Disability Party Leader Andrew Straw on Parking Lots and Access

Dear Independent Political Report,
I wanted to let you know about the latest actions of the Disability Party.
Thank you for your coverage of smaller and newer parties.
Andrew Straw, Esq.
Indiana & Illinois Chair
USA & International Chair
PR: Disability Party Leader Andrew Straw on Parking Lots and Access
September 11, 2013
(STREAMWOOD, IL)
Attorney Andrew Straw, leader of the Disability Party, today announced actions for access. September is National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month and these actions will make businesses and governments more accessible. So many people across the globe are affected by disabilites, thus places like disability services Sydney play a vital role in the community.
“The Disability Party exists to increase access and opportunity for disabled people,” Straw said. “In the course of just 2 weeks, I have found my small Village of Streamwood is filled with businesses that have no handicap parking or access.”
“Driving around with my handicap parking placard, I discovered the local Chamber of Commerce has no handicap parking,” Straw said. “Further, an elementary school, an employment agency, a dentist, a 24-hour fitness center, and a grocery store have no handicap parking. I have promised to sue them if they do not provide lawful access.”
“The Chamber president told me it didn’t matter that their 60-space parking lot had no handicap spots because it is hardly ever full,” Straw said. “A national disabled veterans organization told me being ‘full’ is irrelevant, and that businesses need to follow the law.” Speaking of veterans, if you are a veteran looking for disability benefits, you should find a recommended VA disability lawyer to help you in your pursuit.
“The U.S. Treasury is investigating disability discrimination in lending by the Illinois Advantage Participation Loan Program,” Straw said. “This is a loan program for disabled people. When the state official in charge interrogated me regarding my disabilities and treatments and evaluated how disabled I ‘seem,’ everything is backwards.”
“Indiana’s Secretary of State is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for disability discrimination in elections,” Straw said. “We want veteran amputees overseas to be able to sign ballot access petitions online and have a voice in who gets on the ballot back home. We need vote-by-mail everywhere to increase access. We want forms to be accessible to vision-impaired citizens.”
“When the Indiana Democratic Party keeps its South Bend headquarters and parking lot inaccessible for 19 years and thumbs its nose at responsibility, we know there is work to do,” Straw said. “Parking lots and entrances still violate the law after 23 years of Americans with Disabilities Act. This shows a lawlessness we hope the Indiana Civil Rights Commission will remedy.”
“All three branches of government must become disability-friendly,” Straw said. “Elections need to be 100% accessible, and the judicial branch needs many more disabled judges and lawyers to protect our rights.”
Straw is conducting a study of all 50 state supreme courts’ admission and discipline rules to determine levels of discrimination against lawyers due to disability. He also wants disability access officers at the state supreme court level in all states.
Straw has asked all 50 state chief election officials “50 questions for 50 states” on election procedures. “Disability rights are everyone’s rights,” Straw said. “If every state adopted vote-by-mail to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, over 50 million more people would vote in 2016. With online candidate petitions, voters would have more access and choices. In our democracy, disability rights are essential.”
Straw wants passports to have encoded information regarding protection orders. Police in all countries can use this information to protect domestic violence victims across borders. Disabled people are much more likely to be victims of domestic violence than others. Straw’s 2001 proposal for a USA-wide database of protection orders at the FBI was recognized as one of the top 8 e-government ideas in the United States by the Kennedy School of Government and the Council for Excellence in Government in Washington, D.C.

10 thoughts on “Disability Party Leader Andrew Straw on Parking Lots and Access

  1. Jill Pyeatt

    I own a small business, and realized that my quadraplegic client couldn’t make it past the entryway of my office because of the way our desks were arranged. He didn’t say anything about it, but we moved the furniture around the next weekend, and I called him and told him that next time he could make it all the way in. I don’t know if a wheelchair could make it in the bathroom, but I’m fairly sure it could. My client is in a chair that looks like a hybrid between a gurney and wheelchair, though. I’m sure that wouldn’t make it, but I doubt if he ever uses public restrooms.

    This is a tough issue, however. A few years ago, we had a bunch of agents sued by an attorney who decided to randomly visit offices, and sue if they weren’t properly equipped for hanicapped people. The attorney did not appear to need a wheelchair, and the agent wouldn’t know there was a problem until they were hit with an expensive lawsuit. I’m not sure of the particulars, but I believe the attorney was finally counter-sued until he stopped. Many small business in CA are barely making it, and a modification of several thousand dollars might put them out of business.

  2. Jed Siple

    I was not aware that there was a Disability Party. Interesting. I like your goals of online petitioning & vote by mail. I’d get behind that.

  3. Andrew Straw

    Jill:
    I don’t have much sympathy for businesses that don’t make their parking lots and entrances accessible.

    The ADA was passed in 1990. That’s 23 years. Many state civil rights acts were passed even longer ago.

    Let’s also not forget that Section 44 of the federal tax code provides for a $5,000 tax credit for removing barriers to access. Section 190 provides up to a $15,000 deduction for the same purpose.

    Businesses that do not become accessible are wasting tax credits that could be used to create jobs for people. In a larger municipality, it could be millions per year lost.

    If an attorney sues and that motivates other businesses to follow the law, and that in turn creates jobs due to the tax credits and deductions…

    I say sue away!

    In my case, I have mobility impairments due to a car wreck on my way to work at the Indiana Supreme Court. Four months in a wheelchair with a leg broken in 4 places and a crushed hip taught me about access.

    If it were 1991 or even 1995, I could have some sympathy. It is now 2013 and enforcing the law using lawsuits and settlements can only be a good thing.

    Andrew

  4. Antirevolutionary

    Great work Andrew. Glad the Disability Party is getting active in useful ways and getting its message out. Are you actually planning on running candidates? Since us disabled people are spread out (not having our own neighborhoods or communities, etc), and most of us have other issues we vote on anyway, it would be hard to know where to run someone with the best chance of success. Also have you contacted organizations of disabled people (such as National Federation of the Blind, American Council of the Blind, and similar groups for deaf people, people in wheelchairs etc)? The leadership might not understand but if you post on some of their listservs or blogs the membership might hear about it.

  5. Andrew Straw

    I ran before. Anyone can. Getting on the ballot is the thing, and that requires getting petition signatures.

    That system violates access under the ADA now, but as you can see, we are working on changing it.

    To run as a Disability Party candidate, you have to abide by its principles:

    Access & Opportunity

    We work with any sympathetic group, and we have about 800 followers on FB now across the country. Raising money will be the big thing, as we can do a lot more with it.

    http://www.disabilityparty.net

    Andrew

  6. Antirevolutionary

    I understand that running in at least certain races is pretty easy. The problem is getting a path to victory with a single-issue party.

  7. Andrew Straw

    Jed:
    Yes, I am. Received 625 write-in votes for her in 2012.

    I started the Disability Party on 2/5/2013 because no party takes disability issues seriously enough.

    This one does. And it is not a single-issue party. You can just look at the zillion issues covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act to see how disability affects American life.

    With over 50 million Americans having a serious disability, the chances for electoral success are good with growth.

    When only 35 million Americans voted in the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary, this shows that the “disability vote” is big enough.

    When our principles are “Access & Opportunity,” this is a very broad agenda. Broader than many of the single-issue voters who vote for Democrats and Republicans.

    Andrew

  8. Andrew Straw

    In 1850, there was no such thing as a Republican Party.

    By 1861, that party held the presidency plus a majority in Congress.

    Some might have argued that it was originally a single-issue party as well.

    The path to victory is being on the right side of history.

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