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Disability Perspective

  • July 5, 2008
  • Bruce Bromley

Beyond Cron
by Bob Plantholdï Jul. 01  2008

Judges are presumed to be attentive to the law and also presumed to be intent on upholding the law whenever and wherever. As with my various columns about the obliviousness that City Hall shows to people with disabilities, so too now that my terms on the Civil Grand Jury have ended — the judges get their turn in the spotlight.Judges at the Civic Center Courthouse have a special, back-alley garage entrance they can drive into, and special bathrooms only they can use. SO, functionally, they may be somewhat self-segregating from the general public. Try entering the main doors of the Civic Center Courthouse. Notice the incredible tug it requires to manually open the doors.

It takes far more manual force more than California’s building code, Title 24, allows. While there are electronic door-openers, at least one and usually two don’t work. But like whack-a-mole, one is never sure which door-opener works.Worse, in what is termed an energy-saving practice, ALL electronic door-openers are turned off at 5 pm, the time when the building is declared closed to the public.

Yet Small Claims Court is open well after 5 pm on at least one day a week, while law schools’ Moot Cort and various receptions also happen after 5 pm. Those attendees are members of the public but get no use of the self-service, electronic door-openers.

Beyond the access problems on entering the Civic Center Courthouse, try getting into and then out from the various public bathrooms. Here also the force required to manually P-U-L-L open the doors is far beyond that allowed by law. Worse, these bathroom doors have no electronic door-opener. If a person too weak to pull open a bathroom door gets into a bathroom when someone else is leaving, there is the risk of being trapped inside until someone else comes in.

SF’s Building Inspection Department can’t do any enforcement on state buildings.

So who approves these non-accessible state buildings? And to whom does the public complain?