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I am proud of how El Dorado County cares for the disabled. We set a standard.
Everywhere you go in El Dorado County you find our community accommodating the needs of the disabled, whether they are our returning veterans, our seniors, or other fellow citizens disabled from birth or other misfortunes in life. We should be thankful to the businesses and developers who have made the investment (often a financial sacrifice) to serve the needs of these special customers and their fellow citizens. I remember well when the City of Placerville modified their corners downtown to accommodate people in wheelchairs. What a great day that was. Countywide those disability parking spots make a world of difference when our disabled family members and friends visit their doctors or go shopping. We should all be proud of El Dorado County for it has come a long way in the last few decades.
Did you know that this week there was a vote in the Senate to ratify an international treaty, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, modeled on our own American Disabilities Act? The treaty on which the Senate voted was one already signed by 155 nations and ratified by 126 nations. Our American Disabilities Act of 1990 was signed into law by Republican President George H.W. Bush. Former Republican Presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Bob Dole was present on the Senate floor in his wheelchair shaking the hands of the senators, both Republican and Democrat. Each senator walked past him, and his wife Elizabeth, to cast their vote. If you remember, Bob Dole is a disabled veteran who was injured fighting while serving our country in World War II.
This United Nations treaty was modeled after our own American law. America already is in compliance with all of its provisions. If the bill was passed our fellow disabled Americans traveling abroad would be guaranteed the same accommodations as they experience in our communities at home in America. Ratification required a 2/3 vote. President George W. Bush who championed “compassion” negotiated this treaty for the United States. President Obama had already signed the treaty. It just was going to take 66 Senators for the U.S. to join with fellow nations.
When the final vote was tallied, there were only 61 votes. Ratification failed. All the Democrats voted for the ratification. Eight Republicans voted to approve the treaty including Sen. John McCain, who also suffered disabling injuries in Vietnam; Sen. Dick Lugar, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee; and former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh. Both our Californa Senators Boxer and Feinstein voted for ratification.
The following Republican Senators voted “no” and blocked the ratification of the treaty. Shame on them for shaming our great nation.
Graham (R-SC); Grassley (R-IA); Hatch (R-UT); Heller (R-NV); Hoeven (R-ND); Hutchison (R-TX); Inhofe (R-OK); Isakson (R-GA); Johanns (R-NE); Johnson (R-WI); Kyl (R-AZ); Lee (R-UT); McConnell (R-KY); Moran (R-KS); Paul (R-KY); Portman (R-OH); Risch (R-ID); Roberts (R-KS); Rubio (R-FL); Sessions (R-AL); Shelby (R-AL); Thune (R-SD); Toomey (R-PA); Vitter (R-LA); Wicker (R-MS).
Under the leadership of both President Bushs and President Obama our nation has set a standard for countries that believe it is important to address the needs of the disabled. Our El Dorado County disabled citizens, of whom many are veterans, will now find nations around the world following the standards set by America, treaty or no treaty, countries to where they can easily travel for pleasure, education or business.