- In a former blog, I mentioned how my mom and I had to drive around and round at Tourmaline Surf Park and finally were forced to leave because we could not find a place to park while people without placards took up the only accessible spots available. Some of these people think that if the car is still running, they are not parked. I want to assure them that they are parked in a space that a handicapped person cannot use at that moment. Why should someone in a walker or wheelchair be forced to leave the parking lot just because someone who can walk thinks they have the right to park there instead?
- My aunt has a severe heart and breathing problem. Though she can walk, she really should not go far and must drag her breathing apparatus with her. I think people would not question her parking in a handicapped spot. Plus, she has a legal handicap placard.
- A few weeks ago, my step-dad came home from surfing. He was really mad and finally told us about the two young ladies he saw pulling into handicapped parking. He was rinsing off his surfboard and watched while one of the women put up a handicap placard. She glanced up and made eye contact with him, and he saw an unmistakable look of guilt on her face. So he kept watching. The two women got out and bounded away without any limps or hint of disability. He said he was tempted to put a note on the window that said, “My daughter can’t walk; which one of you cannot walk?” He did not do that just in case if he was wrong. There might have been a hidden disability with one of the women, but he didn’t think so. People who are not handicapped should not use the placards of relatives or friends to take up much-needed parking which only disabled people are entitled to use. These people can cause great hardship and distress to helpless people who already have their share of problems.
- There are not enough parking spaces allocated for handicapped people in many places. For instance, at the North Clairemont Public Library, there is only one space, and I usually can’t get it. There are a lot of parking spaces at Target; however, frequently there are none available. There needs to be more handicapped parking for the disabled people, and other individuals should not abuse the use of placards and spaces. Some disabled people really cannot park anywhere else because they need the extra space to pull down their ramps in order to get themselves and their power chairs out of the vehicles. I have several friends and family members who have experienced this injustice.
- The saddest and most outrageous crime is the theft of a handicap placard. I have a good friend who recently told me that someone stole his placard. It took a long time for him to apply for and receive a replacement. In the meantime, it was much more than an inconvenience for him to go places. Some people are just selfish, through and through! Who would do that—steal a placard from someone who is paralyzed?
- Finally, there is one more issue regarding accessibility in the parking areas for handicapped people. It is the accessible curbing that is frequently not constructed properly to code, or if it is to code, the code is not written by anyone who is handicapped or by anyone who even knows about handicapped people. Sometimes I can’t even get up the accessible curbing because it is raised and not flat like it needs to be. My wheelchair simply will not go over it, and I have almost been thrown out of the chair as the person pushing my chair rams into the raised curb that is supposed to be flat. It’s worse in my walker.
One again, I ask my readers to observe and comment about these issues, and especially to write to any authorities who can help get these problems resolved. Please write your local and state representatives and also any committee members who serve in Congress. Below are links and addresses to San Diego representatives and my local councilman. Please do not hesitate to write to them or to your own local and state representatives.
Thank you all for your assistance. We need it so badly if anything is ever to improve. Sometimes we feel forgotten amongst all of the money-making hype. I belong to an organization called “People First.” I am just beginning to understand the meaning of that title.
Council District #6
City Administration Bldg.
202 C. Street, 10th Floor
San Diego, CA 92101
Senator Marty Block
Capitol Office State Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
(His website slogan is “How can I help you. . .)
Assembly Member Toni G. Atkins
P.O. Box 94289
Sacramento, CA 94249-0078
Click on “email Toni” from the official site.