Show me the Evidence

It’s been a grueling couple of weeks with two court cases to prepare for regarding issues that stemmed from being an advocate.  When I first began being public with advocacy I never knew how political or nasty some of the situations could get.  From my perspective and those I work closely with or those who know me and my son, it all seems so common sense.  Well, that’s not the case and it leads to so much frustration, misunderstanding and worse – harassment and libel.

I represented myself in court as the petitioner, the respondent hired a lawyer and of course that did put me at a disadvantage but I believed that the truth would prevail and if the Judge read the law correctly, it would be clear that I had been the victim of harassment.  In actuality, I am also the victim of libel and slander and the judge did mention several times that I should hire a lawyer and file a case for libel/slander.  At this point I am not going to follow the judges recommendations since I was granted the anti-harassment protection order and if the respondent is not able to adhere to this order there will be criminal charges filed.  My hope is that the respondent will stop the behavior that caused this situation and move on.

What is really strange is that we really do agree on many things but this person would never know that because from the very first interaction with me they had false and preconceived impression of who I am and what I believe in.  The fact that the only in-person conversation I had with this person, they started out by saying “you’re abusive” and quickly escalated to them swearing at me and storming away.  (At that time the person was a Co-Chair of a City of Seattle Commission and a public representative for Seattle)

As with every experience that I have, I learn a lot, I make mistakes and I learn from those mistakes too.

There were a couple of funny things –

I provided a letter that the respondent had written to my employer  (I work as a RN and the respondent has never been a patient of mine nor do I have any interaction with them in the healthcare arena).  The letter was filled with fabrications twisting shreds of truth into fantasy events and outright libel.  The respondent’s lawyer agreed to submission of the letter and stated “and we not only submit it but we ENDORSE it”

Later, the lawyer referred to that very same document as “hearsay”  The judge did call her out on that saying “the respondent wrote this letter – you endorsed it, it’s not hearsay”

The Judge sent the respondent’s lawyer and me into a meeting room in hopes of coming to an agreement so that the protection order would not have to be filed.   The lawyer was clearly irritated with me from the very beginning with an attitude of superiority and smugness – I did not agree to the offer they put before me and in trying to explain why to the lawyer, she threw her hands up and stormed out of the room and said “well I’ll just tell the judge you can’t agree to anything”  OKAY –

Back to the courtroom – as it turns out their offer was for me to basically stop advocating for my son and others, have no contact with The Arc of King County or attend any of their events (this is where the respondent works) – Of course I would refuse – this would make it virtually impossible to continue to advocate for those I work with.  I’m already banished from the Parent to Parent support groups moderated by The Arc of King County due to issues caused by me calling out behaviors of the respondent. The judge did agree and stated that he would never sign an agreement that would take away the right of free speech.

So with that – we went to a real hearing and I prevailed and left the court with my anti-harassment protection order signed and in place.  Perseverance can pay off but I’m ready to be done with this and move on to much more positive work in family advocacy.  We have a long way to go.

A couple more sidebars to this case:

  1. The Respondent provided declarations from at least 4 people they have worked with in regards to advocacy.   None of these declarations dealt with the issue before the judge but all expressed what a terrific person the respondent was and how devoted they are to the cause (This was never a contested issue – in fact, I agreed with much of what the people who wrote declarations wrote.)  The fact remains though that just because a person works hard and gets along with those who totally agree or cater to them, does not mean that the person does not harass others – that is what the case was about so these declarations were totally useless with regards to the facts of the case before the judge.
  2. When the judge stated that he was going to sign the order, the respondent’s lawyer stood up and requested that the judge sign an order of protection for the respondent also.   The judge said “No, it doesn’t work that way”  The respondent filed a petition last year, it was denied, this order is due to the escalation of harassment the respondent has caused since their order was denied”
  3. One of the declarations was written by a person I have never met  (Brian Dahl) I know the name and apparently he was at some Self Advocates In Leadership meeting that I took my son to.  This is what he wrote about my “behavior” at the meeting:

“She, with her son, attended a monthly meeting of this group about a year ago.  I was also in attendance.  Her presence was slightly disrupting but not enough to stop the meeting.  She did nothing to engage in a productive dialogue when she was there and she left early”

Interesting viewpoint of my actions there – what this person does not know is that I was working extremely hard to keep my son from being extremely disrupting to the meeting.  I was not there for me to participate but for my son to try to participate.  We left early because my son was getting more and more agitated and I was trying to avoid a fiasco from happening.    I really wish we could have stayed because after we left there was an issue that my son does have an opinion on and he was not able to stay to address that issue.

