Recommended Reading for January 9th

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Media Access Australia: Human Rights Commission requests further information from cinemas

The Australian Human Rights Commission is currently assessing an application from Hoyts, Greater Union, Village and Reading cinemas for a temporary exemption from the Disability Discrimination Act in relation to captioning and audio description while they expand the current accessible circuit from 12 to 35 cinemas. […] In summary, the request asks for responses to the following issues: […]

2. Objections to the fact that individuals would lose their rights to lodge complaints under the DDA.[…]

4. The financial justification by the cinemas of why it is not possible to move towards 100% compliance when millions of dollars are being spent on 3D cinema.

Portland Press Herald: Three men with cerebral palsy suing Maine

Three men with cerebral palsy are suing the state, alleging that its policies have forced them to remain confined in nursing homes.[…]

“I do not want to spend the rest of my life here,” Van Meter wrote on his Web site.

“We live in a society that places great emphasis on independence, personal rights, and ensuring that each living creature is living in an environment suited to them. We protect wetlands so that frogs, insects and the like can live in an appropriate environment. We protect the natural habitats of polar bears, eagles and lady slippers yet we allow young individuals in need of physical assistance to be placed in nursing homes,” Van Meter wrote. “We have no age appropriate settings aimed at fostering a normal social lifestyle. It does not seem right or fair.”

Susan Niebur at Toddler Planet: In the name of awareness

But eventually, life moves on, and the wounds scab over, and the scars begin to form.

Until one day, one day, when a harmless meme rips them off, and you realize once again that you will never be the same.

Wharfedale and Airedale Observer: Pedestrians treated as second class citizens, says disability campaigner

The leader of a disability group is demanding action to allow people to use Wharfedale’s pavements safely during icy weather. Town councillor Neville Birch, who is registered blind and chairs Otley Disability Advisory Group (ODAG), says he has been virtually housebound because he has not wanted to risk walking on unsafe paths during the recent cold snap. […]

“We seem quick enough to grit the roads to make sure the motorists can get on with things and get where they need to, but what about pedestrians?” […]

A council spokesman said: […] Our advice would be to always wear sensible, sturdy shoes and to take care on pavements as they may be untreated and slippery, and only venture out when really necessary.”

Times of India: Jagannath temple to allow people in wheelchairs

The Jagannath temple in Puri, one of the most revered Hindu shrines, has decided to open its doors to wheelchair-bound devotees, an official said. But the temple authorities have taken no decision on building ramps for the wheelchairs. […] A disabled person cannot go into the temple with a wheelchair. But the temple authorities do allow entry to disabled, old and paralysed people with the help of family members and temple servitors.

“Every human being passes through phases in his life where he or she is dependent on someone else. The Lord (Jagannath) himself is limbless. But the anomaly is that wheelchair-bound limbless devotees can’t have access to the Lord,” said Ravi Tripathy, a handicapped and disabled rights activist.

The Age: London’s pop poet

At the age of seven Dury was struck down with polio. It almost killed him, leaving him withered on his left side and obliged to wear a calliper. His disability was to shape his life; it led to him being bullied as a child, it was the root of his anger and of his determination.

Dury took a confrontational attitude to his condition. He would often describe himself as a ”raspberry” – getting his retaliation in first (”raspberry ripple” is rhyming slang for cripple) – and he actually considered calling his first solo album The Mad Spastic.

14 thoughts on “Recommended Reading for January 9th

  1. I love Toddler Planet. She’s ridiculously smart (an actual rocket scientist) and she’s an amazing writer.

  2. I *so* agree with the article in the airedale observer. I am scottish, so obviously the conditions up here are slightly different, but the effect is the same. I haven’t been out of the house in three weeks because it is just. too. dangerous. for a pedestrian (and not much safer for a car, truth be told) and now I’m going back to a university that has run out of grit and salt just before the student population come back from holidays.

    Why is it that when people want things ‘moving safely’, they always mean vehicles?

  3. “Why is it that when people want things ‘moving safely’, they always mean vehicles?”

    I always thought it was because the town doesn’t particularly care for pedestrians. Also, ownership of houses – so far as I know, where I live people own up to the sidewalk (and are responsible for sewer problems underneath)that touches the street so they’re made to take care of the walks themselves. Which most don’t. A lot of the walks are broken or raised as well while the houses themselves look just peachy. Why would they care? They all drive. Makes me bitter, since I walk.

  4. Granted, some sidewalks do eventually get replaced – but I’m not sure how that’s decided if the town does it. People might just be responsible for the sewer underneath the sidewalks, but I’ve doubts considering the condition of a lot of the sidewalks here.

  5. It is the same way over here. They make sure people can use roads and sidewalks and bicycle lanes in the inner city (which is a very small area, not even the whole area with shops and restaurants is covered), but outside of that, they only take care of car roads. The railway station also does not seem to fall under the area they deem has to be made snow/ice free.
    I sent them a letter of complaint last Wednesday; my mom almost didn’t get here without breaking something and she was too afraid to leave again on foot so my dad had to come get her by car, what if that had not been an option? No reply so far. It is the second time this winter too that roads (all types, not just for cars) have really needed to be made less slippery or free of snow or both.

  6. I live in southern England and we’ve had a few inches of snow which in many places has been compacted into ice on pavements (sidewalks). Because many residential streets (like mine) have dropped kerbs so that people can get their cars onto their property rather than parking their cars by the roadside, the pavements end up being sloped down into the road, and when the pavement is icy and the road is a major road, that makes the pavement a death trap. Home owners and businesses should be encouraged to clear ice away from the fronts of their properties, and along main roads near town centres, narrow pavements should be gritted to make sure they’re safe to walk on.

