Editor's Column - June 2000

Access Press has reached a milestone, 10 years of publishing. Our success is due largely to the loyalty of our readers and the support of the disability community. Our anniversary issue grew to 20 pages this month, one of the biggest papers we’ve ever put out on the streets. This is due to all the congratulatory ads we received from a whole host of disability organizations. This outpouring of support is further evidence to me how important Access Press has become to our community. When people are willing to pay money just to say to thank you for 10 years of service, you know you’re doing something right. I would like to thank all of those organizations that made this issue very special to me. Your support was fantastic!

I’ve gotten a great deal of personal satisfaction in producing Access Press over last 10 years. A lot of that satisfaction is reinforced when I’m out and about and people come up to me and say “Are you the guy who puts out Access Press?” When I say yes, they normally have very positive comments about the paper and once a great while a criticism, which I welcome. It is during those times that I really know that Access Press is making a difference in people lives.

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Our lead story, the Legislative Wrap-Up, will give you the final results of the 2000 legislative session. There was a lot of action for a non-budget year at the capitol. The system failed again…In a year where the state had a 1.8 billion-dollar surplus, lawmakers were unable to share the wealth with people that are on the bottom of the economic scale. The raise in the medical assistance income standard would have cost the state of Minnesota less than $400,000, giving people who try to live on $467 a month a modest raise.

Instead, the Republicans gave a tiny cut in the income tax rate people pay. The governor lowered license tabs for vehicles. The Democrats split their money up on education, tax-relief and rebate, and health and human services.

Next year, advocates will have another chance to demonstrate that funding programs for people with disabilities is the right thing to do. Keeping people in the community and as independent as possible saves money in the long run.

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Jeff Nygaard, one of Access Press’s investigative reporters, has started to take a look for at this years presidential candidates. Social Security will be a hot topic during the campaign, we decided that we should take a look at each candidate’s position. This month Jeff analyzed Gov. George Bush’s plan to privatize a portion of the Social Security program. (see page 6) This is a very complicated issue and I hope take the time to read this article carefully. If Mr. Bush were to become president this could have a profound effect on the Social Security program. Next month, the focus will be on Vice President Gores’s plan.

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There are a couple of cultural events happening in the disability community and I hope you will support them. The first will be on June 14, when Advocating Change Together (ACT) will be presenting a new video “Disability Rap”. It features Cheryl Wade a disability advocates from Berkeley CA. I would encourage everyone to try and make the public premier for more information call 651 641-0297.

The next is a play by the talented group Tilting at Windmills, the production will be running through the month of June (see page 12). The play deals with mental illness issues, which may not sound like a fun night at the theater, but if their last production was any indication it will be a night you won’t forget – funny and thought-provoking.

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Congratulations to Cliff Poetz for winning the Joseph P. Kennedy award (see page 3). Cliff has been lifelong advocate for people with disabilities and his very deserving of this award. It’s great that he’s getting recognized on a national level.

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The disability community has lost another advocate (see below). Darlene Morse had been very active in the disability community through the ’70s and ’80s. Her contributions to people with disabilities in Minnesota will live on. She will be missed but never forgotten.

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