Denver City councilperson forced to crawl onto debate stage with no handicapped access

Originally published at: Denver City councilperson forced to crawl onto debate stage with no handicapped access | Boing Boing


In his own words, Hinds was forced to choose between his campaign and “public humiliation.”

The shame here belongs only to this venue and those who chose it for the debate.

ETA: it now looks like the venue was prepared to set up a temporary ramp. Which leaves us with the debate organisers.


While i don’t have any mobility issues this is something i’m constantly keeping an eye out on while i’m out and about. Taking note of buildings and roads that don’t have ADA ramps and related access, and you’d be surprised how often there is none or it is inadequate. For a place that is picked for debate, that it had no ramps is an insult not just to the councilperson but to everyone else that has mobility issues.


Was cruelty the point, I wonder? :thinking:


I agree; Mr Hinds did not lose his dignity; the venue organizers did.


Fuckers. I need to check my blood pressure.


“Hinds also said that he was only informed about the debate at the last minute, and expressed frustration that it was scheduled in the middle of City Council’s Monday meeting.”

So this is sounding less like a case of “Oops, we scheduled the debate at an unsuitable location” and more a case of “How can we stop this particular guy from attending the debate?”


I hope the publicity from this pays off for Hinds and backfires spectacularly on those behind the scheme.


Does the venue even own a ramp piece for their stage assembly?


Maybe also the organisers for not telling the venue staff a ramp would be needed.

But there’s usually a ramp on hand. Unfortunately they usually get buried in a storage room, and can’t be quickly accessed.


Is likely to end up as being guilty and a financial penalty, I hope. The guy should sue. Disability discrimination, plain and simple.

ETA and why did he HAVE to get on the stage? It seems he only had to ATTEND. They didn’t have radio mics or mics with leads long enough to reach the auditorium floor?


“… AND cost him money he needs to win?”


When the 5-points community invited Cleo Parker Robinson Dance
to take over the operation and maintenance of the dilapidated historic 1926 AME church to run as an arts center, by what I can see online the renovations to make the dance auditorium would all have been under the 1991 ADA requirements – which required an accessible route from the seating to the stage.
The 2010 ADA requirements call for a ramp directly from the accessible part of the audience seating to the stage, but the 2010 act also explicitly says that if you did renovations in the 91 to 2010 regime that complied with the 91 act, you don’t need to fix them.
The rental agreement requirements for this venue are online – the building operators pretty explicitly say that they’ll have someone there for “load-in” who can answer any questions about the facility and equipment, but after that the renting organization is on their own for ushing and techie stuff.
So I’m about 90% certain that there is an accessible route, and that had Mr. Hinds arrived at the arrival-time that was communicated to him well in advance, the sponsoring organization’s clueless on-site personnel would have had a clueful person to say “this is the way, follow me”.
And in updates to the linked article and in other news reports it is well documented that the date and time of this debate was communicated to Mr. Hinds months in advance and well publicized.
Things should be accessible, but there are valid reasons why practice is not perfection in historic structures.
It’s too bad that a clueful person was not present when the issue arose, and it sucks that the situation required insider knowledge of the building (or observation of directory signs) and therefore did not have an optimal (in the circumstances) resolution.


There seems to be some disagreement about whether anything was communicated to Mr. Hinds “well in advance”. I tend to think that if he and/or the venue had received timely notice he wouldn’t have found himself dragging himself into the stage.

The venue’s representative clearly stated that “…there were no requests for additional or enhanced accommodations." The debate organisers surely knew at least one prospective participant would need accomodation when they were booking the theatre, one assumes weeks in advance – especially if they claimed they notified him months in advance.

The venue seems to have been prepared to set up their temporary ramp if needed. Mr. Hinds seems to have been very motivated to participate in the debate. I think we’re starting to get a better idea of which party screwed up here.


Exactly: they can’t have it both ways. Either they gave him plenty of notice, which means they should have given the venue the same notice, or they didn’t.

Besides, why would you have a public event like that and not have it set up for ADA access as a matter of course anyway? Did they choose the venue specifically because there would have to be a manual adjustment to make the stage accessible?


Venue Operator, “We do have an accessibility ramp.”
Councilperson, “Can you bring it?”
Venue Operator, “I’m sorry, it is not accessible.”


Unless Mr. Hind’s disability is extremely recent — as in it occurred in the past week — the event organizers should damn well have communicated to the venue that a participant was disabled and would require accommodation. It doesn’t matter if Mr. Hinds didn’t bother to RSVP until the last minute, they knew he had a mobility issue and he was invited, and so the venue should have been made ready just in case he arrived.

This isn’t a peanut allergy in someone you just met and you have no way of knowing about until they tell you. They knew. This was either a malicious act of bullying, or a malicious act of negating disabled people’s existence.


Given that a couple organizations are credited with scheduling it, it’s unclear who actually is responsible, and what they thought they were doing. Knowing how these things often work, it could have been one or two people making these decisions deliberately, or it could be a series of screw-ups by various people.

It’s possible the choice of time and date was an unavoidable conflict with his official duties. It’s unclear if he wasn’t informed about the event beforehand, or merely wasn’t informed he’d lose his funding if he didn’t attend (and thus his choice to attend was last-minute, not his knowledge of the event). It’s unclear if, when the sponsors attested that the event met ADA requirements, that was the case by just having the option, when informed ahead of time, of adding accessibility features. (But then, by not expecting to be there, he hadn’t requested those features - or possibly didn’t even know he had to request them.) So it’s possible it’s a series of coincidental screw-ups by different parties that all conspired to block him from appearing, or it might be, at least in part, deliberate.

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…and the circle jerk continues. Or is it a circular firing squad?

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Probably more likely to be incompetence than a well organized plan - agreed. That’s my general approach on conspiracy theories in any case.

Regardless, I still hope Hinds benefits from the free publicity. Maybe that’s why we are seeing this story. Could that be that the real conspiracy?

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