Wednesday, December 19, 2007

City of Cambridge's ADA Self-evaluation given reprieve In City Council Monday night!

The City of Cambridge was required to conduct a Self-evaluation by the Department of Justice, as spelled out in Public Law 101-336, the Civil Rights Act of 1990, otherwise known as the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Section 35.105 Self-evaluation.
(a) A public entity shall, within one year of the effective date of this part, evaluate its current services, policies, and practices, and the effects thereof, that do not or may not meet the requirements of this part and, to the extent modifications of any such services, policies, and practices is required, the public entity shall proceed to make the necessary modifications.
(b) A public entity shall provide an opportunity to interested persons, including individuals with disabilities or organizations representing individuals with disabilities, to participate in the self-evaluation process by submitting comments.
(c) A public entity that employes 50 or more persons shall, for at least three years following completion of the self-evaluation, maintain on file and make available for public inspection:
(1) A list of the interested persons consulted
(2) A description of the areas examined and any problems identified; and
93) A description of any modifications made.
(d) If a public entity has already complied with the self-evaluation requirement of a regulation implementing section 504 of the Rehabilition Act of 1973, then the requirements of this section shall apply only to those policies and practices that were not included in the previous self-evaluation.


1. Designate a Responsible Employee as ADA Coordinator 1/26/92
2. Provide Notice 1/26/92
3. Establish Grieveance Proceedure 1/26/92
4. Conduct Self-Evaluation completed by 1/26/93
5. Develop Transition Plan completed by 7/26/92
6. Complete Structural Changes completed by 1/26/95


Three-Phase Process

Phase I: Planning for compliance
Phase II: Conducting the self-evaluation
Phase III: Implementing modifications

The three phases are not chronologically distinct. Phases II and III, in particular, overlap extensively. Discriminatory policies, practices, and procedures identified in the self-evaluation should be modified as soon as possible, even before the self-evaluation is completed.

On Monday evening the City Council, on a voice vote, referred the City Manager's report back to City Council, re requesting that the City's ADA Self-evaluation be placed on the City's web site, to next year's City Council and placed the matter on unfinished business.

Thanks to everyone who is helping with this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Senior Computer Lab closed most of the day

The Computer Lab at the Senior Center in Cambridge, MA. has two rows of computers, making a total of ten. We have three printers.

This photo was taken at 1:12pm, after several folks came in to the lab, only to be disapointed because it was closed. IE, not staffed. The pool room ajacent to the computer lab is open, however, as staff need not monitor the pool tables.

The hours of the city of Cambridge's Senior center computer lab are quite limited. Currently they are Mon: 9am-12 and 3pm-5; Tues: 1-3pm; Wed; 1-4:15pm; Thurs: 9-11:15am; Fri: 1-3pm; and Sat 9:30 -11:15am. Actually, they are sometimes cut short, because, in most cases it is volunteers who staff the computer lab. Sometimes the lab time will be cancelled without notice, whit seniors who arrive, expecting to be able to check their email, without access. Total schedualled hours this week = 16 1/4 hrs!!!

The Sr Center is closed Friday afternoons, which we used to have access to the computers from 1-4;30pm. There are schedualed computer classes on some mornings: this week for 1 1/2 hrs on Wed and informally on Friday morning.

The computer lab at the Sr center is a great resorce and provides acces to the web, email, education, keep in touch with family across the country, and world wide, access to City Council meetings, and other city services and programs, information, entertainment, photography, etc. We have 10 computers, which are usb capable, and 3 printers, one blk and wt, and two colour. This is truely a wonderful recorce, but....

What a shame that it goes to waste most of the time. Out of a possible 48+ hours, the lab is available less than 1/3rd the time. I have many times observed seniors come to the center expecting to be able to use the computers, only to discover the schedual on the black board, showing when the lab is open. Most folks are surprised, and have expressed frustration. But seniors don't want to complain, they don't want to be a burdon.

Perhaps the city could solve two "problems" with one program? Why not employ youths part time one afternoon per week each, to keep the lab open, and provide quality employment for students with computer skills? why not seek a private partnership to "fund" this worthy effort? gee, how much could it cost? Lets see, @10 per hour, from 2pm-5pm, that is 3 hours, 5 days a week, that would be, oh my, $150.

Would providing the necessary resorces to staff the Senior Center lab fully, so seniors can access the computers even as folks who play pool have access to the pool tables be such a burdon to the City of Cambridge? Are we that poor?