I find it extremely telling of this response from Brian Dahl that there is so little understanding of working with those who need extensive supports – both physically and behaviorally to participate in community events.  Mr. Dahl, if you have suggestions on how to include those with disruptive behavior, please contact me and let me know your thoughts.  Right now I see your comment only reinforcing what I and many others have experienced – that many in the self-advocacy and advocacy movement have very little understanding or awareness of what those  with  extremely high support needs choices and desires are because they are excluded from venues that address issues that directly affect their lives.

When they are excluded how do you reconcile the saying “Nothing about us without us?”

 

Into Adulthood – P2P online “support”

These elementary school actions taken by a person named Kate Harris (I have no idea who this person is other than the fact she is a member of the Into Adulthood  Parent support group and does not like the “tenor” of my posts last year) and The Arc of King County Parent 2 Parent group moderators is very puzzling to me.  I thought we were all adults – I would like to try being an adult but sometimes it is very, very hard when I am faced with these behaviors of those who are there to support parents of disabled young adults.

parent to parent support groups through the Arc of KC

 

From: Cheryl Felak <cherylfelak@msn.com>
Sent: Monday, April 15, 2019 8:57 PM
To: Robin Tatsuda
Cc: Rachel Nemhauser
Subject: Re: into adulthood group

Hi Robin,

I’m sending this whole document in an email for your review.  There seems to be some missing pieces from what you remember since I did answer your question regarding the rules.   I have highlighted those responses since there is a lot in this document.

Intoadulthood blocked

The original message I received that informed me of my immediate removal (prior to any discussion or clarification of points I expressed) from the group and follow up letters are all included.  I’m curious if The Arc had problems with it, why wasn’t I notified or asked to clarify some issues.  My goal was to have some discussion about this issue that was affecting many in our community and to inform those who may not have been aware of what was happening behind closed doors.   I understand we have a difference of opinion regarding this – but have you asked to see any of the documentation I have which backs up everything that I have written?  I would be more than glad to share – but at this point, it doesn’t matter since it’s all water under the bridge anyhow as far as issues with Seattle are concerned.

Also given that both Ramona Hattendorf, writing on behalf of The Arc of King County and Robin Tatsuda, (who does not identify as an employee of The Arc of King County) wrote letters endorsing the elimination of special certificates, it is an issue that parents, caregivers, family members of those affected have a right to know and understand what is occurring – especially when it directly affects them.   In fact, there were several letters written by members of the IntoAdulthood group to OLS who opposed the elimination of the special certificates.

Support works two ways and when concerns are raised and just blocked rather than addressed, it then becomes a form of harassment when people in a support group are not allowed to raise concerns on issues that affect them.  The rules of this group state “we focus on support and information” the sharing of information, even if not pleasant should be supported.

I fully understand that the post I made does not agree with the moderator of this group but that does not mean that it is not of importance to the participants.    If I had been questioned at the time, I would have gladly had a conversation to discuss the issues.  Again, at this point, it doesn’t matter and I have no communication or interaction with a particular person.

I would just like to have that explained a little bit more.  I can provide documentation for all issues addressed in this post which substantiate what is written.  I was not asked for that though – it was just assumed I was attacking a particular person (that person was a public servant who self-identified as the person responsible for getting the special certificates eliminated – I certainly did not call them out for something that they were not already identifying as)

If this group is actually for “support and information” then allow it to be that – not all information is pleasant but it may be information that families need to hear -they can always choose to delete or not read if they don’t want to know. But I do have issues with the moderator deciding what information they want the parents and families to know.  This is the real problem I have – I know I and others have fundamental differences of opinion – discussing those differences can lead to healthy solutions.

Again, I have no personal issues with the self-identified person responsible for ending sub-minimum wage in Seattle and the only reason that name was mentioned was due to that person identifying themselves as the person responsible and acting as a public servant in Seattle.  If there is something wrong with asking for accountability and transparency, please let us all know so that we understand the hidden rules to this “support group”

As written in the attached document, I agreed several times to abide by the rules.  I would hope that the moderator is able to do the same.  If not, please let me know that I will not be allowed to participate so I know where I stand.

Thank you,

Cheryl

The next email I received from Robin Tatsuda :

From: Robin Tatsuda <RTatsuda@arcofkingcounty.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 5:56 PM
To: Cheryl Felak
Cc: Rachel Nemhauser; Stacy Dym
Subject: RE: into adulthood group

Hi Cheryl –

I have learned that you have been participating in the “Into Adulthood” yahoo email group using an alias or having another user post on your behalf.  Either way, this is a violation of our group guideline which states: “Do not post comments under multiple names or using another person’s name”.  You received our full list of group rules and confirmed that you agree with the terms on April 10, 2019, five days before the post in question (see copy at the end of this email).

