Disability news, Accessibility Issues, Disability Issues, Accessiblity News

Op-ed: Dale juggling two White House jobs?

March 27th, 2009

Writing in the Chicago Reader, Deanna Isaacs raises red flags about a New York Times report that Kareem Dale, President Obama’s special assistant for disability policy, has been chosen to be the president’s staff adviser on arts and culture. The story “left jaws dropping in both the arts and disability camps,” she said.

An excerpt:

Andrew Imparato, president of the D.C.-based American Association of People With Disabilities, said his group wondered “What does this mean?” when they saw the Times story, and sought assurance from Dale that he’ll still be doing the disability job. He responded by e-mail that he would. “We’re happy that he’s continuing with the disability position,” Imparato said, but added that double duty could be “a mixed bag.” While it might offer a chance to integrate some areas of overlap, “it could also be a distraction.” With the disability issues alone, Imparato said, “he’s got a pretty full plate.”

… [Americans for the Arts spokesperson Liz Bartolomeo said, “We still believe President Obama will be the arts president.” If that’s the case, Mr. President, then unlike the other situations you’re facing, this is easy. Disability and the arts each need their own point person. Fix it.

2 Responses to “Op-ed: Dale juggling two White House jobs?”

  1. MArnold Says:

    Dale is about as effective as a wet blanket, political appointment tends to be (which he is), and unfortunately predictive, of Obama’s committments to the community, as Obama’s comments on Leno show. It’s time to call for his head.

    Exhbit A: The failure of the White House to include people with disabilities as “minorities” in the SBA stimulus bill — a major part of the Obama platform campaign agenda. In New York City alone, (although it breaks the law and nobody cares) the city government has capped the number of jobs in city government for gimps at 400 positions. Private sector jobs, except as say, paper hangers at minimum wage, are out of the question. Self employment is probably the quickest way to independence this community has.

    The prejudice from the mainstream isn’t going to go away quickly and it’s stupid to assume, especially with at best naive and at worst incompetent “leaders” like Dale in the White House, that suddenly the private sector is going to change its ways. Our 1981 rights are worth less than minorities, and apparently Obama is letting us know that in every single move he’s making. That is appalling.

    Exhibit B: Failure to compensate for the fact that anyone who relies on government benefits will actually see decreases, due to state juggling, lack of compliance and outright statutory non-compliance, although they did actually manage to have DOJ issue a mandate to the state of Massachusetts that bailout funds COULD NOT be exempt from the ADA and 73 Act statutory requirements. The fact that this was even an issue speaks volumes about the status of our community, much less that the request came from a state with a Senator with a disability.

    The appalling lack of a single cabinet level staffer (much less the overwhelming lack of White House or other adminstrative posts going to people with disabilities) despite Obama’s promise to do so.

    The fact that the Justice Department is supporting Bank of America in its lawsuit in California, justifying the banks violation of consumer protection laws in levying use fees from PWDs and people on social security. yeah. Wrap your arms around that one, will ya.

    The fact that there is to quote Donovan, head of HUD (who’s record in New York was so appalling I don’t know why he got the job in the first place) “a focus on helping people after they go homeless” rather than helping them avoid eviction – including funding the 8a program. Putting a person with a disability in a shelter is far worse than putting anyone there. And putting anyone there is appalling.

    The housing bailout bill, if restructured properly, which for reasons I won’t go into here, could have saved a great many more homeowners than it did if Geithner knew his basic economics and wasn’t so interested in saving those “toxic assets” called houses for a firesale, subsidized by the US taxpayer, to be bought up for cheap, by his Wall Street buddies.

    Immediate, and I do mean ASAP emergency hiring at the EEOC, which in addition to a horrendous backlog of cases (my own has been on hold for 20 months for multiple claims), has just now been found to have broken labor law itself, including forcing workers to work “comp time” rather than overtime. I won’t even go into the problems over at the Labor Department. I also think that all ADA cases should be given first priority, simply because losing your job means losing your healthcare, and people with disabilities can’t afford to do that. If you file for disability to get that healthcare, you lose your EEOC case. A little issue that nobody seems to care about or address, primarily because the people in the upper echelons on government making these decisions are all rich, and can afford to overcome these obstacles.

    These issues are all related. Yet all we get is mealy mouthed BS from an inexperienced kid, who doesn’t know his way around the Hill, much less ADA law, employment statistics for the “normal” gimp or associated healthcare issues, and spends his time apparently apologizing for his boss’ inexcusable statements, appearing at lunches saying how wonderful it is that there’s now a black guy at the White House “dealing” with disability issues” and now apparently now also has time to take on federal arts policy.

    I don’t think this bodes well and its time to kick, scream, shout, start riots, and tell this administration, that this crap is not going to continue any more.

    If the government can fund my ex employer, not once, but twice, with billions in bailout funds, but no relevant office of the White House, including Dale, can’t find the time to answer my calls, emails or take a meeting for a plan I have to expedite both economic jumpstarting of the economy as a whole and the integration of PWDS into it, while meeting with Brad Pitt who’s green jobs program is a joke, cracking appalling jokes on Leno, and missing important legislation for the PWD community, I think the writing is on the wall.

    Oh, and I forgot Orzag’s idea’s about “health care” reform that we will be the guinea pigs for. I hear he’s got a good taste for expensive wine. I’d love to have him to negotiate through the screwed up welfare medical system with a rare condition before coming up with erudite policies based on theories from the comfort of his white boy, privileged background.

    This is disgusting. I’m doing something about it. And I suggest you do the same.

    You see, ultimately, the problem with the president’s comment isn’t just that its a put down of people with disabilities, or Down syndrome, or mental disabilities, but rather a mindset that while you may have a disability, there are still things you can do better than say the president of the United States. And that includes creating policy. And jobs.

  2. Hannah Says:

    I wouldn’t be sad to see Dale leave the disability job for the arts job. Let’s get someone in there who understands and is sensitive to the needs of people with intellectual disabilities.

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