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

Friday, July 16, 2004
Year V, Edition 973

Today's front section features 7 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
Click on the "Below the Fold" link at the bottom of this section for 34 more news items.

"You must admit there is a credibility issue."
--John Dever, training coordinator for the Glasgow Centre for Independent Living, talking about a recent survey which found many Scottish charities that focus on disability issues have few people with disabilities working for them (Second story)



Disability Rights Activists Converge On Governors Meeting

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 16, 2004

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON--More than 1,000 lobbyists and state officials, including governors from 30 states, are gathering in Seattle this weekend for the National Governors' Association annual summer meeting.

They are expected to develop policy positions for their 2005 congressional agenda, focusing specifically on issues related to the estimated 77 million baby boomers set to retire in the next ten years.

It's timely, then, that an estimated 600 disability rights advocates from around the country, organized by the grassroots group ADAPT, are also converging on Seattle.

"Over two million people of all ages with physical, mental, sensory and cognitive disabilities are warehoused in nursing homes and other institutions due only to the lack of home and community services in their state," said Bob Kafka, National ADAPT Organizer, in a press statement. "We want the NGA to vote on and pass a resolution calling for reform of the current institutionally biased Medicaid long term care system, and indicating their support for legislation promoting community based services."

The activists, many in wheelchairs, want the governors to commit to a resolution to support MiCASSA, the Medicaid Community Attendant Services and Supports Act.

MiCASSA was first introduced into the U.S. Congress in 1997 by then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who is scheduled to speak to this year's NGA gathering. The measure would change Medicaid to allow long-term care recipients to use their funds for community-based and in-home supports if they choose. Currently, 75 cents of every Medicaid long-term care dollar goes toward nursing homes and other institutions.

Although the NGA has supported many of the concepts behind MiCASSA, they have not yet endorsed the legislation.

ADAPT has had a history of organized, non-violent civil disobedience to get their message heard. They have been known to take over entire government buildings, chain themselves to fences and gates, and lock down their wheelchairs in the middle of intersections to close down busy streets. In March of this year, 129 ADAPT members were arrested in Washington, DC at a Senate Finance Committee meeting.

"We are not violent. We are non-destructive," Kafka told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "We have nothing against the police."

Seattle Police and ADAPT organizers both said they are prepared for arrests this weekend.

Police said they have been getting ready for the event for the last year. Accessible vehicles have been acquired to handle large numbers of wheelchairs.

"In jail, at least you know when you're going to get out," said Kafka.

"ADAPT Action Seattle July 17 - 21" (Free Our People)
Resolution of the National Governor's Association from the 2004 Meeting in Seattle Washington (ADAPT)
"Wheelchair users to protest as governors gather" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
The Medicaid Community Attendant Services Act, MiCASSA
Evergreen ADAPT



Survey Finds Scottish Disability Charities Fail To Hire People With Disabilities

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 16, 2004

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND--Some charities that claim to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities may have a credibility problem.

BBC Scotland found that the organizations have not worked hard enough to hire workers with disabilities.

One is the Royal National Institute of the Blind, which recently reported that three-quarters of visually-disabled people of working age are not employed.

Less than eight percent of RNIB's own staff have disabilities, however.

The charities Capability Scotland and Sense Scotland employ between five and six percent of workers with disabilities.

"The disabled need role models of other disabled people who are in important jobs and so the charities who are representing us are the key people who could create these role models," said Nick Lewis, editor of Ready Willing Able, a recruitment journal.

"Charities 'fail' disabled workers" (BBC News)

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Laguna Honda Security Still Questioned

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 16, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA--Concern continues to grow for the safety of residents at Laguna Honda Hospital, following reports that a patient with multiple sclerosis was sexually assaulted by a visitor earlier this month.

According to the San Francisco Examiner, 50-year-old Julio Mestre has been charged with sexual battery on an incapacitated person and causing pain, suffering and injury to a dependent adult.

Police claim that Mestre went into the room of the woman, who cannot speak, and began molesting her under her bed sheets on July 1. He reportedly left the room after a roommate screamed for help.

