The Sound Off! blog is a place for CCDC members to share their experience of living with a disability from the perspective of a disability rights activist. Express opinions on disability issues or other issues that relate to disability. Share their feelings about the issues of the day.
CCDC held a listening tour around the state in 2018. Please find the report here…if you want the exhibits and the presentation used during the tour please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are not posting it because even though the information about “what is happening next” was accurate at the time, it has already changed. We are attaching the handout we gave about how to determine the validity of news sources.
We are still seeking feedback and would love your feedback on this report.
CCDC wishes congratulations to our new Governor Jared Polis and looks forward to working with this new administration. Our expectations of a new governor are clear and doable. We look forward to advancing the rights of people with disabilities so that we can show our capabilities as full citizens. This means a dramatic increase in the number of people with disabilities who are employed. This means a dramatic improvement in the high school graduation of students with disabilities and making sure that students go to college or some sort of vocational program. This means a government that values people with disabilities by having high expectations and providing appropriate supports. This means a government that involves us at every level…on boards, commissions, as employees in state agencies, and on the transition team. Governor-Elect Polis stated last night that his administration will be inclusive. We expect to be part of this inclusion and to have disability representation in historic proportions and stand ready to help make that happen.
CCDC congratulates all of the representatives and senators that won their seats as well and we look forward to working with all of you on these same goals.
We will be solidifying legislative priorities for the next two years soon but among them will surely be:
1) Increasing protection for renters such as statewide source of income discrimination protection and habitability laws.
2) Extending the Mediciad Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities to people over the age of 65 and for more than 10 days in between jobs, even if we have to use state funds. With the federal government giving the states carte blanche we should be able to get approval.
3) Getting safety protections for people living in host homes.
4) Consumer direction for all HCBS services.
5) Improving our case management systems, especially transition from institutions.
We will be focusing on money for solid transportation that has a focus on transit and affordable housing that is inclusive of everyone including those with very low income. We will be working on increased accountability around behavioral health and overall health care in the Medicaid program.
On a federal level with the Democrats having a majority in the house, we will be holding Congresswoman DeGette accountable for her promises to us to fix the Electronic Visit Verification mess and exempt consumer direction and family caregivers. We will also expect help with improved access to quality complex rehab equipment (power wheelchairs) including accountability for repairs.
While Colorado definitely went blue, this does not mean that CCDC will stop working with our Republican allies. We have always been and always will be a bipartisan organization. Our issues cross both parties. Disability does not discriminate.
CCDC was very proud of the VERY STRONG voter turnout in the disability community. Approximately 90% of our members had already voted before Monday and we are sure the rest voted Monday or Tuesday. Voting is the first step of realizing NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US.
In past years, CCDC always had a policy that people with disabilities should show up at their polls and vote in person. That way, the general public could be made aware of our presence in the important electoral process. In those days we had all sorts of issues with accessibility of polling places. Just getting to the polling place was often difficult. There were issues around accessible parking. Certainly, there were issues regarding the accessibility of the polling machines themselves, making them inaccessible to a large number of people with disabilities. As we probably all recall, many lawsuits have been filed and are still filed related to these issues.
Of course, the times, they are a-changin’. Now, it is far more common to vote by mail or drop your ballot off at a ballot box. The mail makes me nervous, so I went to my local ballot box. Of course, I took someone with me, a camera, a tape measure and other devices because I was certain that the ballot box would not comply with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (“Standards”). Courts have ruled that compliance with the Standards equals compliance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I don’t understand why I would have been so skeptical.
I was amazed and surprised when I approached my ballot box. First, there was a designated accessible parking space within close proximity to the box. It is clear that they marked this space off specifically for this purpose. The ballot box itself met all of the specifications for reach ranges and other accessibility requirements under the Standards.
I am not sure exactly how this system works for those who are blind or those who have limited hand function (although it does not break any secrecy or confidentiality violations if someone else drops it in the box for you), and I need to investigate that matter further, but the box itself was fantastic. It is a pleasure to be able to vote with such ease.
