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.
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.