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The San Francisco City Hall is a beautiful, ornate building in the Beaux-Arts style. It was built to replace one the earthquake knocked down and has been continuously renovated, including a record-breakingly huge seismic retrofit of the dome after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.

But they missed a spot. In the room where the Board of Supervisors sits, the president’s chair is on a raised dais. Five steps leading to one chair. Steps without handicap access.

This is San Francisco we’re talking. Can’t just let it go. Particularly when Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier — who is not the president and never will be, but is in a wheel chair — threatens to sue the city.

Okay, whatever. Let the lady have her ramp. What can it possibly cost to build a ramp over five steps? Oh, about a million and a quarter.

It starts with a hundred grand worth of design work and 3D models. Then there’s the asbestos tile and lead paint removal. The dias is carved out of Manchurian oak, and they don’t just give that stuff away in corn flake boxes, you know.

Let’s see…there’s a supervisor, a construction consultant and an electrical consultant. The Bureau of Architecture, Bureau of Construction Management and Department of Technology and Information Services get involved. There’s $16,500 just in permits and fees. Oh, these things add up. Even before you toss in the $300,000 for the new audio-visual system, which you might as well do at the same time because construction will mess with the existing system.

The kicker? The president doesn’t actually use the chair these days. He sits on the floor with everyone else. So the chair is entirely symbolic.

Exactly! says Michela Alioto-Pier. Symbols matter. We didn’t leave the segregated waterfountains in place because they were historical, did we?

“I deserve equal access to every part of the chamber,” Alioto-Pier told her colleagues, adding that ending discrimination is worth the $1 million.

Discrimination. White people discriminated against black people. The laws of physics discriminate against cripples. Honestly, it’s not the same thing, injustice-wise. And I wonder when persons of color are going to get sick of the civil rights movement being compared to every little bitch and gripe on the leftist To Do list.

The president of the Board of Supervisors balked (after the price tag went public, anyhow), pointing out that a million plus can build a lot of ramps around the city that people will actually use, but Alioto-Pier will have none of it. Access to every inch of City Hall is what she wants, and the law by-god says she should have it.

And this is what’s wrong with grievance politicians: they don’t hugely care about fixing anything. Making things better would be bad for business. It’s about proving how important their particular special need is by forcing vast sums of public money to be thrown at it. It’s about status and dominance and sweet, sweet media attention. It’s about harnessing the awesome power of the state to their personal attention whoring.

That’s how you spot professional activists: when you give them what they want, they get angrier.

I remember years ago, we were all pretty embarrassed when it was pointed out how simple it would be to make sidewalks easier for people in wheelchairs. Everyone happily signed onto the sensible idea of a few spots near the entrance for handicapped parking. That turned into this. Bad liberal movements often get their first push from the good nature of the general population.

See, lefties, this is why righties fight your pet causes so hard. It’s not that wingers hate cripples. It’s that whenever we think we’re signing up for a sensible solution to a real problem, somehow ten years down the line you have us paying $10,000 an inch for an empty gesture. Just to prove you can.



Comment from Kowboy
Time: April 2, 2008, 9:23 am

Maybe when it’s finished, they can let her get to the top, then hold her there, put some pins up at the bottom and do some cripple bowling.

And no, I’m not that cruel to all handicapped people, just the really really stupid ones.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 2, 2008, 9:34 am

You’re so going to hell, Kowboy.

Of course, that made me think of Helen Keller jokes. Say, what do you call a tennis match between Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder? Endless love!

If Helen Keller were psychic, would she call it a fourth sense?

Why did Helen Keller cross the road? What, like she knows where she’s going?

Why can’t Helen Keller drive? Because she’s a woman! no seriously why can’t Helen Keller drive? Because she’s dead!

If Helen Keller fell down in the woods, would she make a sound?

Okay, that’s enough. I quit.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: April 2, 2008, 11:10 am

I liked your Hellen Keller jokes.

