Letters to the Editor – January 2006

Dear Editor: As we all travel to the mall and attempt to navigate through snow and slush consider this… The […]

Dear Editor:

As we all travel to the mall and attempt to navigate through snow and slush consider this…

The day after Thanksgiving I traveled to an unnamed mall (located in Maplewood, MN). A very unkind individual from South Dakota parked in the wheelchair access aisles associated with the van accessible parking space that I occupied.

Mall security and the Maplewood police department were contacted to provide this individual from South Dakota with a common sense citation and removal from the access aisle so that I could leave the mall. Neither the mall security nor the police department provided any type of relief. They stated that due to the “snow” that covered the access aisle markings, that they could not do anything (including tow the vehicle or provide even a warning).

I’m not really sure where we go from here…it’s my view that the signage needs to change for those who have been living under a rock and are unaware of the access aisles associated with the clearly marked disability parking space (minimum five feet access aisle is required). I guess I just need to move to Florida or drive a tow truck from now on.

See state statute regarding parking space and access aisle issues at www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/stats/169/346.html. Pay close attention to the “loophole” that Maplewood police cites as to the reason they would not provide even a warning.

Since it snows 11 months out of the year here (exaggerating just a little) I’m not sure how to survive this. The statute needs to change to include the access aisles regardless of rain, sleet, snow, or other obstruction. South Dakota needs a lesson in common sense. South Dakota knew what they were doing. The parking lot was jam packed and they needed a space for their little compact sized car. They just did not care. It was a more expensive vehicle than mine no less violating this access aisle issue. Imagine that!

Let’s ban together people . . . let’s help those who have been living under a rock to learn common sense in that every parking space of this kind is basically the same with an access aisle (including yep, you guessed it…South Dakota). Who’s with me now?!

Bah Humbug!
The Grinch

______________________________

Dear Editor:

Concerned veteran, veteran supporter: Now that it is the holiday season and winter is on us, I’m once again being evicted from subsidized housing. What makes this so hard to take is it’s mostly due to HUD and any housing agency being unwilling to accommodate a disabled veteran, much less a disabled citizen.

I am living in a senior only building with a contract for handicapped people. What isn’t explained is there is nothing here for handicapped/disabled people when it comes to addressing a disability needing an accommodation.

So, what does management do? It all boils down to not wanting to admit any liability when non-compliance happens. So, they use the annual inspection, required by HUD, as a tool to evict.

As a totally disabled veteran I’m just wondering what these management types are thinking when they evict someone and then that person can no longer secure affordable (subsidized) housing, much less the fact that they have made a disabled person homeless.

As I see it there are all the rules and regulations that HUD has established to protect management. However, should there be a conflict between management and a tenant, there is no recourse but to go through the perpetrator. That, I feel, will work about as easily as floating a lead ball.

What is needed, and none too soon, is a binding arbitration program. Where a third neutral party mediates/resolves conflicts and puts both parties on an even playing field.

HUD, during one discrimination claim I filed, suggested the arbiter’s program and then did nothing. I would suggest dealing with whatever state agency HUD uses to oversee subsidized housing as a starting point. It’s easier to deal with a state agency than a federal agency.

I will add that there are so many actions that management could take that would make a saint look bad. What has been suggested is a “pattern of abuse.”

I’ve already lived in my Isuzu for four months of a winter. But I shouldn’t even go there!

Finally, if a site isn’t/won’t accommodate a disability, then that contract should be null and void and the parties involved should be held liable for their inaction. I mean, it’s federal law and they act as though it has nothing to do with them, “since no one is looking over their shoulder.”

Pidamiya (thank you),
Malcolm L. Bisson
Independent Advocate