I apologize to those of you who have seen the ridiculous pictures of me voting that have circulated throughout many media, but here are some more.
-Kevin Williams, CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program Director
(Please do not reproduce without explicit permission of Lisa Duran. Copyright © 2018 Lisa Duran All rights reserved.)
Good afternoon everyone.
Thank you, Julie, for your introduction, and for the amazing work that you and everyone at the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition does.
I am honored by the invitation to speak with you today. The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition is such a bright light in the struggle for justice and I am glad to participate in this celebration of their work and to pitch in to lend my own support.
Congratulations to Allison, Peter, Tim and Joe for your awards. It was inspiring to be able to hear your stories.
I have been an organizer and activist since 1979, but recently, I worked for 28 years in the immigrant rights movement, as director of Colorado’s first immigrant-led immigrant rights organization and as a co-founder of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, CIRC. I now work with organizations to build effective practices that are centered in the lives and experiences of their participants, that can learn from their participants, that can have actual relationships with their participants.
Ending 2nd year of a Presidential administration that has shaken me.
Divisions fanned – we have a President who cannot seem to find it within himself to condemn neo-Nazi violence on unarmed people, who launched his campaign with the most blatant racist attack on Mexican immigrants, and who appears to admire dictators and strongmen around the world.
Inequality is growing in the U.S. We are now in the 30th percentile for equality – that means 70% of the world’s nations have a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources than this nation.
Institutions have reached their limits in problem solving. In many cases, they have become part of the problem. Accepting models of professionalism that commodify people and rigidify hierarchy.
I speak to you today as a fellow midwife in the struggle for justice, as someone inspired by the vision and the power of CCDC’s approach.
I say midwife advisedly, because I don’t believe we are going to create justice by defeating our enemies, vanquishing our opponents — although I fought for that for many years. I believe we are going to create justice—not just victories, but justice—by creating deeper and stronger communities, where everyone is included, everyone thrives, everyone is honored for who they are and their unique gifts. We have to bring this kind of community into being and then nurture it, support it, commit to it, help it have a long life.
We have to grow into our work as community creators, because the vicious attacks on the humanity of immigrants, people with disabilities, LGBTQI folks, people of color, women, men, children, eco-systems and the planet require us to see beyond what is right in front of us to the future we want to build together. Everyone has a role to play in this, and everyone is needed to do this, but sometimes we don’t recognize that.
CCDC does the hard work of visioning the future and ways to get there, offering inclusion to everyone, creating amazing partnerships and then putting their feet on the path and bringing us along with them. They are deep in the policy and community care weeds and high up at 10,000 feet.
CCDC has much to teach us. It is because of work like theirs and others all across this country that I have more hope than I’ve had in a long time. My hope is based on many things, but today I’d like to explore with you three reasons that CCDC brings me hope and why their work is something everyone in the struggle for justice can learn from.
1) The first is that CCDC is creative and courageous in its work, engaging in transformative organizing that is guided by the people directly impacted .
2) The second is that CCDC is a microcosm of the social justice movement and they see the ways that issues and identities intersect. They pull us to think about our work in inclusive and diverse ways.
3) The last and most important is that if our democracy is to survive and our nation live up to its potential, it is precisely the value of NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US – EVER that needs to guide us.
Clearly seeing what is and crafting new ways of challenging seemingly hopeless realities by refusing to accept skewed power dynamics and involving the people directly affected in effective and heartening ways. CCDC builds community as it engages in systems change. Too often we work to make change by adopting the ways of the system that have worked to destroy our community. For me to win, you have to lose in this binary party system.
Communities are transformed as as individuals are transformed. When individuals are transformed, policies are transformed.
We have to work not for what we can win, but what we need and want. If we limit ourselves to what we can win, we are doomed. Our work will be to achieve something that is not really what the community wants. It will wear us out, dishearten us. Working for meaningful transformation of our communities and ourselves gives us life, because we see the short term struggles, victories and losses as important steps on the way to something we really want and need.
We can win by losing well, so that even if we don’t get the policy we were fighting for, the articulation of our true, heartfelt values and the bold visions of justice to achieve them give us strength and hope and build our movement, make us stronger.