I don’t think anyone may have noticed, but I never use the word “retarded” or permutations thereof. I have a cousin who is almost autistic and although he is certainly not retarded, he’s close to it. So I try to be respectful. But respect and accommodations have their limit. I will never call anyone out for using any word I might think is over-the-top. I enjoy jokes made of so-called “retards”. I can’t make such jokes (partly because I have no skill in doing so). I think certain special programs may be helpful. But there’s a limit to everything. For example, should taxpayers’ money be used for such special programs?

As a non-white, I am extremely displeased by how people use the racial and civil rights bandwagon to further their causes. Indeed, I’m not so sure I even agree with the civil rights program and laws. Why should the State interfere with what should be people’s personal decisions? I should have the freedom to discriminate against anyone I want for whatever reason. (Working for the government or receiving government funding is another matter all together.) The fact we cannot discuss this openly alarms me.

Of course, we live in a country that will prosecute to the furthest extent of the law any white hate group while black hate groups are lauded and applauded. Feh.

Of course, I can claim Absolute Moral Authority. I’m a diabetic. There are lots of things I want to do that I cannot do (such as join the military). And I oppose anyone who’s going to try to “empower” me by allowing me to do it by legislative fiat. I cannot do such things for perfectly good reasons. But there are plenty of idiots out there who believe they should do whatever they want, and they should be pandered to, regardless of the sense behind it.

But then, this is San Francisco, where the “rebel” causes (gay rights, pro-choice, anti-racism, anti-American) are given official sanction while establishment causes (pro-life, anti-special-interests, pro-American) are officially excoriated. Let them spend themselves into bankruptcy with such silly measures. Then they’ll have to listen to common sense when we won’t bail them out.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: April 2, 2008, 11:12 am

One of these days, for my rants you’re either going to ban me or make me pay for the added bandwidth costs.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 2, 2008, 11:34 am

Yeah, like bandwidth is a problem for me.

My mother taught Special Ed, Musli. My dad’s a pshrink. My big brother is messed up in some unspecified way and I, myself, rode the short bus for a few years.

For that very reason, the word retard has a special deliciousness for me. It’s so rare to find an epithet that still has some juice left in it. We’ve worn out all the good cussing through casual overuse.


Comment from Stashiu3
Time: April 2, 2008, 11:49 am

It’s that whenever we think we’re signing up for a sensible solution to a real problem, somehow ten years down the line you have us paying $10,000 an inch for an empty gesture.

There’s an Eliot Spitzer joke in there somewhere… I just know it and can’t find it. Maybe if I hit Ctrl-A?

Comment from porknbean
Time: April 2, 2008, 12:29 pm

That ramp is ugly. It uglifies the beautiful ornateness. It takes away the historical and artistic perspective of it all. Surely to these freaks, art should trump everything else. They didn’t have ramps back in the day of Beaux-arts. If this chick wants to sit in that friggin chair, then crawl up to it you whiney wench like they did in the good old days when men didn’t do men so much.

Oh and another thing, why did it cost anything to remove asbestos? If this building was rebuilt in 1989, I seriously doubt they installed asbestos seeing as how everyone was howling about it’s evil in the 80’s. Hell, even in podunk southern Missouri, they removed asbestos ceilings in all of the dorms in the mid-80s.

Comment from porknbean
Time: April 2, 2008, 12:33 pm

See, lefties, this is why righties fight your pet causes so hard.

Put simply, it is because you are f*cking insane and we think you should all be locked up. Indefinitely.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: April 2, 2008, 12:46 pm

porknbean – you are my political heroine 😉

Comment from porknbean
Time: April 2, 2008, 12:49 pm

I have three brothers. The one who is legitimately retarded has more sense than the other two raving ‘bats combined. So I ask myself, what does the word really mean/imply and who really deserves the title?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 2, 2008, 12:50 pm

Wrong earthquake, PnB. It was rebuilt after the 1906 one. Though I think it was asbestos tile, not raw asbestos, or they’d’ve had to get rid of it before now.

My basement was done in asbestos tile, until the real estate agent winced and had it removed. It’s not really scary stuff, but the word is used to frighten people.

Comment from mesablue
Time: April 2, 2008, 1:18 pm

I can save them a quarter mil.

