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My Lonely Fight for Wheelchair Accessibility in Kansas City

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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:39 AM
Original message
My Lonely Fight for Wheelchair Accessibility in Kansas City
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 06:49 AM by mopaul
for the last couple of weeks i've been raising hell about the jazz and blues nightclubs in kansas city that are inaccessible to wheelchairs. i used to work in these clubs, but now that i'm in a motorized wheelchair, i can't get into these places anymore, so i called the 'problem solvers' on one of the local t.v. stations, and they decided to do a feature on it.

it was aired twice last week and hopefully something will come of it. the offending nightclubs are in very old buildings, and they've escaped the laws of accessibility by relying on the so called 'grandfather clauses' which basically say that the buildings were built before such laws were put into effect.

EVERYONE has to make their businesses accessible, but these places don't. that ain't right in my book, and it's affected my pocketbook as well. the only way i can make a living playing music is in these very clubs.

the anchor lady, nancy lewis of Fox 4 News, took on the story, and they filmed me trekking across the busy streets of kansas city, mo., and approaching nightclub entrances and being stopped at the door by an obstacle: two steps. my chair won't go up two steps. and some of the clubs i can get into, but the damn restrooms are on another floor. how ridiculous is that? no one wants to go to a place where you can't get to the restroom.

a city official accompanied me to several of these clubs, and she too is in a motorized wheelchair, and uses a helper dog. she took measurements and started immediately to determine what needed to be done to make it possible for folks in wheelchairs to go see live music.

these grandfather clauses are absurd. i once went to get a physical for social security and when i arrived at the doctor's office, it was up 20 steps, with no elevator. silly huh?

i know the club owners are not being deliberately malicious, and i know they aren't' saying that wheelchair folks aren't' welcome in their clubs, but the effect is the same.

lately i've been getting offers to work in clubs that i can't physically get into, so the frustration is unbelievable.

so the anchor lady and the city official set up a meeting with some of the club owners to see what they could do about it, i wasn't there, but i understand the most of them have agreed to do something, while a couple others are pissed off about it, and pissed at me as well.

basically i just got tired of grinning and bearing it. so many times the disabled have to make concessions and sacrifice certain activities, and most of them are stoic and keep it to themselves, but i just couldn't anymore, and i complained. i've got nothing to lose, so i did it, and i'm glad i did.

this is a difficult to understand issue for anyone who has never been in a wheelchair, but literally anyone could end up in one, i did, you could too, or someone you love could too.

when i ended up in a motorized wheelchair for the rest of my life, i discovered thousands of difficulties and obstacles i never realized existed. and these ridiculous grandfather clauses have got to go.
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McKenzie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:53 AM
Response to Original message
1. some food for thought and lobbying
Over here, we have legislation that requires accessibility to be provided to all public buildings with very few exceptions. (The Disability Discrimination Act 1995). The Act has a major influence on the configuration of toilet facilities, wheelchair access and even the colour schemes used inside buildings in some cases.

Here is a link to a government website that explains how the Act works.
http://www.direct.gov.uk/DisabledPeople/RightsAndObliga...

And if you use "Disability Discrimination Act 1995" to trawl Google you will find a lot of useful information that might help in building up a case for lobbying your elected officials.

Good luck.

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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:54 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. thanks McKenzie
i've been doing a lot of research on the ADA and other orginazations, and i'll check this one out too.
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:21 AM
Response to Reply #1
13. LOL but not the underground
in 89 silly me thought the best way to get to the middle of London from the airport for a pre-cruise stay was to take the underground. My family had a lot of luggage. Silly me thought it would be like the US subways with elevators in addition to escalators. Wrong.... When we got the our station, we found one broke escalator and no elevator. Many trips later up the stairs later............
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formernaderite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #13
81. Europe is still backwards on many of these issues...
Five years ago, I still sawe signs on shops that stated no strollers, and one no children. Obviously wheelchairs would not even by a consideration. A colleague of my wifes told us a story last year, how his subcontracting company still run job ads for "young women only". I assume with the EU regs much of these things will change.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #1
46. There's a lot of information on accessibility in the US because of our own
Americans with Disabilities Act, which mandates that public facilities make reasonable accommodations for patrons (and employees)in wheelchairs. Businesses get tax credits for making alterations. There's really no excuse 15 years after the ADA was passed for any business not to be accessible.
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #46
47. they should make the improvements & deduct it as a business expense
like all other businesses do. there really is no excuse, i agree.
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:56 AM
Response to Original message
3. You probably know about this already...
... but, the guys who are on the forefront of disabled access are the people who watch public transportation. ADA compliance by public transit was a prime concern of local ADA groups. In my experience--working for a bus manufacturer--they're the most tenacious in any community, and will keep up with access issues long after the local TV station has forgotten about the issue.

