Legislative Town Event
fpennell at u.washington.edu
Wed May 5 08:41:38 PDT 1999
This message comes from Carrie Masten. I thought some of you might be
interested in attending this event.
Subject: Legislative Town Event
On Friday, May 7, there is going to be a Legislative Town Hall Event for
People with Disabilities. It will be held at the Doubletree Hotel Bellevue
(300 112th Avenue SE) from 6-8PM. This will be an open forum to discuss
important issues. It is being hosted by Representative Steve Van Luven
(R-Redmond) with invited guest, Representative Al O'Brien (D-Mountlake
Terrrace). It will also feature Seattle Seahawks Defensive End, Michael
Sinclair and the Sea Gals.
As the following editorial conveys, I am also am a bit concerned about the
circus atmosphere encircling this meeting. However, I believe that
Representative O'Brien is very sincere in his efforts. He has been a real
champion to our cause over the past few years. I hope that many of you
will attend this town hall event and let the our lawmakers and the media
know what serious issues we have to discuss.
EVERETT HERALD (May 4, 1999)
Legislators need to listen to people with disabilities:
"Sometimes good intentions don't have the best of outcomes. A legislative
town meeting in Bellevue on Friday may turn out that way.
Representative Steve Van Luven, R-Bellevue, and Representative Al O'Brien,
D-Mountlake Terrace, are putting on a town meeting for people with
disabilities. Institutional memory among legislators doesn't recall a town
meeting ever focusing on issues surrounding the disability community.
There is definitely a need for people with disabilities to have a serious
discussion with lawmakers about housing, transportation, vocational
rehabilitation, and other issues.
Unfortunately, the town meeting will also feature entertainment, with
Seattle Seahawks Michael Sinclair and Todd Peterson making an appearance
with the Sea Gals.
The two aspects just don't fit. In fact, there is a sense that the town
meeting/meet-your-favorite-athlete day is patronizing to people with
disabilities. They should be able to address their lawmakers in a serious
manner and not be distracted by cheerleaders.
Rep. Van Luven - the author of the bills that created the Seahawks and the
Mariners stadiums - says he simply wanted to share his football player
friends with people who may never attend a professional sports game. This
type of setting would be better at a festival or open house.
To make matters worse, there are limited accommodations planned for people
with disabilities. So far, ramps seem to be the extent of it. Van Luven
blames it o on the lack of a budget and little planning time. At this
point, volunteer interpreters and Braille documents are needed to at least
make this town meeting accessible to deaf and blind people.
This meeting may not be the ideal setting to address serious issues, but if
the people with disabilities choose to go so far as to attend, there should
at least be the accommodations that would allow them to participate."
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