This is a surprisingly sympathetic profile of Gen. Eric Shinseki, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Maybe it’s a puff piece, but even with that possibility in mind, this article left me admiring Gen. Shinseki, and optimistic that the VA’s well-known problems might actually be on the way to being fixed. If nothing else, it sounds like Shinseki has good policy instincts that are firmly on the side of helping veterans, rather than guarding the bureaucracy. The irony is that if Shinseki was more of a gate-keeper, he’d probably be less publicly criticized.
I can easily imagine the average non-disabled reader wondering how in hell any city is supposed to handle disabled people in a natural disaster. The thing is, it’s probably going to end up being a few fairly simple steps that just get forgotten … like mobilizing wheelchair-accessible buses. It’s amazing how often otherwise intelligent people forget to think of basic transportation for people with disabilities who can’t ride in any old vehicle and don't own their own adapted vans. They have no concept of how limiting it is to a person’s mobility, and to their ability to take responsibility for their own safety. As for not being able to leave a building because of out-of-order elevators, I’m not sure what the fix for that is. Hopefully, with this court ruling and a new city administration coming in, disability advocates and city officials will actually work together to come up with practical solutions. Just repeating, "It's too hard, it can't be done" won't accomplish anything.
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