One of the things that helps is to have not just a disabled government official with you, but have a person with you without disability, so the contrast can be made much more apparent for the cameras.

Biting asses, literally and figuratively, wherever possible helps, too. In those clubs that are giving you a hard time, have someone drive you around with a spare chair in the trunk (one with a belt installed)--then get the owner in it and strap him in, and tell him it's a free rental for the day and tell him to have at. Make him promise to stay in it for twenty-four hours. If necessary, fit a chair with a seat-belt lock so it can't be removed. Then have the cameras follow the club owner for a day.

Nothing like walkin' a mile in someone else's shoes, or the closest equivalent. :)

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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. spend a day in a wheelchair
it's been done many times to illustrate how difficult it is, and everyone should try it. you may have to actually do it someday for real.
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:06 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. Well, the people fighting you haven't...
... they need to be dared to do it. They need to be shamed into doing it. The people who are good sports who will try it because they're open-minded aren't your problem. Your problem is with the people who are the hard-asses, from the sound of it.

Shame works... especially on camera. Use it. :)

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bahrbearian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:58 AM
Response to Original message
5. Mopaul ,,I never knew , I love your work , I have been working on
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 07:00 AM by bahrbearian
the same matters for a friend,, we will just have to "Keep Hammering"
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demnan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:59 AM
Response to Original message
6. Accessibility problems are rampant in this country
despite the laws (which are laxly enforced). In D.C. the elevators on the metro are always out at various stations, and you find yourself going way out of your way to get anywhere even when they work.
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:01 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. i always call in advance to see if they are accessible
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 07:01 AM by mopaul
and some say yes, they are, but when i get there, i discover they aren't.
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Ezlivin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #7
52. Why do they hate us for our wheels?
My wife and I arranged a vacation in Mexico through a travel agency. They assured us of full wheelchair-accessibility.

After a nightmare getting down to Acapulco, we get to our hotel (The Marquis next to the Princess) only to be told that it's the "grounds that are accessible, not your room."

Sure enough, I get to the room and discover a very narrow bathroom door. Naturally there were no handrails anywhere.

Overall the vacation (ended the very next day after we went around the travel agency and found a direct flight back home) was a complete disaster and we ended up suing the travel agency.

We won, but learned one hell of a lesson: Never believe that something is truly accessible until you've gone there yourself.

(And to truly top off this story, I need to add that when we returned to our house, the landlady decided to upgrade our bathroom in our absence. It was completely stripped bare. I was forced to use the spare bathroom and utilize the soap dish as a handrail. It broke the last time I had to use it, severing a tendon in my right hand and putting me into a cast two weeks before the start of the Fall semester at university.)
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #52
76. i've had hotel booking disasters as well
i've specifically asked for ground floor rooms, and upon arriving discovering they were upstairs and no other vacancies. it's a real pisser.

and i've gone to restaurants where the restroom door was too small to roll through. i never believe anyone who says, 'sure, we're wheelchair accessible'
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:03 AM
Response to Original message
8. The grandfather clauses will never go
until you get rid of the exemption in the ADA that allows businesses to ignore it if it will cause them a 'financial hardship'.

Exemptions to the ADA...government buildings, religious buildings and where the necessary changes would cause financial hardship. With no definition of exactly what financial hardship means.

Most government buildings have made the changes even though they aren't required to.

And accessibility is going backwards with no hint of liability. New...NEW...shopping centers here have no accessible doors, or have them in the back of the building next to the loading docks. Aisles, instead of being clear are cluttered to the point of being hard to navigate when you can walk and end caps are so large that you can't turn the corners. I've had to stop going shopping because I can't get my scooter through most places and I hate having my husband push me in the chair. (He goes too fast where I want to look and parks me where I don't)

Add to that people who let their kids jump out in front of you and think it's funny to see if you can stop in time before hitting them. Or tell you that if you can't stand on your own 2 feet you shouldn't be out in public.

btw, since you are in a chair, don't visit Charleston, SC. It's a nightmare for the non-ambulatory.

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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:06 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. "we'll get you in here somehow"
i love that one, hey, we'll carry you and your chair up in here pal, don't worry about it. like i want 3 or 4 guys to try to lift my fat ass and my heavy chair up the stairs. no way.
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:12 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Yeah, I know that one, too.
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 07:14 AM by China_cat
My worst one was the street preachers on a small street standing on a table in the only curb cut for 6 blocks in the direction I was going. When I asked them to stop and move for the 15 or 20 seconds it would take me to get up on the sidewalk and out of cross traffic, they told me to go elsewhere.

I ran over them.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:34 AM
Response to Reply #8
29. OMG, that is inexcusable.
"Add to that people who let their kids jump out in front of you and think it's funny to see if you can stop in time before hitting them. Or tell you that if you can't stand on your own 2 feet you shouldn't be out in public."

