The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition gave The Pueblo Chieftain and reporter Peter Roper its 2018 ADA Access Media award during the organization’s annual award luncheon in Denver on Oct. 3.
The coalition is an advocacy group whose mission is to protect the rights of the disabled and expand their opportunities.
Roper was recognized for the newspaper’s coverage of the contentious debate in 2017 over plans to change the federal Medicaid program into a block grant to the states.
That’s a change that disabled people fear will lead to a loss in the health-care services that let them lead independent lives outside of institutions. While the disabled make up a small portion of Medicaid recipients, they use about 25 percent of its total dollars on health services and equipment.
Kristen Castor, the coalition’s advocate in Southern Colorado, nominated Roper and The Chieftain for the organization’s media award. She credited the newspaper with accurately explaining the concerns of the disabled to the public during a time when disabled advocates were being arrested in lawmakers’ offices and conducting other kinds of protest.
The other 2018 award winners were attorney Allison Neswood, Denver City Auditor Tim O’Brien, and attorney Joe Beaver.
For people like Louis Apodaca, RTD’s Access-A-Ride program has been a lifeline. Apodaca started to use it after her wheelchair got stuck at a bus stop, and the fire department had to rescue her.
“The bus stops, a lot of times, are on gravel or on grass or mud,” Apodaca, a resident of Denver’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Continue reading “Proposed Fare Increase For RTD’s Access-A-Ride Worries Those Who Use It”
Given that 41 percent of Pueblo County residents get Medicaid health insurance, local hospital officials and health care advocates wanted Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Michael Bennet and local lawmakers to know Friday there is much at stake as Republican senators write a new federal health care policy behind closed doors.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is presiding over the group of Republicans writing the bill and said he hopes to get it passed by the GOP-controlled Senate by July 4 — without amendments.
Bennet, a Democrat, said the closed-door secrecy was frustrating some Republican senators too.
“They’re so ashamed of what they’re doing they won’t even let all their Republican colleagues see that they are doing,” he claimed.
It was nearly all Democratic lawmakers that met with the Pueblo health care providers Friday, except for state Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa. Also in the group were Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, and state Reps. Daneya Esgar and Dan Valdez.
October 19, 2018
Regional Transportation District
ATTN: RTD Board of Directors’
1600 Blake Street
Denver, CO 80202
Dear Board Members:
Congratulations on the passage of fare rate changes for 2019. Those of us signing on to this letter are appreciative of the implementation of the low-income fare, which will provide confidence to the community showing Regional Transportation District (RTD) is serious about providing public transit to all sectors of our public. The work of RTD staff, alongside the Pass Program Working Group (PPWG), was instrumental in providing options during this process that were based on extensive discussions, research, and debate.
Today, we are writing to express concern that the fares you have approved for para-transit service Access-a-Ride (AAR) have not been properly vetted in the same way. Our understanding is that PPWG was not asked to review AAR rates because it did not fall into the pass program category. The fact is, the AAR program is nearly 10% of RTD’s budget and needs careful analysis to ensure that the service is provided – to qualified users and efficient funds are available to run the program, in a cost effective and responsible manner.
With this formal request, we ask that RTD create a task force/working group to address the operations of AAR.
Like PPWG, this group should include representatives across the community including users of the system. Specialty areas should include but are not limited to:
RTD has demonstrated by implementing PPWG, that a collaboration of community and transit professionals can help you address important issues.
We are confident that a task force examination of access-a-ride will help improve delivery and efficiency of this critical program.
Thank you for your consideration of our request.
If you have any questions, please contact me, Julie Reiskin, Executive Director of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open/Download the full version of the letter:
New story on October 19, 2018, quoting Advocacy Coordinator Michelle McHenry-Edrington and Legal Program Director Kevin Williams regarding the appropriate use of service animals on our RTD vehicles. View attached link to see the story. See the story that aired on Fox 31 News on October 19, 2018. Michelle and Edgar are stars!
CCDC members Jaime Lewis, Julie Reiskin, and Nicole Bishop have been featured in a Westword article published on October 2, 2018, highlighting the lack of accessibility with ride-sharing apps such as Lyft and Uber.
The challenge with ride-sharing apps and accessibility is that the apps are software companies, not taxi services, and drivers are not required to provide wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Both Uber and Lyft claim to be exploring the option of letting users request wheelchair accessible vehicles.
“I don’t want to fight Uber or Lyft. But if they don’t take responsibility [for providing accessibility], we’re going to have to do it for them,” says Lewis. Neither Uber nor Lyft have wheelchair-accessible vehicles available in Denver at this time.
Thank you, Jaime, Julie and Nicole for advocating for our members!
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), along with Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced legislation on September 18, 2018 to make it easier for small businesses comply with the ADA. The Disabled Access Credit Expansion Act bolsters the Disabled Access Credit (DAC), which helps businesses pay for renovations by doubling the maximum tax credit and allowing more small businesses to receive it. The legislation also invests in programs that mediate ADA-related disputes to avoid additional litigation and help individuals and businesses understand the ADA.
CCDC is excited to learn of Senator Duckworth’s proposed legislation that advocates for our members. Senator Duckworth, a veteran and double-amputee, has a proven track record of advocating for people with disabilities. CCDC strongly supports increasing the reach of the ADA, specifically in a way that will incentivize small businesses to become more accessible.
On September 13th Mayor Michael Hancock presented his 2019 budget. As you may know our partners at Denver Streets Partnership and Walk Denver have been meeting city officials to elevate the need for safe and accessible side walks, street crossings and bike paths. These elements are essential for the independence of our people. Some of the glaring deficiencies in the budget included no funding for Federal Blvd., 3.8 million for sidewalks (we had requested 10) and very little money for simple upgrades and fixes such as bollards or paint for roads.
City council now has several weeks to review budget and to make recommendations.
CCDC strongly supports more funding for sidewalks, cross-walks and bike paths.
If you want your voice heard please use the Walk Denver Web site listed below for additional information and ways to reach out to your city councilperson.
CCDC Transit Advisor
Learn where your potential RTD representatives stand on important transit issues. Hear what they ave to say at this FREE forum moderated by former 9News anchor, Mark Koebrich.
For more information, contact 303-861-3711, X104 or