You have now demonstrated a second time that you are unable to abide by the group rules, most concerningly within one week of reviewing and confirming your understanding of the rules.  Because of this we have determined that you are banned from this group for a minimum of 1 year, after which we will explore your understanding and ability to abide by the group rules in order to rejoin if you desire.

You are welcome to discuss this decision with myself (Robin Tatsuda) or The Arc’s Executive Director (Stacy Dym).  Additionally, our policies include opportunity to participate in a mediation process should you feel you are being treated unfairly.

~Robin Tatsuda

—–Original Message—–
From: Charlie Bean charliebean713@gmail.com [IntoAdulthood] <IntoAdulthood@yahoogroups.com>
To: IntoAdulthood <IntoAdulthood@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Mon, Apr 15, 2019 11:20 am  (It appears this date/time was edited from the original date/time of April 10, 2019 at 12:09PM)
Subject: Re: [IntoAdulthood] Housing — supported living

I know that supported living is expensive and for those with extremely high support needs it can be more expensive than and RHC.  there was a good question brought up in some thread regarding the hours of supported living care and that one needs to be on the core waiver – the question was asking about this if a person only needs an hour or two a week and that is considered supported living – why does that person need a core waiver when there are others who do not have a waiver but could really use the extensive services.  I’m really curious about this because that does sound as if the core waivers may be used by people who may not really need full support services – I guess there is always “the risk” of institutionalization and it’s based on the CARE assessment and institutional level of care -but sometimes I really wonder what that level of care is in the real world.

With that being said, I was also at the “listening session” for The Arc and the supported living person stood up and said that supported living was not sustainable. Unfortunately, care is expensive but it doesn’t help when the legislature is not informed of the real cost of care but is instead just told an average cost – average does not fund the services that some of our loved ones need.  I really wish there were some more options and there are but not in this state and not with the mindset that many of the advocacy agencies have regarding what is “community” and taking away choices because it’s not community enough for what they believe is best. For us, it goes back to person centered planning and what that person/family needs and chooses.

Our son lived in an RHC for several years and has lived in supported living for the past 3 years.  There are pros and cons to both but overall we are much happier with supported living managed by a non-profit agency..  The team is much more collaborative and accountable and the care givers do  so much more than the same job description care giver in the RHC.

I would encourage anyone to look at Together for Choice and Coalition for Community Choice and listen to any presentations by Desiree Kameka with Madison House Autism. These are all great resources and Desiree is an inspiring speaker with a wealth of information.
Would love to give more info and share to build a coalition around here but I have been banned from this group from the administrator and a friend is posting this for me.  I am very disturbed by the censorship and blocking of those who are in our community who need support or could share experiences but that’s the way this list is run.  If you would like more information you can contact me at cherylfelak@msn.com

 

Robin Tatsuda, MSW | Director of Information & Family Support

Direct 206.829.7011

She/Her/Hers

For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Arc strives to provide accurate information in a timely manner, with the highest standard of professionalism.  If you have any comments or concerns about the services you received from The Arc of King County, please contact Stacy Dym, Executive Director at sdym@arcofkingcounty.org.

Phone interpretation available |  Interpretación telefónica disponible | تتوفر الترجمه الشفهية عبر التلفون  | Доступна телефонная интерпретация | Fasiraadda telefoonka ee la heli karo |  電話口譯可用。 |  Có sẵn thông dịch qua điện thoại | 전화 통역 가능합니다

 

email from Kate Harris reporting Cheryl Felak on IntoAdulthood

Note email from Kate Harris dated 4/15/2019 at 12:02 PM – could it have been Kate Harris who changed the date/time on the original post from 4/10/2019

 I did send Kate Harris an email

Hello Kate,
I would greatly appreciate you contacting me and addressing these issues that are “highly inappropriate and offensive”.   There are certainly some misunderstandings about what has occurred and I am baffled about your involvement in this – have we ever met or had a discussion?  If so, I do not recall but would appreciate being reminded and updated.

 

From: Kate Harris <kate@crossroadstrade.com>
Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2019 5:42 PM
To: Cheryl Felak
Subject: Re: Into-Adulthood questions

Cheryl,

My contact with you has been limited to you to what you posted on the IntoAdulthood list. I found the tenor of your posts that apparently led to your removal to be inappropriate and offensive. Evidently the list managers did as well.

I am disturbed that you recently did an end run around your being removed from the list to insert yourself into a discussion. The list is not a public list. I regret that its contents were shared with you. You seem to either not have regard or understanding for list guidelines, which are there for the wellbeing of the overall community.

