Friday, February 23, 2007

Anonymous People

I’m wondering why someone would comment on a post as “Anonymous”? Is it a fear of being recognized as someone who reads your blog? Is it that they are in some sort of secret society and have pledged to cloak their identity? Could it be that they are really really important people, unable to risk being seen in a blog?

There’s a “spy” vibe that goes along with “Anonymous” comments. The passing of information from an unknown source. There’s even a possibility of trickery, where a blogger could post an “Anonymous” comment, and get blamed for what is written, if untrue. A set-up perhaps.

Yesterday I received an “Anonymous” comment regarding the Ron Chinn situation. I won’t publish it because it contains information that is very possibly false. I don’t want false information attributed to me. I don’t believe in making stuff up.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hard Work

People with developmental disabilities are hard to serve. It has nothing to do with who they are as people, but the system of “care” that they live in. Those charged with setting up their services rarely know them as individuals and use cookie cutters in planning for their individualized needs. This puts strain on both the individual and their caregivers.

People with developmental disabilities are hard to serve. Of course the majority of these folks have experienced felonious abuse and neglect throughout their lives, so they often don’t trust people who may actually be attempting to assist them.

People with developmental disabilities are hard to serve. The resources to support them (i.e. money, accommodations, public education) are few and far in between. Most care givers in this field have a career life expectancy of about 1 ½ years. The value placed upon these workers by government and society is DIRECTLY tied to the value placed upon the people they serve by government and society.

People with developmental disabilities are hard to serve. The training provided to these underpaid caregivers around issues like self determination, diversity, civil rights, and dignity is minimal to say the least. There’s plenty of training on how to do good paperwork, how to follow administrative rules, and how to apply physical restraint when necessary. Don’t people with developmental disabilities understand what really matters?

People with developmental disabilities are hard to serve. They often rebel against notions like they HAVE TO go to a day program they hate because the group home can’t provide staff coverage for them to stay in their home if they want to. Or the idea that a sheltered workshop (making sub-minimum wage) is their only option for employment.

People with developmental disabilities are hard to serve. They sometimes go through their entire lives without accepting their place, far away from the table. Some have also been known to speak up on behalf of their brothers and sisters. Can you imagine that?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I didn’t put my finger on it until Monday afternoon. I finally became aware of what’s been going on with me lately... I’m depressed! It may seem strange to the reader, that someone could be moving through their life without even knowing depression is present, but that’s EXACTLY what my experience has been as of late.

When I first realized this was going on I went to the web to see what sort of treatment was out there these days. I haven’t had to deal with this in a long time and wanted to find out what was being said about handling depression in 2007. I’m thinking more along the lines of a psychological approach than drug therapy. I’d like to avoid the Prozac/Zoloft thing if possible.

I came across one writing that pretty well summed up what’s been going on with me. They wrote of the “3 D’s” of depression... Despair, Defeat, and Disappointment.
Those 3 feelings have been present in my life since my friend was euthanized on 12/14/06. I’ve gotten virtually no acknowledgement (never mind consolation or support outside of my own home) from the people who were supposed to ensure that this wouldn’t happen to her, although I filed a grievance on my deceased friend’s behalf on January 9th. It just doesn’t seem to matter to them. I guess I have a few more “D’s” to add... Disgust, Distrust, and Drained.

The best thing is that I understand this is not a permanent state I’m in. It will pass, and I will be okay when it does. It’s the “right now” that really sucks.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Ask Magenta

Check in with "Ask Magenta". We have plans to grow this thing through the roof. Magenta will address all your burning questions regarding disability rights, while creating a space for poetry and creative expression by people with disabilities and everyone interested in the disability rights movement. Your comments and your creativity are always welcomed.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Coffee Blues

While coffee brews there will be $3,842,593 spent by the US government on a war designed to make a handful richer
While coffee brews a woman somewhere is being beaten or raped
So much more than a coffee colored bruise will be left behind
While coffee brews someone will take something from someone because they don’t have enough
While coffee brews someone’s human rights will be stripped away
In the time it takes my coffee to brew you will have decided that what I’m telling you either matters or not

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

What's That On Your Chinn, Ron ??

What follows is an email exchange we had with the Multnomah Educational Service District regarding Board member Ron Chinn's bigoted remarks regarding students with disabilities. It was initially posted in the comment section of the "Special Needs" post on our blog. However; they've passed a resolution which we feel needs more exposure so we're giving this it's own posting. It's probably a good idea not to let this dude off too lightly. We first emailed them on 1/16/07:

Dear MESD Board Members,
While watching the morning news on KGW this morning I heard a brief report pertaining to something a Multnomah ESD board member was quoted as saying last month at a MESD board meeting. Apparently Ron Chinn stated that students requiring special education services are “a bunch of slabs - slow, low and belows”. Aside from the use of poor grammar to state his belief, Ron has come out with what he’s likely privately thought for some time. I’m writing to express the Disability Activists Work Group’s (DAWG Oregon) official position on his words and obvious mindset.
I am also requesting a response from the rest of the board.

