Compassion, humanity lacking in plan

Posted: Sunday, January 02, 2000

A large part of my job as an Independent Living Specialist with Southeast Alaska Independent Living entails advocating for fair and equal treatment for those of us with a disability.

This to me means that I can fish for salmon from the beach just like anyone else. To do this, some accommodations need to take place, such as a ramp, parking and a dock, all of which are in the latest Department of Transportation plan. Now after months of attending design meetings and submitting written comments, I find a story in the Dec. 12 Empire that, to me, said this is a bad plan and should be scrapped.

When did the potential harm to fish from two vehicles, become so paramount that the wants and needs of a whole class of people (who already are harmed) is bypassed? It is downright evil to place the potential harm to some fish over that of humanity. We, those with disabilities, want no more or no less than any other citizen gets.

To mitigate this assumed damage, why not surround the dock with absorbent boom and put an absorbent pad dispenser on the dock? Another possibility is to build a bilge into the dock and keep it pumped out. The parking lot runoff can be handled in the same way.

The conceptual plan, to my knowledge has been approved by all who reviewed it. The newspaper story seems to be an 11th-hour attempt to derail something that would be good for everyone. Do we have to forget about human decency to prevent potential harm to fish? Has society degenerated so far that ``temporarily able bodied'' people make all the rules for everyone and fish are then the highest priority to be protected? Where is compassion and humanity in this?

Ken Dean

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