But if people have been shoved to the margins, then visioning together to help each other see the possibilities is critical. And this requires relationship.
I call this transformative organizing. And there is very good news in this kind of work. It requires that we be transformed as we do this work. In order for us to hold the space for change to happen, we have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. This requires self-awareness, vulnerability, real relationship with each other. It requires that healing be a part of our vision for change. Because how many of us have been traumatized by the violence, the objectification, being told that we are not worthy of full participation in society. How many of us have believed that?
DEMOCRACY AND CHANGE NEEDS
NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US
The last and most important idea is that CCDC’s work embodies the statement “NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US – EVER.” If our democracy is to survive, it is precisely this kind of value that we need to live.
We need to follow CCDC’s example – they have always involved those directly affected in all aspects of decision-making
CCDC just finished 11-stop Statewide Listening Tour
Late capitalism is very scary, but community is the antidote. We don’t need hope, we need courage to face together what is around us and to build solutions that leave no one behind.
People with lived experience are the experts in resolving issues and building the kinds of communities in which everyone thrives.
Centering people and their experiences is different from depending on programs and agencies for solutions. Programs and agencies usually tell the community what they need, based on careful studies and data. Centering people means we begin with their lived experience as guidance for offering services, developing policies, and creating the communities we want to live in.
Centering people literally upends the traditional way of providing services or even advocacy, because we work differently when we are accountable to those who are directly impacted. We work more slowly, we check back, we learn together what the community needs and how we can work together to achieve that.
Everyone has gifts.
Relationships build a community.
Leaders are those who bring others into active community.
People care and will act when it is important to them, but we have to listen to know what that is.
Our job in this time is to find the right questions to ask each other:
Who are you?
What is your story?
What do you love?
What do you care about enough to act?
What kind of a community would you love to raise your children in?
Asking these questions, we can build the answers together and create the kinds of communities we need and deserve. Thank you very much for allowing me to speak with you and thank you for all the work you do.
CCDC asked both campaigns if they wanted to send a message directly to our members. We got the attached repsonse from Walker Stapleton. “With 57.3% of Coloradoans with Disabilities Out of Work, Polis Discusses Job Prospects”
We thank both campaigns for considering disability issues and urge our members to research positions of both campaigns and vote for the candidate you think will best.
Despite a plethora of resources dedicated to case management, there is no true single case management system for those with high needs. There are fragments in some systems for some issues but they do not address holistic needs. There are case management systems that are really gatekeepers for government programs. Gatekeeping has its place but it is different than case management. Despite the many areas where case management is covered (even just in the Medicaid system) there has never been a process whereby the stakeholders and government get together to at least have dialogue, if not answer the following questions:
1) Who needs what level of care management across systems? What percent are likely permanent needs?
2) What are the specific tasks needed and how much time will this take on average?
3) What are the qualifications to do these tasks?
4) What are the quality measures to assess the performance of these tasks?
5) What is the cost to perform these tasks including maximum caseload size.
6) What are the total resources now dedicated to all case management?
7) What case management are we doing now that is not useful, not necessary, or could be done at a lower level?
8) How do we create a plan to take our current system and transform to a system that provides intensive case management where appropriate and reduces services where there is no benefit?
Case management is needed in the following situations:
*People with a serious but temporary medical condition or new illness, such as cancer for help accessing and coordinating medical and other resources.
*People with long-term disabilities who are unable to do their own case management and who have no family able to assist. This must be comprehensive and include non-medical issues even the mundane daily life activities that can overwhelm some people. Even dealing with a utility company or a landlord can require assistance for people with some disabilities.
Some individuals could learn to do more of their own management with teaching (or have a family member able to take over with some training) and others will need this high level over a lifetime.
This is not a huge number of people, but the lack of case management causes them to spend a lot of time in crisis and use emergency resources from multiple organizations. Case management of this type is labor intensive and requires a very low caseload and high level of training.
