Wheelchair ramp will cost $100,000 a foot

Wouldn't it be cheaper to just buy her one (or a hundred) of those wheelchairs that can climb stairs?
Where else but San Francisco City Hall could a 10-foot-long wheelchair ramp wind up costing $1 million?

Thanks to a maze of bureaucratic indecision and historic restrictions, taxpayers may shell out $100,000 per foot to make the Board of Supervisors president's perch in the historic chambers accessible to the disabled.

Supervisor Jake McGoldrick [...] asked that the board take some more time to come up with an alternative, like maybe just getting rid of the president's elevated seat.

The root of the problem dates back to when City Hall got a $300 million makeover in the 1990s that made just about every hallway, bathroom and office accessible to the disabled. The exception was the board president's podium, which is reachable only for someone who can climb the five steps from the chamber floor.

The understanding was that the room would eventually be made fully accessible. But no one worried about the podium until 2004 when Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who uses a wheelchair, joined the board. [...]

Even if the board gives its final blessing, however, construction of the ramp won't be completed before the end of the year - midway through Alioto-Pier's second and final term.

"I deserve equal access to every part of the chamber," Alioto-Pier told her colleagues, adding that ending discrimination is worth the $1 million.

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101 Responses:

  1. insomnia says:

    Someone should kneecap her.

    • As a wheelchair user myself, I really hope I get to meet you someday. My cane and your knees want to have words.

      • insomnia says:

        While I am supportive of the rights of the disabled, this isn't really the issue here.

        The issue is that this whole problem can be resolved by getting rid of an elevated seat, thereby fixing the entire problem and giving the supervisor equal access to every part of the chamber, as is her right.

        She is basically insisting taxpayers spend a million dollars of their money for her vanity, when equal access can be provided for *MUCH* less.

        So yeah... she certainly deserves an electoral kneecapping. It's an arrogant position to take.

        How many real access problems could be fixed for thousands of handicapped in San Francisco for the amount of taxpayer funds she wants to spend?

        • GO read the article, and observe that all the supes have been arguing over a lot of other options, including lifts and just getting rid of the damn podium. They've failed to find a cheaper solution.

          So why do you single out Alioto for insisting on equality? Would you suggest a lynching if someone black on the board wanted to come in the front door like the white folks, or the women wanted their bathroom to be just as large as the men?

          Alioto isn't insisting on a ramp; she's insisting on accessibility. If the Supes can't agree on a cheaper, saner solution, why is she the only one to blame?

          • insomnia says:

            It's not that they've failed to find a cheaper solution at all. It's that they've failed to decide on one... *AND* they're throwing in a $300K sound system while they are at it!

            Contrary to your comparison, absolutely nobody is keeping Alioto out of the room. She works in there all the time.

            As for blaming all the other supervisors... well, perhaps some of them do deserve blame, but do you know what Alioto's position is on this? Is she in favor of the least expensive, most expedient solution?

            Somehow, given her quote, I would suspect not.

          • insomnia says:

            What is clearer if you search online is this is about accessability not for her to do her job or to get access to the room, but it is purely about access to sit at the president's seat.

            Nevermind that she's not the president.

            What she's asking for is a million dollars of symbolism, rather than a million dollars of actual help to the people of San Francisco.

            • It's not "pointless symbolism" if a physical barrier which doesn't need to exist keeps her from ever having that job. Right now, the podium says "A person unable to climb stairs will never be worthy of this job". She asked for full access (and believe me, the ADA barely covers what we need these days). She's asking for compliance with Federal law, in fact.

              I intend to write to my Supes and ask that they find a cheaper solution - but insist that they do find a solution. And judging from the backlash in this forum, the comments on the SFGate piece, and the sort of treatment I usually get, I'm gonna have to write to Alioto-Pier and thank her for standing up for disabled access rights just so I am not keeping company with the folks who seem to think that kneecapping her is a better answer.

              • insomnia says:

                I didn't say "pointless symbolism", as you quoted. I said symbolism.

                That said, building a hundred other wheelchair ramps that are used every day by handicapped people... that's not pointless. building 10 units of low-income family housing... that's not pointless either.

                It's a matter of having one's priorities in order.

              • insomnia says:

                C'mon... nobody thinks that kneecapping her is a better answer.

                Laughing at her grandstanding on this issue, however...

                • Yes, watching a cripple ask for the ADA to be enforced is funny, isn't it?

                  Which is absolutely why your first reaction was to want her kneecapped.

                  Personally, I think it'd be a lot funnier to kneecap you with my spare cane. And then watch you deal with crutches.

                  • insomnia says:

                    She has access to the room, and the ADA has arguably enforced in that old, historical building far beyond the norm.

                    "Which is absolutely why your first reaction was to want her kneecapped."

                    No. It was because she was grandstanding on a stupid, empty boondoggle of an expenditure, when there are about a million other things more important to do in S.F., some of which could actually save lives or would improve the quality of life for many, many people in S.F.

                    The bigger issue is all those thousands of places people go to every day where it hasn't been enforced and could be for far, far less than a million dollars.