Both of these things. How can people be so cruel?

I'm sorry that happened to you, China_cat.
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #29
50. That isn't as bad as the adult
who, without looking around, backed into me and knocked both me and the scooter over. (BIG, BIG guy...the scooter by itself weighs almost 200 lbs.)

Somebody else recommended sitting in a chair for a day and trying to get around. You'd be amazed at the rudeness that surfaces. I sure was.

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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #50
53. I hope you weren't injured. nt
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jbnow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:14 AM
Response to Original message
12. Good for you
Getting the story on TV might make the fight a little bit less lonely and bring some results. Others in chairs might speak out more and those not in chairs might get their eyes opened.

Good for DOING something, bringing it more into awareness. Places often don't spend money that they don't have to and likely some of the clubs didn't even think about it. Now they will. (Think about it that is)

But there are too many crazy stories like the doctor SS sent you to or courthouses and other places people have to go. They might be grandfathered in but it's unbelievable they wouldn't take care of it anyway.

It's an expense but pretty much a one time expense...and you're right-it could be any one of us.

Thanks for what you are doing.
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 08:42 AM
Response to Original message
14. lonely kick
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DanCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 08:52 AM
Response to Original message
15. Thank you for fighting for me
My Brother Mopaul,
Thank you for engaging in this fight. People who dont have problems with mobility dont know how lucky they are. And how much they take for granted. While I am not permanently in a wheel chair, I find myself confined to one every now and then when my body literaly shuts down from parkinson's.

People do not have the slightest idea of how your robbed of your independence when your confined in the "two wheel cadilac" as my dad calls it. There are some nights were I can't even make it to the bathroom on time because my legs refuse to move right. At the same time the dyskensia has my hands moving a mile a minute so go figure.

Anyhow my brother please stay strong focused and healthy. If there is anything I can do to help you in this fight let me know via pm. My best hope and thoughts. :hug: Thank ya Danny

BTW thank you for checking in I was worried about you.
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. the simplest things become almost impossible
simple things that everyone takes for granted, like getting to the bathroom, taking a bath, getting dressed, looking for work, become difficult or impossible.

but since only a tiny percentage of us are on wheels, most folks don't think about it or get it. the squeakiest wheels get the grease.
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DanCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. My problem is my pride
asking for rides, living with mom and pop, going out to see a movie, that sort of thing you feel like your a drain on everyone. And than what really chaff's me is that you got all these people thinking your living high on the hog off "welfare". It just gets too me you know?


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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #17
20. relying on others for help plays with your head alright
it messes with your ego, it makes you feel less than. i hate to even ask for someone to hold the door for me, i like to be independent, but i can't be anymore. i need help getting to the car, etc.

i don't know which is worse, the physical problems or the mental ones that go with them.
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
18. You're a hero, mopaul. Nominated.
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:04 AM
Response to Original message
19. I think it's awesome you decided to do something about it!!!
You are holding the torch for a cause which effects so many people.

:hug:
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DanCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
21. I agree with mom and nominated mopaul
it's easy to give into depression it's another thing to keep fighting. Keep that chin tucked and keep that jab pumping my friend and dont let those bastards breathe. If you need anyhting day or night pm . :toast: Danny.
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:13 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Me, too! Nominated!!
GOOOO MOOOOO!!!! :bounce:
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symbolman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
23. I've had pals in wheelchairs and see it first hand
once in Hawaii years ago I drove a lady around in a motorized wheelchair (van, had no license figured they wouldn't pull me over) and you don't even think about going to the BEACH.. In california I've seen specialised beach wheelchairs that they have for folks that show up in their wheelchair and want to hit the water, big wheels, etc..

I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this shit my friend.

Someone should invent a portable ramp that can unfold and fit most stairs that a wheelchair person could stow on their chair, I mean for those simple two step restrictions you come across all the time, might be a big business..

So that same lady I drove around went to the docks to meet a friend on a cruise, they had a bunch of people in wheelchairs ready to go on a cruise and NO WAY TO GET THEM ON THE SHIP.

I couldn't believe it.. we finally had to take everyone to the part of the dock & ship where they loaded supplies into the side of the boat and me and another guy physically handed wheelchairs with people in them into the ship, BUT there was like a 50 foot drop and two to three foot space between the ship and that loading dock..

I will never forget the looks on those people's faces as we handed them over to the guys on the ship.. one false move and it was OVER for them - big old battery wheelchair types, wieghed a ton.

They all cruised and then we met them when they came back - had to do the same routine all over again, everyone was safe, and as a thank you they all decided to do a "Wheelchair Squaredance" which is the damndest thing I had ever seen in my life, right there on the big old dock.. I was watching from the ship's bow as they "dosydoed" etc

It was amazing, very cool.

