Letter — Disabled expectations need to get reasonable
About three years ago, my sister and I had occasion to go to the Federal Building in Sacramento. I was in a foot boot and on crutches following surgery. We circled the building, looking for “Handicapped” signs (I had a temporary sign for the car.) and could not find any, so we parked at least 100 yards from the entrance and went slowly (gravel parking lot, across a street with no signals or signs, up four steps (with no railing), across the outer patio, up four more steps (no railing), still more “patio,” and finally through the door (which was extremely heavy; I never could have opened it alone.). I commented to the man attending the “walk-through” security about the lack of access. He said, “You should know about the government, “Do as I say, not as I do.”.
Shortly after the ADA went into effect, I attended an “annual meeting” of an 800 marketing company we had joined for our two motels in the Stateline area. I had already determinded that there was no way we could adapt the entrances to our two offices. We did have rooms that were accessible, and I was willing to make minimum alterations to the rooms and baths. Some interesting things I learned from an attorney brought to the meeting for the discussion: 1. If your property was less than 30 rooms (ours both were), don’t do anything. If you altered a room/bath, and rented it to a disabled person, and everything else on the property was NOT altered, they could sue you. 2. The company had already documented that some of the members had been targeted by people driving around a tourist area, looking for “problems”, and then filing a suit.
Having been through the surgery on both feet over a six-month period, I became much more aware of the importance of “access.” However, I think it is also important to keep things in perspective. I was sorry to learn that friends of mine there are having to go through yet one more obstacle to doing business in South Lake Tahoe.