Thursday, March 15, 2012

Signs Of The Decline, Part Whatever

Heard On The News: "And don't be surprised if the pool is closed at the hotel you go to for Spring Break: today is the deadline for Federally-required pool lifts for the disabled!"

...In other words, if the crippled aren't happy, ain't no one gonna be happy. It appears that Uncle Sam is concerned persons of limited mobility might be missing out on participation in swim meets -- and no, I am not making that up.*

While there is no question that swimming, or even exercise in the water, can be of immense benefit (it was, for example, part of my Mom's physical therapy after some heart problems), I have my doubts that this Federal mandate on the leisure industry, already hard-hit by four years of recession, could hold up to any rational cost-benefit analysis. This isn't a ramp or lift to get access to the courthouse, public library or even the city pool, it's a flat mandate on "public accomodations and commercial facilities."

'Cos, you know, the bastids been burnin' wheelchairs in effigy and standing at the pool gate with an ax-handle, right? [...crickets...]

Or could it be the money wasn't there? It still isn't; some of those pools (already a high-maintenance, high-risk amenity) will stay closed. As for the rest, you'll be paying more for your room and all that goes with it, even if you never dip a toe in or need a lift yourself; and if you decide to stay at Poolless Arms across the street 'cos their rooms are cheaper, and all your cash-strapped buddies do, too?

Why, then we get an outcome that may surprise the Feds: Complaint Hotel, Inc goes under for want of guests and nobody at all will be swimming. Remember kids, the 99% swim in polluted rivers and stagnant quarries, or not at all. Why do you think you're all better than them?

Claire, I think your clock's broke.
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* Would it have been too much damn work to start up a charity website where, if we were so minded, we could throw bucks into a fund to cover the cost of installin' this hardware at a series of hotels, motels and commercial-type pools to be determined by, I dunno, maybe a poll among disabled persons who would like to spend some quality time in the water? Did it really require the Federal bludgeon to accomplish this?

17 comments:

Kirk A said...

Imagine a chairlift into the pool without a lifeguard.

Anonymous said...

Just give me steps and a railing, I'll manage... B-) JohninMd.(help)

Robin said...

A friend of mine works in the state dept of voc rehab. He worked with a private org that hosted a job fair, and sent some of his rehab clients to it but the state spent no money in support, did not advertising for the job fair, did not sponsor it at all etc.

The building that the job fair was in did not allow wheelchair access to the second floor where 1/3 of the potential employers were. So a disabled advocacy org is threatening to sue the state for the lack of access. And everyone is baffled what their reasoning is for that.

DirtCrashr said...

Another reason to go to Mexico for Spring Break...

LauraB said...

I am fairly confident a politician has recently become wheelchair-bound...

Anonymous said...

And it might be a neat way to commit suicide.

Anonymous said...

Well, public accommodations law change dramatically in 1964. Fifty years later, any private property owner who wants to discuss the constitutional rationality of "public accommodation" edicts is accused of wanting to return to the era Jim Crow.

El Capitan said...

There's nothing in the revised ADAAG standards that dictates a pool has to be closed until a lift is installed. All new pools will have to have one, true, but older pools can continue operation if installing a lift isn't "readily achievable" or an "undue hardship", as the regs states.

I'll be the first to admit the ADA is one of the biggest unfunded mandates ever, but this is not the Spring Break calamity the news makes it out to be.

Mr.B said...

THe ADA has different ideas about "undue hardship" than those of us who operate businesses.

yer looking at $25K or so to install a lift. and there is some question regarding liability unless you have a lifeguard.

You have no idea what the ADA costs business owners every year...most of which is never used by the disabled. But we gotta purchase it anyway. ANd the rules and regs change every year, and never get less.

Anonymous said...

Mr. B
"THe ADA has different ideas about "undue hardship" than those of us who operate businesses."

When ADA was passed in 92(?) "reasonable accommodation" was DEFINED as $600 or less. Thanks to the multitudinous aggrieved and our lawyerly brothers and sisters, that definition left the barn tens of thousands of dollars ago.

Roberta X said...

El C: yeppers. It's just the heavy hand of fed.gov...and *maybe* $RANDOM MOTEL can leave the pool open while they are saving up....and maybe somebody with a fancy job thinks they shouldn't. Heavy fines, time in court -- I'm sure Mr. Motelowner is willin' to roll them dice. You betcha.

And why should he have to? Thanks to our overly-litigious society, they've already been filling in innocent, nice little pools at such places for decades; this is just more more thumb on the scales.

Buzz said...

Heck, Anonymous, there are "aggrieved individuals" with slimeballs on speed dial that MAKE A LIVING filing nuisance lawsuits in the name of the ADA. 9999 times out of 10000, it's a business they have no intention of patronizing, just some poor sap that's not "accommodating."

Skip said...

When I was in construction, there was a gentleman in a wheelchair, pushed by an attorney that would fly in, limo to a site(s) with his tape measure and smart level and fly on.
Soon the owners would be facing a large ADA suit.
It is a cottage industry and works very well.
He/they hit one of my sites about once a year.

Don said...

A company I was with in Florida had the repair contract for the ice machines in the city's firehouses.
Believe it or not (not St. Augustine) the fire stations are required to have handicap spots in the employee lot, and wheelchair-accesible showers and toilets inside the living quarters.
Huh?

Anonymous said...

Maybe if you where in a chair you would understand. My husband has been in a wheelchair most of his life. If we go on vacation he is limited to what he can do. Where is this fair...if he wants to swim the pool should be equipped to let him do that.....I don't say all pools but atleast the hotels that say they are handicapped equipped.

Roberta X said...

Anon: wait, I should be required to subsidize this because someone in a wheelchair might stay at the same hotel as me and might want to get into the water?

The hotel should -- under pain of law, harsh fines, loss of business, etc. -- be required to comply?

Nope, not buying that. Playing in the hotel pool is not a "right," certainly not in the same sense as access to government buildings.

Now, if you wanna start a petition encouraging $HOTEL CHAIN to install ramp/lift pool access, or even pass the hat to buy same for your fave resort, that's a pretty kewl thing; but demanding Uncle Same go hold a gun to the guy with an old-school motel that happens to have a pool? All you've done is ensure he's gonna turn it into a planter. No pool for anyone. Happy now?

Goober said...

Anon (most recent) - If your husband were here inf ront of me, I'd tell him the same thing that i tell anyone who complains that some other person isn't deferring to their needs or catering to their desires enough to their liking...

Tough shit. Life isn't fair. No one owes you anything, no matter what shitty hand life dealt you. If you don't like going to hotels that don't accomodate the handicapped in their facilities, then here is an extremely novel idea for you to consider -

DON'T FRICKIN GO THERE. Go to hotels that voluntarily support the handicapped and patronize their establishment in support.

I have a genetic immune condition that causes me to break out into a psoriatic rash over very large portions of my body. It happens all the time, the only difference is where on my body it decides to strike. This more or less keeps me from being able to use public pools because of the prohibitions of rashes and open sores.

I think that is unfair, and I plan to write my congresswoman and demand that she turn the gun of government on every public pool in America and make them provide a separate pool for people with rashes at every facility.

Before you pooh-pooh my story, consider honestly why it is any different from yours. I hate not being able to use public pools, but I don't go around with some entitled illusion that it is some God-given right that I have that others should spend money and time on providing for me against their will.