For one million dollars, I will stand there like a good lackey and whenever Ms. Alioto-Pier Jackie Smackie Paisley feels like sitting in the president’s chair — I will carry her fat ass up there.

Comment from porknbean
Time: April 2, 2008, 1:20 pm

Wrong earthquake, PnB.

Ahh…still took them 25 years too long to get rid of it. I thought progressives were on top of stuff like that. I mean what if on the rare chance one of them actually reproduces and while ‘it’ is learning to slither around like it’s parents, ‘it’ knaws on some tile? What if Ms. Whiney-wheelchair got dumped out of her chair and her teeth imbedded in the floor? Huh…what about that? 😀

Comment from mesablue
Time: April 2, 2008, 1:23 pm

My offer also applies to anyone else who has access to millions of dollars of OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY.

Lots of things I would do for a million bucks. I needs a job anyway, might as well help out nutjob cripple moonbats.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: April 2, 2008, 1:40 pm

If I recall correctly, there are about 3 major kinds of asbestos – one of which is bad if powdered into dust and snorted like coke. But the stuff normally found in houses is NOT that kind. What Weaz said – its just a scare word.

Hell, mesablue, I think they should pay you millions to stay unemployed so’s you can write and entertain us! Sounds fair to me.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: April 2, 2008, 3:28 pm

That velvet rope cordon thing isn’t going to be easy to get a wheelchair over either. I propose a small crane, made out of platinum and powered by Fabergé eggs (changed from mink pelts because mink are mustelidae and I don’t want to get in trouble with the guv’nor).

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 2, 2008, 4:38 pm

I think they put that rope there in case somebody in a wheelchair went by. I believe they are irresistibly drawn to stairs like moths to lager.

Cripples! What are they like?

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: April 2, 2008, 5:25 pm

Y’all’re a hoot!

Stephen Lynch makes fun of “special” people. It’s quite funny.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: April 2, 2008, 6:04 pm

Such prejudice.

Comment from steveegg
Time: April 2, 2008, 6:17 pm

If this were Ace’s or dpud’s place, I’d be signing in as Leonidas. Since, however, we don’t have the IP hash that Pixy set up, I’ll simply channel him…

Madness? This! Is! San! Franciscoooooo!!!!!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 2, 2008, 6:28 pm

Heh. I finally got around to buying 300. I expected to love it, but instead I thought it was…kind of…stupid.

But, hey, spoof away. Lokki used so many different handles I almost forgot his real fake name was Lokki.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: April 2, 2008, 6:46 pm

Speaking of Lokki …? Have you checked the Filter lately, Weaz?

The best thing about ‘300’ was all the trailer spoofs. “Tonight, we dine in heck!”

Comment from porknbean
Time: April 2, 2008, 6:57 pm

300 had some good eye candy. Leonidas? Yes please.
Though I bet those leather underpants gave the fellas some kind of itch.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: April 2, 2008, 7:09 pm

I want to watch Meet the Spartans. Looks like fun. I have not seen 300. I don’t really like movies with unhappy endings. (Unless Skeletor wins, which never happens.)

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 2, 2008, 7:15 pm

You have a Skeletor fetish? Who knew! I threw out a large but not-nearly-complete set of shamelessly-commercial Masters of the Universe comics as part of this move.

I think Lokki and Dawn have eloped.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: April 2, 2008, 7:57 pm

Dawn was going to be my next inquiry. She moved: I wonder if they can’t find the box with the PC components in it?

Comment from gnus
Time: April 2, 2008, 9:25 pm

If Dawn’s move was anything like mine, finding that one box with the critical component is easier said than done.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: April 2, 2008, 9:38 pm

None of you access S. Weasel on your phones? Maybe I truly am Generation Y.

Comment from porknbean
Time: April 2, 2008, 11:30 pm

I’m accessing S. Weasel on my itouch. Does that count for something besides the husband backing out if his promise to get me a laptop for my bday?
I think I would be considered to be on the tail end of the baby boomers. Literally. By the time it is my turn to take advantage of their ponzi schemes, ain’t gonna be shit left.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: April 2, 2008, 11:58 pm

Woohoo! I’m not the only phoneaholic!

