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Saturday, June 7, 2014

THERE IS A WORLD OUT THERE OF THE PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY CHALLENGED - MANY OF THE PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY CHALLENGED NEED HELP.

Three days ago I got a telephone call from a friend who is physically challenged and needed some help. My friend had found an apartment - he could have settled more for an apartment on the ground floor - in this case since the apartment was on the second floor - he wanted it - because he needed it.

The owner of the building was uncomfortable giving it to my friend giving all sorts of excuses. Since the apartment building was in my neighborhood - my friend mentioned my name - and the owner who knew me - asked my friend to ask me to speak to him.

I did so and allied the fears of the owner whom I knew. My friend much like myself wears a leg brace. My friend is healthy - he exercises - and can carry himself slowly but steadily up any hill, some reasonable flight of stairs - and most of all has a job and can pay his rent.

My friend thanked me profusely and I told him - I was happy for him and that he should keep in touch with me. If there was something he need - that he should not feel bashful to call on me.

Hopefully, as the weeks turn to weeks, and the weeks to months, and months to years - my friend will appreciate his apartment and more the neighborhood - where most, everything he needs - is a stone throw away.

Most people who are Physically and Mentally challenged who are given opportunities - given good jobs - will work hard - and have few days when they are absent. One reason being this segment of the population - are appreciative when given a chance - if the love the job - you have a winner.

When I worked at the Presidio of San Francisco - I was able to give opportunities to many. Help many get career jobs - and I learned a lot - have taken all the courses as an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator and manager.

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) has been on the books - and many agencies have done their best to cater to the physically and mentally challenged in large measure all these many years.

The ADA has been written into the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco - but it is a pity that those officials and leaders - have been very, very slow to implement them. Give good career jobs to those that need it - and more in the City and County of San Francisco.

As I said because I am physically challenged and have inflicted by polio when I was two years - I overcame and have led a normal life for over 65 years.

Most of my friends do not know I wear a full leg brace on my left leg - on days when I am tired and drag my leg - they ask me if everything is fine.

It is only then that I begin to reveal to them about what really happened to me and that I wear a brace. Many of them are a aghast and taken aback - and some request that they get a peek of my brace.

My brace and I have a couple are very expensive. Custom made - with fine leather coverings - I  take care of my braces.

Regularly using white grease, fine tuning the French Lock that helps me bend my left leg - and catering to the other things that go with my brace. My brace loves me and I love my brace.

All these many years my braces have evolved from the very primitive; many years ago where I could not bend my leg.

To the very sophisticated today - that allow me to walk as steadily as I can - jump - hop and do what most normal do. Amazing.

Today's brace go for as high $10,000 easily - made of expensive materials - more with the thousands of our soldiers returning from recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere.

I visit City Hall and as you all know - those of you that know me well. Advocates represent the people - have to speak to the Truth - and do due diligence.

The many forums at the many Commissions, the committee, need one's presence to take on those that make deliberation the can adversely impact thousands for sure - and millions - down the years - and one's presence is need.

One has to go through a physical search on one entering City Hall. After the normal ritual of emptying one's pocket and handing our cell phone, removing your belt, any other jewelry that can trigger the alarm - I go through and the alarm still rings. I do make it a point that I wear a brace - but mostly those who are there - do pay attention - but want me to go through - to hear the alarm and do the needful.

When the alarm rings - the Sheriffs who do not know me - look at me funny - then we go through the running of the wand  - and all sorts of questions - and that is fine. The Sheriffs that know - wand me - but they know where my brace is - do not ask me too many questions and make this " odd experience" some what comfortable.

It is the same at the airport and other places where security is heightened - and rightly so.

I cannot stand it when old men and women, the physically challenged in wheel chairs, children in wheel chairs, some mentally challenged and visible to all - are treated with disdain and with unnecessary groping.

I normally ask those that want to be a 100% sure that I am not not a risk - to take me to a secluded place.

Here in privacy they can search what they want.

Then when they are fully satisfied - reveal to them who I served and the role I played in Desert Storm - Desert Shield. 

These minions then apologize - all the information is available to most - as and when one enters the airport - but, the entities that monitor such actions - are lay folks - where the job has been out sourced to the lowest bidder.

No one can expect anything stellar - anything worth the salt - anything worthy of any standard - from these morons.

Daily, thousands of innocent most physically and mentally challenged - are humiliated.

Few want to stand up to these goons - but that is what Home Land Security has done. Created divisiveness among the decent constituents of these the United States of America.

Such searches have created a billion dollar industry - with poorly trained personnel, x-ray machines that do a better job.

To top it all - these personnel are not educated on issues.

You can hear it, see it - they cannot even articulate - not in English or any other language. They do a poor job - a mundane job, get poorly paid - and take their stress - on those they must serve.

What a paradox and said state of affairs.

In recent years hearings are held all over the Bay Area and beyond - addressing issues on the Physically Challenged, the Mentally Challenged, other Challenged but not visible. The ADA as I said protects all - but there is no will - no real will to give opportunity to those that are Challenged - career jobs, and amenities so that people who are challenged are not forced to live on the streets and face the inclement - weather.

San Francisco is no different and I have attended and participated in all the deliberations from the early 1980s to now. Tons of talk, tons of diatribe, tons of hot air - and little - action.

We give jobs to crooks and deprive those that are decent, have skills, happen to be challenged - fail to give them a chance. Many live in our city - but the disdain show to them - is pathetic to say the least. This from our SF Supervisors and other City Department Heads - I observe it all the time.

 I know this from observation. Personally, I have always been a fighter, always a leader, and always an advocate to voice the concerns of people that need help - all over this City, our State, our Nation and beyond. Fight for those that most need help.

Good leaders know the way, show the way, and go the way.

We have folks who make policies - that have no ethics, less morals, even less standards at City Hall in San Francisco.

We not generalize - not all - but, most of them.

We recently had - YET - another so called hearing on those that are Challenged - few get opportunities to work and more are forced to live a life that is full of hardship and stress. More baby boomers.

The hearings just permit those who want and this is required to a certain extend - as I said we have the ordinances, we have the law, we have the requirements - in our City Charter. Those that make polices - do not read the City Charter - they get their advice from those aides - that are NOT educated on issues. 

Our City Attorney Office has failed us and so has the District Attorney.

Let them provide statistics - as to what they have done to provide career jobs in their own office - and I challenge them to audit the other City Departments - and provide statistics linked to the Physically Challenged and good - career jobs.

Our Controller's Office has this one opportunity to lay the matter to rest - and Ben Rosenfield is a decent man - and can shed light where today there is abject - darkness.

Our City Administrator Naomi Kelly can do the same - and those that are now in hiding and under the radar - some out of the dark hole and do the right thing.

That holds good for those in Room 200 - too much wheeling and dealing - and less caring for those that need help most.

I know you all - and can expose you all - with facts, empirical data, and what is more; testimony from individuals who have been adversely impacted.

Waste of time. Follow the City Charter - follow the Americans with Disability Act - less talk and more action. Those challenged need good jobs - so that they can live well as human beings - and be worthy of human dignity.