                    "Personally, I think it'd be a lot funnier to kneecap you with my spare cane. And then watch you deal with crutches."

                    Tell you what... I'll give you a free swing at me, if you'll spare me a million dollars for a marble and cherrywood ramp up to my front porch.

                    (...and a $300,000 sound system for the front room, while we're at it.)

                  • Sorry, SSDI has me below the poverty line; I couldn't even afford a ramp to get out of my own apartment. Almost all the ADA-compliant housing in SF is non-rent-controlled (or Section 8).

                    And you fail to get it.

                    I now owe the Arguing with Stupid People on the Internet jar a dollar.

                  • lafinjack says:

                    What you don't get is that they could make a ramp up to the podium for a couple thousand dollars, then spend the rest of the million bucks on helping other people (like yourself) get into other places. Instead, they're going through with this ridiculously expensive and wasteful plan. That's the point he's trying to make, which seems to be eluding you.

                  • Actually, his first "point" was to attack Alioto in a way which suggested a) prejudice and b) that he blamed her entirely. That's what pissed me off. He can backtrack all he damn wants, but it's the kneecapping comment which has my temper up.

                    Here's what nobody gets: this ramp needs to be up to SF building historical code as well as ADA standards. That's what's tripling the cost of the ramp. $45K is listed in the article as the ramp cost (which includes asbestos removal for some reason, and that always costs a ton of money). We actually don't know how much just a ramp has been estimated to cost, with or without making it okay by historical standards. But it isn't a million dollars; that's for sound system and a ton of other improvements which all the Supes have insisted on. And of which I disapprove.

              • insomnia says:

                Also... "if a physical barrier which doesn't need to exist keeps her from ever having that job."

                "I'm sorry, Supervisor. You can't be President. We haven't built the ramp yet!"

                Suffice it to say, there'd be some sort of temporary solution in place right away, should that ever occur, and she would, in fact, be up those steps and in her chair.

                • And we'll build a women's bathroom if a dame gets elected to the board, too.

                • lifelike001 says:

                  exactly why shouldn't she be accommodated? people around YOU are doing it every day.

                  • insomnia says:

                    San Francisco is a large city, and there are hundreds of people who could be accomodated every day who would actually *USE* said accomodation... and it would cost a lot less than a million dollars to do it.

                    This is sort of like Alaska's bridge to nowhere... except, of course, that over 700 people a day would actually use that $398 million bridge.

                    That comes out to a million dollars to accomodate about two people a day... as opposed to this project, where a million dollars will accomodate exactly zero people a day... at least until such a point as there actually is a president in need of some form of ultra-expensive accomodation.

                  • lifelike001 says:

                    ain't that a wordy answer to someone simply calling you a tool.

                  • insomnia says:

                    As opposed to...?!

  2. mark242 says:

    In today's environment where Republicans are financially irresponsible, dogs and cats are living together, mass hysteria, etc, I just like to frame things within context:

    "Where else but San Francisco City Hall could a 10-foot-long wheelchair ramp wind up costing five minutes in Iraq?"

    • learath says:

      How about "30 seconds of mandatory healthcare"?
      ETA: I just ran the numbers, and it turns out I'm horribly wrong. Based on the numbers for the UK that I could find it would take the US about 8 minutes to run through 10 million on the NHS.
      Of note, This from the NHS seems to be saying the US spends over 13% of the GDP on healthcare, far more than the UK (under 10%). 13% of the GDP is a mind boggling figure.

      • pozorvlak says:

        I'd heard figures that the US spends around twice as much per capita on healthcare (counting govt and private expenditure) as the UK (again, counting both). And has lower standards of public health (not that the UK's anything special on that front). Which is, again, pretty mindboggling.

        The Singaporean healthcare system (which delivers better outcomes for less than either system) sounds interesting.

        • learath says:

          Sounds interesting, but I can't follow your link :(
          Do you have a different link?

          • pozorvlak says:

            Nothing that you couldn't find yourself by Googling - I read about it in the book The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford. As I understand it, everyone is mandated by law to put a certain amount of money every year into a "health savings account", which can only be spent on medical things. The government tops up the accounts of anyone who doesn't earn enough to save the money. So effectively a healthcare tax, but individuals retain control over how it's spent, thus allowing for the beneficial effects of competition, and for money to be spent on preventative medicine. There's also public assistance available for disastrous medical expenses that exhaust your account. Anyway, it seems to work for them :-)

      • mark242 says:

        Seriously?

        That's your A game?

        It's just as expensive to save people's lives as it is to end them?

        Good luck with that.

        • learath says:

          You are aware that Social Security costs more than DOD yearly, right?
          And you're also aware that DHHS runs just about neck to neck with DOD yearly, right?
          And you're also aware that this posited NHS would run slightly higher than DOD yearly, right?
          Facts hurt. Do your research and maybe next time you won't look *totally* ignorant.

          • mark242 says:

            Perhaps you misunderstood my point. It's okay.

            It doesn't matter what 50cc's of ampicillin costs. Even if it costs more than a B-2 bomber, the ampicillin is a better deal.

