JUNE, 1982








BOX 11185

If you or a friend would like to remember the National Federation of the Blind in your will, you can do so by employing the following language:

"I give, devise, and bequeath unto National Federation of the Blind, a District of Columbia nonprofit corporation, the sum of $_____ (or "_____ percent of my net estate" or "the following stocks and bonds: _____ ") to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons."




Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

JUNE 1982








by James Gashel

by Kenneth Jernigan


by Kenneth Jernigan



by Mary Brunoli and Robert Rehahn


Copyright National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1982

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As we are going to press with this issue of the Monitor, we have just received important news from Iowa. On Wednesday, March 24, 1982, the Board of the Iowa Commission for the Blind called for and accepted the resignation of John Taylor as Director of the Agency. In a statement to the staff and students of the Commission at four o'clock on the afternoon of March 24 Mr. Taylor made it clear that his "resignation" was, in reality, no resignation at all but a firing. He said that he would continue as Director through May 31. A nationwide search is now under way to find a successor. On the evening of March 24 President Jernigan issued a statement to the press of Iowa, saying in part:

"The blind of the nation will view this action by the Board of the Iowa Commission for the Blind as a positive and constructive step. As one who served as Director of the Commission for twenty years and helped build its programs and also as President of the organized blind movement, and as a concerned blind citizen, I personally view it in the same light. The action was both constructive and necessary. While all of us wish Mr. Taylor well as an individual, his actions as administrator have brought the Iowa programs to virtual ruin. Those programs (once regarded as a model for the nation and, indeed, the world) have now sunk to low esteem. The atmosphere at the Commission is characterized by hatred, suspicion, defensiveness, and factionalism. The blind of the state have worked tirelessly to bring about Mr. Taylor's removal as Director. We must now move on to a positive effort at rebuilding the Commission's programs and re-establishing their excellence. Staff members who have gone along with the Taylor administration for fear of economic reprisal or for other reasons will find no hostility or recrimination if they wish to return to participation in the organized blind movement. The past must be put behind us, and we must profit from its lessons in a positive manner. As to Mr. Taylor, the Federation as an organization and I as an individual will (if he will let us and if he wishes us to do so) help him find suitable employment. He served well as a specialist and technician in the area of rehabilitation. His failure lay in his inability to provide leadership and deal successfully with the broad patterns with which an administrator must cope. If he should wish, our program of Job Opportunities for the Blind (JOB) will assist him in trying to find a suitable position. I personally will also do what I can to be of assistance."

This statement by President Jernigan was delivered late in the evening of March 24. He was called by the Des Moines Tribune for comment on the situation the following day. The story of the forced resignation received wide coverage in Iowa for a day and a half and then completely dropped out of the news.

There are lessons to be learned from the Taylor era in Iowa. In violating the trust he was given when he was asked by President Jernigan to be Director, he cut himself off from the main stream of the movement in the country. As soon as it became clear that he no longer intended to continue the relationships and policies which had brought him the directorship, it became equally clear that it was only a matter of time before his administration would fall. In a very real sense the Iowa Commission for the Blind belongs (not exclusively—or, for that matter, even primarily—to the general public and the governmental structure of Iowa) but to the entire blind population of the country and, indeed, the world. During the decades of the sixties and the seventies Iowa stood as a beacon of hope and promise. That hope and that promise can never be totally erased, and the lives of blind people will forever be different and better because of the Iowa experience. Surely the Taylor interlude will be just that (an interlude), and Iowa will again move forward to the cutting edge of progress in improving the lives of the blind.

Be the green grass above me—
With showers and dew drops wet—
And if thou wilt, remember—

And if thou wilt, forget.

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Baltimore, Maryland
February 22, 1982

Dr. Otis Stephens, President
National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped University of Tennessee
Department of Political Science
1009 McClung Tower
Knoxville, Tennessee 37916

Dear Dr. Stephens:

This letter and statement are being sent to you in your capacity as President of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) as a formal complaint against a NAC accredited agency, the Minneapolis Society for the Blind. We believe that the Minneapolis Society for the Blind has repeatedly and flagrantly violated reasonable standards of ethical conduct and that it does not provide quality services to blind people.

Eight of the blind persons who were elected to membership on the Board of Directors of the Minneapolis Society for the Blind in November of 1979 announced in December of 1981 that they would not seek re-election to the Society's Board. Their reasons are set forth in a carefully thought out position paper which I here-with transmit to you for consideration. The eight people in question are respected members of their community. They are: Curtis D. M. Chong, Technical Support Specialist, Investors Diversified Services; Carol delFavero, Student in Social Work at University of Minnesota, just graduated;
Dr. Roger Drewicke, Handicapped Resource Officer, University of Minnesota; Mary Hartle, Information Officer, Minnesota Department of Human Rights; Nadine Jacobson, Senior Social Worker, Hennepin County; Janet Lee, Writer; Thomas M. Scanlan, Manager, Software Support, Information Services Bureau, Minnesota Department of Administration; and Marie Whitteker, Housewife.

In view of the positions which these eight former Board Members of the Society hold and in view of the tone and substance of their position statement, I believe serious consideration must be given to their allegations. The people in question say that they are willing to make affidavits under penalties of perjury that what they have said is true.

I have told you before that I do not believe NAC is capable of reform, and that, regardless of what an agency such as the Minneapolis Society for the Blind may do, NAC will not discipline or expel it. In the present instance this point is given emphasis by the fact that Society officials are on the NAC Board.