Everyone that works in the realm of disabled parking knows that we have a problem…there are too many placards out there –7 for each legitimate user at latest estimate. People often assume that the abuse is due to everyone wanting the “good spaces” that are close to the building. That may be a desirable feature, but a much more desirable feature is that in some jurisdictions, people with a placard or disability plates do not need to pay for parking. As parking becomes more expensive and harder to find, the temptation to use a disability placard inappropriately grows.
Why is disabled parking free? It stems from the fact that often governments and parking lot owners do not make the payment system accessible to all. To be accessible it must be something that one can reach even if one uses a wheelchair or is of short stature. It also has to be accessible to someone without use of fingers or hands. Lowered meters with phone payment options are available in other cities but Colorado has not widely adopted this requirement. The ideal situation would be accessible meters so people with disabilities can park where everyone else parks and pay like anyone else. Equality means doing what everyone else does….even paying for parking. However, until the method of payment is accessible, payment cannot be required.
Only a small subset of people that require accessible parking actually have a problem using a meter. People that use wheelchairs and are unable to stand at all cannot use a meter. People with no hand use or finger coordination cannot use most meters. People of short stature cannot reach meters. Most others with disabilities can use meters. Anyone who simply cannot walk a long distance, people that use wheelchairs but can stand, and people with one good hand can all use a meter.
HB 18-1285 Remuneration-Exempt Disability Parking Placard was an attempt to create a second specialized placard to distinguish individuals who truly cannot use a meter so only those individuals would be eligible for free parking in accessible spaces. Others would still be able to park close, use the wide spaces, etc., but would be expected to pay in metered zones.
Individuals will be qualified for the new placard for the following reasons
Unfortunately this definition excludes one group of people unable to reach a meter. CCDC lobbied for a modification of the 3rd qualifier above to read “Ability to reach or access a parking meter due to disability”. However our proposed amendment to make the bill accomplish the goal was rejected.
This law is permissive meaning that local governments are free to enact it or not. CCDC believes that it would be discriminatory to give free parking to only some people that cannot reach a meter based not on function but on whether or not they use a wheelchair. Some people that use wheelchairs can stand. Some people have wheelchairs that elevate their seats. On the other hand others walk but due to small size are not able to reach a meter or pay slots. Because the Americans’ with Disabilities Act requires state and local governments to avoid discrimination, even though this is a state law, local governments could be at risk for litigation if they implement the law as written. The ADA is a federal law and federal law supersedes state law.
We do not know at this time if any municipalities are planning to use this new provision. Below are some frequently asked questions about the law:
When will the Law go into effect? January 1st 2019
Will the new law cover the entire State? Yes, each municipality will decide whether or not they will change their rules to match the new law.
How can I get a new placard? You do not need a new placard, but an additional placard. There is no application for this additional placard at this time. Information on obtaining and renewing a placard or plate is here.
That is likely the same place the new applications will be when they are ready.
What are the rules about disabled parking? The state has a brochure outlining the rules.
If you have strong feelings about whether or not your local government should implement this law reach out to your city council or county commission. CCDC believes the idea is right but that it must apply to ALL disability types that cannot reach or use a meter. As a cross-disability organization we cannot support leaving out one disability type. We also believe there should be an “other” category to account for some condition that no one has thought of that might not fit on any list. The exemption from payment should be based on disability related function-the inability to use meters or pay structures.
CCDC also has concerns about education and outreach to the disability community. The bill was silent on this matter and we are concerned that if this is implemented in a community the people that are used to free parking would not know that they need to get a new placard. There must be adequate outreach to affected individuals with adequate time for them to obtain the secondary placard. We are also concerned about how people that use plates and do not use (and cannot use) placards will be accommodated in this process.
CCDC agrees that there is a problem with abuse, and believes that the free parking is a major culprit of the abuse. CCDC would rather see enforcement of pay structures including but not limited to meters that are simply accessible to all drivers and that allows all drivers to take responsibility for payment.
Election season is here and at the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) we have one message. VOTE AS IF YOU LIFE DEPENDS ON IT….BECAUSE IT DOES. CCDC does not endorse or oppose any candidate.
