Disability rights (from Ravi Maholtra)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jun 12 13:01:04 MDT 2001


RE: Governor Pataki's recent initiative to weaken the New York state
building code (applies outside of NYC) in terms of partial accesibility /
visitibility / affordable adaptability -- now required in new apartments in
larger buildings. Pataki's appointees on this council, which can change the
Buiding Code without direct legislative approval of the final changes --
are moving towards reducing these modest accessibility requirements from
100% of new units in larger new buildings, to just 2%. This will mean over
20,000 fewer partially-accessible units being added to the state;s housing
stock, each year.

If you want to help, write a letter to Governor Pataki and your N. Y. State
legislators, saying that no matter what "model" building code is adapted in
the coming year, New York State must NOT slide backwards in ANY of it's
code protections for people with disabilites, and must put the common good
of all above the greed and cynicism of a handful of wealthy real estate
developers who are telling Pataki to weaken the building code. This is one
of those "race to the bottom" things that conservative spin doctors call
"reforms".... (if a huge corporate lobby like the National Association of
Homebuilders, NAHB, and it's state-level affiliate, donate enough "soft
money"), that they hope you will not even notice. Pataki will probably be
surprised to get any voter mail on this at all, because he thinks we're not
paying attention. Let him know that we DO know what he's up to here, and
we'll vote against him adn his party, if he doesn't back off on this civil
rights issue.

At the national level, the NAHB lobby is even openly attacking the recently
added (1988) disabled-friendly parts of the federal civil rights law -- the
Fair Housing Act.

Jim Davis

PLEASE TRANSMIT THIS PUBLIC COMMENT TO TODAY'S MEETING OF THE "STATE FIRE
PREVENTION AND BUILDING CODE COUNCIL", to be held at 10 AM at Meeting Room
#7, The Governor N. A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza Convention Center,
Albany, NY

-------------------------------------

P U B L I C  C O M M E N T

To: The Members of the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code
Council

From: Disabled In Action of Metropolitan New York, Public facilities
Accessibility Committee

Disabled In Action of Metropolitan New York and informed voters with
disabilities all over the State of New York, are shocked at the recent
steps taken by the Technical Sub-Committee of this codes council, to
abandon the State's historic commitment to moving towards equal civil
rights for people with disabilities, in the new housing accessibility area.

There is a tremendous shortage of housing in New York State accessible to
people with mobility disabilities. And the percentage of the state's
residents who have such disabilities will be steadily increasing with
longer life spans, in the next several decades. Also the recent Supreme
Court Olmstead decision favoring housing desegregation for people with
disabilities, saying that we can't be imprisoned in custodial institutions
when we'd be better off living on our communities -- will increase the
number of tenants searching for accessible housing for independent living.

Disabled In Action OPPOSES the recent steps towards the abandonment of the
requirement in the current state building Code, for all units to have some
modicum of visit-ability and low-cost adaptability. If the International
building Code is to be adopted, then the Codes Council MUST honor it's
previously stated commitment, to making an exception so that all housing
units that currently must be "Type A" units, will continue to have that
requirement.

---

WE ALSO STRONGLY SUPPORT -- THE MOTION THAT YOU WILL BE HEARING TODAY from
Terry Moakley of the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, to at the very
least, modify the International Building Code as it may be adopted, to
preserve (1.) the current more "functional-for-all" door swing clearances,
and (2.) to provide one "Type A" bathroom per unit.

---------------------

It is shocking for the State Of New York to be recently moving in the wrong
direction to permit even more of what the architect Leslie Kanes Weisman
has called in the title of her book "Discrimination By Design". This is
inconsistant with the spirit of New York State's own human rights laws.

Eighty percent of all people will experience disability at some phase in
their lives. Non-disabled or not-yet-disabled New Yorkers all have friends,
neighbors and relatives who we would like to invite into our homes, without
discriminatory, designed-in barriers creating physical segregation. People
with disabilities number over 55 million in the United States, about half
od whom have severe disabilities, and are not only growing in percentage of
the overall population as the baby boomers age, but are already the largest
stigmatized and discriminated against minority in America.

And, we vote.

JIM DAVIS

(Class of 1984, B. Arch., from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, School
of Architecture)
Co-Chair Public Facilities Accessibility Committee
Disabled In Action of Metropolitan New York
POB 30954 Port Authority Station New York, NY 10011-0100


Louis Proyect
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