      • zond7 says:

        If the proportions are roughly the same as they were when I last looked, the US public sector expenditure as %age of GDP is about the same as the NHS; the amount that people spend privately in the US is around the same again. That's to say, the US government spends about the same as required to fund a universal health system, doesn't, and then individuals have to spend the same again to get what they really need.

        • learath says:

          Yes, I was assuming that we'd somehow coerce the US Federal Government to be effective, which lowers the total cost by a factor of 10 or so. The minor detail that this would require a Spanish Inquisition type organization with the authority to shoot on sight anyone up to and including standing Senators is beside the point.

          (Yeah, I've worked for the Feds. The quantity of suck is unrivaled.)

          • zond7 says:

            Governments suck. Corporations suck. All large scale organizations suck. All small organizatios suck. The best you can dream of is that you get the choice of suckage that best matches your sentimental blind spot.

          • jsl32 says:

            no other socialised healthcare system is that wide-ranging. most cover only a fraction of that population.

            compare like population numbers to like, at least, by breaking up the US into regions or even do it state by state. that is more reflective of how to 'fix' american healthcare than trying to say 'what works for 10 million should easily scale for 300 million, though this scaling thing keeps falling down as populations increase and/or age'

  3. baconmonkey says:

    well it's good to know that after that's built, all discrimination will be over.

  4. dojothemouse says:

    We need a protest. "SUPERVISOR ALIOTO-PIER UNFAIR TO CRIPPLE-LIFTING UNION."

  5. avani says:

    The $100k/ft number is really misleading, you know. The total includes stuff like a $300k sound system for the hall and almost $20k in permits to themselves.

    The issue isn't the access, its the problem of preserving 'historical' buildings when you have essentially infinite money. Do you want to be the one cutting corners on preserving history come election day? ("Our forefathers, well whoever was here 100 years ago, looked at wood panels that looked almost exactly like that, you know.")

    • baconmonkey says:

      hmm, being the dink who spent $100k per stair, or being the dink who reduced the historical authenticity of a room in which 99.99% of the public will never set foot.
      Hmm, tough call.

      • insomnia says:

        How about being the reasonable, rational person who did neither, because the whole project is about building a solution for a problem that doesn't currently exist?

        • It's a problem. And a violation of Federal law.

          What if the current president gets hit by a bus tomorrow and has to borrow Alioto's spare chair? He can't do his job, if his job means going up those stairs.

          • anti_tim says:

            FDR was crippled with Polio and couldn't use his legs the majority of his presidency. I don't get your point.

            • insomnia says:

              "FDR was crippled with Polio and couldn't use his legs the majority of his presidency. I don't get your point."

              Sorry. There's no ramp up to the war room... we're going to have to surrender to the Japanese!

          • insomnia says:

            Again... I would gladly take the wager that they would, in fact, find a way up to the chair.

          • baconmonkey says:

            did you see the image of the plan?
            the ramp is 10 feet long, not 10 feet tall.
            You're trying to tell us that the president cannot do their job if they are not elevated one foot?

            http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2008/02/27/BANQV90AT.DTL&o=0

            you can see the platform in this video as well.

            The anger expressed here is only directed at Alioto-Pier because of the complete insanity of her insisting that a one million dollar expenditure to give one person the ability to be one foot higher than usual. Given that the purpose of that room is for people to speak, the location from which one speaks doesn't have much impact on one's ability to be heard. Add on to it the claim about the $1 Million ramp "ends discrimination", and it really comes off as an insane vanity perk, like if the Supes insisted that they all need Govt funded gold plated Beamers in order to properly do their jobs.

            also:
            6' folding wheelchair curb ramp: $315
            http://shop.americanaccess.net/cart.php?target=category&category_id=73

            Though I think a sledgehammer, and 2 day laborers to take out the podium might be cheaper.

            • Ah, basic math.

              Ramp steepness is mandated by the ADA. The length of the ramp is necessary because otherwise it's too steep to wheel upward by ADA rules.

              THose portable ramps? Note how long they are.

              Add on crazy SF historical building codes insisting that the ramp match the existing architecture, and you've got an expensive wooden boondoggle which is mandated by law.

              As I've said repeatedly here, I'm in favor of telling them to quit using the damn podium. But since Peskin has refused to give up his happy place, that isn't an option. (Funny how none of the other Supes are getting blamed for failing to solve this problem.)

              And, as other people have repeatedly pointed out, the $1 mil tag is for the sound system, other renovations, and the ramp. The ramp itself? Much cheaper.

              But it's so much more fun to blame an already disliked supervisor and the cripples.

              • jwz says:

                I think all the supes are tools for letting this nonsense get as out of hand as it is, but you know what? Alioto is the one who said "ending discrimination is worth the $1 million."

                For that alone -- for saying that ending the "discrimination" of her not being able to theoretically sit behind a podium that she doesn't need to sit behind in the course of her job anyway is worth a million dollars -- for that, she can go fuck herself.

                I don't care whether she can walk or not. Anyone who would say that this is a sane or reasonable use of the public's money is a complete jackass.