We say NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US…EVER! In order to participate we must exercise our right and responsibility to vote. Democracy is not a spectator sport and only works when we participate. We have no excuse not to vote. Our ballots come in the mail. If we want to go to a vote center we can, there are accessible voting booths at the voting center. If we need help understanding or filling out our ballots we can get that help from your local voting center, a friend you trust, or an advocate (including CCDC staff).
This guide will do the following:
We are voting for a new Governor. The Democratic candidate is Jared Polis and the Republican Candidate is Walker Stapleton . Both are currently holding other elected positions. Jared Polis is a congressman for the second congressional district and Walker Stapleton is our state Treasurer. CCDC has given both candidates our expectations for a new Governor
The Governor gets to decide who runs every state agency including Health Care Policy and Financing, Human Services, Labor and Employment, etc. If there are changes to the federal Medicaid program a Governor might be able to decide if we accept a block grant for Medicaid—something CCDC strongly opposes. How much a Governor supports Medicaid is important to us.
Governors also are able to appoint people to boards and commissions including rule making bodies like the Medical Services Board, the Human Services Board, etc. We want a Governor that will listen to us about appointments and will appoint knowledgeable advocates who have direct experience with the various systems. We want people appointed that are connected with the community that will seek out diverse opinions and make an effort to listen to our community.
The Governor is the CEO of the state and sets the tone with state agencies. The Governor decides if state agencies are there to support people with disabilities to full participants in the state, or treat us as if we are errant children, in need of protection, punitive measures to keep us compliant, or both. A Governor can choose to keep an open door to hear us if we have problems with state agencies or can assume that longtime agency staff always know best and stonewall any efforts we make raise issues.
We will also vote for Congressional Candidates in all 7 congressional districts. Here are the CCDC requests of our Congressional Delegation. Research candidates directly—do not just rely on 30 second TV commercials.
We also get to elect a new Secretary of State, Treasurer, and Attorney General. All of these positions are important. You can read more about these races here!
Many people will get to elect a Colorado Legislator —all seats are up for re-election but some areas do not have two candidates. Many Colorado Senate seats are up as well, and in some tight districts a few votes might determine control of the Senate. Never doubt that your vote counts. You should be able to have a personal conversation with anyone running in your district. To find out who is running look here. Reach out to candidates in your district and ask them about their disability platform. Ask if they will support Medicaid, and expand programs that allow us to control our lives such as Consumer Directed Attendant Supports. We want consumer/participant direction for all Long Term Services and Supports. Ask if they will support Medicaid Buy-In allowing us to work and get out of poverty. Many of the issues outlined on our Gubernatorial paper are relevant to a Representative or Senator. Most important, ask them to make a commitment that if someone asks them to run a bill that will affect people with disabilities that they will ask the person if people from the disability community have been involved with the bill. If the answer is no then please do not support the bill unless or until they have fully involved our community. Real and Meaningful engagement of people with disabilities at all levels of government must be a priority.
People with disabilities have the right to vote, the right to accessibility and the right to vote in private. Disability Law Colorado is the lead organization that protects these rights. If you have a concern about access to your ballot, or if someone says you are not allowed to vote, please contact Jennifer Levin at email@example.com or 303-722-0300. Their website has complete information on our voting rights.
As always there are a lot of ballot initiatives.
Below are the ones where there are possible effects on disability and where appropriate, the CCDC position. These are statewide ballot initiatives. There are local initiatives all over the state, such as a measure in Denver to fund mental health treatment. CCDC does not take positions on local issues but encourage you to listen to all sides, read the proposal, talk to people you trust and vote. Here are the statewide ballot initiatives that have a disability component or are about overall governance:
Amendment V: Lower the age from 25 to 21 for someone to be a state legislator or senator. CCDC has no position on this issue.
