[Athen] April 4th at 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time is the last day to submit comment your voice is important!

Lissner, Scott Lissner.2 at osu.edu
Mon Apr 2 20:01:13 PDT 2012

Please Share

*April 4th is the last day to have your voice heard: Submit a comment <http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=DOJ-CRT-2012-0006-0001> to commemorate Disability Rights

With less than two days left to comment there are only 617 public comments posted on Regulations.Gov <http://www.regulations.gov/> . The majority are of currently from the “hospitality industry” and consider a lift (at $2,000 - $4,000 before tax credits) too high a price for equal access because there are too few individuals who need them. Do you think that is representative of America?

Points to consider:

· The new rules would enable people with disabilities to access pools at fitness centers in their communities, while on business trips or when on vacation providing social and exercise opportunities that are critical to health.

· The final regulation language published in September 2010 on accessible entry and exit from swimming pools and spas been through an exhaustive, deliberative and very public process that began September 30th, 2004; all parties had ample opportunity comment.

· Owners and operators have had eighteen months since the 2010 standards were initially promulgated to address any issues or questions about compliance. .

· The concepts of program accessibility and readily achievable barrier removal provide operators and business owners with alternatives and protections against undue financial burdens that are not offset by available tax incentives for improving access to business.

· Justice should move forward without further delay to make effective the requirements to provide access to pools, wading pools, and spas on May 21, 2012, and to resist this sudden realization of impact resulting in last minute efforts to undermine the seven year deliberative and inclusive process that lead to the development of the standard. Ignorance is not excuse The Department should also clarify that the current delay applies only to existing pools, wading pools, and spas and does not excuse newly constructed or altered pools during this period.

Comment at http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=DOJ-CRT-2012-0006-0001 <http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=DOJ-CRT-2012-0006-0001>

*What does April, civil rights and swimming pools have in common? Thirty Five Years ago (April 5, 1977) thousands of disabled protestors converged on federal offices around the country demanding that the equal rights legislation Congress had passed five years earlier be implemented. In San Francisco they took over the Health Education and Welfare office. On April 28, 1977 they ended the longest occupation of a federal building in U.S. history when the regulations implementing Section 504 were signed into law. Section 504 laid the foundation for the Americans With Disabilities Act and it’s Standards for Accessible Design. Currently a section of those standards assuring access to swimming pools at hotels, motels, gyms,… is being challenged

"The San Francisco 504 sit-in <http://www.npr.org/programs/wesun/features/2002/504/> did not succeed because of a brilliant strategy by a few disability leaders. It succeeded because the Deaf people set up a communication system from the 4th floor windows inside the building to the plaza down below; because the Black Panther Party brought a hot dinner to all 150 participants every single night; because people from community organizing backgrounds taught us how to make collaborative decisions; because friends came and washed our hair in the janitor's closet sink. The people doing disability rights work in the 1970s rarely agreed on policies, or even on approaches. The successes came because people viewed each other as invaluable resources working towards a common goal." (Corbett Joan O'Toole, Ragged Edge Online October 19, 2005)

I then decided to look at a random sample of submissions with just a person’s name, and Gerald Powell’s comment was the first random one I looked and it was so extreme and offensive, that I had to share it.

Submitter Information

Name: Gerald Powell

General Comment

The pool lift is an unnecessary expense. Most lodging facilities pools are open 3 months out of the year. It is an amenity that many guest want but few use. In 22 years of working in hotels not once have I had a person need assistance in or out of the pool. If I had I would not have allowed them in the pool. Safety is the foremost concern. If someone is unable to safely get in and out of a pool without aid I do not want them in my pool. Furthermore, if someone who needed a lift to get in and out of a pool had some type of paralysis, there is a very real possibility they may have lack of bowel control. Then I am dealing with a real health issue. Due I then have the right to charge that person the cost of cleaning the pool as well as loss of revenue from my pool being close?

It should be an individual business's choice to cater to a special needs group.
I then looked at about another 15 or 20 comments with no organizational affiliations and they seem to be split about half and half of people with disabilities saying in essence we have waited long enough and others that say pool lifts should be delayed or were not necessary or should be a business decision or something to that effect.

I have no idea how representative my random sample was but it is clear the industry is getting a ton of their members to submit comments.

So if you have not commented, please do. Here is the link:

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