                I wouldn't pretend to speak for the lj-fanboys, but my reading of the hostility you are seeing toward her here is not because she has her ass in a chair, but because she has her head up her ass.

          • jmtd says:

            Move the desk? (Crazy I know)

    • lafinjack says:

      Glad I don't live in a city that charges $20k in freakin' permits for a stupid (and now only $680k) ramp.

      At least the dead can vote here. Zombies have rights, too!

  6. phoenixredux says:

    Oh for fuck's sake... Why don't they just hire a couple of guys to lift her chair up and down the five steps as needed? If you paid them each $30,000 per year with full benefits, it would be cheaper and more sensible than a million dollar renovation.

    Give me the million dollars, and I'll give you two sheets of plywood and a handrail.

    • Let me know into which orifice I should shove the totally unsafe two sheets of plywood you recommend.

      • phoenixredux says:

        LOL!

        Ok, ok, that was a bit tongue-in-cheek. It just seems like another one of those good intentions of our government that got a bit over-zealous. But I suppose it's better to build ramps than a lot of other things they could do with a million dollars.

        • It sounds good on the surface until you think. Trust me; my fat-ass powerchair goes right through plywood even if it's not a 10 foot long ramp.

          Saying "plywood" to me feels like telling the black folks and women they can use the outhouse out back; only the white men get an indoor plumbing bathroom. But that's equal, right?

          A million dollars could probably ramp every un-cut curb in the city, it's true. But it isn't the wheelies' fault that the Supers couldn't agree on a cheaper version, like ditching the historical podium entirely.

      • strspn says:

        Wait, that's what I want to know: I walk across seven feet of plywood supported by a frame made out of two-by-fours twice a day. I've carried a fridge on a dolly over it. It was nominally approved by a building inspector. This thing can't have more than a thousand dollars of parts and labor in it. Why do wheelchair ramps have to be so expensive?

        • Because in addition to ADA code, this thing is being built to SF historical building code. See the photos? Most ramps aren't made of fancy polished oak and covered in carpet. I'd conservatively estimate that the historical code is at least tripling the cost.

          Your plywood ramp is probably the heavy-duty plywood, which will work for a temporary situation, especially if well supported. Single-thick plywood can't hold the weight of a heavier wheelchair, and even the inch-thick stuff - well, they use it for temporary ramps on the street all the time when construction blocks a concrete curb cut, and they don't always last, especially if it rains.

          ADA mandates something like:

          Ramp must support at least 800 lbs. and maybe more (My powerchair weighs nearly 500 even without me in it. I'm not positive what the ADA mandated limit is, it may be 1000 lbs.) A legal ramp can also only be at a very low grade - something like 2 per cent - so that a manual user who isn't a powerlifter can still push themselves up the ramp. This usually means ramps have to be very long so they aren't too steep.

          Building codes don't generally allow for temporary ramps unless there's no room for a permanent one. The cheap metal temporary ramps you linked to aren't long enough to meet ADA code for grade, nor would they have a handrail, which ADA requires.

          For my own personal use, I could install a 2x4 and double-thick plywood deal that only held 700 lbs. and had no handrails and was steeper than 2 per cent, because I have a powerchair that can handle a grade, and as a private owner (if I were one - my landlord wouldn't let me do it) I wouldn't have to conform to full ADA specs. City Hall is not in this position. THe ramp isn't just for Alioto; it's got to meet ADA specs. And since it's in a historic building, historical specs. Add in the Supervisors, and we have a clusterfuck of overspending.

          • strspn says:

            Thank you. I am convinced that there is a huge amount of contractor padding involved here, not just because the City Hall Historical Standards contractor market is inelastic, but also because it's a city contract.

  7. nerdware says:

    The problem is not the wheelchair, or her rights, its the bureaucratic incompetance. It's just a ramp! It shouldn't cost $1M, never mind $10M.

    Stupid bureaucrates. Stupid comments, too. Stupid bigoted comments. You all seem to be suggesting that disabled people have no place in your world. As for the idiot suggesting she should be kneecaped - grow up.

    I've seen this happen here too many times. Stupid, offensive, immature fanboys, all of you. Oh yeah, I hope you find this offensive. Just a little bit.

    Anyway, I'm defriending jwz so I don't have to read this shit anymore.

    • lafinjack says:

      We didn't like you, anyway.

      • nerdware says:

        Thanks for proving my point, immature fanboy.

        • lafinjack says:

          Immature? I'm not the one flouncing over words on a screen, many of which are jokes and not serious. Everyone I see is supportive of the ramp itself, but the ridiculosity is in the insane cost of the one settled on. She is hardly for disabled rights if she thinks using a million dollars of taxpayer money on a ramp she won't even use is a good idea, instead of using it for ramps in other places.

          I think you just like repeating "immature fanboys" over and over. And anyway, I'm just here for the links, man. I only know jwz is somebody because someone mentioned it in a thread once, and even then I don't really care (no offense, J).

          • nerdware says:

            Everyone I see is supportive of the ramp itself

            It's hard to see that from a joke about disability. Do you also make "supportive" comments of ethnic minority by telling racist jokes?

