The American Institute of Architects is singing a totally different song
in 1999 about the A.D.A., than they were singing in 1989.

I am "educated as an architect" and have divided the last 25 years
equally among working in architect's'/other designers' offices, and
contractors' offices.

Shortly after the Americans With Disabilities Act passed, I attended the
A.I.A. National Convention in Boston.  At a panel discussion on
"Diversity" (attended by none of the people who needed to be there)...
one of the organisers who got the ADA passed, was on the panel.  She
spoke of the AIA's opposition to the ADA.  A man rose from the back of
the room, who identified himself as the editor of the AIA's Newsletter.
He said he wasn't an authorised spokesman... but that he felt the need
to clarify the AIA's "position".  

He stated clearly that, the AIA had NOT objected to an ADA law, but that
in their Congressional Testimony, they had ONLY OBJECTED to making it
one that had any specific design standards attached to it.  He
ex[plained that architects are creative designers, and that there were
always a large number of creative alternative ways to solve a design
problem... and architects just "didn't want their hands tied" (if I
remember his words exactly) by any specific codes, saying HOW
accessibility was to be achieved.

So, the ADA was passed in a vague form, and the ADAAG, or ADA Access
Guide standards were issued.  Which in many cases are no more stringent
than 1990's local or state codes.

Now the American Institute of Architects  is whining that the standards
are not specific enough?  It seems that their "position" on
built-environment access rights is-- whatever the code situation is,
weak or strong: we are going to whine about it.

Has the AIA ever complained about lax enforcement, or in some U.S.
cities... NO enforcement of accessibility codes? 


A question some sharp reporter should ask the AIA:  The AIA has Ethical
Standards, which in some cases can result in a Member being thrown out
of the group.  If a member architect or  firm, were to be found to have
violated Access Codes in a building design... (and thereby, violating
peoples' Human Rights).... Would that be enough, to get the Member
thrown out on ethics grounds?


U.S. disabled rights activists have long known, that if the Congress
were to re-open the ADA to hearings, etc., that it would be a disaster.
The Congreee today is much more fanatically conservative and partisan,
than it was a decade ago.  If COngress and theSenate were to rewrite the
DA, they'd GUT it.  

An already weak law (which was the only kind that the Republicans would
allow to pass in 1990) would be made even more weak.

What the spokesperson for an architects' group wants (and, by the way,
most architects are not members of the AIA) --  should NOT be the
guiding thing here.  What is best for the human rights of people with
disabilities, who are systematically excluded from much of the built
environment-- must be what guides any decisions on the ADA.  

Jim Davis