  7. Same here with the winter ice…I get to either navigate uneven snow that’s then iced over (I really do not know how I’ve managed to avoid spraining an ankle!) or walk in the streets (technically illegal) and risk getting hit by a car. The residential areas in my neighborhood are actually pretty good, since everyone has a personal investment in getting their own little bit of sidewalk cleared, but you’re putting your life on the line if you want to do anything radical like buy groceries.

  8. Several people here have explained that the sidewalk situation is pretty much solved in [whatever area] by homeowners being “responsible” for the sidewalks outside their houses.

    What about homeowners with mobility, energy, cardiac, and respiratory disabilities? You can “encourage” PWD to be “houseproud” all you like, it isn’t going to get the sidewalk cleared.

    Inaccessibility is a systemic problem that needs systemic solutions.

  9. lauredhel — or immunity deficiencies, or injury proneness… or not being financially comfortable enough to pay someone else to do it for you, consistently, with every new snowfall or cold front…

    also, expecting individual responsibility to solve the problem is exactly what ends up with your neighbor parking his monster truck right over the sidewalk. it only takes one person to not value accessibility as much as you do to make spaces inaccessible. one person with a monster truck, or strong perfume, or…

    ETA: and what about the areas w/o any sidewalks at all? what about rural areas? and so on?

  10. And to clarify, by ‘they’ and ‘them’ I meant the City (Council) or whatever, I’m almost 100% sure that around these parts at least, no homeowners are responsible for this stuff (especially sidewalks and bicycle lanes not right in front of their doors), also there are no homeowners, we’re the “bad” neighbourhoods.

  11. Laur – where I live, homeowners are legally responsible for the sidewalks in front of their homes. There is a hefty fine for noncompliance. I’m not sure if there are programs to assist the elderly or those who are physically unable to do so. I think most people just pay a kid to do it.

  12. K:

    Laur –

    Please don’t call me that.

    where I live, homeowners are legally responsible for the sidewalks in front of their homes.

    I’m fully aware that this is the case in some places. Are homeowners also responsible for the road in front of their home? Why the paths, and not the roads? What about renters? Squatters? Empty homes and vacant blocks?

    There is a hefty fine for noncompliance.

    And? How does this get the person with a disability who can’t so much as WALK along the sidewalk out shovelling?

    I’m not sure if there are programs to assist the elderly or those who are physically unable to do so.

    Why are you not sure about this?

    I think most people just pay a kid to do it.

    How exactly does a housebound person with no disposable income go about hiring “a kid” to do this?

    I repeat: Inaccessibility is a systemic problem that needs systemic solutions.

    Could we please keep the discussion focused on PWD voices.

  13. Where does anyone (barring K) say it was solved? Several people (including myself) said people are responsible for it (including in bad neighborhoods, here, (sorry Norah, by ‘homeowners’ I meant anyone living in what looks like a house (as opposed to a long complex) – really bad wording on my part, sorry again), although if you live in a complex the landlord is responsible for it, and again, most of the time they don’t do anything). But solved, no. In fact, I said I was bitter because I get to try and travel on the ‘solved’ walks. They don’t – do – anything with the walks here, or the condition of the sidewalks themselves, half of which I can’t walk on without tripping at least twice and I know scooters and chairs can’t use ’em, people are forced to use the road. A couple of houses shovel and throw down salt directly in front of their house to their driveway. And that’s it. I’d hardly call that solved. Part of the problem, I think, is able Jane and Joe Blow down the block are responsible for the walks and they don’t care.

    As for rural areas, I remember going to high school for a bit in one. If there’s high snow there’s no school that day (or the next few days) until they could get a plow up. We weren’t considered high up on the scale of ‘need to be plowed’. No sidewalks, dirt road, middle of nowhere, and no public transportation. Not accessible in the least. I’ve no idea what to do about it, either. I’d say sidewalks but that’s still not feasable travelling for long distances for anyone who doesn’t drive a car. Though it would help immensely for getting to another house, (depending on where the closest house is located, distance and hills were prolific there). Sidewalks and paved road combined with a bus system would do admirably, though. Be useless to pave the sidewalks past the last house in a particular area, the hills truly are horrendous and town was much, much too far away (I live in the endless mountains) but if a bus service is there, the sidewalks would take care of getting to neighbors and the bus would take care of getting to town. It’d have to be a decent bus system, though, and I’ve yet to see one where I’m at.


    “Laur – where I live, homeowners are legally responsible for the sidewalks in front of their homes. There is a hefty fine for noncompliance. I’m not sure if there are programs to assist the elderly or those who are physically unable to do so. I think most people just pay a kid to do it.”

    I dare you to talk a walk, at least three miles total (which is the average distance for me to get to the dollar/grocery store, or the post office, or the damn library on a round trip) and see – exactly – how ‘good’ those sidewalks are. They’re probably better than where I live – but not my much, I’m betting. Even if a couple of the walks – are – shoveled, they get icy pretty damn quick and most people don’t salt anything but their own driveway, if that.

  14. Lauredhel –

    First of all, I would like to apologize for shortening your name against your wishes. I will remember for e future not to do that.

    I also apologize for how flip I sounded about the snow removal issue. It’s something that wouldn’t have a major impact on myself or many of my friends or neighbors, simply because we rent and do not own, and it is highly unlikely that a person could be financially distressed or housebound here since it’s such an expensive place to live. Our landlords are required to maintain our sidewalks and parking lots. The subsidized housing community here has the local township providing their snow removal and other related maintenance. I have also seen boy scouts out shoveling some walks and yards. I am fortunate enough to live in a place that is not so rurual that isolation to the point of people with disabilities being shut in due to bad weather. It’s my privilege showing that I didn’t even consider the issue from other POVS.

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