            • remonstrare says:

              It amuses me to find people whose tastes run to the bizarre, like people who read jwz's blog, but yet they don't go all the way. They're not immune to goatse or the jokes on sickipedia. There's some level at which they just break and scream OMG, THAT'S LIKE SO OFFENSIVE. It's this part that causes EPIC LULZ.

              Personally, I'm offended by people who are genuinely racist, not people telling offensive jokes in full knowledge that they're sick, wrong and offensive, in order to generate drama.

              That said, if wheelchair users encounter idiots who would equate Alioto-Pier's views with all other cripples, they should denounce her and make it clear that she doesn't speak for them - although that should be obvious. Normal people don't think "whoa, George Bush is a white male. He must speak for all white males", so why is it OK to equate a sample with the population for jews, blacks, women and cripples?

              • nerdware says:

                Personally, I'm offended by people who are genuinely racist, not people
                telling offensive jokes in full knowledge that they're sick, wrong and
                offensive, in order to generate drama.

                My complaint was about "Stupid, offensive, immature fanboys", and "people telling offensive jokes in full knowledge that they're sick, wrong and offensive, in order to generate drama" is certainly immature.

                Why should jokes about disabilities be any less offensive than racist jokes?

                How does an intention "to generate drama" make a joke less offensive? It sounds like an excellent argument for defriending jwz, which I've done. The drama-trolls will now have a slightly smaller audience.

                I wonder if they'll be less offended if I call them drama-trolls instead of immature fanboys? ;) I criticise them for something they chose to do. Their jokes target people for something where there is no choice.

                We should certainly criticise Alioto-Pier, like any politician, for what she says and does, but jokes about her disabilities and disabilities in general are not criticism.

                • remonstrare says:

                  Why should jokes about disabilities be any less offensive than racist jokes?

                  Well, it depends on the joke. A joke like "Why is there no podium at the Paralympics? Because they're all winners!" is less offensive than "What's a cocoon? A ninigger with a ststutter."

                  How does an intention "to generate drama" make a joke less offensive?

                  It doesn't, to answer your rhetorical question. That's the whole point. Imagine you're posting here. You are a privileged whitey in an ocean of privileged whiteys. How can you upset them for drama lulz? Well, you certainly can't do it by pointing out where inequality exists in the world, because whitey doesn't give a shit. So instead, you post something offensive. But it's important to make it clear that this is not actually your opinion; if people thought it was, they would write you off as an idiot with idiotic beliefs, and would not take much offense. So you post an offensive joke, basically saying "Hey guys! This is offensive! I know it's offensive and I'm posting it anyway in order to offend you! Look how cool / alternative / po-mo I am!"

                  But I'm not really sure why I'm explaining this to you, as you're clearly an expert in drama-generation; namely the public de-friending tactic. If you were really offended, you could've quietly removed jwz from your friends list, or even just configured your friend groups so he remained a friend but his posts didn't appear on your friends page. But no. You posted a great big YOU'RE ALL SO INSENSITIVE! YOU SUCK SO MUCH! I'M LEAVING AND I'M NEVER COMING BACK!

                  Where does that put you vis-a-vis "maturity"?

                  • nerdware says:

                    Ask a member of the target group whether the joke offended them or not. Consider this commentary by feyandstrange.

                    So you're suggesting that nobody (see above) can complaint or criticise because that would be adding to the "drama". If that's so, the only option left is to leave the forum, as the complainant/critic will have no voice with which to speak on the matter. They will have effectively become a non-person WRT to this forum.

                    If you want to understand why that's a problem, I suggest you look at the various protests on disability issues in the US in the late 70s and the role the police took in disrupting those protests. Similar incidents have occured in other countries. We've come a long way since then, but obstacles still exist - sometimes literal, physical obstacles. Hence jwz's posting of a link to the reporting of one such obstacle. (Well, several if you count the politicians who bungled it.) Hence this discussion.

                    Oh, the irony of it.

                  • remonstrare says:

                    Consider this commentary

                    I read that, and I think she's too readily applying her own prejudices. She says "the amount of backlash against her right now only because she's in a wheelchair" (my emphasis), which IMHO is wrong. The amount of backlash is because she claims it's worth spending $1 million of the public's money on something that's entirely symbolic. While there may be some particularly stupid people equating all disabled people with that one out-of-touch financially irresponsible self-serving idiot disabled person, I think most people can tell the difference and are venting their ire at the person, not the class of people.

                    So you're suggesting that nobody (see above) can complaint or criticise because that would be adding to the "drama".

                    I'm not saying that at all. There are ways of criticising the baiters without falling prey to their trap. They want to provoke a knee-jerk reaction. They want you to do exactly what you and feyandstrange have done. They don't want to see calm, reasoned, non-dramatic, friendly rebuttals. That's a lulz-killer.

                  • nerdware says:

                    There's nothing symbolic about a ramp. The podium, perhaps, but as the article put it, "The ramp won". Also note that the $1M wasn't just for the ramp, as the headline misleadingly suggests.