DAWG believes there is no room for such blatant bigotry toward students with developmental disabilities ANYWHERE in our community. In the last state legislature the Respectful Language bill was passed, making law what is really common sense anyway. For someone in a position of being a board member charged with oversight of programs that support these students to come out with such language is appalling, disturbing, and intolerable.

We believe that if similar derogatory words were used to describe his feelings about African Americans, Latinos, women, or the gay and lesbian communities, much more than censure would be happening.We believe that the Multnomah ESD must take immediate measures to remove Ron from the board, effectively demonstrating a zero tolerance for bigotry among all of its administration, employees, staff, and volunteers.

Members of the Disability Activists Work Group
Dear DAWG members:
On January 16, 2007, the Board of MESD voted to censure Mr. Chinn and publicly repudiate his remarks. The Board and this agency find his views to be repugnant. Mr. Chinn is an elected official and the Board has no legal authority to force his resignation or require him to make amends for his thoughtless and cruel remarks. In this instance the Board, MESD's unions, employees and mangement joined with the general public to express our lack of tolerance for such remarks. It is now up to Mr. Chinn to make the honorable decision to step down. Your email dated 1/16/07 was read aloud at the Board meeting as part of the official record. If members of your group would like an opportunity to address the Board or Mr. Chinn in person, the next board meeting is on February 20, 2007 at 7 p.m. I believe Mr. Chinn's email address is published at the MESD website. Thank you for expressing your concerns in such a timely fashion.
Harry Ainsworth Vice Chair MESD
January 19, 2007 3:39 PM
Then this came in yesterday afternoon:

February 6, 2007

Members of the Disability Activists Work Group
[Sent via e-mail]

Dear Members:

I am writing at the request of the Board in response to your comments and questions regarding the MESD Board’s actions and Board member Ron Chinn’s intentions since his comments about special education students at the December 19, 2006 meeting. The Board lacks any authority to dismiss Mr. Chinn or to require his resignation. The Board did pass a resolution at the January 16, 2007 meeting censuring him for his comments (resolution enclosed). The Board also intends to propose a resolution for the February 20, 2007, 7:00 p.m. meeting requesting Mr. Chinn to resign from the Board or at least to announce his intention to not seek re-election.

Mr. Chinn has apologized for his comments. He has declined to indicate his intentions of whether he plans to resign or to seek re-election to the Board.

The filing timeline for Board positions is from February 5 through March 15, 2007.

Yours truly,

Edward L. Schmitt

c: Board Members

RESOLUTION 07-01 – Board Member Ron Chinn’s Remarks at the December Board Meeting (12/19/06)

WHEREAS during the December Board meeting Board member Ron Chinn referred to students with disabilities as “a bunch of people that were low IQ’d, what I call a bunch of SLABs, slow, low and belows,” and when questioned, Mr. Chinn responded that his remarks were “simply a statement of fact.”

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Board disagrees with Mr. Chinn’s derogatory and discriminatory remarks and finds that:

Mr. Chinn’s remarks showed a lack of respect for the individual dignity of the students and a lack of empathy for their parents and guardians;

Mr. Chinn’s remarks showed a lack of appreciation for the dedication and work of our staff who serve the students;

Mr. Chinn’s remarks showed a lack of awareness of the District’s legal obligations to the students; and

Mr. Chinn’s remarks showed a lack of responsibility in using his position as a Board member to express the remarks during a Board meeting.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the Board reaffirms its support for the goal that the “MESD shall respect the diverse values of its community and the dignity of each individual and shall help each student enrolled in its instructional programs” in the learning process as stated in Board Policy AE-AR – Instructional Service Goals, and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution shall be attached to the minutes of the December Board meeting (12/19/06) to demonstrate the Board’s opposition to Mr. Chinn’s remarks.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

It's On...

Okee dokee… I gave the P&A’s Executive Director an opportunity to right the wrong done to my deceased friend, and he has chosen to ignore my grievance on her behalf. Now it’s on! This weekend I’ll fully prepare and send it on to their Board. They will not have “15 working days” to respond either.
Once again in the great state of Oregon the disability “advocates” are making it clear that transparency, accountability, and truth are not a part of their agenda. It seems to be more about being quoted as an expert or photo-ops. I’ll never understand why some of these people don’t go to work for Avon, where their plastic smiles would fit in nicely. Instead they profess to take the lead on the issues that affect people with disabilities in a big way and turn them into cartoons.
It’s sad and scary at the same time. They have become so indoctrinated into the mindset of “don’t make waves and protect your own” that they’ve lost touch with why they got into the disability business in the first place. This is not nearly good enough for people with disabilities in our state and it will be brought to bear.