I'm certainly not as bad off as you my friend but my back is going nice and steady, constant shrieking pain each morning as my wife peels me out of bed, then it takes me an hour with pain meds in me to "uncurl" and start to feel normal again..

So I know the pain, but it's nothing compared to being stuck in that damn chair. One of my pals in Alaska worked in a glass company and one day a big sheet of glass fell over and folded him in half so he was in a wheelchair for the rest of his life - he OWNED the company after that, had lots of money, but I know for a fact he would have traded all that money for one day of freedom from that damn chair.

Then you also get digestion problems, etc - I worked in a VA so I know pretty much what it all entails, and it ain't FUN.

But at least you have a good sense of humor, can obviously play guitar well enough to make money at it, and are one hell of a cartoonist :) That's more than a lot of people have..

I always imagined you as being taller :)

We love ya man - let's hope if the Jail Mopaul for treason goes through that the jail has NO Wheelchair access :)
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #23
25. yeah, i hope gitmo is accessible
i play the blues/jazz harmonica actually.

the older you get, the worse these physical problems can get, so any old fart can end up on wheels.

i had polio, and have been in wheelchairs at various times, for twenty years i could walk, climb mountains, ride bikes, etc., now i've got post polio syndrome, a slow deterioration of muscles and joints.

i'm better off than many of course, and sometimes when i feel sorry for myself, i'll see a little girl with ms in a wheelchair, and it all comes into focus again.
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symbolman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #25
32. I thought they got rid of Polio when I was a kid
I'm 53 and I remember whole towns where all the citizens would meet at the school gym and everyone got a little plastic cup to eliminate polio completely..

My cousins, and even my young wife have the polio shot scar tho, mine never took, no scar, they said I was already immune or something..

But I remember kids when I was small in iron lungs and Forrest Gump super leg braces, etc..

Sorry to hear that, you must have been one of the few that actually caught that shit, eh? Man.. I really thought they'd wiped it out..

Yeah, I'm old enough now to start thinking about disintigrating before my own eyes, the ultimate cruelty, you get to Watch as you decompose..

Even more fun having a baby at 53, was that ever stupid, tho I'm enjoying every second of the little critter, I'm still going to end up like Carlin's old joke, "The 72 year old father of an Eagle Scout.." :) I can't keep up with him now and he's only Crawling..

Blues Harp, eh? Hope to jam some day - EarlG plays the bass, I play guitar - starting to look like a DU band to me..

Maybe we could all lay down a track and send it off to each other to put their part on it and create a DU "Band" recording :)
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #32
33. i'm 54, caught it when i was 2, i'm one of the last
it's rare to find others who've had it.

a DU jam band, great idea!
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DanCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #33
74. I just started playing Harp Bruce inspired me at the light of day concert
It really helps when the legs goes out. Of course what sucks is when my hands start roamming around and making circles in the air. Before I was dxd with parkinsons they thought I was psychosomatic. Isn't our health care system lovely?
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atommom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:23 AM
Response to Original message
24. Keep fighting the good fight! There really is no excuse for the
grandfather clauses, and they need to be reminded of that.
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #24
27. some clubs have a 'two stairs' barrier, some are on the second floor
with no elevators. some complain that it would cost too much to make the changes but don't realize there are grants and funds available to help them fray the costs.

thank god i can still complain.
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
26. Excuse me,
but aren't you supposed to be in Gitmo? Didn't I sign a petition? WHERE'S MY DEPORTATION?
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bonito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
28. My wife is in one too
A lot of times I have to play scout to see if we can ge into a place.
On a lighter note a few years ago we did some furniture shopping one place there was barely enough room for her to get around and we were shadowed very closely by the owner, I informed him we were not buying at that time , but would return for the dent and scratch sale later. He wasen't pleased.
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #28
41. if he gets dents in his furniture, too bad i guess
that's a good story! i've encountered many an aisle that's too narrow and i've gotten stuck. there needs to be at least a two foot wide clearance on all aisles. and when a manual wheelchair hits carpet, it's like going through mud. so many complaints, so little time.
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nothingshocksmeanymore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:35 AM
Response to Original message
30. This is an area where I think fed funds and tax breaks could
assist small businesses in making themselves more accessible. I do sympathize with small business owners as the costs can be a bit much for them, but there are ways to allow them to compensate for the expense