                    So it appears that you didn't read the full article.

                    They don't want to see calm, reasoned, non-dramatic, friendly rebuttals.

                    No, I doubt they do. That's why I made an effort to post only calm, reasoned, non-dramatic, rebuttals. I'm not a hypocrite, so I won't pretend that I want friends like them. Nor am I so foolish as to believe that they might ever want me as a friend.

                  • remonstrare says:

                    I read the article. What part of "[Alioto-Pier said] ending discrimination is worth the $1 million" do you think I'm not clear about?

                    Both the podium and adding a ramp to it are symbolic. The former is symbolic of unearned prestige, the latter is symbolic of thoughtless squandering of taxpayer money.

                    I know full well the guy currently in the chair doesn't want to leave. He needs to get out of it. That too is symbolic, but it's symbolism that ends discrimination for $0, as opposed to symbolism that ends discrimination for $1,000,000. I note that Alioto-Pier didn't "ending discrimination is pretty good and all, but it's not worth $1 million of taxpayer money. That fuck needs to get out of his fancy chair and make us all equal."

                    I made an effort to post only calm, reasoned, non-dramatic, rebuttals.

                    "Stupid, offensive, immature fanboys, all of you. Oh yeah, I hope you find this offensive. Just a little bit. Anyway, I'm defriending jwz so I don't have to read this shit anymore."

                    If that's you making an effort to be non-dramatic, I'd hate to catch you on a bad day.

                  • nerdware says:

                    I read the article. What part of "[Alioto-Pier said] ending
                    discrimination is worth the $1 million" do you think I'm not clear about?

                    Read it closely and you'll see that's not what the article actually says. The actual line is:

                    "I deserve equal access to every part of the chamber," Alioto-Pier told her colleagues, adding that ending discrimination is worth the $1 million.

                    She was being paraphrased. Now recall the misleading headline. What was actually said? What question did a journalist ask her and what was her full reply? We don't know because the article doesn't say. Someone, probably a sub-editor, cut those words. It may have been the same person that wrote the headline, which clearly makes the story sound more dramatic than it really is. $1M is a lot more money than $455K.

                    Anyway, you should also recall my distinction between criticisms for what she says and does, and criticisms for her being disabled. Regardless of what she may or may not have actually said, many here have critcised her for being disabled and her legal rights as a disabled person.

                    You criticised Alioto-Pier for not saying, "ending discrimination is pretty good and all, but it's not worth $1 million of taxpayer money. That fuck needs to get out of his fancy chair and make us all equal." Those are your words, clearly, and not hers. Why should she say that? Did you forget that she's a politician? She may well have said something more tactful, but we may never know. The article used selective quoting and paraphrasing, so all we know is what the author(s) of the article wanted to tell us.

                    If that's you making an effort to be non-dramatic, I'd hate to catch you on a bad day.

                    That's a fine example of quoting out of context. I said a lot more than that and you know it. I stand by every word of that post. You've made it abundantly clear that you don't find these jokes offensive, you deny the feelings of others who do, and you argue that we shouldn't speak out. Well, if speaking out against bigotry is too "dramatic" for you, I suggest that it may be because you are a bigot yourself and you find criticism of your views unwelcome - possibly even offensive. That's what I meant by, "Oh yeah, I hope you find this offensive. Just a little bit." I'm glad to see that you and some others do indeed find it so coz it'll give you a tiny clue as to how we feel.

                    Welcome to our world. You complain about this short visit, but we live here, and not by choice. You protest over a criticism of something for which you have a choice, then defend the right to joke about things which we do not. This is a classic technique for attacking authority. By all means make jokes about the powerful, but when you make jokes about the vulnerable, you diminish the little power they have available.

                    Its bigots like you that give people like me and feyandstrange a "bad day".

                  • remonstrare says:

                    I'm just trying to help you out here, no need to bite my head off. Please note you're on the Interwebs, a place full of people who crave lulz, and by reacting as predictably as you did, have just fed them a mega-dose of lulz. Next time you see someone acting outrageously, just to try not to be outraged in their presence.

                  • nerdware says:

                    Note my icon. Any idea who he was, what he did, and why we remember him? Yes, this is a web forum. You shouldn't be suprised then when something one person says is challenged by others. Nor should you be suprised when, when a person says something offensive, it provokes a strong reaction. Merely being online doesn't change this. Everything has consequences. Your repeated attempts to silence opposition speaks volumes about your lack understanding of this.

                    I refered you to a long history of bigotry that does that does just that. You ignored that. You called this "someone acting outrageously", denying that it causes any real and lasting harm. Is that justification for not criticising a bigot?

                    So, given the above, you're either clueless and stupid, or a bigot. Clueless because you're unaware of the harm you and others do, and stupid not to accept a clue when it is offered to you. The alternative is that you prefer to believe the bigotry you've been spouting, and that would make you a bigot. Either way, you should go back to school and get a real education.

                  • remonstrare says:

                    O HAY, he's the guy who drank hemlock because someone told him to, LOL.

                    I don't know why you're having such a hard time understanding me. Let's try using a Socrates example.

