The Revere Commission on Disabilities held its regular monthly meeting last Tuesday evening, June 14, via Zoom.
Chairperson Ralph DeCicco, vice-chair Pauline Perno, and members Robert Brown, Mario Grimanis, Asmaa Aabou-Fouda, and Jason Barone were on hand for the meeting.
After the approval of the minutes from the May meeting (which was the first item on the agenda), the commissioners took up the following agenda items:
Item #2: Updates/Next Steps from the April/May Meetings:
Perno presented an update about developing a local program in which an able-bodied person assumes the role of a disabled person for a day as a means for better understanding the challenges faced by persons with disabilities.
Perno said she called the Boston Center for Independent Living for some ideas about how to design a program. Perno said that the commission could start with a small program involving City Hall employees.
“If this is something we want to go through with, we need to come up with an action plan in order to do it,” Perno said. “My hope is that this develops into something long-term.”
The commission then decided that each member will present suggestions for a program and they then will work together to devise a plan incorporating their various ideas.
Item #3: SEPAC (Special Education Parents Advisory Council) May Updates/June-July Events:
Brown provided an update to his fellow commissioners of SEPAC’s most recent developments and informed his fellow commissioners that he (Brown) was elected the new president of SEPAC. He said he will be keeping the Disabilities Commission updated about SEPAC’s future meetings and events.
Item #4: CODA (Commissions on Disabilities Alliance) – Monthly Zoom meeting May 4, 2022:
DeCicco attended the May meeting of the regional commission, which brings together members of disabilities commissions from nearby communities in order to discuss common issues.
DeCicco said the June meeting encompassed the following topics:
• Discussions regarding accessibility in privately-owned old medical buildings: how to advocate for it, what other COD’s or individuals have done, what laws or overseeing agencies might be applicable;
• Discussions about AAB (Architectural Access Board) variances and timing: how it works in municipalities where it works as intended, and approaches that might help in municipalities where it’s a mess. Somerville in particular is having trouble getting ahold of variances with enough time to review, consider, and respond to them.
DeCicco noted that he receives advance notice of AAB-related variances in Revere, but that procedure is not followed in other communities;
• The town of Acton briefly spoke about the rentable adaptive bikes program they have started on the rail trail there.
“Revere Beach would be a great location for a program like this,” said DeCicco.
Perno added that the city’s new tourism department could work in conjunction with the DCR at Revere Beach in order to provide rentals for equipment designed for persons with disabilities.
Item #5: MBTA Virtual Meeting May 26, 2022: Discussions regarding The Ride program.
DeCicco attended this meeting at which the T sought input from users of The Ride program, which DeCicco said proved to be very informative.
Barone told the commission that the former MBTA Ride Pilots program now is known as The Ride Flex, which allows users to instantly book rides on Uber or Lyft. However, prospective users are required to sign up for either Uber or Lyft, a process which for those who are not tech-savvy with a smartphone can be daunting.
Item #6: Commission on Disability looking to fill a vacancy:
DeCicco said that the commission has an opening and directed prospective applicants to the city’s Human Resources web page for information about the application process.
Item #7: Communications: There were none received this past month.
Item #8: Commission Members’ Late Items: DeCicco noted that the city will be
sponsoring an all-abilities softball game at Griswold Park on Sunday, June 26, at 11:00. He said that registration for players and partners may be made by calling the Parks and Rec. Dept. at 781-286-8190.
Item #9: Residents’ concerns/issues. DeCicco said that he has been receiving calls that individuals have been placing their own “Handicapped Parking Only” signs on their fences which he said is “false information and rude.”
“Common decency says that people should not be doing that. There is a process to get a handicapped parking sign from the city,” said DeCicco.
Item #10: Reminder: Perno read the commission’s usual monthly notice, which is as follows:
The Commission on Disabilities is working remotely. 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 department, please ask to be transferred to the Disability offices 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 then voted to adjourn until its next meeting which is scheduled (via Zoom) for Tuesday, August 9, at 6:00 PM. (There is no July meeting.)