Good on you for taking a stand for your fellow pals that use wheelchairs :thumbsup:
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
31. Its good to see a post from you mopaul
I guess you're telling me to get busy while I still can walk. I have PAD and the day is coming where a chair will be my best friend. My ford so to speak. I finished concrete for several years and when the accessibility law went into effect we poured many ramps. And btw most waited until the last minute to do it so we were busy doing that for several weeks in and above what we normally did. I was always taken back because so many of the owner's complained about their having to do this. It cost too much and I don't have any customers in chairs in here anyway and on and on. In some cases just put the ramp down there at the end of the sidewalk not here in front of the door, I'm afraid some one might trip on it or something. I hated it then and I'll hate it again.
On a lighter note if I may ask what is your profession. Have you ever thought of doing a book with your artwork, its like no other I've ever seen. Do you have any recording we would want to purchase?
:toast:
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #31
35. 'we don't get that many handicapped people in here anyway'
no shit! they can't get in. i've actually heard of a guy saying that.

for 30 years i was a sign painter, then i drifted into computer graphics. i have no c.d. other than a demo i give to club owners.

but i've put food on the table and raised 3 kids as a musician for 35 years now, i'd hate to give it up.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #35
48. By all means don't give it up, keep right on fighting.
Every one here loves you. From what I've seen of your artwork you just need to be discovered by the right person and that person will come along. And you know what I'm very seldom wrong.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:50 AM
Response to Original message
34. Good work, mopaul!
Haven't seen you around for a while and was getting a little concerned. Wow, and all this time you've been fighting your ass off. Good for you! Welcome back!

:hug:
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shance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
36. Mopaul Im glad to see you around. We've missed ya***
However Im glad to see you're doing some much needed 'activism' in KC.

Keep us posted and keep up the great work as always.
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TX-RAT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:05 AM
Response to Original message
37. Can't help you with the stairs, "but"
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 10:07 AM by TX-RAT
There are several companys who make temporary or portable handicap ramps. Most are just a drop in process with them butting up to the curb.


www.disabilitysystems.com

www.ramps-ramps-ramps.com
www.planetmobility.com/store/ramps/stand-aid/panel
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #37
38. i have a portable ramp
it folds two ways and carries like a suit case, but it weighs 40 lbs. and i can't set it up alone or carry it to the door. i use it to get the chair into the car. the nightclubs ought to have one standing by, that would help.
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Ellen Forradalom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:12 AM
Response to Original message
39. My husband worked in an architectural firm
that specialized in ADA work. I won't claim to have anywhere near the level of awareness you have but it certainly raised my consciousness. I now notice right away if a place isn't accessible.

I heard an NPR commentary by the author of a 'On a Roll.' He lost everything in Katrina, including his first-class motorized wheelchair, which had really helped him. He said everyone rebuilding in NOLA should make accessibility a priority. "I can't even visit some of my friends in their own homes. And when you rebuild, make your bathrooms so I can roll right in and pee." (paraphrase)

I'm glad you put up a fight. This is what will bring club owners around. Not because they're selfish or lazy, but only because they see it in purely economic terms: why should I spent thousands of dollars for a handful of customers? My business will survive without them. Your agitation raises the costs in another way, so now their equation has changed. They'll add it up and do the right thing.
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dubyaD40web Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:12 AM
Response to Original message
40. Hey mopaul!
I didn't know you were in K.C.! Me too. You're right, that does suck not getting into clubs, businesses, etc. I think everything in that location, Westport, Plaza, Downtown is so old it's expected. Where I live, JoCo, everything is newer and provides better access to those in wheelchairs.

This could be a tough fight for the older clubs. Even if they wanted to accommodate, it might be too hard to increase the size of the door. They could, however, add an additional door on the side of the building or wherever they can. It would be a nice start.

Anyway, keep up your fight! I'm behind you 100%!

Oh, and let me know where you're playing next. I'm a HUGE blue/jazz fan!
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #40
43. jazz louisiana kitchen, saturday, november 5th, 7 to 11. see you there!
it's the jazz at 39th and state line road, by K.U. med.
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dubyaD40web Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #43
45. Awesome!
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 10:25 AM by dubyaD40web
Can't wait to hear some good tunes. I look forward to meeting you!
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
42. Is there anyone we can
write to to put additional pressure on them? I am close by and one of my sons is in KC and probably plays in some of those clubs.

This is really something that should have been taken care of grandfather clause or not.

I am glad you did this but would be very happy to write letters or make some calls if you think that would help.

Good for you Mopaul. I admire your tenacity and your guts to get out there and do something. Sometimes it is hard, even when it is needed, to put yourself out there like that.

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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #42
44. i was reluctant to go on t.v., i have a face better suited for radio
i was reluctant to raise hell, and almost backed out, but then i figured, what the hell, i've got nothing to lose.

you might write the k.c. star, i tried, but they declined to publish it.
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #44
55. I will do that.
Good luck. Society has to evolve better than this.

You are a brave man and welcome back, you were missed.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
49. A Kick For Mo!
Welcome back brother, we missed you! Keep up the good fight! :thumbsup:
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Pithy Cherub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
51. mopaul, a sincere thanks for making my awareness level increase.
Put yourself in another's place and learn appreciation for the ability to be innovative and involved. You have done really wonderful work that will help many enjoy a better quality of life.

