Commission on Disabilities Addresses Numerous Matters

The Commission on Disabilities held its monthly meeting last Tuesday and discussed a number of issues of importance to Revere residents. On hand via Zoom for the meeting were Chairperson Ralph DeCicco, Vice-chair Pauline Perno, Asmaa Aabou-Fouda, Mario Grimanis, and Jason Barrone,

DeCicco brought up the lack of accessibility at Revere Beach, noting that newly-elected State Representative Jeff Turco has expressed his dissatisfaction with the lack of sandmats and buggy-style wheelchairs at the beach.

“I’m surprised that there are not any companies that rent out materials for persons with disabilities,” said Grimanis. “We should aim to become the world’s most friendly-to-the-disabled area.”

Perno pointed out, “The DCR’s own website states that these items are available, but they’re not.”

The commissioners noted that Julie DeMauro of the mayor’s office is setting up a meeting  with state officials to discuss accessibility issues both at the beach and along state roadways in the city.

The commission is in the process of drafting a letter to various city agencies, including the mayor’s office, ISD, and the Traffic Dept., that will address a range of issues, including the need for more street lighting, especially on Walnut St.; enforcement of the building codes that forbid the obstruction of sidewalks by construction equipment, trash receptacles, and porta-johns at construction sites; repairs to sidewalks that have been damaged by storms; and residents who either park directly on sidewalks or whose vehicles overhang their driveways onto the sidewalks, which can be particularly hazardous for those who are vision-impaired.

Item #3 on the agenda, SEPAC Scheduled October Events & September Updates, included the following news:

• SEPAC September Recap: SEPAC hosted an Open Forum which allowed parents and caregivers to engage with the SEPAC Board. We had a great dialogue which will continue through our next steps. Thank you to School Committee member Stacey Rizzo and School Committee candidates John Kingston and Aisha Millbury Ellis for attending. Special thanks to our translators.

• SEPAC October: SEPAC will host a virtual Basic Rights Meeting on Thursday, October 21st at 6pm. Please sign up to learn more about the IEP process.

Item #6 on the agenda, Massachusetts Historical Society — Hosting a Series of Webinars in October on “Disability and The American Past,” listed the link to the website:

In other matters, DeCicco said the Revere commission is collaborating with disabilities commissions from other communities, mainly regarding the reconstruction of Wellington Circle. He said the Wellington Circle Study Group is examining the safety of crossings at the circle for persons with disabilities.

DeCicco said he would like to see 30% of the state’s Chapter 90 funds (which are given to communities for street improvements) be dedicated solely to improving accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Perno reminded residents that with the leaves now falling, they should clear their sidewalks of leaves, which can be hazardous when they are wet, and reminded dog owners to please clean up after their dogs.

The commissioners lastly discussed the MBTA’s The Ride and voiced their condemnation of the quality of service.

“Somebody has to wake up The Ride because its on-time performance is horrendous,” said Barrone. “They have no regard for anyone….patients are missing their dialysis and cancer treatments.”

At the end of the meeting, the commission reiterated its protocols during the COVID pandemic:

“The Commission on Disabilities, due to Covid 19 and the safety of all residents, is trying to limit in-person appointments due to the unavailability and use at our present office location.

“Residents can speak to staff from our 311 Constituent Service Center Monday through Friday when you call our office at 781-286-8267. They will be able to answer most questions, but if they are unable to or if you would like a call back from our office, please ask to be transferred to the Disability office’s voicemail and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

“As always, please let us know if you would like something discussed or brought up and added to our monthly meeting agenda. You can let us know if you would like to speak on any issue or concern. The Commission is here to help and assist all the disabled residents and families of Revere.”

The commission’s next meeting (via Zoom) is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov.9, 2021, at 6 p.m.

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