Amendments Y and Z: Both of these amendments change how go about redistricting to make the process less partisan. Y is for congressional (federal level) redistricting and Z for (state level) legislators. There will be a process to select commissioners using specific criteria and there will be an equal number of commissioners from each major political party and independent/unaffiliated weapons. When the census is taken and the population changes we get more or fewer congressional seats (probably more). This requires the congressional districts be redrawn. This is a very political process because the parties each want to use the district boundaries for their advantage. The same process has to happen at the state level. In the past partisan processes have caused districts to be drawn based on race keeping people of color in certain areas which reduces the power of the minority vote. The same thing can happen with lower-income communities—keeping everyone living in poverty in one area to dilute the power of the low-income vote. It is in the interest of everyone to have fair elections and to have districts be created using non-partisan, objective criteria. CCDC SUPPORTS THESE AMENDMENTS.
Amendment A: Removes language in the Colorado constitution that allows slavery and involuntary servitude to be used as punishment for someone convicted of a crime. Because many people in jails and prisons are people with disabilities, and because we are a social justice organization, CCDC SUPPORTS THIS AMENDMENT. It is outrageous that slavery of any form is still allowed under any circumstances.
Amendment 73: Funding for public schools which increases funding for K-12 education through an income tax increase for people with incomes over $150,000 and setting a property tax assessment at 7% for residential properties and 24% for non-residential properties. This is reduction of current property taxes. The measure also encourages the legislature to change the school funding formula. The measure does require the Colorado Department of Education to review how the funds are spent and identify best practices. The legislature should review the funding formula ten years after implementation and make modifications if necessary. CCDC agrees that schools must be well funded. CCDC is not an expert in educational financing measures or taxes and therefore is not taking a position on this bill. For a liberal analysis check out the Bell Policy Center and for a conservative analysis check out the Independence Institute.
Amendment 74 requires a state or local government to compensate a property owner if a law or regulation reduces the fair market value of his or her property. CCDC has no position on this proposal.
Amendment 75 allows candidates to accept 5 times the current campaign contribution limits if any candidate in the race loans or gives his or her campaign more than $1 million. The purpose is to level the playing field between a candidate with personal wealth and his or her opponent. CCDC has no position on this proposal. CCDC generally has concern about the influence of money in politics.
Proposition 109 changes Colorado statutes to require the state to borrow up to $3.5 billion in 2019 to fund 66 highway projects and directs the state to pay back the bonds without raising taxes. It also limits how much interest can be paid back and sets a timeline of 20 years for repayment. CCDC STRONGLY OPPOSES THIS PROPOSAL. Our two primary reasons for opposition are:
Proposition 110 authorizes a slight increase in sales and use tax from 2.9% to 3.52% for transportation projects for 20 years and allows the state to borrow up to 6 billion for transportation projects to be paid back over 20 years. The funding would be allocated as follows
45% to the state
40% to local governments
15% to multimodal transportation projects
CCDC STRONGLY SUPPORTS THIS PROPOSAL because the funds will also fix the highways, which are deteriorating but will not leave out transit projects. Local governments can prioritize their needs as transportation needs vary widely around the state. This funding will not be taken out of another source, such as Medicaid or education. This is a sustainable and inclusive solution that will enable our state to meet our diverse transportation needs to have safe and usable roads and to continue to expand transit options.
Proposition 111 reduces the cost of a payday loan to 36 annual percentage rate and expands what is considered to be a deceptive trade practices for payday lending. Payday loans are usually small loans with hefty repayment fees that do not require a credit check. They are popular with low wage workers and people on fixed incomes. People can get in trouble because the fees are so high and most people that use these loans are low-income and did not have the money in the first place and end up in perpetual debt. 36% is still a very high interest rate. Opponents say that this could cause the payday loan industry to stop doing business in Colorado. CCDC SUPPORTS THIS PROPOSAL. If an industry is going to leave the state because they cannot make money with a 36% interest rate that means that they are currently getting much more. If companies need more than 36% interest leave the state that is OK. It would be a better use of our collective time and energy to focus on fair lending practices, reduce income inequality, increase wages, and reduce the cost of housing and health care so that people are not struggling so desperately.
Proposition 112 requires that new oil and gas developments are at least 2500 feet away occupied structures like homes or businesses, water sources and areas designated as “vulnerable”. CCDC has no position on this proposal.
