If I Were Mayor | Teen Ink

If I Were Mayor

November 8, 2018
By logangg710 GOLD, Georgetown, Texas
logangg710 GOLD, Georgetown, Texas
10 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I have lived without the ability to walk without assistance for my entire life. My wheelchair is essential for my day-to-day activities at school, at home, and for leisure. It’s become affectionately known as my “trusty steed.” Though riding around in a power wheelchair can be very fun, my disability requires me to be conscious about the places I go, the terrains I travel, and whether they are navigable. Is it too muddy? Is it too rocky? Are the doorways wide enough? Are there automatic doors, and if not, is there someone readily available to help me get through them? These are just a few of the questions that run through the minds of my parents and I whenever we go out to restaurants, stores, sporting events, hotels, a friend’s house, etc. Sometimes, the conditions are so poor that we have to look for another place to go, which just creates disappointment and wastes time. I want to avoid all that. I don’t want to be forced to plan out every nuance of what I do in my free time. I need at least some sense of fun, of care-free spontaneity. That’s why, if I were mayor of Georgetown, TX, I would do whatever I could to make it the most accessible city in Texas.

 Every state in the nation is required to make all public property handicap accessible as mandated by Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed by Congress in 1990. The purpose of ADA is to keep disabled people all over the US from being discriminated against. This was definitely a step in the right direction, and it still helps those with special needs to this day. However, some just do what they need to do to stay just within the law, hitting the bare minimum for doorway width or ramp dimensions, for example, which is not always ideal for us. Though it may be doable, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ideal for everyone. We’re people too, we deserve more than just the ability to “get by.”  As mayor, I would open that scope of possibilities so that it’s not just about getting by, but thriving, living like an equal to the abled.

 How would I do this? I would assess every business, every park, every church, every public space, seeing exactly how accessible they are, using my ease of access for a reference point, as well as the results of a poll taken of every disabled citizen of the city to see what issues they have experienced. Then, I would present ideas for reform to the people, and when it gets approved, hire the best architects in town to get underway on the renovations and updates. How will we afford this, you ask? In fact, Georgetown has the lowest property tax in all of Texas, coming in at only 42 cents. Since the tax is so low, the people may be more readily prepared to put money towards the accessibility cause, especially since it will directly benefit their fellow neighbor. By the end of my term, I would want everyone, no matter what they can or cannot physically do, to feel able, to feel free to go wherever they want to go, without fear. I would want our standards to be so high that other cities, and eventually the whole state, might see the need for greater steps to be taken towards inclusion, especially for the ones who have a harder time speaking up.

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