Henry Farr, a friend of the 37-year-old alleged victim, told the Examiner that he reported the incident to officers after hearing the details from the roommate later that day. Farr said he was outraged that a security officer had not been called to the room, and that a supervisor told him officials had instead decided to file an internal report on the incident.

"They didn't do anything to protect her . . . I think that's criminal," Farr said. "If I didn't report it and waited for Laguna Honda to report it, they never would have caught him."

When Mestre returned to the woman's room on July 2, he was arrested by institutional officers who are part of the Sheriff's Department. The case was sent to the San Francisco Police Department to be investigated.

But San Francisco Police had to drop the charges and release Mestre a few days later because the Sheriff's Department had failed to send a report about the incident in a timely manner. Police were finally able to issue a $150,000 warrant for Mestre's arrest on July 13. He surrendered to police on July 14.

Hospital officials said there was no reason to believe the incident occurred because of a lack of security at the facility.

With 1,200 beds, Laguna Honda Hospital is the largest publicly-owned nursing home in the United States. There has been much criticism lately over the city's decision to transfer younger and potentially dangerous patients from San Francisco General Hospital. Many of the patients, some of which are considered violent, are under age 60 and have mental illnesses or chemical addictions.

In May, two members of a local street gang came into the nursing home and assaulted an older resident. They had been called in by 25-year-old resident Sebaz Glenn who was angry that the man had changed the television station. Police later found marijuana on Glenn.

Charges have not been filed against Glenn or his gang associates.

Glenn was removed from the facility, but a paperwork mix-up by nursing home staff meant that he could return at any time. Glenn, who became paralyzed after trying to escape police during a car chase earlier this year, has reportedly chosen to get an apartment elsewhere and an in-home care provider.

The 135-year-old Laguna Honda is the oldest nursing home in California. The city-run facility has been the target of federal investigations, class-action lawsuits and protests by disability rights advocates because of the city's failure to provide community-based services for residents who want to live in their own homes.

"Sex assault the latest charge at Laguna Honda" (San Francisco Examiner)
"Snafu delayed Laguna Honda molest case" (San Francisco Examiner)
"Laguna Honda Hospital -- Largest Nursing Home In US" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)



Member Of Parliament Cannot Get Through Front Door

July 16, 2004

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--The following three paragraphs are excerpts from a story in Friday's Globe and Mail:

Canada's first quadriplegic MP was forced to take a back entrance through the kitchen yesterday to join his new colleagues for lunch in the swank parliamentary restaurant.

Steven Fletcher's large motorized wheelchair is too big for the otherwise accessible elevators used by most diners.

That's just one challenge facing the new Conservative MP for the Charleswood-St. James riding in Manitoba.

Entire article:
"Parliament's front door not ready for paralyzed MP" (Canadian Press via The Globe and Mail)



Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act: Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires access to electronic and information technology procured by Federal agencies. The Access Board developed accessibility standards for the various technologies covered by the law. These standards have been folded into the Federal government's procurement regulations.


# EXTRA!!! From the IDE Archives -- Two years ago:

Governors Ask, "Dude, Where's My SUV?"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 14, 2002

BOISE, IDAHO--It was hot in Boise last Sunday, with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees.

So, several state governors meeting at the National Governors Association (NGA) Conference had several sport utility vehicles (SUVs) running with the air conditioners turned on.

But they had no idea just how hot is was going to get until they came out of the Idaho Capitol to find their SUVs surrounded by ADAPT protesters in wheelchairs.

Many governors had to walk to other destinations because Boise police decided to close the street where the hostage SUVs were parked.

The protesters were pushing for a short meeting with the governors at this conference and to make sure they would be on the NGA agenda for the next conference. Advocates want the governors to support MiCASSA, the Medicaid Community Attendant Services and Supports Act. MiCASSA, which was first introduced into the U.S. Congress by Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in 1997. MiCASSA, currently before Congress as bills S. 1298 and H.R. 3612, would change long-term Medicaid-funded services to favor less expensive in-home supports instead of nursing homes and other institutions.

Although the NGA has supported many of the concepts behind MiCASSA, they have not endorsed the legislation which was re-introduced earlier this year.

ADAPT 2002 Action Report
The Medicaid Community Attendant Services Act, MiCASSA


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