Your quick, once-a-day look at disability rights, self-determination
and the movement toward full community inclusion around the world.

Monday, December 15, 2003
Year V, Edition 843

This front page features 8 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
Click on the"Below the Fold" link at the bottom of this page for 48 other news items.

"It is unfortunate that the inclusion of facility-closure language in SB 4 leaves me no choice but to veto the bill."

--Ohio Governor Bob Taft, who vetoed a measure for crime victims with disabilities because legislators had added language slowing down the closure of two state-operated institutions housing people with developmental disabilities (Fourth story)

"After all the suffering I went through, knowing that 20,000-something people are going to be helped and some of the policies are going to be changed . . . makes me feel real good."
--Chandler Glover, whose class-action suit against the U.S. Postal Service will mean millions of dollars in cash awards for other postal workers who were denied promotions because of their disabilities (First story)



Postal Worker Leads Multi-Million Settlement For Disability Class-Action Suit

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 15, 2003

DENVER, COLORADO--An estimated 25,000 current and former postal workers are eligible for awards of between $5,500 and $25,000 each under the December 3 settlement of a disability discrimination class-action suit.

The case, Glover/Albrecht v. Potter, was filed on behalf of Chandler Glover, now 65, who sued the U.S. Postal Service 10 years ago claiming it denied him advancements because of his disability. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission administrative judge Dickie Montamayer gave preliminary approval to the settlement.

Glover lost about 25 percent of his hearing on the job in 1991 while using jackhammers and sledgehammers to repair large metal containers that postal trucks use to carry mail. Glover was taken off the job for about a year without pay, but was reinstated as a "rehabilitation-status" janitor in 1992, a position that Glover considered a "dead end".

"I got to keep the same salary, but I was denied any promotions, any transfers, or anything of that nature," said Glover. "I wasn't given those opportunities. I couldn't even apply for (them). I had a promotion that came up about the time they gave me the (new) job, and they wouldn't give me that, either."

The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from denying workers opportunities for advancement because of their disabilities.

All USPS employees who were placed in rehabilitation positions since Jan. 1, 1992, and who were denied promotion and advancement opportunities are covered in the class-action. The amount to be awarded to each claimant depends on the year the promotion was denied.

"Whether it is single-digit or double-digit, we won't really know until we see how many claims are filed," said Brad Seligman, an attorney with the California-based nonprofit The Impact Fund, which helped represent Glover and another postal worker in Florida. "But it is safe to say that it will be millions of dollars."

"After all the suffering I went through, knowing that 20,000-something people are going to be helped and some of the policies are going to be changed . . . makes me feel real good," Glover told the Denver Post.



Video Of September ADAPT March Available Online

December 15, 2003

WASHINGTON, PENNSYLVANIA--The Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living (TRIPIL) has published on their website a video of the 14-day ADAPT march from Philadelphia to Washington, DC that took place this past September.

The excellent 9 1/2 minute video shows the marchers, most in wheelchairs, as they made their landmark 144-mile trek to draw attention to the need for Congress to pass MICASSA, the Medicaid Community Attendant Services and Supports Act.

The measure, first introduced in 1997, would remove the bias within the long-term health care system that currently favors institutions and nursing homes over in-home and community-based services.

"This will provide services for people so they can live in their own homes rather than live in a nursing home," explained Ohio advocate Ron Ford.

"Using the same money that will keep you in a nursing home to provide you personal attendant services in your home. Where you can have your choice of when you want to go to bed, what you want to eat, and where you want to go."

Related webpage with links to the video in different formats:
"Adapt's March from Philadelphia to DC Notification Act Hearing, September 4 - 17, 2003" (TRIPIL)



News Sites Slow To Make Content Accessible

December 15, 2003

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA--The University of Southern California Online Journalism Review recently looked at how news-related Websites have been slow to make their content accessible to readers with disabilities.

The article give some examples of how to make Websites accessible to people who may have trouble reading because of blindness or other reasons.

It is one of the most extensive articles I have seen on the subject, with explanations on how to build Websites with accessibility in mind, along with links to related articles and important resources.

Entire article:
"Sites Slowly Seeing the Need to Make the Web Accessible to the Blind" (USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review)
Related article:
"Ramping The Web" by Dave Reynolds (Computor Companion)



Governor Won't Be Held Hostage By Institution Supporters

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 15, 2003

COLUMBUS, OHIO--Last Friday, Governor Bob Taft vetoed a bill that would provide protections for crime victims with developmental disabilities.

