WHEREAS for many years the National Federation of the Blind of California has fought for and introduced legislation to improve the education of blind children; and
WHEREAS the critical shortage of VI teachers in the state of California has worked to increase the unacceptable number of Braille-illiterate students and graduates in this state; and
WHEREAS the irrefutable fact that 93 percent of the employed blind population are Braille users clearly demonstrates the need and importance of Braille literacy among the blind and visually impaired; and
WHEREAS Assemblymember Dr. Leland Yee's extensive background as school psychologist in Oakland working with blind and disabled children understands the urgency to develop new methods of attracting more qualified teachers of the visually impaired; and
WHEREAS Assemblymember Yee has been of great service to the blind of California through the introduction of his bill AB 1010 which provided for forgiveness loans for teachers of the visually impaired; and
WHEREAS Assemblymember Yee has decided that re-introduction of AB 1010 as a two-year bill will help it's passing with additional time to secure funding by avoiding the current year's budgetary crisis:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of California meeting in Convention on the fourth day of October, 2003, in the city of Sacramento, hereby commends Dr. Leland Yee for his vigorous efforts for improving the educational needs of blind children and urge him to continue his dedicated efforts to work on the behalf of blind children and their teachers.
WHEREAS the Public transit networks serving the City and County of Sacramento have in previous times had an uneven record in serving the transit needs of all Sacramento riders; and
WHEREAS through the efforts of Dr. Beverly A. Scott, recently-appointed General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) the quality of access and dialog about public transit has been greatly enhanced; and
WHEREAS Dr. Scott has in her long career in public transit continuously demonstrated foresight and a willingness to work with all communities of stakeholders, including the blind to promote effective transit; and
WHEREAS Dr. Scott has committed to a process of reform and revitalization of RT's Disabled and Elderly Committee on Access to Transportation (DECAT) the body charged with making recommendations to the districts' board of directors concerning accessibility matters, so that it might become more effective in getting more people with disabilities to use Regional Transit; and
WHEREAS the failure of operators to announce bus stops, a violation of RT's obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, continues to be a major unfulfilled goal of all blind riders; and
WHEREAS Dr. Scott and her staff have committed to working to rectify the lack of regular stop announcements by a coordinated effort with the blind of Sacramento; and
WHEREAS through the instillation of NEW audible ticket machines in 2003, which have been of great benefit to many groups of people, Access to Sacramento's Light Rail network by blind persons has been greatly enhanced and improved:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of California in convention assembled this 4th day of October 2003 in the city of Sacramento express its gratitude to Dr. Beverly A. Scott for her energetic and continued dedication to the needs of regional transit's blind riders;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of California stand ready to partner with Dr. Scott in order to help build a transit system which will be a model of accessibility and constructive communication for years into the future.
WHEREAS fixed route public transit is important for the general public, it is vital for the blind and visually impaired; and
WHEREAS most transit authorities provide route, schedule and fare information on web sites available through the Internet; and
WHEREAS many of these web sites are not accessible to the blind and visually impaired using speech or Braille programs for reading their computer screens; and
WHEREAS Section 11135 of the California Government Code requires in part that public entities receiving state or federal funds must make electronic information sites accessible to the disabled and in particular to the blind and visually impaired; and
WHEREAS the Department of Technology of the National Federation of the Blind provides accessibility verification of web sites and help to web site operators to make their sites accessible for the blind; and
WHEREAS these services of the National Federation of the Blind are available to public entities at little or no cost:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of California meeting in convention assembled this fifth day of October, 2003 in the city of Sacramento that this organization call upon transit authorities in California using Internet web sites to provide route, schedule and fare information to the public contact the Technology Department of the National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore MD, 21230, (410) 659-9314, to have their web sites verified for accessibility for the blind;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon these transit authorities to work with the NFB Technology Department to make their web sites easily accessible to the blind and visually impaired.
WHEREAS the National Federation of the Blind of California has worked for the past three years to seek legislation improving accessibility to voting machines and ticketing machines in public transportation; and
WHEREAS rapidly advancing technology is spurring widespread installation of touch screen POS machines in retail, supermarket, banking and other industries; and
WHEREAS such new installations are creating accessibility issues for the blind since most new POS machines rely on touch screen technology, eliminating tactile push buttons that are usable by the blind and visually impaired; and
WHEREAS these inaccessible machines are raising concerns about the loss of privacy and safety due to the necessary assistance of a sighted individual to enter PINs and other private banking and personal information:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of California meeting in convention on this fifth day of October, 2003, in the city of Sacramento, will seek legislation to provide access to POS terminals across the state, ensuring privacy and security for blind and visually impaired individuals who wish to use such devices without the assistance of a sighted person.
WHEREAS for more than two decades the Office of Services to the Blind (OSB) has existed to provide a variety of unique programs for the benefit of California's blind citizens; and
WHEREAS OSB has recently begun to build new services to enhance its traditional outreach and referral assistance; and
WHEREAS the promise of OSB continues to be its ability to augment and supplement the very specific services provided by the Department of Rehabilitation; and
WHEREAS OSB has a unique ability to develop new programs for the blind through its relationships with EDD, Department of Aging, and a multitude of other social service agencies whose talents can be focused by OSB; and
WHEREAS the blind of California believe that innovative blindness programs offered by the Department of Social Services should be funded at least at the same level as those Social Services now provides for the deaf, a group of similar size; and
WHEREAS California's Department of Social Services, parent body to OSB, is under pressure to cut back staffing levels and could cut funding to OSB just at a time when it is developing new alliances and a new vision of the Office's possibilities:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of California, in Convention assembled this fifth day of October, 2003, in the City of Sacramento do hereby urge the Director of the California Department of Social Services to resist the possibility of further cuts to the Office of Services to the Blind;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind of California stand ready to work constructively with the Department of Social Services to develop innovative cooperative programs to meet the needs of California's blind citizens.
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