Using a wheelchair doesn't alter the right to enter...


May 09, 2001

Using a wheelchair doesn't alter the right to enter public places

As a disability-rights organization, we find the Velleggia's Restaurant issue ("Restaurant, disability rights advocates at odds," April 16) and two subsequent letters ("Velleggia's restaurant doesn't discriminate against handicapped," April 27) regarding accessibility for persons with disabilities negative and patronizing.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is really about human rights. The fact someone uses a wheelchair or has conditions that prevent him or her from getting through narrow entrances or up steps does not preclude his or her right to independent access to a place of public accommodation such as a restaurant.

Velleggia's owners joked about wheeling patrons through the kitchen (which is a health-code violation). Ms. Cepko's date independently used the front door but she had to "be taken" through a side service entry. What's wrong with that picture?

It's now 11 years since the ADA was passed. It's time for business to realize that accessibility is good for business. It's time to realize that attitudinal barriers are just as limiting as architectural barriers.

It's time to tear the barriers down and work toward the common good for all.

Frank Pinter


The writer is executive director of Making Choices for Independent Living.

Paying only for time worked could save city big bucks

I have a suggestion for Mayor Martin O'Malley to help cut city expenses: Put all employees on a time clock.

When I need to contact city offices, I try to call between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m., before my workday begins. I cannot recall a single instance when someone answered the phone before 8:40 a.m. and often my call went unanswered until 8:50 a.m. or later.

Once, I had an appointment at the school offices on North Avenue and was asked to arrive promptly at 8:30. The first person to arrive at the office came in at 8:40. I can only imagine what happens at the opposite end of the day.

If Mr. O'Malley paid only for time actually worked, I'm sure that would add up to a substantial amount by year's end.

Jean Soyke


It isn't Sen. Bob Kerrey who owes us an apology

Bob Kerrey is not alone in his thoughts and deeds on Vietnam ("`I feel guilty' for attack in Vietnam, Kerrey says," April 27).

A lot of GIs did the same thing he did. You did not know who the enemy was or where they were -- and women and children could not be excluded.

The Viet Cong would strap a device to kids' legs and send them into a group of GIs, and then an explosion would occur. They probably killed more of their own than the GIs did.

This was a political war; politics kept the American soldier from winning. Plus, the Vietnamese did not want us to help them. A lot of people were killed (on both sides) and for what?

Mr. Kerrey should not return any medals. If anything, the U.S. government should say how sorry it is for having sent troops to Vietnam.

We keep apologizing to everyone else, but the government owes one big apology right in their own back yard.

Thomas E. Klein


Clinton's failings pale next to Bush's ignorance

While I understand the import of KAL's May 1 editorial cartoon, I found its juxtaposition with the column "Bush policies are arrogant" (Opinion

Commentary, May 1) ironic. Yes, former President Clinton took up a lot of attention with his personal life, but he did not offend the rest of the world as President Bush has.

That we now have a president who would never look at another woman is possibly significant. That we also have a president who cares for nothing but his own party's most conservative agenda is both depressing and horrifying.

I would rather have a man unsure in his private life and secure in his concern for the public than a man who is so sure of his own morals that he arrogantly refuses to consider those of the rest of the world.

Barbara M. Simon


End of effort to oust Clinton makes Washington more civil

President Bush is correct when he observes there is "less name-calling and finger pointing in Washington" ("Changing political tone is toast of 100th day lunch," May 1).

Yes, gone are the cries of the Republican jackals yapping and circling and trying to bring down the wounded lion, former President Clinton.

Robert A. Ritchie


Head of Bryn Mawr School has been a fine role model

As a senior at the Bryn Mawr School, I am devastated by the news that Head of School Rebecca MacMillan Fox is leaving Bryn Mawr ("Fox resigns after 6 years as Bryn Mawr School head," April 27).

Bryn Mawr was founded by five women who dared to believe that girls should receive the same rigorous college-preparatory education as their brothers.

For 13 years, Bryn Mawr has encouraged me to lead a considered and consequential life, to enter the pursuit of learning with passion and intensity, dream big dreams, take risks, embrace challenges and approach life with confidence, compassion and integrity.

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