City sidewalk repair is ongoing

To the editor:

A commentary by Martin Dean Dupalo in the March 18 Review-Journal takes issue with the city of Las Vegas for a perceived failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The city is in compliance with the act and is working to construct sidewalk ramps and repair damaged sidewalks. The program is focused on installing missing sidewalk ramps, correcting surface irregularities such as lifted, settled or broken panels, reconstructing non-compliant and non-functional ramps, and installing missing tactile warning mats (those yellow rubber mats at corners) and widening sidewalks when possible.

Mr. Dupalo implied I’m “setting the tone for continued indifference” because I was quoted elsewhere, months ago, saying we’re very short on money to build or repair sidewalks. He also says that for “2½ years (he has) received no response from the Ward 3 council office.”

He’s very wrong on both counts. Wednesday, March 20, two days after his Review-Journal commentary, Mr. Dupalo met with members of my staff and senior staff of the City of Las Vegas Public Works Department, where he was given correct information.

I think the proper procedure for people like Mr. Dupalo is to call and have a meeting before they fire off a commentary to the Review-Journal containing errors of fact. I’m sympathetic to Mr. Dupalo’s plea for better sidewalks; if he had contacted my office I would have met with him. But in the meeting with our staff he stated that he had written to another council member two years ago and asked that office to forward his thoughts to the Ward 3 office. A search of our records shows that letter was never forwarded to my office and no phone calls or direct email had been sent to us.

This all might have happened a couple of years ago, but I took office in July 2011, and no record exists of a contact from him in my tenure.

The city is currently finishing phase one of a three-phase sidewalk improvement project in downtown Las Vegas. This project will correct barriers to mobility-impaired pedestrians and otherwise improve some of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. The program is also intended as a critical component of a series of efforts being worked on to address compliance with the mandates of the ADA.

Unfortunately, a shortage of tax money means that the projects to bring these sidewalks up to ADA standards can’t happen as quickly as the city of Las Vegas or Mr. Dupalo would like, but they are moving forward. Approximately 40 percent of the sidewalk improvements in the city were constructed after passage of ADA legislation, putting Las Vegas in a much better position than an older city of the same size.

The city has an estimated 2,000 miles of public sidewalk. The current price of sidewalk is approximately $50 per linear foot. Installation of ramps is considered a priority for compliance, as without the presence of ramps the sidewalk is not accessible for mobility-restricted individuals. The city has upgraded approximately 3,000 ramps in the past 15 years.

The governing municipal requirements in Title 13 are under review, and modifications will likely be proposed. In conjunction with the code change considerations, an updated transition plan for compliance with ADA rights-of-way mandates will be developed for consideration by the City Council.



The writer represents Ward 3 on the Las Vegas City Council.

Goose from gander

To the editor:

Steve Sebelius’ Tuesday column headlined “A modest proposal for carrying guns on campus” noted that university officials and cops are universally opposed to allowing people with concealed carry permits to carry on campus. He said one reason is the difficulty police responding to an active shooter incident might have distinguishing the perpetrator from the law-abiding citizens defending themselves.

I share that concern. Police in this town have a reputation for being quick to shoot. But may I suggest that’s a good problem to have, because it means the law-abiding citizen has survived the active shooter incident until the police got there.

You see, the first problem is surviving the active shooter incident for the five or 10 minutes it will take for the police to arrive and take control of the situation. So if the police arrive and have difficulty distinguishing the perpetrator from the law-abiding citizen, that means the law-abiding citizen has survived to that point.

Then when they do arrive, we have to trust that the police will use good judgment to distinguish between the two, and it may not be all that difficult. The law-abiding citizen (by definition) will be the one who complies with police commands, as they were taught in their CCW permit class. The one who doesn’t comply with police commands would be the perpetrator.



Surprise, surprise

To the editor:

Referencing the March 22 article regarding fuel taxes, let’s see if I’ve got this straight: First the Wizards of Smart in D.C. mandate the automobile industry develop cars that get better miles per gallon. This causes a reduction in the taxes generated from the sale of petroleum products to federal, state and local governments. So naturally the solution to the problem is to increase the fuel tax so government can do more while we do with less.

Oh, surprise, surprise, it’s not really a tax increase, but a “change in the cost of living.” All this on a product for which government had nothing to do with the exploration, refining or distribution, but can tax all the way.

I guess they’ve never heard of unintended consequences, or what common sense would call basic math.



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