Katie

After some back and forth with this Katie Harris person,  I then sent an email to Robin Tatsuda at The Arc of King County.  I would really appreciate a mediation meeting to discuss this issue and to clarify the problems.  Hopefully, this will happen before my year of banishment is over.

From: Cheryl Felak <cherylfelak@msn.com>

Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2019 10:55 AM
To: Robin Tatsuda
Cc: Rachel Nemhauser; Stacy Dym
Subject: IntoAdulthood Mediation

Hi Robin,

Here is the timeline of what recently occurred.  I was trying to clean out all my old emails and came across this very old alias account that I had and I have no idea how IntoAdulthood was even on it but it was so I started to read some of the recent posts on supported living and housing options – something I am very interested in.  So I took chances and wrote this post below and even stated who I was – not pretending to be someone else – on April 10.

Kate Harris, who claims to not even have any interest in the topic I wrote about, states she originally complained last year because she did not like the tone of my postings – she didn’t care about the subject matter.  I was banned at that time for “repeated highly inappropriate and offensive posts”.  After I posted this post on April 10, Kate Harris, again, claiming she doesn’t care about the subject matter, reported me for violation of the rules.  I have no idea who this person is and she states she only knows me through this listserve but she doesn’t like my tone and so has reported me.   Is this how parent support groups are run?  This whole process seems very juvenile to me and certainly not supportive of those affected.

I’m curious how many other complaints have you received about my posts?  I don’t need names but would like to know what the complaints were about

Also, you have accused me of writing this post after I wrote and said I agreed to the rules.  Actually writing this post was the impetus to writing again to inquire about being allowed to participate in the group since I had not heard back after I had previously agreed.

I have no idea how the date of April 15 got on the copy of the post that you sent me to prove that I had demonstrated a second time that I am unable to abide by group rules but it would be the adult thing to do to ask me about it but instead I’m found guilty and banished for a year.

What are the policies of mediation?  Also, as a support group for parents of young adults, is there a parent of a young adult – older adult with IDD who moderates the group?  If not, why not?

Please get back to me about mediation – I would appreciate it.

Charlie Bean <charliebean713@gmail.com

Wed 4/10/2019 12:09 PM

  • IntoAdulthood@yahoogroups.com

I know that supported living is expensive and for those with extremely high support needs it can be more expensive than and RHC.  there was a good question brought up in some thread regarding the hours of supported living care and that one needs to be on the core waiver – the question was asking about this if a person only needs an hour or two a week and that is considered supported living – why does that person need a core waiver when there are others who do not have a waiver but could really use the extensive services.  I’m really curious about this because that does sound as if the core waivers may be used by people who may not really need full support services – I guess there is always “the risk” of institutionalization and it’s based on the CARE assessment and institutional level of care -but sometimes I really wonder what that level of care is in the real world.

With that being said, I was also at the “listening session” for The Arc and the supported living person stood up and said that supported living was not sustainable. Unfortunately, care is expensive but it doesn’t help when the legislature is not informed of the real cost of care but is instead just told an average cost – average does not fund the services that some of our loved ones need.  I really wish there were some more options and there are but not in this state and not with the mindset that many of the advocacy agencies have regarding what is “community” and taking away choices because it’s not community enough for what they believe is best. For us, it goes back to person centered planning and what that person/family needs and chooses.

Our son lived in an RHC for several years and has lived in supported living for the past 3 years.  There are pros and cons to both but overall we are much happier with supported living managed by a non-profit agency.  The team is much more collaborative and accountable and the care givers do  so much more than the same job description care giver in the RHC.

I would encourage anyone to look at Together for Choice and Coalition for Community Choice and listen to any presentations by Desiree Kameka with Madison House Autism. These are all great resources and Desiree is an inspiring speaker with a wealth of information.

Would love to give more info and share to build a coalition around here but I have been banned from this group from the administrator and a friend is posting this for me.  I am very disturbed by the censorship and blocking of those who are in our community who need support or could share experiences but that’s the way this list is run.  If you would like more information you can contact me at cherylfelak@msn.com

This is all documented here publicly so that people are aware of the blocking and censorship that is done by an advocacy group which receives large sums of money from state funds to provide support.  When this agency refuses to have conversations and immediately bans and blocks people they are paid to support based on inaccurate information there is something crooked going on.

Who is the person Kate Harris and why does she care so much – if she doesn’t like the tone of what I write, move on – specifically if she has no interest in the subject matter. why would this person feel the need to write to the list moderators and change the date of a post? It is all very bizarre to say the least.

But for the meantime I am banned for at least one year now  – proven guilty without a conversation or mediation meeting – just outright banned for a minimum of 1 year, after which they will explore my understanding and ability to abide by the group rules in order to rejoin – if I desire.

This is insane!