:toast:
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
54. Check your PM
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Straight Shooter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
56. WTF is wrong with people who don't want to help those in wheelchairs?
When ADA first came along, it was like a whack in the head to me. I remember thinking, "Gawd, how could I have been so stupid not to notice the lack of accessibility?" Business owners screamed that it would cost them money, but I didn't notice anyone going out of business, did you?

Those nightclub owners are afraid of people coming in with wheelchairs. They think you'll take up valuable space and that you might even want to get on the dance floor. In their own way, they're as prejudiced as Fred Phelps.

I'm the kind of person that I can't move fast enough to help someone by opening a door or whatever I can do to make their lives easier, even if only for a moment. That's just the way it should be, because first of all it's the right thing to do, and secondly, no one is guaranteed a healthy life for all their life. I hope that if I should ever become disabled, that someone will be there to help me when it's needed. Not that service to others is a quid pro quo, but what good is life if we never help one another?

Kansas City, Missouri, of all places. That just boggles my mind, a city of the 21st century stuck with medieval thinking.
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Scout1071 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #56
60. Puh-lease. That is complete BS.
These nightclub owners are not evil people. They are small business owners operating in buildings that are 100 years old. What Mopaul is proposing is a massive expense for them. I'm not saying that they shouldn't work with him and others to accomodate him in the club, but you cannot expect them to install elevators, etc. These guys are fighting month to month to keep these clubs alive.

I know some of the nighclub owners in person. I object to them being villified on this board. I assure you that none of the owners in question are thinking that someone in a wheelchair might "take up valuable space." Come on...it's simple economics. They cannot afford to make massive construction and structural changes at their expense to accomodate a very small handful of patrons that MIGHT come in their joint.

Mopaul, we've communicated several times on this board. AS a few fellow KC'er, I like talking with you. I hope that you can see an alternate point of view. I'm sure that nobody is purposely trying to exclude you. It just may not be financially feasible for someplace like The Phoenix to make those changes. It sucks - no doubt about that - but it is fact.

Having said that, if you have specific evidence that any of these jazz and blues clubs are specifically, willfully and maliciously discriminating against people in wheelchairs - I will most certainly "get your back" and let those club owners know they won't be getting any of my business. But if it's a case of them not being able to make the changes because of the expense - I'm sorry, but you are on your own. It could literally bankrupt some of these clubs.
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Straight Shooter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #60
71. I stand by what I wrote.
I also did not say the nightclub owners were evil. Sometimes it just depends on whose ox is getting gored as to how quickly things get done, if they get done at all.

ADA has been around for a long enough time that certainly, if they wanted wheelchair-bound patrons, they would have found a way to accommodate them by now. Since you seem to be viewing both sides of the issue in as impartial a manner as possible, how about you and the owners of the nightclub getting together and trying to find a solution to this problem?

Just my 2 cents. Peace.
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Scout1071 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
57. OK, seriously, not to be a jerk, BUT
I think I know which jazz club you are talking about - The Phoenix?

I understand and completely sympathize with your frustration, but what is a small club like that supposed to do? Completely redesign the building at their expense? The Phoenix has been there forever. I personally have been in there on crutches and it is a pain in the ass to get to the bathrooms. No doubt about it.

I'm all for finding a solution, but you simply cannot expect these people to spend that kind of money on installing an elevator or new bathrooms in the middle of the club. At the Phoenix, where in the world would they possibly put a restroom upstairs?

Don't get me wrong. I sympathize with you, but if it were your small business, what would you do? These aren't large clubs owned by national companies.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #57
59. Jazz clubs are a marginal business in NYC too
I congratulate mopaul on this and hope he succeeds. I also agree that most clubs probably would take a lot of saving and scrimping to afford the necessary repairs.

Here in NYC we have the added problem that Winton Marsalis has basically sucked all the air out of the room and local jazz musicians accuse him of "killing" jazz in NYC.

You see, ten or fifteen years ago, there were dozens of jazz clubs, especially in Harlem and Brooklyn, where local musicians played. There were a couple of well off clubs in Greenwhich Village, as well.

At some point the big foundation money created "Jazz and Lincoln Center" and put Marsalis in charge. The Manhattan people with money who occaisionally patronized the out of the way clubs stopped coming, grants dried up (all sucked into Lincoln Center), and jazz was redefined as "museum music," not living, evolving music rooted in the African American community. The only clubs that survive are the few in the Village that are filled every night with Japanese tourists and cost well over $100 per person for an evening of drinks and meals.

The only old school club I know definitely could not afford the renovations, but I don't think they wouldn't welcome wheel-chairs if they could accomodate them.
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Scout1071 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #59
61. Bingo.
These clubs are barely scraping by as it is.

