Editorial: Corte Madera pays high pri...

Editorial: Corte Madera pays high price for access lawsuit

There are 36 comments on the Marin Independent Journal story from Aug 1, 2010, titled Editorial: Corte Madera pays high price for access lawsuit. In it, Marin Independent Journal reports that:

CORTE MADERA, and any Marin town for that matter, has had ample warning that diligent progress toward removing obstacles for the disabled must be a local priority.

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Corte Madera Resident

Mill Valley, CA

#1 Aug 1, 2010
This editorial fails to give credit to Corte Madera for the hundreds of thousands of dollars the Town has spent over the past decade to provide curb cuts, ramps, ADA-accessible bathroom facilities, and handicapped parking spaces on public property. The fact is that Richard Skaff is a zealot whose demands go beyond the letter of the laws passed by Congress and the State. The reason the Town settled and entered a consent decree is that the litigation launched by Skaff only takes more money away from making improvements while enriching attorneys on all sides. Skaff is an opportunist who does benefit financially by extorting money for the organization he formed to force public entities and small businesses to conform to his demands. It's unfair for the IJ to present such an unbalanced and unfair view of this issue.
tramky

Vacaville, CA

#2 Aug 1, 2010
In other words, kowtow to the often absurd demands of advocates for the disabled or we'll bankrupt you. Nice. Just another racket to extort money from taxpayers at gunpoint.
Long Time CM Resident

Santa Clara, CA

#3 Aug 1, 2010
Richard Skaff is an opportunist who has made a business out of suing towns & businesses. He does not deserve the IJ's (or anyone's) support. I am sorry he was injured and confined to a wheelchair but that doesn't make what he does right. Corte Madera has done an excellent job of providing handicap access and, let's be honest, most of handicap spaces are not used. This is a perfect example of a vocal minority group shoving their agenda down our throats.
Kevin

Ross, CA

#4 Aug 1, 2010
Lots of facts missing.

How much did he make on his "expert fees"?

Is there a list of violations? I'd like to know how badly the city was in violation. Go look at some examples. Is this a case of an opportunist? Or were there some gross violations. Are all of the violations from the old request to update?

I feel badly for the handicapped, but I do know there are some people that use the ADA as a steamroller to run over city government.
Sick of Lawsuits

Mill Valley, CA

#5 Aug 1, 2010
It is a shame that Corte Madera's efforts to comply in good faith with ADA guidelines are sabotaged by Richard Skaff who files lawsuits if he doesn't get 100% of what HE deems appropriate. Our schools, parks, library, infrastructure, flood control projects etc. have to manage with less due to the economic downturn. Should we further decimate these priorities to satisfy Richard Skaff's demand for 100%?
call the whaambulance

San Rafael, CA

#6 Aug 1, 2010
Richard Skaff can go all day long on any city or other government agency for lack of compliance with ADA. He is the only force for change. Ever notice he doesn't lose. It's not a scam folks, the law is kicking the booty, not Richard. Quit the whining.
Longtime Corte Maderan

Mill Valley, CA

#7 Aug 1, 2010
ADA isn't the only law of the land--there are lots of other laws and other priorities that merit attention and funding. Richard Skaff seems to believe that only people with disabilities matter, and that everything else has less priority. How about flood control, sewer replacement, fire protection, police services, safe streets, and other municipal projects that also need funding? Skaff doesn't care--he's an angry man who wants to have everything his way, and he sues to get it. It's unconscionable that small towns and small businesses are forced to give in to Skaff's unreasonable demands or bear the exorbitant expense of defending themselves in court.

“"In dog years, I'm dead."”

Since: Feb 08

Novato

#8 Aug 1, 2010
Longtime Corte Maderan wrote:
ADA isn't the only law of the land--there are lots of other laws and other priorities that merit attention and funding. Richard Skaff seems to believe that only people with disabilities matter, and that everything else has less priority. How about flood control, sewer replacement, fire protection, police services, safe streets, and other municipal projects that also need funding? Skaff doesn't care--he's an angry man who wants to have everything his way, and he sues to get it. It's unconscionable that small towns and small businesses are forced to give in to Skaff's unreasonable demands or bear the exorbitant expense of defending themselves in court.
When Richard is done he will rename the town to gimpville.
jesse

Novato, CA

#9 Aug 2, 2010
problem,reaction...$olution$
Hubert

San Anselmo, CA

#10 Aug 2, 2010
Put it on the ballot. If citizens want to tax themselves and lower the quality of their schools, library and other unfunded infrastructure to benefit one or two people that might use the the newly rebuilt everything, that's their business.
John

San Anselmo, CA

#11 Aug 2, 2010
If Corte Madera doesn't have to comply with federal immigration law, according to the pro-immigrant activists, then why do they have to comply with the ADA?
Same with San Rafael. If I were rebuilding a place a commercial space in San Rafael, I would refuse the ADA upgrades. If the city tried to force me to follow this law, I would sue them for unequal and selective application of federal law.
Cave Man

