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Mayor won't permit wheelchair ramps to mar sidewalk

This story should fall in the stranger-than-fiction category: The former mayor of Altoona, PA, Pat Stoner, is telling business owners they can't put "handicapped access" ramps on their buildings because the "streetscape’s purpose was to make downtown more pedestrian and cycling friendly."

I wish I were making this up.

The board unanimously agreed that Paul Mahoney, owner of Puff N Snuff at 978 Pennsylvania Ave., should not be allowed to build a wooden ramp to make his store compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. “I just think it’s wrong, and I’m going to push it to the limit,” Mahoney told the three-member board after it rejected his request for a variance to the borough setback ordinance. He told board members they were more interested in how the town looked than compliance with state and federal law, or allowing people with disabilities to have access to his store.

I'm not even going to make fun of reporter Greg Bock for using the tacky "handicapped accessible" phrase.


The story's from the April 19 Altoona Mirror: Store owner loses his bid to add ramp


Hmm.. I wonder how ramps could possibly interfere with the goal of being "pedestrian" friendly...


Wheelchair users aren't pedestrians, too?


I guess I never got the memo that handicapped was suddenly a bad word. Looking back, perhaps I could have used disabled. After all, it seems to be the buzz word of choice these days, until another euphemism takes its place. While "disablity" has crept into the political correct world of government, hence the Americans With Disabilities Act, my copy of the Associated Press stylebook still has the word "handicapped" listed, along with disability and impaired. Not to mention disability refers to the person's condition, while handicapped refers to any physical barriers that person faces. Granted, words like "invalid" and "cripple" are completely unacceptable, but if the word "handicap" has somehow become a dirty word, then Sheesh! And better tell these folks, too.






Well, sheesh, Greg. If paying attention to the words people with disabilities use for their own experience and community makes you cranky and defensive, then you shouldn't have to, you poor thing. Politically charged and nuanced language is harrrd.

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