 

Is it about Civil Rights – subminimum wage

As the issues of eliminating special certificates for subminimum wage for those with disabilities heats up more and more  this legislative session we need to have an understanding and clarification of what civil rights and civil liberties are.

Below ( at the bottom of this post) are some quotes from the findlaw website which may help a little bit in understanding what we’re talking about with regards to civil rights and civil liberties. Libel and defamation are not protected under civil rights and the continued practice of these violations by the Arc of King County’s “advocacy expert”, Shaun Bickley, needs to be addressed.  The Arc of King County is aware of some of these abuses but their statement has generally been that Shaun is not speaking in the capacity of an Arc representative so they have no comment.

Shaun Bickley is an autistic activist who led the legislation in Seattle regarding elimination of special certificates.  It was during this time that I came into contact with him regarding some concerns with information being shared by the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities regarding “facts” with the numbers of people affected and the choices of those people affected by this change. Bickley’s immediate response was to attack me  many times online via the commission Facebook page and then he violated the First Amendment by censorship and then blocking me from having any interaction with the official Seattle City Commission Facebook page (he was the admin of the page).

Many issues have transpired since the time the law passed in Seattle without listening to the overwhelming number of people who sent letters in to the Office of Labor Standards ( Public Comments to OLS regarding special certificates ).   Bickley continued to oppress information shared by those who had concerns. There were multiple complaints to various Seattle City Council members, the director of the Office of Civil Rights and the Mayor with regards to Bickley’s abuse and oppressive censorship to anyone who had concerns about this issue or seemed to question anything on Bickley’s agenda.

It appeared to many of us that these complaints and violations were not heard.  But in August 2018 Mayor Durkan we did remove Bickley from the mayor’s appointed seat on the commission .  This appointment had expired in April 2018 but Bickley was continuing to serve as co-chair of the commission even though the appointment had expired.

Bickley was upset by this action and took to social media to voice his complaints regarding his sense of victimization. The next commission meeting he self nominated himself to be the commission appointed seat on the commission to which he was narrowly voted in and again  appointed to the co-chair position on the commission.  This was all temporary until Bickley could be appointed by the Seattle City Council. The first step in this process was a vote by the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee.  Shaun Bickley – Appointed as Commissioner to Seattle Disabilities Commission

Typically once a person is appointed by the commission and voted through by the committee the person is then appointed by the full Seattle City Council at the following full Council meeting. There were clearly some problems with this appointment of Bickley to the commission and there were some additional complaints of harassment filed by other commissioners to the Office of Civil  Rights shortly after the September 21, 2018 Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee  meeting. (start  the recording at 13.56  – 26.25 to hear not only my testimony but that of several others who had concerns regarding Bickley’s appointment.)  Bickley’s appointment was never addressed before the full city Council so it appeared this appointment was in limbo

Arc advocacy expert

In November 2018 Bickley published another online essay about his victimization for Autistic Speaking Out Day.  The 4-part essay is published on this site – Radical Neurodivergence Speaking Blog 

The issues that Bickley writes about in his essay are either totally false and fabricated or the truth is twisted so much that there’s really no truth left so it needs to be taken with a grain of salt because the whole essay is really a statement of Bickley’s inability to be in touch with reality or to engage with others in a civil manner

After I read this essay by Bickley and saw another reference to it and other social media I decided to file a police report which recounted the abuse that I have entered from Bickley over the past year or so in addition to violations of the First Amendment which he practiced while co-chair of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities. I thought that the issues would just die out since I had no interaction with Bickley since the September Seattle Council Committee meeting.

I did attend a few commission meetings during this time and Bickley was absent from these meetings. I and others were informed by a commissioner that Bickley was no longer a member of the commission in December 2018.

This is why I was a little taken aback in January 2019 since I had not had any interaction with Bickley for about four months. My employer informed me that the president of the company had received a letter from Bickley in which he identified himself as co-chair of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities and as a board member of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.  He did not identify himself as the Advocacy specialist from The Arc of King County but he was working in that position and continues to work in a position.  The director of the Seattle Office of Civil Rights and the chair of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities stated that they had no idea about this letter that Bickley had written to my employer and did not support his opinion.  . I was then informed that Bickley was no longer a member of that commission  that in fact he had commit fraud by writing that he was co-chair of the Commission and implying that the letter was written and agreed-upon by that commission.

