Jim Schiffman: Don’t forget why disabled laws exist

09/04/2014 5:02 PM

09/05/2014 12:15 AM

My daughter was disabled 15 years ago and I write this with conflicting emotions. For store owners to suggest (“Taking a stand v. Taking advantage,” Aug. 24, 25, 31, Sept. 1) they thought they were “grandfathered in” is code for: “I don’t care to do the right thing.” I find it ironic not one of the store owners pictured with the articles are disabled; if they were, their businesses would be compliant. Clothing stores are especially bad for this; my daughter couldn’t maneuver her chair through the aisles to look at clothes. The stores sometimes would move them for us but then put them back.

People making money off this are an embarrassment, but our legislators also have it wrong. Giving businesses a warning or time to remodel – really? I recall a famous quote when it comes to breaking the law: “Ignorance is not an excuse.” These laws have been on the books, as the articles say, since 1990. My solutions:

• Before legislators think about amending these laws, they should spend two weeks in a wheelchair 24/7.
• Lawsuits should require 50 percent of the settlement go to disability support groups in the county in which the violation occurred.
• The person filing the lawsuit should be limited to three claims.

Jim Schiffman, Waterford

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