Ragged Edge Online ABOUT US   |   SUBSCRIBE    |   E-MAIL EDITOR   |   HOME



Dec., 2001


  • Administration Olmstead report short on substance
  • Fresno to get more curb cuts in wake of death
  • EEOC Never Funded for ADA Complaints, Says Study
  • Voting Access Bill Not Good Enough, Advocates Say
  • Court Says Kevorkian Must Stay Behind Bars

    Administration 'stealth' Olmstead implementation report short on substance
    "Delivering on the Promise: Preliminary Report of Federal Agencies' Actions to Eliminate Barriers and Promote Community integration" -- the long-awaited report on how federal agencies planned to carry out last May's Executive Order on "Community-Based Alternatives for Individuals with Disabilities" -- was released late in the day on the Friday before the Christmas holidays, signalling that the Adminstration was not interested in the report getting any attention.

    And for good reason: it contains nothing of substance. There's virtually no commitments of any sort that would result in people being assured of staying out of institutions. The report, replete with agencies' commitments to "consider" or "propose" or "suggest" or "coordinate" vague sorts of "activities" -- is online at http://www.hhs.gov/newfreedom/presidentrpt.html

    The Executive Order was meant to direct agencies to explain how they would implement the 1999 Supreme Court Olmstead decision, which said individuals had a right to services in the community rather than in institutions.

    More on the Olmstead decision

    More on the Executive Order

    Fresno to get more curb cuts in wake of activist's death
    Fresno, CA, Dec. 21, 2001 -- The Fresno City Council this week passed two measures aimed at increasing the number of curb cuts in the wake of last March's death of disability activist Elias Gutierrez, who was hit by a motorist while traveling in his wheelchair in the street due to Fresno's lack of curb cuts (See "Mean Streets," Ragged Edge 2001 Issue 4).

    The city will now require that "in all future resurfacing of streets and repair of sidewalks, curb cuts will be automatically installed if not in place," says activist Ed Eames, who has spearheaded the drive for curb cuts in Fresno.

    At Tuesday's meeting the Council also allocated an additional $500,000 for installing curb cuts, "bringing the total amount allocated for this ADA-related requirement to more than $800,000 for the current fiscal year," says Eames. Eames, chair of the Fresno ADA Advisory Council, said his group will recommend that part of the money be used to put in curb cuts along the street where Gutierrez was killed.

    EEOC Never Funded for ADA Complaints, Says Study
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    CHAPEL HILL, NC, Dec. 19, 2001 --The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act has not lived up to its promise of eliminating discrimination in the workplace, in part because the agency that handles discrimination complaints has not been given adequate resources to do its job.

    That is the conclusion of a study completed by a team of researchers and recently published in the Kansas Law Review.

    The researchers reviewed how discrimination complaints were handled by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is responsible for enforcing the ADA's employment provisions. They also visited 10 EEOC field offices, interviewed dozens of EEOC field office staff and officials, and gathered data from state and local agencies.

    "What we found basically is that the EEOC has never been funded to do thorough investigations of each discrimination complaint," said research leader Dr. Kathryn Moss, a research fellow at the University of North Carolina's Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research and senior research fellow at the School of Social Work's Jordan Institute for Families. "The commission, which is responsible for other discrimination laws as well, wasn't funded well enough in the first place, and when the ADA was passed, it got no additional resources."

    Moss said that the EEOC has done a good job at determining which complaints are the most crucial to deal with. The problem is that those are typically the only cases the agency handles.

    "What they do with these medium priority charges usually is to send a pro forma letter to an employer saying there has been a charge and to ask the employer to respond to various points," Moss said. "Then, more often than not, they take the word of the employer without a follow-up investigation."

    More from the University of North Carolina.

    Voting Access Bill Is Not Good Enough, Advocates Say
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 6, 2001 -- U.S. Representatives Bob Ney of Ohio and Steny Hoyer of Maryland have drafted a measure that would require all 50 states to provide polling places that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984.

    But more than two dozen disability groups are fighting the proposed legislation, saying it is too vague and does not go far enough toward ensuring all voters their Constitutional right to cast a secret ballot.

    "We've had voluntary standards for 17 years, and the GAO (General Accounting Office) did a report where they surveyed over 100 counties last November, and over 80 percent ... were still inaccessible," said Jim Dickson, the vice president of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).

    Most favor a separate measure put together by Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Representative John Conyers of Michigan which is much more specific and includes other provisions to make voting accessible.

    Read more from the Dec. 6 Capitol Hill news service "Roll Call".

    For more information on the AAPD's Disability Vote Project, check out the resources at http://www.aapd.com/dvpmain/dvpindex.html

    Court Says Kevorkian Must Stay Behind Bars
    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    DETROIT, Dec. 1, 2001 -- It looks like Jack Kevorkian won't be getting out of prison anytime soon.

    Last week, the Michigan Court of Appeals denied the notorious "Dr. Death" his request for a new trial.

    In 1999, Kevorkian was convicted and sentenced to prison terms of 10 to 25 years for second-degree murder and seven years for delivering a controlled substance. The crusader for "physician-assisted suicides" has claimed that he "assisted" more than 130 people to die. He was finally stopped after he sent a video-tape of the "mercy killing" of Thomas Youk to the television news magazine "60 Minutes" for national broadcast.

    In his appeal, Kevorkian claimed that his defense attorney, David Gorosh, did not help him enough during his trial. But the appellate court noted that Kevorkian had demanded to represent himself while ignoring the trial judge's repeated reminders of the consequences.

    "Defendant chose - almost certainly unwisely but nevertheless knowingly, intelligently, voluntarily, and unequivocally - to represent himself," the appeals court wrote. "He cannot now assign the blame for his conviction to someone who did not act as his trial counsel."

    Kevorkian also argued in his appeal that the trial judge acted improperly by not allowing testimony from Houk's widow. But the appellate court wrote that the testimony was irrelevant, that it had nothing to do with the case.

    For years, many disability rights advocates have strongly opposed Jack Kevorkian and others who want "assisted suicide" and "mercy killings" to be legal. The advocates argue that making these acts legal would essentially make it "open season" for people with disabilities and any other group that is considered vulnerable or a burden on society.

    The group Not Dead Yet applauded the appeals court's decision.

    "Kevorkian is a serial killer of disabled people and should stay in prison for the full term of his sentence," said Not Dead Yet's Carol Cleigh in a press statement. "Allowing him freedom would be an insult to disabled people everywhere."

    For past stories and related resources on Kevorkian and his link to people with disabilities, go to this Inclusion Daily Express webpage: http://www.inclusiondaily.com/news/advocacy/kevorkian.htm

    More news


  • © Copyright 2001 The Ragged Edge

    This Website produced by Cliffwood Organic Works