I'm all for finding a way to accomodate Mopaul, but we've got to be realistic about the added expenses he's talking about to accomodate the occassional wheelchair bound patron.

The new jazz/blues clubs - such as The Blue Room - have gone out of their way to accomodate if I remember correctly. Seems to me they have a totally wheelchair friendly set-up.

I'm all for new buildings having strict wheelchair access requirements. But you just can't expect a 100 year old building to have the same facilities and access.

It sucks. It really sucks. But I'm not sure what they can do about it.
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #61
62. there are about a dozen clubs here that are not accessible
the phoenix has a small elevator, but the stage is right by the front door. john's big deck has music upstairs and even the able bodied musicians can barely get up there. the city lights club in the plaza, downstairs. harlings upstairs, shitty broken down elevator with no access from the street. jardine's on main, o'dowds in the plaza, the majestic, downstairs and two steps in. and blayney's in the plaza, that's 8 right off the bat.

i'm not talking about huge amounts of money to make the repairs, and there are grants and loans available. and they can write it off their taxes as well.

and you're right, why should they make their places available to everyone anyway? wheelchair people don't go out to nightclubs to have fun like regular folks. (sarcasm)
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Scout1071 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #62
63. Come on....be fair.
I'm not discriminating against you. Actually, I have done the Harling's climb on crutches and nearly cried half-way up. I understand the pain you speak of. I have spent much of the last 7 years on crutches and with a cane.

I just think that it is somewhat unreasonable to expect these old clubs to fork out so much money. If the government is willing to pay, than so be it. I will be the first person to meet you and the club owners down at city hall to demand the money and help with the project. That is a promise I make to you right now.

I'm with you Paul. I really am. I just don't want to see some of my favorite places bankrupted in the process.
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #63
64. my other alternative was decades of not complaining about it
for twenty years i kept quiet about it, and couldn't any longer. harling's elevator is a death trap, go try it, i dare you.

i seriously doubt any club would go broke or out of business making some improvements. and the fancier ones in the plaza can definitely afford it.

i went from a cane, to crutches, to a manual chair, to a motor chair in the last twenty years, and i am looking at the possibility of becoming so disabled that i can't even leave the house, so, i literally have nothing to lose, and i bitched about it.

of course, when i can't even leave the house, i'll give it up.
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Scout1071 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #64
65. I understand and admire your fight. And I'm familiar with the Harlings
elevator - why do you think I took the stairs even when I was on crutches? I wouldn't get in that thing for a million bucks. And it has been broken for 20 years. And yes, that is one instance where they absolutely should fix the problem. I agree with you 100%.

Honestly, I knew that by defending small business I would be slightly villified. I hope that you understand that I am on your side and I do think some improvements could be made. I just don't know that all the problems can be reasonably fixed. I don't think it would be architecurally feasible to put an elevator at John's.

Look, whatever we can fix - like Harlings - I'm here to help you. Know that I am on your side - within reason. Feel free to PM me with any thoughts or ideas to help. Sound good?
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #65
66. i think we understand one another
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progressivebydesign Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #62
70. Are you sure they can get loans and grants to do this?
Perhaps that can be part of your activism, educating the building owners about this. If the music is upstairs in some of these places, are you proposing elevators be put in?

I also wonder if the clubs themselves are simply leasing or renting space in some of these buildings. Rarely do the owners of the clubs own the buildings where I am. Maybe the building owners (which sound like they don't care for their buildings at all!) are something to look at. I wonder how the fire department signs off on these places, they sound like they're not up to code anyway.

So many people have brought up great points here, as with your original post, which was an eye opener. Jazz and blues clubs definitely struggle.. hell, as a musician I'm sure you know that having any kind of live music now is a struggle. I hope your activism on this leads to compliance, awareness, and an improvement for all music fans.
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #70
73. k.c. is proud of their blues and jazz heritage
and true, some of the managers don't own the buildings, so the owners have to be contacted. i don't expect to get them all to comply, just some.

i couldn't attend a memorial service for a deceased pal last week cause it was in one of these clubs. that hurt.
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
58. Way to go mopaul! I think someone gave businesses their blessing
on ignoring ADA. Used to work for Cracker Barrel a few years ago and we had to measure the aisles in the 'store' to ensure people in wheelchairs and walkers could get through. Was back to the same place last night and it doesn't seem to matter anymore. I could barely get through the tight spaces.
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cally Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
67. I'm glad you are bringing this to others attention
I hope you are successful.