I also contacted the Washington Alliance for Low Income Housing since Bickley had signed a letter as a board member of that organization. The executive director of the  Washington Alliance for Low Income Housing wrote Bickley’s letter did not come from that board and they had no knowledge of the issues addressed. According to them Bickley was writing solely for himself and not from the board or their organization

In addition to the letter referenced above the president of my employer also received a letter from Jennifer White CEO of Able Opportunities supporting Bickley in his accusations against me and wondering what my company was going to do about this. Jennifer White did state that she had not met me but that the details of Mr. Bickley’s account were alarming. I do agree that what Bickley wrote were alarming but what Bickley wrote was a figment of his imagination not what actually occurred

A couple weeks after these letters were received by my employer I then received a letter from the Washington State Department of Health, Nursing care quality assurance commission regarding a complaint against me about allegations of unprofessional conduct. The letter stated there would be no investigation due to the fact the allegations were unsubstantiated and there had been no violation of nursing law. I have requested  a copy of the letter that was sent with the complaint but I can only assume it was sent by  Bickley given the timing of it and that in my over 35 years of being a registered nurse I have never had a complaint sent to the nursing board. I am anxious to read the complaint and see if there are any new issues he has accused me of.

Given that I had had no interaction at all with Bickley for months I had no idea why he had suddenly decided to send these libelous comments. I now assume they were his attempts at attacking me so that I would not voice my opinion and concerns regarding HB 1706 this legislative session.

These tactics have not worked if that was the tactics of his libelous letters and attempts and other attempts at defamation they have not worked. I will continue to speak out about injustices that I see and against civil rights violations that are happening right before our eyes.

Interesting addendum to the stalking accusations – I attended a public event sponsored by The Arc of King County on March 8 entitled “Community Strategic Listening Session” Bickley has now accused me of continued stalking him by showing up at his job (something he has accused me of doing many times to demand he be fired – none of which are true)

I had no personal interaction at all with Bickley except for one commission meeting which was recorded and which he is heard yelling at me and the Office of Civil Rights Commission liaison stepped to address Shaun to stand back.   This recording took place in May 2018. Bickley took me to court in June 2018 to claim I had been stalking and harassing him. The judge denied this petition stating that I was practicing free speech and it had nothing to do with stocking or harassment or personal attacks

The only issue I have with Bickley is the continued violations of civil rights and liberties that he practices while in the actions of a true hypocrite,  accuses others of doing the exact same things he is actually doing.

If it was possible to actually have a discussion and voice concerns, work collaboratively to solutions that work the best fort the most people, it would be a truly welcoming experience.

There are reasons that I oppose HB1706 – and my hope is that concerns of mine and the concerns of others will be heard and we will all be at the same table to come up with better and more inclusive legislation that will actually be a better solution for all.  It is possible but we need to listen to each other and hear our concerns.

 

Protecting civil rights is an essential part of the democratic values of the United States. Everyone realizes that interfering with another’s civil rights is a violation that creates an action for injury, but before you can protect your civil rights, you must recognize and know what they are. However, articulating an exact definition of civil rights can be difficult to pinpoint because it is a very broad set of laws. Civil rights are an expansive and significant set of rights that are designed to protect individuals from unfair treatment; they are the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment (and to be free from unfair treatment or discrimination) in a number of settings — including education, employment, housing, public accommodations, and more — and based on certain legally-protected characteristics.

Civil Liberties

Civil liberties concern basic rights and freedoms that are guaranteed — either explicitly identified in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, or interpreted or inferred through the years by legislatures or the courts.

Civil liberties include:

  • The right to free speech
  • The right to privacy
  • The right to remain silent in a police interrogation
  • The right to be free from unreasonable searches of your home
  • The right to a fair court trial
  • The right to marry
  • The right to vote

Interesting comments from The Arc of King County regarding their advocacy specialist

@arcofkingcounty reply

advocacy supports and the arc

Clarification regarding wages

As EHB 1706 goes through the legislative process, we are discovering more and more the various data that is used and how pieces are missing, assumptions are made and reported as facts, and other issues misinterpreted.

 Data The Arc of King County uses is from a taken from a different date cycle than what is reported through the DDA Caseload and Cost Report.  ( which we used to obtain our information).  It is also unclear if The Arc of King County has read or addressed the two recent reports from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC). The Review and Analysis of Employment and Community Inclusion Measurement  provides some excellent analysis of the tools used in addition to what needs to be measured and the report below provides information on the people and their jobs.

Legislative Auditor Report on DDA Employment

Depending on if one removes the number of DDA clients using the Community Inclusion services ( 1513 on July 2018) from their data, they could report that that 60% or 75% of those in DDA employment services were “making minimum wage or better”  The BIG problem with this information is that The Arc of King County does not use any data that addresses the wage people are making – this information is totally made up.

DDA does address this in their report and that information is provided here.

