ADA-OK: I am writing in regard to the July 25 piece "Wheelchairs of Fortune." I am a small-business owner, a model citizen, and someone who sees the disability rights movement as a cultural achievement parallel to the civil rights movement and the women's movement.
I am also a glowing example of someone whose life would not have been the same without the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I have a condition called cerebral palsy, which makes my arms and legs move involuntarily. I use a power wheelchair to get around.
I don't see the ADA as cost-prohibitive, but as more of a tool for educating a society that doesn't put people with disabilities on an equal playing field with the rest of society. The article in question does not delve into a past where people with disabilities could not enjoy a trip to a local restaurant or even just mail a letter at the local post office.
The frivolous lawsuits that you refer to are not the best way of going about educating small business and other entities about how disability is becoming a growing fact of our society and must be accepted on every level.
The ADA is in place because, without such a law, our most vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities and their children would be locked away in institutions, nursing homes, or become shut-ins. It is always a travesty when people don't understand one another even today with all the laws in place, I get the looks and the stares, but I can still eat at and go to most places just like everyone else. The Supreme Court is slowly but surely diminishing a law that protects disabled Americans from physical and architectural barriers.
Now that Ron Russell has written his piece, I strongly urge him to plop himself in a wheelchair and go around the city, visit favorite restaurants, try to ride public transit, and tell me how easy it is. On an ending note, your article was offensive to myself and those who have come before me. Maybe Congress needs to create a Universal Human Law that includes all minorities and all people with disabilities.
Dare to Dream Attendant Services
Stop Fisher's fishy initiative: Bravo for an outstanding article ["Profits for Developers Initiative," Matt Smith, July 11]. I agree with every word. A small group of neighbors on Russian Hill and I have been fighting (unsuccessfully) the construction of residential garages in older Victorian homes. We have several projects in the queue that are heading for showdowns with the Planning Department, Zoning Administrator, and Board of Supervisors. The outcome of these projects will most definitively sway the future direction of parking policies. They are directly relevant to the issues outlined in this article and the horrible outcome that would result if the "Fisher Initiative" is passed. Much thanks for uncovering the deceptive message of this initiative and the adverse outcome it will have if passed.
A pot of bad vibes at the end of the Rainbow: Wow. Another slanderous attack by SF Weekly against a progressive institution (New College, SEIU, etc.), this time a great one: Rainbow Grocery ["No Peace Prize for You," Sucka Free City, July 18]. Since when did the opinions of a few workers speak for the opinion of an entire company? Why is this even newsworthy? While I find suicide bombers and Israeli military aggression equally disgusting, I also find one extremist (the original article subject) baiting another supposed extremist (the Rainbow employee) and then making the attack look "unprovoked" pretty low. Regardless, Rainbow Grocery still has my business.
Nahmod responds: The letter to the editor, "Tempest in an Herbal-Tea Pot" [Aug. 1], signed by numerous Rainbow Grocery workers and customers, is outrageous. I have no idea who any of these individuals are, and they don't know me, either.
If I don't know them and they don't know me, then how do they know that I'm a "troublemaker with a trumped-up charge"? Their letter is typical of what goes on at Rainbow Grocery they lie for each other to cover each other's tracks.
It really doesn't matter what Rainbow says, or even what the HRC finds in their investigation of this matter. Most people who read [the original article] "No Peace Prize for You" know that my complaint about Rainbow is true. Because Rainbow has been down this road before. Because charges of anti-Semitism have been lodged against Rainbow before.
No business in this city screams about tolerance and diversity louder than Rainbow Grocery. No business in this city has dirtier hands than Rainbow Grocery.