September 5, 2014
White House Office of Public Engagement
Disability Policy Advisor The White House
Dear Ms. Tyler,
This is an email sent almost a year ago, to the former White House Disability Policy Advisor, Claudia Gordon. I would like for my concerns to be brought to the attention of President Obama so that a policy response can be made to me.
October 24, 2013
Dear Ms. Gordon,
Thank you for your commitment, and that of President Obama, in respecting the civil rights of people with disabilities and for working diligently to enforce and to improve respect for our rights.
As a citizen with disabilities, I am asking that the President’s staff with assistance from the US Dept. of Justice, the National Council on Disability (NCD), all Federal Department Inspectors General, and Committees of the US House and Senate, to resole a question : “If a citizen with disabilities wishes to file an administrative disability civil rights complaint against an agency of a federal department, to which federal authority is that complaint to be addressed ?”
The advice I have received from both the US DOJ and the NCD is that the Inspector General of the department of the agency is that authority. However, the Inspectors General of both the Dept. of Education and HUD have declined my request to accept such a disability civil rights complaint, and Mr. Galanter of the U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Civil Rights also seems to reject the advice given me. It is important that our federal government have a consistent and fair policy so that the civil rights of all can be better respected and thus improve the quality of our government. Although the Inspector General of the Dept. of Education has asked Mr. Galanter to review my cases for fraud and corruption, that review does seem to have been adequately addressed by Mr. Galanter.
Additionally, as you are aware, I have other concerns as to why the Dept. of Education OCR has not found that my disability civil rights were violated when : 1) My state rehab services agency denied me accessibility to an agreed upon mediation, 2) my state rehab agency promised my CAP agency as well as Texas HHSC Civil Rights Office investigators that a specialist in TBI rehab would be provided for me, though that promise was quickly broken, and 3) the attorney for my state rehab service agency named my long time counselor at my CAP agency as a witness and had the counselor removed from an Administrative Appeals Hearing, over the objections of my attorney since my counselor was both assisting my recently appointed attorney and was representing me in person since I was attending the hearing telephonically. My counselor was never called as a witness and this tactic by the state’s attorney seems to have been used to deprive me of representation.
There are quite a few other complaints which I have about my state agency, in one instance their actions threatened by life, health, and well being, though I will not elaborate on those since the three actions cited are viewed as easily discernible disability civil rights violations by the vast majority of the disability rights legal community. Attached to this emai is a pdf containing a similar request for clarification made to the NCD, and as well the thread of email correspondence between Mr. Galanter and myself regarding these matters which have been copied to you and Mr. Carter-Long at the NCD. It is my view that denying a person with TBI a counselor trained in TBI rehab is equal in violation to a person who is deaf being denied a counselor trained in ASL, that giving false or misleading information to investigators is a crime, and that depriving me of the representation of my counselor at a legal hearing is both an ADA violation and violates basic due legal process.
Thank you for your concerns regarding such matters, and I hope that the result will be that improvements are made in the process of protecting and respecting the rights of all citizens with disabilities in our government and in society as a whole. Most disability activists feel that equality for people with disabilities is still a generation away, and that much work must be done yet to insure that day arrives.