LSHA's Berry and LC's Johnson Ignoring the Needs of the Handicapped on the Authority Campus
April 13, 2015 11:50 am | 1 comment
The Lake Shore Hospital Authority campus, in downtown Lake City, is not a safe place to be if one is handicapped, particularly after rainy weather.
The medical building on the right is LSHA property, and leased by the Hospital. For the most part, the sidewalks are inaccessible, with the wheelchair bound and those with walkers being forced into the city streets.
COLUMBIA COUNTY/LAKE CITY, FL – Beginning in 2009, the Lake Shore Hospital Authority's Jackson P. "Jack" Berry and Lake City's, City Manager Wendell Johnson have turned a blind eye to the plight of the handicapped on the Lake Shore Hospital Authority campus in downtown Lake City. The Authority Headquarters has missed the accessibility mark for years.
In 2009, City Manager Johnson told the Observer ADA accessibility/compliance was not the City's responsibility and that if your reporter had a problem, "You should find someone in a wheel chair and have them sue," he said.
After years of neglect by the City and the Authority, last month the Observer obtained a wheel chair and with the help of citizens Ralph Kitchens and Barbara Lemley, toured the Authority and the Authority Campus.
On April 12, 2015, the Observer took a series of photos, documenting the major accessibility issues in the Authority Hdq. and on the Authority Campus, both of which are under the jurisdiction of Lake City.
As the photo-shoot concluded, Authority Manager Berry approached both Mr. Kitchens and Ms. Lemley in his truck.
Lake City raised the roadway over a year ago. City Manager Wendell Johnson, along with Manager Berry, has ignored the danger of the raised roadway.
Mr. Kitchens told the Observer, "He tried to intimidate me. I was parked in the parking lot and he pulled in behind me. He wrote down my tag number. I asked him what he wanted with my tag number. He said, 'In case I have to subpoena you.'"
Ms. Lemley's encounter with Manager Berry was similar. She told the Observer, "After we finished taking the photos, Berry pulled up to me in his truck. He said, 'I saw you staging the photos. Why are you leaving now?'"
Your reporter asked Ms. Lemley, "Did you feel Mr. Berry was trying to intimidate you?"
"Yes, he is very intimidating," she answered.
2015: ADA Compliance, the Same Issues
Entering the Authority Hdq. is a trial for the wheelchair bound and the physically handicapped. There is no electric door opener. Anyone with MS would be completely out of luck.
LSHA ADA Compliance: Compliance Nixed (2009):
• LSHA Berry nixes ADA compliance
• Old & New LSHA bosses refuse to comply with ADA wheel chair requirements.
• LSHA & Shands at Lake Shore ignore ADA Physically challenged are 2nd class
If one were to get the door open, gaining access would still be an issue. Mr. Kitchens, who is not handicapped, struggled to access the Hospital Authority front door.
Once inside, the wheel chair bound and other physically challenged are completely disrespected.
Once inside the Authority's service window is completely inaccessible, is 50 inches off the floor; the service shelf is 4 inches wide; there is no place for anyone to write.
Forced into the street, the ADA issues continue
Water in the handicapped spaces, whose signs have been the wrong height for years, is a problem that no one will address.
Lake Shore Hospital Authority Chieftain, Jack Berry, is purportedly working with Representative Elizabeth Porter's Chief of Staff and LSHA Board member, Koby Adams, to have the state pay for a roadway between the Hospital and U.S. 90. In the secret world of the LSHA, nobody has mentioned the cost.
The Governor Scott appointed board and the Authority is floating on a sea of cash.
The Governor's appointees are constantly trying to come up with ways to spend their overflowing coffers.
Maybe the Governor and his board, and Lake City, City Manager Wendell Johnson, should spend some time thinking about the handicapped.