Castro Valley, CA

#13 Aug 2, 2010
Disabled Person wrote:
Here's the perspective that needs to be seen: by complaining about the ADA, you might as well hang out a sign which says "White People Only." Or, "Coloreds Not Allowed."
Welcome to Marin , where white elitist nimbys come to hide. They post on here so people don't know how much hate they are filled with . Don't ask for any kind of help for they have no compassion and think compassion is simply a liberal disease. It's sad but True. There are so many people here that believe a double standard is not only OK but they are entitled to it.
Just ask the Great Pulipacca or some of the previous posters on this subject.
Straight Thinker

Mill Valley, CA

#14 Aug 2, 2010
The rant posted above by "Disabled Person" is ridiculous. It has no basis in reality. No one who is objecting to Richard Skaff's extortion tactics bears any ill will toward the disabled population. The issue is whether the disabled have more rights than everyone else. When a small town that's already spent more than $1.3 million on ADA compliance is forced to spend another $3 million or $4 million on what are actually non-essential ADA 'compliance improvements' that go beyond the letter of the law, that's wrong.
Family Caregiver

Mill Valley, CA

#15 Aug 2, 2010
A member of my family is wheelchair-bound, and I've accompanied her throughout Corte Madera without encountering obstacles that couldn't be easily overcome or bypassed. The marginal ADA compliance issues that are the subject of the consent decree don't justify spending millions of dollars of taxpayer money to satisfy them. All of us face some kind of inability to do something. The kind of perfect, universal accommodation that Skaff's lawsuit seeks is just plain unreasonable, regardless of who's paying for it.
Cave Man

Castro Valley, CA

#16 Aug 2, 2010
Straight Thinker wrote:
The rant posted above by "Disabled Person" is ridiculous. It has no basis in reality. No one who is objecting to Richard Skaff's extortion tactics bears any ill will toward the disabled population. The issue is whether the disabled have more rights than everyone else. When a small town that's already spent more than $1.3 million on ADA compliance is forced to spend another $3 million or $4 million on what are actually non-essential ADA 'compliance improvements' that go beyond the letter of the law, that's wrong.
How did you personally determine it was non-essential ?and under what authority? If it's not equal access to all it's discrimination and elitism. Marin is one of the wealthiest counties in the state and they can't provide simple access?
If it's required by both state and federal law it's essential, period. 30+ years is enough time to get things right is it not.
fallingdown

San Pablo, CA

#17 Aug 2, 2010
Skaff isn't the only lawyer, hanidcapped or not, making money off of the ADA in California. Our fine leaders in Sacramento won't do anything about it because they're lawyers also. Sigh...
Straight Thinker

Mill Valley, CA

#18 Aug 2, 2010
To Cave Man: It has nothing to do with simple access. That's already available. Your argument suggests that everyone is entitled to whatever it takes to make all places accessible to all people. I suppose that means I should be able to demand that publicly funded resources be made available to take me to the top of El Capitan and Half Dome, since I'm a 70-year-old woman who can't get up there on her own. Get real!
Free Lunch

San Rafael, CA

#19 Aug 2, 2010
Cave Man wrote:
<quoted text>
How did you personally determine it was non-essential ?and under what authority? If it's not equal access to all it's discrimination and elitism. Marin is one of the wealthiest counties in the state and they can't provide simple access?
If it's required by both state and federal law it's essential, period. 30+ years is enough time to get things right is it not.
Nice try. 30+ years? The problem is that the 'standards' keep evolving so accessibility improvements constructed previously now get to be constructed again, taking away from things that could have been made accessible instead. Richard Skaff and his ilk are parasites that do more to turn people against ADA than support it. Perhaps Corte Madera could do the right thing and pay Skaff's extortions settlement out of its ADA CIP budget so as to not disadvantage the rest of the community. You reap what you sow.
Captain Gort

Berkeley, CA

#20 Aug 3, 2010
This ADA thing has gone WAY too far. The "tail is now wagging the dog". Its now a ridiculous thing, like the old "OHSA Cowboy" cartoon. It just a big lawyer game now, at the expense of you and I.

“"In dog years, I'm dead."”

Since: Feb 08

Novato

#21 Aug 3, 2010
Straight Thinker wrote:
To Cave Man: It has nothing to do with simple access. That's already available. Your argument suggests that everyone is entitled to whatever it takes to make all places accessible to all people. I suppose that means I should be able to demand that publicly funded resources be made available to take me to the top of El Capitan and Half Dome, since I'm a 70-year-old woman who can't get up there on her own. Get real!
Just for the sarcasm. you can get up there, via helicopter. As for ADA laws, well as in most cases laws are set up with no allowance for common sense or financial burdens. Typical well intention law used by exploiters to drain public money.

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