DDA caseload and cost report

Representative Noel Frame, prime sponsor of HB  1706 who credits autistic activist Shaun Bickley with introducing her to this issue is unaware of this data from DDA also.  Rep. Frame reports that in 2018 there were only 350 Special Certificates granted by L&I, 60-80 of which are not used any longer due to Entrust in Yakima closing their pre-vocational program.  Rep. Frame could be correct in that number of certificates but that means that all those DDA clients working for less than minimum wage or no wage they may be victims of wage theft.  This opens up a whole new hornets nest that is caused by activists who may only know or understand part of the whole.

There needs to be open discussions and dialogue with hard questions asked and answered before moving forward on this misguided legislation

“Facts” from The Arc of King County

The Arc of King County published Some facts about the subminimum wage bill on their advocacy blog today  – we say – check their “facts”

The Developmental Disabilities Case load and Cost report has data that is very different than what the Arc of King County reports – take for instance the number of people in supported integrated employment who work and make minimum wage.

DDA reports  8102 people are in the supported integrated employment services program, 3678 (45%) make at least minimum wage, 2294 (28%) make less than minimum wage and 2130 (27%) do not make a wage.

The Arc of King County reports – “Most people served by individual supported employment (the other 92 percent getting DDA employment services) already make minimum wage or better.”

DDA reports that 45% of those in supported integrated employment make minimum wage or better.

The Arc of King County reports “Most people served by individual supported employment (the other 92 percent getting DDA employment services) already make minimum wage or better.”

A national trend?  We don’t think so.  Of great importance is that there has not been evaluations done for quality of life, meaningful life or job satisfaction/employment rates since some of these states have made changes.  As policy makers, one would think that evaluations are important before making decisions.

The Arc of King County reports Vermont closed its sheltered workshops in the 1990s and abolished subminimum wage certificates for people with disabilities. New Hampshire, Maryland and Alaska all passed legislation to abolish subminimum wages for people with disabilities

Review Magical Thinking for some research and insights from New Hampshire and Maine on the issues of eliminating subminimum wage.

From Alaska :  While the Employment First movement has picked up in recent years, it does pose new challenges in how providers should tailor job-training services for each person.

One approach has been to give workers a job coach, who goes to work with them during their first month on the job and helps them learn the ropes.
(from 2018 – no evaluation of the outcome of their legislation yet )

These are just a few of the facts that have been checked – there are more.

Please ask The Arc of King County, Representative Noel Frame, Activist Shaun Bickley or any of those organizations on the list of organizations which support this bill,  about these discrepancies.

Ask them about the numbers of hours that employees work a week, ask them who pays for the job coaches and supports that will be ongoing for many of the employees to keep their jobs.  There are too many unanswered questions or concerns that have not been addressed for this bill to advance without causing more harm than good.

Where are the evaluations?

Shaun Bickley “an autistic person who organized a campaign to end subminimum wage in Seattle” turned down the choice to work in a sheltered workshop when he was younger while living in Texas.  It’s great that he had the choice and is employable – he currently works for The Arc of King County in Seattle, WA.

While Bickley flips a page that lists  “over 80 organizations that have signed on in support”  (see link). I am curious if any of them know the full story, have heard of evaluations that have been done in states which have eliminated special certificates or that people in Seattle lost work hours – due to this type of legislation.

There is more to the issue than the wage and the fact that these advocates do not understand or acknowledge that supported employment, while a wonderful opportunity, is costly to sustain.  This is clearly evident in the fact that their Fiscal Note states “No fiscal impact”.  How do they propose employing all these people in supported employment without a fiscal impact?

There needs to be a lot of answers here before moving forward with anymore legislation of this kind.

The following information is taken from Morningside’s Website 

How does Morningside’s Supported Employment Program Work?

After a careful assessment of an individual’s skills and vocational interests, a Morningside job developer will conduct a job search in the community, assisting prospective employers in the identification of appropriate jobs and tasks to meet the needs of their specific businesses. A comprehensive job analysis is conducted to ensure a good employer/employee match. An applicant is referred followed by a job interview, after which the final hiring decision is the employer’s.

How is Morningside Involved After the Placement?

Employment specialists, or job coaches, assist new employees with a comprehensive job orientation, followed by on-going, individualized training and assistance to promote satisfactory work performance on an as-needed basis. They may also provide job modification assistance to employers, disability awareness training for co-workers, or job retention services to the employee and business on a long term basis.

What Reasonable Accommodations will I be Expected to Make for my New Employee and What will They Cost?

The employment specialist may analyze job tasks, restructure how specific job tasks are completed or teach tasks differently to best fit employer/employee needs. Most accommodations cost nothing at all and, in most cases, the employment specialist’s time is free to the employer.

Who pays Morningside (and other agencies? According to the Fiscal note it appears there is no cost.

