Restroom accessibility goes to the dogs in Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Dade County voting centers
The universe has delivered upon us the brown version of homeostasis this past week. Detroit, Michigan receives a brown thumbs up, and Miami/Dade County, Florida receives a big old thumbs down. In the balance? Our nation's disabled and their companion service dogs.
As Poopreport’s resident bunny hugger, I am tickled to announce that the Delta terminal in Detroit Metropolitan Airport has installed a dog potty patch near gate A34 for service animals and purse dogs. Behind a partition near the gate, a large patch of real grass and a patch of Astroturf-type grass wait for all canine butts, depending on whether or not one’s pet is indoor potty station-trained or pees outside on regular grass. More, a water source for bottle-filling or hand-washing waits for both humans and dogs who accompany their pet humans in air travel. Once the dog pees, its human can push a button that activates a sprinkler system over the patch; if the dog poops, the station offers poop bags for cleanup. And check out that cute little fire hydrant.
While the initial renovation price was slightly significant, the future benefits stand to be worth it. The new doggy relief system cost $75,000 and is connected to the same sanitation lines as the airport restroom. Before its installation, airline customers with dogs were forced to step outside the secure section of the airport, find an appropriate place for their dogs to go, and re-enter the airport, thus having to go through security again (and we all know how much fun it is to go through airport security).
I like this improvement quite a bit. Since these dog owners will be able to bring their pets to the new indoor system, they will be less likely to leave their dog’s crap laying where it falls. I do not imagine too many people are going to get away with leaving poop sitting on their pets' chosen grass patch without hearing an earful from those around them, so the new system will reduce waste near the airport exits. Furthermore, people who have service dogs have them for a reason; it’s nice to consider that they will have less work to do when traveling. Kudos to you, Detroit Metropolitan Airport…
...and boooooo to you, Dade County, Florida! What the hell? Were your powers-that-be really under the impression that voting was not a hassle enough already? Apparently not, because now not only do you have to stand in line for hours, but the bathrooms near the polls have been removed. You might want to bring your adult diapers. Afterward, you can wring them out at the door of the Dade County Elections Department, which can be found in the 2700 block of Northwest 87th Avenue, in Doral, Florida. These Poop Nazis:
How did this begin, you might ask? With a question, a simple, reasonable question. Disability rights lawyer Marc Dubin asked a very innocent question:
Will there be bathroom facilities for voters with disabilities?
That’s not such a terrible thing to ask. Some people take medication like diuretics, and the result is that they need access to restrooms more frequently than others do. Some people have weak bladder muscles, or cannot retain urine for very long, such as diabetics. Some people do not even have colons, for Christ’s sakes: they have colostomy bags, and those bags might fill up during a six-hour wait. As it is, over 200,000 voters abandoned the voting lines in 2012 during the presidential election because the lines were so long. Worse, according to studies, such as one conducted by MIT’s Charles Stewart III, one of the main reasons people do not vote is because they—or family members—have disabilities, and voting is difficult because of it. Another reason people leave is long lines, which according to the same study are experienced by minorities almost twice as frequently as Whites. And I have not mentioned that Dade County is the most populated county in Florida.
So how did the Elections Department respond? In order to make sure those with disabilities are not discriminated against, it voted to deny all bathroom access. To all voters. Elections Department member John Mendez, who is either the Department tool or an outright diaper stain, replied with the following statement:
"Please note State statute does not mandate that the rest rooms in the polling location be ADA compliant. As we discussed at the meeting in order to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not treated unfairly, the use of rest rooms by the Voters is not allowed on election day."
That’s right: the Department’s version of being fair is the same as your father’s during family vacation. You’re upset that your brother or sister got a nice toy at the last gift shop on your cross-country trip, but you did not? No, you do not get one, too; but your father will chuck your sibling’s toy out the window to balance the scales. Look behind you, but be quick about it, because Dad’s going seventy and isn’t slowing down. There it goes, that helpless little stuffed bear, bouncing off two other cars before falling into the median dip, in between three blown tires and a patch of ragweed. Your little brother or sister is screaming in horror, your mother is yelling at your father, your father is yelling at you for being a whiner, and you have to pee, even though you've only been on the road for fifteen minutes. No one is happy. Everyone is upset. This is Florida equal … bitch.
Notice Department member Diaper Stain does not mention whether or not the state of Florida mandates whether or not restrooms are to be present, just that the ones that are present must be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. Slick, isn’t he?
While no direct mention if whether or not disabled voters have a right to restroom access, sometimes the law’s ambiguity can end up playing against those who try to cite it, like the Department does here. Florida statute 104.0515(4) covers voting rights; deprivation of, or interference with, prohibited; penalty. It states that “No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, and no standard, practice, or procedure, shall be imposed or applied by any political subdivision of this state to deny or abridge the right of any citizen to vote on account of race or color.” “Race or color” has been a legal reference present in real estate law and renter’s law, among other areas. But minorities are not limited to race or color; they can, and have in recent case law, include separate populations of sexual preference, gender, and even families (those who have children). Since people with disabilities need more access to restrooms, and the Dade County Elections Department is denying them in a twisted fuck, psychotic Vacation Dad-rendition of impartiality, will an ADA representative petition the court regarding restroom accessibility and win?
As a Poopreporter who believes in bathrooms for all, I bloody well hope so.