                    Imagine you are a resident of ancient Athens who purports that society only runs well when the disabled have equal rights with the non-disabled.

                    Socrates would no doubt happen upon you and ask you to consider if society would run better if the disabled had unequal rights.

                    [For the purposes of the analogy, imagine that Socrates was doing this for his own personal amusement rather than for selflessly improving other peoples' lives.]

                    Now, would you take consideration of what he said, and ultimately reject it because of logically valid reasons why society runs better when the disabled have equal rights, or would you go on a screaming rampage about how Socrates really believes what he just told you and that makes him clueless / stupid / bigoted?

                    You think being online changes nothing? Wrong. It changes everything.

                    While you're here, please reconcile your statement "Ask a member of the target group whether the joke offended them or not.", which suggests feyandstrage is disabled while you're not, with "Welcome to our world... people like me and feyandstrange", which suggests you are.

                  • nerdware says:

                    O HAY, he's the guy who drank hemlock because someone told him to, LOL.

                    That's a gross misrepresentation of events. See below.

                    I don't know why you're having such a hard time understanding me.

                    I understand you well. You're a bigot.

                    Let's try using a Socrates example.

                    That's a "straw man" argument.

                    Now, would you take consideration of what he said,

                    Correction: your "straw man".

                    and ultimately reject it because of logically valid reasons why society runs better when the disabled have equal rights,

                    As another ancient greek noted, we should judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable members. The most powerful can clearly look after themselves, while most vulnerable members are the least powerful. If they were not the least powerful, they would less vulnerable and therefore could not be the most vulnerable members of society.

                    or would you go on a screaming rampage about how Socrates really believes what he just told you and that makes him clueless / stupid / bigoted?

                    Neither of us are Socrates. Neither of us can speak for Socrates. Not only did he die a long time ago, his opponents silenced.

                    You think being online changes nothing? Wrong. It changes
                    everything
                    .

                    Whether you defend bigotry online or face to face, anonymously or not, it has no bearing on your responsiblity for your words and actions. It may make it harder for others to hold you accountable for your words and actions, but that doesn't alter your responsiblity.

                    Your gross mispresentation of Socrates' death (see below) is revealing. I urge you to get a real education and/or grow up.

                    While you're here, please reconcile your statement "Ask a member of the
                    target group whether the joke offended them or not.", which suggests
                    feyandstrage is disabled while you're not, with "Welcome to our world...
                    people like me and feyandstrange", which suggests you are.

                    It suggests no such thing. I didn't say, "Ask a member of the target group, like me whether the joke offended them or not." I didn't need to, as you already know my answer. The point was more general. You could ask me or any other member.

                    You've yet to deny that you're a bigot, that you express and support others with bigoted views. You've ignored that point completely, yet its at the heart of my arguement. I refered to bigots back in my original post. Instead you wriggle about and attempt to distort my argument. Now you're offering a distorted version of Socratic method and his trial and death.

                  • remonstrare says:

                    You've yet to deny that you're a bigot

                    I'm holding out for you accusing me of rape.

    • wolven says:

      Precisely. That's the truly sick piece of this that people seem to be missing.

      At least three of those Bureau titles mean the same basic thing.

    • wolven says:

      On the other hand, why so Angry? Not JWZ's fault that there's insane bureaucracy.

      • nerdware says:

        I'm not angry at jwz. What gave you that impression? I defriended him so I won't even be tempted to read the comments, and so read posts from immature fanbays. Didn't I say that?

        • wolven says:

          The way your comment was put together, it seemed a sweeping disgust, rather than a focused one. Misread it. My apologies.

  8. What a totally not surprising level of you goddamned healthy people in the comments not getting how the world works.

    Anything labeled "fully accessible" has to be built to ADA code. Contractors can charge insane amounts of money to make sure it's "up to code" so that nobody can sue under the ADA laws. This makes it cost way more than it should have to, yes. And really, people, just stop using the damn podium, set it aside as a historical item, and solve the problem.

    But I have just as much goddamned right to go into City Hall as you do. Sure, this case is ridiculous, but I see the same damn hateful shit any time somebody wants to make access improvements.

    Having gotten stuck on a broken fucking stair lift at City Hall twice now, I swear I'm gonna break the spine of the next person who bitches about access and see how they like my world.

    • king_mob says:

      You know, it's rather the point that they could maybe get the stair lift fixed if they weren't burning money on this.

      To me, the depressing part of the story is the idea that the city supervisor in question wouldn't say "Gosh, guys, this is an incredible waste of money. Don't do it." Possibly that's not something you're able to say if you're a third-generation politician.(Or, possibly, the rest of the city supervisors sit around and go HA HA CAN'T GET TO PODIUM, and it's made her less than charitably disposed to them; but I bet not.)

      She doesn't come off well in this story, if those quotes are accurate.

      I like to think that I wouldn't ask the state of Ohio (I'm a public employee, if you squint right) to spend a megabuck on me to get the symbolism right. Maybe I have an overly high opinion of myself.

