BENJAMIN CORDOVA: I’m Benjamin Cordova and I appreciate the opportunity to address the Access Board. I’m representing the Colorado Governor’s Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities, and I’m here on behalf of the Governor’s Advisory Council.
We have not come forward with a point by point statement of the different questions, as other speakers have done today, but what we would like is that we would we would like to tell you that we support the efforts of the Access Board to increase accessibility for persons with disabilities. Let me just read this resolution that the that the Governor’s Council passed at its last meeting.
The Governor’s Council, by the way, is a council of persons within the state of Colorado who are appointed by the governor of the state of Colorado to advise the governor on issues pertaining to persons with disabilities.
And this council adopted this resolution: “The Colorado Governor’s Advisory Council for persons with disabilities supports the efforts of the Access Board to increase the accessibility of outdoor developed areas for persons with disabilities, and we encourage the Access Board to adopt the proposed guidelines in an expeditious manner.”
That’s the resolution, and I’d like to speak for just a moment about what we mean when we say “an expeditious manner.”
That is, we hope that the Access Board will move quickly, as quickly as you possibly can, to bring this guideline to into a final form, and then push it on through whatever process it needs to go through to become final, and adopted by whatever enforcement agencies there are.
We on the Governor’s Council have noticed that sometimes it takes a long time for these things to get through, and we recognize that you have processes you have to follow, and it is time consuming, but we encourage you to move forward with all haste.
We realize, as Mr. Cirillo stated earlier, that a state can always pass and implement its own regulation, but the work of the Access Board and a guideline issued at the national level really will have much more impact than the individual states adopting their own.
So thank you for moving forward with this, and we support your work.
[Additional remarks made after all registered speakers concluded their testimony.]
BENJAMIN CORDOVA: Again, excuse me again, I’m Benjamin Cordova with the governor’s Colorado Governor’s Advisory Council for persons with disabilities. And I know from listening to members of the Governor’s Council talk and where they’ve talked about different types of situations and different entities that are charged with the responsibility to implement regulations, I know from listening to other members of the the Governor’s Council and from my own experience, which goes back about 20 to 25 years when we were dealing with the Rehab Act, not the ADA, that not everybody has a good heart. Not everybody has a good heart.
I’d like to say that they do, but when when it comes right down to budget issues and how people want to spend money, how entities want to public entities want to spend money, there is a tendency lots of times for people to cut corners, and we would encourage the Access Board to if you’re going to have exceptions, that there be a rigid process for documenting and justifying those exceptions.
This regulation may only apply to federal agencies now, but it’s going to set a precedent for other public entities, local and state entities, and I don’t know whether it might even set precedents for for private developers as well.
I don’t know. We can’t I don’t think we can foresee that at this point. But I think it’s important to not be too free with the exceptions. It’s true that a lot of people go people go to campsites and picnic areas and particularly campsites and they’re looking for a particular type of experience. But can we really say for sure that if we change that environment, put in a little bit additional money and resources, maybe use a little bit more space to make it flatter, so to speak, so that persons with disabilities can use it, are we really so certain that other people who do not have disabilities, that they’re not going to use that facility any longer? I really doubt it. I doubt that they’re going to want to stay in the city. Instead of going up to Colorado Rocky Mountain National Park or other Colorado parks or city parks because this may affect city parks, state parks eventually. People still are going to want to get up into the mountains, and I don’t I don’t believe that we should assume that persons who do not have disabilities, that they’re not going to use facilities just because they’re changed somewhat and that we put resources into it into those sites to make them more accessible for persons with disabilities.
We could say the same things about other about other things. Bicyclists don’t like detectable warnings, you know. We’re talking about public rights of way. A lot of bicyclists do not like detectable warnings. So what are we going to do about that? Are we going to say we’re not going to require detectable warnings? I think we got to make it so that it’s usable, the facilities are usable by everyone, and everyone has an opportunity to have those quality experiences. Thank you for letting me speak again.