How can the fiscal note be ZERO?

“Bottom Dollars”, a documentary on sub-minimum wage and sheltered workshops produced by @rootedinrights and Disability Rights Washington, has a statement which tells the truth about the situation –

“If people are given the proper services and supports and proper assistive technology, the sky is the limit for many, many individuals”  – For some reason, this critical statement is not mentioned in any reference to the documentary or supported employment.

Supported employment offers wonderful opportunities to disabled employees and benefits to the employers and our community.  Unfortunately, just as “Bottom Dollars” states, the proper services and supports are needed.  This means FUNDS.  For some reason, advocates, legislators and community members forget about this cornerstone to supported employment  which ensures supported employment to be successful and sustainable.

Microsoft, has developed a “SE -Toolkit” and has a wonderful outlook regarding the benefits to all of hiring people with disabilities. The videos on the site have examples of some wonderful success stories and it is terrific to see disabled people working and enjoying their jobs in the communities.

The information below is from the Microsoft Supported Employment FAQ webpage

Who pays the Supported Employees and their coaches?

Employers do not pay a fee to the coaching agencies. Coaches work for employment coaching agencies, which are usually non-profits funded by government entities. In Washington, the primary government funders are the Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and county Divisions of Developmental Disabilities.
Supported Employees are paid by their employer. The expectation is that vendors will hire Supported Employees within existing labor budgets within the Real Estate and Facilities scope. Vendors hire Supported Employees for roles that they need to fill.

How do job seekers with I/DD find out about Supported Employment opportunities with Microsoft RE&F vendors?

When a vendor has a job opening for a Supported Employee, the program manager notifies the coaching agency partners. The agencies determine which individuals are best suited and qualified for the specific job opening, and assist those individuals with applying, interviewing, onboarding, and ongoing job coaching.
Candidates for employment should contact one of our partner agencies. See the earlier topic, “Who are the primary partners in the Microsoft RE&F Supported Employment Program” for more information, or download our employment agency list.

Vigilante Justice

When I got home from work last night, my husband handed me the New York Times and told me to read the Opinion Essay written by David Brooks titled

The Cruelty of Call-Out Culture

“Once you adopt binary thinking in which people are categorized as good or evil, once you give random people the power to destroy lives without any process, you have taken a step toward the Rwandan genocide.”

bullying.jpeg

 

It really was good timing given the events of the day.  I had found out that SB,  a person who identifies as the Co-Chair of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities had written a scathing letter about me to the CEO/President of the company that employs me.  My job has nothing at all to do with my volunteer work with this blog or with my volunteer advocacy work so the only reason that Bickley would have to write such as letter would be harassment and abuse.

Since I had to file a police report on November 3, 2018 for cyberbullying and libel due to another public essay written by SB,  I have not seen or heard anything from this person.  Why the sudden letter writing campaign now?  What is the purpose of the harassment and what does SB have to gain by abusing and bullying others?

There is one word which could have nipped all this abuse in the bud – ACCOUNTABILITY.   Unfortunately, when my encounters with SB started, SB refused to be accountable and continues to refuse – instead fabricating actions of abuse from others and claiming to be a victim from all the ableist people in our communities.

Intimidation concept.

 

Now, SB has also solicited a friend, Jennifer White, CEO of Able Opportunities to also write a letter to the CEO/President of my employer.  I have never met Ms. White nor have I ever had any contact with her.  She also wrote that she did not know me but asked if I was using these “bullying tactics with Mr. Bickley, how is she interacting with other vulnerable adults with disabilities who receive services at your hospital?

Now, again, with the escalation of abuse and threats written by SB in this recent letter, another police report will be filed, legal counsel will be retained and there may be court interventions.

Responsibility highlighted in green

It is shameful that things have been allowed to get so out of control.  The issues are not new and many people have reported complaints of abuse, harassment, stalking and other behaviors of SB to the City of Seattle.

Mayor Durkan did not reappoint SB to his Commission seat and SB then solicited the Commission to appoint them to a Commission seat and also to re-appoint them to the co-chair position in August 2018.  September 21, 2018, SB was “voted out of committee” for this Commission seat despite several people providing public testimony against this appointment.

Typically, once a Commission Appointee is “voted out of committee”  they are officially appointed by the Full Council the next council meeting.  The other Commission Appointee from the September 21, 2018 committee meeting was appointed on October 1, 2018.  To this date, SB has not been appointed by the City Council identifies as the Co-Chair of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities and writes letters with that title.

It’s one thing to be called out for something one actually did but when one is “called out” for false allegations against you that is cyberbullying/libel.  It’s a whole different ball game.

NPR Invisibilia Podcast episode