On a side note: Our local Dem headquarters chose a building that wasn't wheelchair accessible. A local activist sued and closed it down. It created quite a firestorm but most agreed with the activist. This activist has sued many other locations in our city. The hdqtrs added a ramp which should have been there from the beginning. Sadly, the space is for rent now and the landlord took away the ramp.
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #67
69. i'm not really an activist as such
and i'm not trying to sue anyone, but i do hope to affect some changes if nothing else, and not just for me. and if they simply can't make the changes due to expense, i can't fight that.

but imagine trying to find work, finding it, and then finding you can't get in there, it's a pain. i hope i have some small success with it in the meantime.

i know a blind man who has been turned away from restaurants because of his guide dog. ridiculous
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progressivebydesign Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
68. That was food for thought, MoPaul. There's a guy in California.
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 01:07 PM by progressivebydesign
He's in a wheelchair. He went about what you're trying to do, BUT in a very very bad way. He would travel around from restaurant to restaurant and bar to bar, seeing if it was accessible. Then he would sue each and every business owner if they were not accessible, regardless of the age of the building. Even if standard accessibility was there, he would sue if he had difficulty in there at all. He was either a lawyer, or had a lawyer on retainer, because he filled TONS of lawsuits in various small towns across the state. What happened is that he devastated many small businesses when they had to retain a lawyer and fight the lawsuit, or they settled to save money, and their insurance went up. I think your campaign of public awareness, with the news organizations, is much more effective and sympathetic to the cause.

Having said that, the buildings you speak of are grandfathered for a reason. Many times it's completely unfeasible to make structural changes to buildings for access. Unfortunately that is the remnants of the old architecure. Perhaps the building owners can make some type of concession, as I've seen done, where they allow someone in a wheelchair to come in through another entrance somewhere else in the building. They aren't trying to keep people in wheelchairs out of their establishment, but the costs of completely reworking an old building to that access can mean the difference between being in business and not. Perhaps your best bet is to target businesses that are non-compliant, but not exempt from the grandfather clause. Otherwise, you're just beating your head against the wall, as they are exempted. If you find a building or business that SHOULD be complying and isn't, then definitely bring that to people's attention.
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #68
72. i'm not trying to sue anyone or wipe them out of business
and most have agreed to try to improve the situation. and if they can't, then they can't, but at least i tried.

if they legitimately can't make the changes, i'm not going to press it, but there are about a dozen clubs around here that are inaccessible, that's too many.

i agree with you, i took the softer route, and i'm not going ballistic over it, just trying to make them meet us halfway, and raise awareness.
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DanCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #72
75. One heart one mind at a time mopaul
That's what I try to do when I advocate stem cell research. It's not easy but we can't let the sobs keep us down you know?
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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #75
77. we should make ourselves heard
at least.
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DanCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #77
78. I really would like to picket fundie churchies
I am not targeting the people in the pews mind you but the policy makers. I had this idea for parkinsons congress of making this float out of are used pill bottles and doctor bills and sending it in front of the bishops conference whereever that is. And torchin the float. Now thats symbolism.
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lildreamer316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
79. If the few pissed off
club owners want to have people enjoy your wonderful music,then they had better get off their asses and find a solution.
They'd do it for Muddy Waters or anyone else....
Great to have you back posting........
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mongo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
80. Can I ask you a serious question?
How steep of a grade can you comfortably roll up?

ADA regs require no more than 1" rise in 12". So if a business has 3 steps (24" rise) - it would take a ramp 24 feet long to legally make that place handicapped accessible.

That is a big part of the problem. Many locations are nearly impossible to retro-fit.

Of course, ramps are not the only problem. Our bathroom (which is not public), has barely enough room as it is. You can scape your knees on the cinder block wall when you sit down on the toilet - it is that cramped.

These things to take money to correct, and I believe the way the laws work today, if you remodel your business, you have to make it handicapped accessible.

Now, to my disgrace I have to say that my store is not handicapped accessible, but the only barrier I have is a 3" curb. This was supposed to be fixed when the landlord repaved the lot, but now that I know the landlord, I know the lot will never be repaved anyway.

The few handicapped people that have come to the store have called first (maybe I've lost some customers because of the curb), and I told them to just honk when they are out front, and I come out and help them into and out of the store. I do want this business, and I'm doing what I can for now.

And, as a not so funny aside, our local courthouse has a handicapped accessible door at the top of about 30 steps. How's that for logic?

Man, I am sorry so many places are non-accesable to you. I also wish that the ADA regs were just a little more reasonable and that there was grant money for business and government facilities. The Dr's office you mentioned should be at the top of the list.









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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #80
82. my motor chair will go up very steep grades
but manual chairs are difficult to get up anything too steep.

and some stages that bands play on are 6 feet high with only stairs as a way up there.

it's always something.
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mongo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #82
83. It is always something
I didn't even think about stages - clubs especially have to be hard places to retro-fit.

But as far as ramps go, If they allowed just a 2" in 12" rise, it would cut the cost of every ramp by half.

Just some food for thought from the business side of the equation.



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mopaul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:16 PM
Response to Original message
84. Rollin' it through for the Evening Crew
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