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Village talks need to be all inclusive

Editor, OBSERVER:

I think Fredonia village Trustee Jon Espersen’s series of informal community discussions is a wonderful idea.

Unfortunately the first location Espersen chose earlier this month had an issue. It is not handicapped accessible. I emailed Trustee Espersen to ask for a reasonable accommodation for my disability. My email states “Are you going to have a temporary ramp in place so I can attend? I am mobility impaired.” His email response was, “That would be up to the business owner. If they don’t have anything in place we can assist you.”

This email is less than clear. Is my reasonable accommodation going to be granted? Espersen was hosting this meeting so he is responsible for the accessibility requirements. If this meeting takes place as planned without a temporary handicapped ramp, I and any other disabled Fredonia resident will be left out of this “wonderful opportunity for the residents to participate in local government … to make their voices heard.”

Literally the disabled residents of Fredonia who own homes, pay taxes, and vote, would be left out on the sidewalk unable to enter the building to participate in this meeting. I can hope that Espersen’s exclusion of disabled Fredonia residents was unintentional. I had thought with the passage of the “Americans with Disabilities Act” more than 30 years ago that overt discrimination and disenfranchisement of the disabled had ended. Perhaps I am wrong.

CATHERINE NELDER,

Fredonia

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