      • If you read the article, you'll see that several more sane and less costly options were tabled because the Supervisors couldn't agree on any other plan besides this money-sink, including the President's refusal to give up his podium. Now people are saying the plan the Supes voted on is a colossal waste of money, and Alioto won't let them get rid of the ramp part. I think she's being just as much of a jerk as Peskin and the others.

        But nobody's threatening to kneecap Peskin or blaming all the people like him for this mess. Between the comments here and on the original article, I expect to get shouted at and insulted next time I slow down a public bus by using the lift. Not that this doesn't happen anyway.

        I agree this is a waste of money, but I'm horrified and disgusted by people's reactions - many of which seem to be to blame disabled people for wanting any sort of rights, or to blame Alioto for insisting that, if we're gonna blow money on renovations, sound systems, and so on, the least we can do is add a ramp - or get Peskin off the podium.

    • darkengobot says:

      How come folks who want to provide access at a reasonable cost are hateful and folks who spend a lot of other people's money are heroes?

      But good job issuing spine-breaking threats. It helps your case immensely.

  9. Also, Medicare won't pay for stair-climbers, or anything else that might make a wheelchair potentially more useful in the modern world, and they aren't covered by insurance or the ADA.

    The next cripple in that room may not be as rich as an Alioto.

    Mind you, there's a lot better use this money could go to - like health care for the rest of us cripples who aren't on the ALioto health plan. But I love the way that people are looking at "bureaucratic overrun of cost" and blaming the goddamned cripples for it. It's like blaming the limbless Iraqi children for the cost of the Iraq war.

    • fnivramd says:

      I originally wanted to just mention that it's not really $1 million -- either it's a lot more, if you count everything that got roped into this renovation, or it's a lot less if you just consider the price of building a ramp, although in the circumstances you can't "just" build a ramp, there's no room, which is how this nonsense got started, the correct ADA resolution is "people who can't climb stairs don't need to use the podium, change any rules of procedure accordingly". But then I noticed that every second comment is actually by the same person using a series of LJ icons and becoming increasingly shrill. Which is pretty annoying.

      So far the only person other than you who I've seen blamed for this here is Alioto-Pier. You both seem to deserve every drop of blame you're getting for the ridiculous "it's the principle of the thing" and "it'll end discrimination" defense of such unnecessary spending. Presumably (I haven't met either of you) you're both "cripples", but you also seem to be idiots or at least playing the fool. So far as I know being unable to walk doesn't make you unable to think, so why the absence of pragmatism?

      The point of the ADA (particularly the accessibility rules) is pragmatism, not principle. You won't find the phrase "without much difficulty or expense" in any other anti-discrimination laws because unlike other groups of people who'd been discriminated against, the disabled are in part victims of circumstance rather than discrimination by their fellows. Your "it's the principle of the thing" arguments were already adequately satirised by those suggesting the blind ought not to have to take the driving test because it's discriminatory.

      What does the average person having trouble getting into a bank foyer or boarding a bus think - "Thankyou Michela for standing up for your right to divisive and wasteful political bullshit that doesn't serve the people you were elected by"? And no-one is well served by the pretense that a physical access problem in one corner of an old building is equivalent to a _law_ arbitrarily forbidding all entry to blacks (thanks again for that stupid analogy, a properly certified black person will be along in a moment to tell you you're an ass in person).

      • Yes, I'm throwing a Molotov cocktail tantrum in here. Maybe it's because I'm fucking pissed off that people's reaction to a batshit insane government boondoggle of waste and pork is to blame the cripples.

        Because you know what's gonna happen now?

        Every time I block a door someone else wants while using a ramp, every time it takes three employees to get one wheelchair lift functioning to get me up three steps in a store, every time I "delay" a Muni bus by using the lift, some asshole is going to think of this bullshit. It's going to add to the public perception of ADA rights as being entitlement whiny bullshit that costs taxpayers a lot of money.

        I get enough of that crap already, thanks.

  10. sordidatus says:

    Did you here about the airmen (junior enlisted) dorms that the U.S. Air Force built in Langly VA that cost $1m per unit. How's that for "cattle car" military houseing?

  11. fantasygoat says:

    Does this ADA thing apply to every business, like the DNA?

    I remember the story of one old Drive-In restaurant that had been open since the 40's that was closed down by an ADA lawsuit. So a local landmark and cool hangout for decades of people gets shut down by one guy in a wheelchair who claimed he couldn't use the bathroom. Turns out that the guy in question made it a hobby to get places put out of business for the lawsuit money.

    The needs of the one over the needs of the many.

    • ammonoid says:

      I dunno, but I know that the upstairs bathrooms at the DNA are handicapped accessible, but the only way up their is the stairs.

      Also, my work has the same situation - handicapped bathrooms on the second floor, with no elevator.

    • pozorvlak says:

      That's certainly the law in the UK.

  12. belgand says:

    So how long until this money is sapped for Newsom to get a new ramp awareness czar? Hmm... actually, that's a bit too closely related for him to steal the budget, better make it Muni again.

  13. strathmeyer says:

    So why doesn't some culture jammer break in and lay down a couple hundred dollars of plywood and two by fours?