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Re: Can ADA be counterproductive (was Re: Legal leg to stand on?)

From: Mike Paciello <paciello@ma.ultranet.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 13:16:07 -0500
Message-Id: <199903231815.NAA22484@ligarius-fe0.ultra.net>
To: "Mike Burks" <mburks952@worldnet.att.net>, <Lovey@aol.com>, <lisbk@ukoln.ac.uk>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, paciello@ma.ultranet.com
The ADA is perceived as threatening because *we* make it that way, as does
the press and media. To some extent, the Federal Gov't too. 

It's very true that it shouldn't be perceived as a threat -- I think we all
would much rather have it viewed as progressive legislation. But the fact
is, the  foundation on which the ADA is built is based on the guarantee of
rights of individuals with disabilties under penalty of litigation and
lawsuits. If a PWD wasn't guaranteed legal recourse, there's a possibility
that the ADA would not come across as negatively. But anytime you institute
a law that includes a penalty for non-compliance, there will be those who
perceive it in a negative light. No other way to look at it.

Our obligation, then,  is to focus on developing positive collaborations
between the disability communities and industry. We always need to promote
the postive, progressive approach. This is the very premise of the WAI --
an international, collaborative initiative between the disabilities
community, industry, government and education. Judy and Daniel, as well as
all the members of the WAI WG's have successfully promoted that attitude
throughout the life course of the WAI. 

On a personal level, where technology for people with disabilities is
concerned, I focus on accessibility by challenging developers involved in
advanced and emerging research. 

- Mike


At 11:40 AM 3/23/1999 -0500, Mike Burks wrote:
>Well said!
>It states the reason for this group in the first place.   To each of you
>with or without a disability I will add "There but for the grace of God go
>Mike Burks
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Lovey@aol.com <Lovey@aol.com>
>To: lisbk@ukoln.ac.uk <lisbk@ukoln.ac.uk>
>Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
>Date: Tuesday, March 23, 1999 11:35 AM
>Subject: Re: Can ADA be counterproductive (was Re: Legal leg to stand on?)

>>In a message dated 3/23/99 7:38:06, lisbk@ukoln.ac.uk writes:
>><< when threatened with the ADA >>
>>Why is the ADA threatening? There seems to be a HUGE misconception that the
>>ADA is some monster "out to get you" when in fact it is no such thing. Here
>>are the facts:
>>-What is the ADA? It is a law to eliminate discrimination of PWD's
>>in housing, education, the workplace, rehabilitation, etc. This law affects
>>millions of US citizens - PWD's and their families. This law is about
>>improving quality of life. "The pursuit of happiness" as put down in the
>>of Rights by our Founding Fathers.
>>-The ADA is not new, it has been in effect for 9 years.
>>-It does not *only* apply to the internet.
>>-There are government programs to assist businesses in modifying for access
>>and generous tax credit and deductions for complying with ADA requirements.
>>-ADA requirements apply to businesses with *more* than 15 employees. Less
>>15 employees = exempt.
>>-There are provisions for businesses that if modifications cause undue
>>financial or administrative burden they may be exempt - no one is forced to
>>close or loose their business.
>>-The Department of Justice handles ADA cases and under general rules
>>lawsuits brought by the Federal government, the Department of Justice may
>>sue a party unless negotiations to settle the dispute have failed.
>>-The ADA has resulted in only about 650 cases nationwide in five years
>>to the 6 million businesses; 666,000 public and private employers; and
>>units of state and local government that must comply.
>>So what is "threatening" about the ADA?  - Ignorance!!!
>>One person out every 5 has a disAbility or handicap -
>>How will you be able to determine which visitors to your websites have a
>>handicap or disAbility and what kind?
>>Will you arbitrarily deny your clients business from PWD's because you do
>>want to design accessibe websites?
>>What reasons do you give your clients against accessible web design?
>>For those of us with disAbilites and handicaps who are homebound the
>>has proved a to be a wonderful tool.  It has empowered us and we are able
>>interact in real time with other people - the entire world in fact -
>>our contact with others was limited to those at home and in the doctors
>>It has opened a world of information and opened interaction between
>>other PWD's. A Handicapped/disAbled Community has grown from the Internet.

>>community that never existed before. And I believe the Handicapped/disAbled
>>Community will become a powerful voice in the Internet.
>>Just think, hundreds of thousands of people eager to interact. Our money is
>>the same color as those who are "Not Yet Disabled".
>>But I constantly hear the word "threatened" and worse remarks about
>>accessibility and PWD's by people who do not have a clue what the ADA is.
>>In January, during his visit to St Louis, Pope John Paul II referred to the
>>infamous 1857 Dred Scott case affirming slavery, which was heard in St.
>>and called it a "time of testing," which the United States failed.
>>"America faces a similar time of trial today," the pope said. "Today the
>>conflict is between a culture that affirms, cherishes and celebrates the
>>of life and a culture that seeks to declare entire groups of human
>beings --
>>the unborn, the terminally ill, the handicapped, and others considered
>>'unuseful' -- to be outside the boundaries of legal protection."
>>A pretty raw statement about this country and it's people.
>>IMO, closing a website using the reason "threatened by the ADA" is a prime
>>example of ignorance and blatant discrimination against PWD's.
>>ps: If you think the US ADA law is a threat - check out Australia's
>>Act and guidelines regarding websites.
>>For NSW government websites the guidelines include not only PWD's but
>>accessibility for:
>>* People lacking multi-media computer functions
>>* People using non-current web browsers
>>* People from non-English speaking backgrounds

Mike Paciello                     Email: <paciello@ma.ultranet.com>
WebABLE! Solutions          Tel: (603) 598-9544 
131 D.W. Highway #618     Fax: (603) 598-2839 
Nashua, NH 03060             WWW: <http://www.webable.com>
Received on Tuesday, 23 March 1999 13:17:52 UTC

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