In closing, please remember to vote. Vote your ballot as soon as it comes so you do not forget. If you experience barriers call Disability Law Colorado. You can also call CCDC with questions or concerns. If you want to help do phone banking to get others to vote please reach out to Dawn Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-839-1775.
DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado is proud to announce that Chuck Plunkett, Dave Krieger, Alex Landau, Amy Robertson and Tim Fox will receive our 2018 Civil Rights Awards, which will be presented at the Bill of Rights Dinner on Thursday, September 27th at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Denver.
Amy Robertson and Tim Fox are co-executive directors of the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC), a nationwide civil rights organization based in Denver. Over the last several years, they have settled class actions with the cities of Denver, Seattle, and Portland, as well as the Colorado and Montana Departments of Corrections, Red Rocks Amphitheater, and the Pepsi Center. The total dollar value of settlements CREEC has negotiated on behalf of their clients is more than $500 million. Last year, CREEC established a new project, investigating immigration detention facilities for violations of the Constitution and federal law.
Robertson and Fox will receive the Carle Whitehead Memorial award, recognizing lifetime commitment to protecting and extending civil rights and civil liberties.
“Amy Robertson and Tim Fox are vigilant, tireless fighters for justice,” said ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley. “By establishing and growing CREEC into a powerful civil rights watchdog, they have fought for the rights of thousands of people who were victimized by unequal and discriminatory policies and practices. We are honored to recognize their immense impact.”
Chuck Plunkett and Dave Krieger will receive the Larry Tajiri media award in recognition of their principled defense of objective journalism and editorial independence. Plunkett was the editorial page editor at the Denver Post from July 2016 to May 2018. Krieger was the editorial page editor at the Boulder Daily Camera until April 2018, when he was fired for self-publishing a column criticizing Alden Global Capital, the corporate hedge fund that owns both the Denver Post and the Daily Camera, for making deep staffing and budget cuts to the respective newsrooms. After learning that Krieger was fired, Plunkett resigned his position at the Denver Post in protest.
“The work of ACLU of Colorado, and much broader, the functioning of our democracy, relies on a strong, independent press to expose corruption and hold those in power accountable for their actions,” said ACLU of Colorado Director of Communications and Advocacy John Krieger (no relation to Dave). “We are proud to honor Chuck Plunkett and Dave Krieger, who were willing to speak out and sacrifice their livelihoods to protect the independence and integrity of their profession.”
In recognition of his achievements as an activist, organizer, and educator, Alex Landau will receive the Ralph Carr Award. Landau was the victim of extreme police brutality at the hands of Denver police officers in 2009. Driven by that experience, Landau has worked to build a movement for racial justice in Denver and around Colorado. In his role as community outreach coordinator for the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, he has taught Know Your Rights trainings, led community-based advocacy campaigns, and mobilized voters. He is currently working to expand access to the ballot for pretrial detainees in Denver area jails.
“Alex Landau is an activist, coalition-builder, teacher, role model, and change-maker,” said Woodliff-Stanley. “He took a horrific event that nearly ended his life and used it as fuel to build a movement for racial justice and equality. We are proud to honor his past, present, and future contributions to civil rights and civil liberties.”
The 2018 Bill of Rights Dinner will feature a keynote presentation from Lorella Praeli, ACLU’s Deputy National Political Director and Director of Immigration Policy and Campaigns. Praeli’s presentation will focus on the ACLU’s nationwide effort to combat the Trump Administration’s destructive immigration policies, reunite families that were cruelly separated by the administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy, and encourage lawmakers to pass comprehensive immigration reform and legislation to protect DREAMers.
For more information about the event, purchasing tickets, or becoming a sponsor, please visit the event page or contact Rachel Pryor-Lease at 720-402-3105 or email@example.com.
Original Post: https://aclu-co.org/aclu-of-colorado-to-honor-chuck-plunkett-dave-krieger-alex-landau-amy-robertson-and-tim-fox-as-2018-civil-rights-award-recipients/
CCDC is thrilled that Amy Robertson and Tim Fox are being honored by such a cool organization as ACLU.