Believe it or not, this is a good thing.

Protections certainly are needed. If SB 4 would have stayed focused on protecting crime victims it would have been a measure welcomed by everyone.

But legislators, under pressure from institution workers and family members of institution residents, tacked on a provision that would have slowed the closure of two state-run facilities -- a provision Taft simply could not live with.

Taft announced in February his plans to close Springview Developmental Center by June 2005 and Apple Creek Developmental Center by June 2006 to save the state an estimated $23 million over the next four years.

Lawmakers knew Taft would support the crime victims legislation, so they added elements to the measure that would establish a multi-step process to make the governor justify proposed closures of state institutions -- a process that could take nearly a year.

In order for Taft to say "No" to the added "closure" provisions, he had to veto the entire bill.

"It is unfortunate that the inclusion of facility-closure language in SB 4 leaves me no choice but to veto the bill," Taft said in a statement.

"I strongly urge the General Assembly to pass another bill that includes only the (MRDD) task force's recommendations and to send such a bill to my desk at the earliest possible date in the new year."

Legislators say they plan to override the governor's veto. Taft says he is not giving up the fight.

Related articles:
"Apple Creek study vetoed" (Akron Beacon Journal)
"State may reach settlement in lawsuit about housing disabled" (Dayton Daily News)



"I Love To Make Friends . . . All I Want Is The Chance"

December 15, 2003

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND--The following seven paragraphs are excerpts from a story in the Sunday Mail:

Hazel Irvine loves going bowling with her pal Shona Taylor.

But the women rarely finish a game before dissolving into fits of laughter.

The bond between them is clear as they giggle together.

But despite Shona being easy company with her boundless energy and enthusiasm, she struggles to make new friends because she was born with Down's Syndrome.

And yesterday sports broadcaster Hazel spoke of their special friendship to back a campaign by charity ENABLE aimed at finding new friends for people with learning difficulties.

"People don't realise that by ruling out friendships with people like Shona, they are the ones who really miss out."

Shona said: "I like to make friends. All I want is people who can spend time with me."

"I love to make friends . . . All I want is the chance" (Sunday Mail)


# TODAY'S FEATURED WEBSITE Information, Resources & Research about Work & Disability Issues

The purpose of this center is to identify factors that enhance or inhibit businesses from tapping into a pool of potential employees. Let us be your gateway to information, resources, and services regarding the employment of people with disabilities.


# EXPRESS EXTRA!!! From the Inclusion Daily Express Archives -- Two years ago:


Robert Latimer Supporters Don't Get Far With Petition

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 14, 2001

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--The Canadian Civil Liberties Association on Thursday presented a petition with 60,000 signatures to the office of Solicitor General requesting clemency for convicted murderer Robert Latimer.

Latimer is currently serving a mandatory minimum 10 years of a life sentence for killing his daughter Tracy in 1993. The Saskatchewan farmer confessed to putting 12-year-old Tracy into his pickup, and then watching her die as he pumped exhaust into the cab. Latimer insisted he killed Tracy to "end her suffering" from her disabilities including mental retardation and cerebral palsy.

Latimer began serving time in prison this January after the Supreme Court ruled that he must serve at least 10 years of his life sentence. He is eligible for day parole in 2007. Latimer's only chance for earlier release is to apply for clemency from the Governor General or the cabinet. His attorney says he will not apply for clemency until after he has served two years of his sentence.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association wants the government to pardon Latimer and to put an end to mandatory sentences. The group believes that his sentence is too harsh.

Justice Minister Anne McLellan quickly dismissed the idea of reviewing the mandatory sentencing issue. "We have very few mandatory minimums, I have no intention of ending the ones we have. Next." she said Thursday.

Solicitor-General Lawrence MacAulay said he won't move forward on clemency until Latimer files an application.

Disability rights advocates want Latimer to serve his full term. They point out that when he killed Tracy she was scheduled for treatment that could have reduced the physical pain she may have been experiencing.

Diane Richler of the Canadian Association of Community Living, told the Canadian Press much of the public supports Latimer because most people don't have close contact with people who have disabilities like Tracy.

"Really, what people are saying is: 'I don't know if I would have been able to be a good parent to Tracy, don't test me. And make sure if that ever happens to me or my children, that we have a way out."', she said.

For background information, past stories and related resources on Tracy Latimer and her father's case, go to this Inclusion Daily Express Web page:


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