Comment from Lemur King
Time: April 3, 2008, 12:12 am

Oh, so much stuff I want to respond to. Oh well, if you’re gonna have problems!

Weas: “…so going to hell…”

I don’t know about that, but as a lip-reader I won’t push for that nuclear option, but I may close my eyes and turn my back to offensive folks to ignore ’em. But then again Kowboy isn’t likely to treat me cruelly as I’m not really really stupid (more on that later).

It took them until I was 10 years old to figure out that it was my hearing (severe lack of) that was the issue, and not that I was an asshole and “slow”. It was only after getting twin hearing aids that they discovered I was still an asshole and just a tad cynical/bitter. No free pass there. Damn.

My point is, I was considered slow/retarded for quite some time. The lesson I got from it is just because someone calls you that, it (1) means they are probably an asshole, (2) they ain’t necessarily right, and (3) it’s a free country so I’m allowed to tell them to seek carnal relations with a rotating pastry.

And another thing… there are legitimately retarded people out there that I’ve run across that I’d pick any day to spend time with over quite a few “normal” people. There was an entire Boy Scout troop that came in and a bunch of us lifeguards/swim-instructors got to work with them… They were fantastic and were quite inspirational.

For $200 I would have been perfectly willing to make a ramp – plywood and 2×4’s are just not that expensive. Hell, since gov’t has such a high density of vermin of all types, we’ll use pressure-treated wood, too. Call it $350 for the Deluxe Model. Add $8 and I’ll put a nice faux-antique coat of Krylon on that.

Lastly – Muslihoon … SF is probably one of the more whacked out places I can think of, and I grew up on the Left Coast. Proof?

Melanie Morgan on World Net Daily… Berzerkeley made me just shake my head til I got dizzy.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: April 3, 2008, 6:57 am

All good stuff, Lemur King.

Some of the biggest ‘retards’ I’ve ever met have been academics. Probably with sky-high IQs, too.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 3, 2008, 7:00 am

Using hearing aids is cheating, LK. My mother’s college roommate was profoundly deaf. Mother noticed people stopped telling dirty jokes when Caroline walked in…like she was a child rather than merely deaf. This pissed Mom off mightily, so she sat Caroline down and told her every vile, filthy joke she knew.

I imagine it took a while.

Comment from Former Lurker
Time: April 3, 2008, 7:01 am

I think it’s going to need a plaque.

“The Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier Memorial Ramp (never used)”

Yeah. On a little brass plate. Near the floor.

Comment from Lemur King
Time: April 3, 2008, 11:52 pm

Cheating to use hearing aids? Oh pshaw, my furry friend, however could it be cheating?! Even the best lip reader in the world cannot catch everything. I manage to do pretty good with the combination of the hearing I have and lip-reading, and the hearing aids are just that – an aid. The audiologist said she was frankly surprised that I could function in society w/o them. Okay, sure, whatever. But I’ll tell you this: Even tho it is cool to hear cat feet on carpet, and drops of water in the sink, creaking of the house at night, or even birds, which I had never heard until age 10… I still quite like my silent world.

And you know what Stoaty? I think your mom was one HELL of a cool gal. I can see where you got some of your ‘tude from. (that’s a *good* thing – life is too short to sit by idly and snarf up other’s shite)

Yep, for some reason, people see you with glasses they think it looks distinguished or think nothing of it. Flash a hearing aid and your IQ seems to drop quite a bit in other people’s eyes. I’ve been called stupid by people who had no business doing so – and w/o bragging, I am up there a ways.

A co-worker of mine, when he got hired on, I championed hiring him because he is profoundly deaf. Would you believe that he looked for a job for FOUR YEARS because no one would give him a chance? Turned out that he’s sharp, quick, and his artistic talents are through the stratosphere. When he started he was understandably bitter. Over the years I’ve tried to walk through a lot of it with him and you should see him now. He as confidence in himself again, is full of ideas, has a happy outlook on life, got married last week.

An yeah Uncle Badger… my late mother had something that she always reminded me about to good effect: Education is no substitute for intelligence. 🙂

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