Meeting of the Faithful . . .
A good leader should rarely confess to weakness, but I am compelled to reveal a feeling of great anxiety and exhaustion to the peeps following the first meeting of the newly formed Metro Mobility Working Group. As many of you know, this group was required to meet within thirty days of signing the mediation Agreement between plaintiffs represented by the Texas Civil Rights Project and Cap Metro officials. Progress was made in adopting bylaws for the group, but the "good faith" seemed to evaporate when agreement was attempted on selection of the seventh member, someone from the community with an interest in the provision of transportation services to our disabled community. Great optimism preceded the meeting because Metro had proposed that the seventh member should come from the ranks of the Mayor's Committee on Disabilities, and both the Access members and Metro staff were enthusiastic about the Chair of the Mayor's Committee, Mr. Ron Lucy. Something must have happened prior to the meeting to sour Metro on Mr. Lucy. Metro staff stated that he was no longer acceptable to them and proposed a slew of individuals who were totally unacceptable to both plaintiffs and organizations represented in the settlement. Access members, much chagrinned by this turn around, did propose other candidates, but Metro staff turned them down, one by one. Why would Metro suddenly turn on Ron Lucy, a respected member of the community and long time advocate for Cap Metro programs?
An impasse was declared by Access representatives when Inez Evans was overheard to whisper, "We should call our attorney." If this was an indication of acting in good faith, one could conclude that Cap Metro staff is a bunch of agnostics! The Cap Metro Board of Directors have been informed by both the present and past chairs of the Access Committee that we may find ourselves back in federal court, fighting again over possible violations of the ADA with respect to selection of future Access members and failure of the existing mediation agreement. Surely, the Board does not want this to happen. The Access Committee has no burning desire to see the legal fight resume. I can't speak for the plaintiffs in the original cause of action, but they did agree to give the mediation plan a try, and we all signed in good faith. Another meeting will occur the first week in September, and we sincerely hope that the spirit of co-operation and transparency will be revived. Maybe Metro staff was just distracted by the looming threat of a strike of bus drivers and mechanics. One can assume those negotiations have also been fraught with emotion and conflict. Comrades, it is imperative that Metro staff don't allow feelings about a potential strike bleed over into fulfilling a completely separate dispute resolution. Haven't
In closing this post, I'd like to wish everyone a great Labor Day holiday weekend! This includes both Metro management and the Amalgamated Transit Union, our blind and disabled readers and those under threat of storm.
Peace and long life!
Power to the Peeps!