that threaten the very intent
of the Disability Rights Laws that have been passed to help
protect people with disabilities and afford them equal op-
portunities in this Country.
Thank you for taking time to read this and also for any
help and guidance you might be able to give me as I continue
to fight for the rights of people with disabilities. I'm
looking forward to hearing from you in regards to this mat-
ter.

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert L. Kuiken, Administrative Assistant
Summit County's Disabled Citizens Program
47 North Main Street, 2-148
Akron, Ohio 44308-1991
(216) 643-7364 / Fax (216) 643-7742

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