By Julie Reiskin
October 23, 2017
To remind readers, Part I of this blog post from early October began with my statement that I was recently in a discussion with someone about health care policy. When I shared that CCDC does not support Medicare for All, and that we did not support Amendment 69 during the recent fall elections, there was shocked silence. “Aren’t you the people always protesting and carrying on about health care?” Yes-we are.
What follows are several more reasons not mentioned in Part I of this essay that compel CCDC to advocate for “Medicaid for All” as the way to go in health care reform ahead:
Medicaid has multiple requirements for public involvement.
There is a federally mandated advisory council that requires client involvement. In Colorado, just about every program has a robust public committee that complements other ways for the public to be actively involved. If one was so inclined, one could go to meetings about Medicaid policy with the state every day of the week. Nothing happens in Medicaid without an opportunity for public involvement. This may sound tedious unless your life is altered by how rules are made or enforced. This level of involvement is impossible on a national level.
As we all know, having lobbyists in DC opining on issues does not translate into understanding of how a policy affects the people. We are slowly learning about some of the very negative effects of the recently passed 21st Century Cures Act which imposes national mandates on states to impose on Medicaid clients and providers. The motivation may have been good, but the outcomes are bad. Working things out on a state level in terms of day to day management of programs works much better than trying to write rules or policies on a federal level for every single issue. Medicaid currently has national standards; those are clearly met. The details are often left to the states. If the states follow the rules, the states are not hassled. If they fail to follow the rules, they have to answer for that. Medicare, on the other hand, has no such accountability. There is no workable process to solve a problem with Medicare in terms of how it works on a day to day issue.
There are other differences.
Medicare in some areas does pay better than Medicaid, but if there were more money in Medicaid, rates could be raised. Over the past ten years, states have worked hard to get Medicaid rates at least close to the Medicare rate. Most providers accept Medicare, not all take Medicaid—again, if the population on Medicaid increased and rates were increased a bit, that would change. Some providers that do not take Medicaid have outdated information. Many years ago, it was true that Medicaid would take forever to pay for services rendered. That has not been the case for more than a decade. Medicaid is now one the fastest payers.
Finally, and this is very important, Medicaid cannot just take away benefits.
To take away a benefit from everyone, there would have to be a legislative bill which would give people a way to be part of the process, and hopefully a solution. To take away a benefit from an individual requires a notice, and the right of the beneficiary to have a hearing before a neutral judge. Whoever wants to take the benefit away has to prove that something changed. One of our big concerns with Amendment 69 was that a board could vote away our benefits if funds were tight. The board did not have any requirement to have input from the disability community – despite how deeply many of our lives depend on these services.
The Nevada legislature passed a bill that would allow Medicaid for all people in Nevada; those not poor would pay a premium. Sadly, this was vetoed by the Governor of Nevada. In Colorado, adults with disabilities have this option—we can buy into Medicaid but only if we have a job and are under 65. If we lose our job and do not get another one in ten days, our Medicaid disappears. Even though no one retires at age 65 anymore—this program stops at 65. Other than those two gaping problems, the Medicaid Buy-In Program works well. For many people with disabilities buying insurance is useless because we need what Medicaid offers, not what insurance offers. While we may use doctors, need labs, and need hospitals, we really need LTSS and medical equipment. Non-disabled people would not need LTSS but they could buy into the regular Medicaid package.
While this is not a national program, and a state-by-state approach carries some dangers of people with greatest needs moving to states with the best benefits, it is a much more appropriate solution than Medicare for all. Medicare for all sounds good because Medicare does not have the stigma of Medicaid. However, many advocates of Medicare for All are using this term out of a place of ignorance based on privilege. Medicare for all will NOT solve our nations’ health care problems. With a proper federally mandated floor regarding covered benefits, Medicaid for all is the best of all worlds. Guarantee of health care with state control and allowing states to make reasonable rules and provide the benefits that best work for their populations. People with disabilities have always been the canaries in the mine of health care. The people promoting Medicare for All really need to listen to us—or at least, roll a mile on our wheels.