In this letter I have not played the game of technicalities with you. I have not tried to go through and say, "the Society has violated this or that standard." Rather, I have given you the data as to what they have done. The allegations which are made in the position paper are either true or they are not true. They are so specific as to permit of no haziness or fancy interpretation. If the allegations are not true, then the Society should bring charges against those making the allegations and should recommend that they be tried for perjury. If the allegations are true, NAC will either investigate and take action or it will not. If nothing happens (if, that is, the Society continues to receive NAC approval and remains in good standing), I do not see how any reasonable person can conclude that NAC has integrity or works to improve the lives of blind persons.

If you should tell me that what the Society has done is bad but that it violates no particular NAC standard, then I think NAC comes off just as badly. The conduct complained of is the sort of thing that a responsible agency simply will not engage in. You might also like to look into the fact that the Society recently went to court and asked the judge to issue a finding that the conduct of the Society's Board election in 1979 and their subsequent actions were proper. The judge did not issue such an order and gave the Society one week to show him why he should. Several weeks have passed, and they have not returned to court to meet the judge's requirements.

As I have told you before, I believe that substandard behavior and improper conduct exist in so many of the NAC accredited agencies as to constitute a pattern. If this is true, then how can people of good will and integrity continue to associate themselves with NAC, and how can NAC seriously claim that it helps promote quality services for blind people?

I request that you give me a formal written answer as to what actions NAC will or will not take concerning the charges made in the position paper.

Very truly yours,
Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind

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I. Background

The Minneapolis Society for the Blind is the largest charitable institution for the blind in Minnesota. As such, it exerts a major influence on the lives of many people, both blind and sighted, through its attitudes toward blindness and blind people. It employs a large, predominately sighted staff.

Funding for its charitable activities comes from:

State and federal taxes
United Way
Profits from its sheltered workshop
Direct public contributions

Its underlying philosophy is that blindness is a severe handicap, and most blind people require the constant help of professionals, permanent income subsidy (e.g. public welfare) and sheltered employment.

This attitude toward blindness and the resultant treatment of blind people has kept the Society in continuous conflict with many blind people. This conflict culminated in the expulsion by the Society of its entire membership in April, 1972. Several blind people filed a lawsuit against the Society to reopen it to public participation. This suit, Brennan et al vs. Minneapolis Society for the Blind, was decided in favor of the blind plaintiffs, and the Society was ordered to hold a public election for its board of directors.

We were elected to the board of directors of the Society as a result of that special election in November, 1979.

II. Our Concerns

What we expected to find when we became board members was a coherent, concerned, functioning group of directors striving to provide the best service to blind people in the most effective, efficient way. What we found instead was an ingrown group unwilling to listen to new ideas that reflected a more positive attitude toward blindness.

We thought the board of directors was the policy-making force in the Society as required by the Minnesota Non-profit Corporation Act and the Society's own Articles of Incorporation and By-laws. It was therefore the place, we believed, to bring about specific improvements in the way the Society served blind people.

These improvements consisted primarily of:

* A more positive attitude toward blindness
* Treatment of blind clients with dignity and respect rather than custodialism
* Regaining the respect blind people had for the Society prior to actions it took leading up to the court decision
* Improved programs and attitudes in the rehabilitation center which would enable rehabilitated blind persons to obtain regular employment
* Wage increases for blind employees of the sheltered workshop to at least the minimum wage level
* Improved working conditions in the sheltered workshop

In the two years since we were elected to the Society's board of directors, we feel the Society's administration has done everything in its power to prevent implementation of these improvements.

The Society is a $3 million charity ostensibly supervised and governed by its board of directors. To fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities, the board must act on proposals and reports, some of which require careful study and deliberation. We as members are expected to vote on resolutions and make decisions affecting the programs and services provided by the Society.

The Society, however, circumvents this process in two ways. One is the way it conducts board meetings. The second is its closed-committee structure. Each of these problems is compounded by the Society's failure to provide adequate information to board members.

Board Meetings

Board meetings are limited to approximately one hour every three months, obviously not enough time for thorough discussion and examination of pertinent issues. In fact, when board members try to discuss reports or actions of committees they are normally silenced by the chairman with "We must move along since our time is limited," or summarily ignored. Questions, when raised, are often met by "Any other comments?" from the chairman.

Extensive written material such as financial reports and budgets has been distributed at board meetings, not before, leaving no time for thorough examination. Moreover, the material often is not distributed in Braille so that blind board members were expected to approve it "sight unseen." When we ask for it to be read aloud in order for us to at least learn what is in the report before we are required to vote on it, the response again is "We don't have time."

One example of this occurred at the July 1981 meeting when a recommendation to implement a major fundraising effort was presented by Professional Fundraising Services, Inc. A short verbal report was presented by the professional fundraiser. Then the chairman of the Fund Development Committee stated that there was not time in the meeting to present the full report, so it would be given out after the meeting. And, although the report was not available, it was to be voted on and adopted then and there. When the report was made available to us after the meeting, it was missing 45 pages which the report itself stated should be studied to determine the soundness of its conclusions and recommendations. Professional Fundraising Services, Inc., and the Society administration have repeatedly refused to provide these missing 45 pages.

Another example occurred with the adoption of the 1982 budget during the November, 1981 board meeting. When a Wind board member tried to ask if there were any changes in staff or programs contemplated in this budget, she was told to simply vote on the motion to adopt the budget and move along to the next subject on the agenda.

At our request, the State Attorney General's office finally intervened, and some financial material is now prepared in Braille, although questions about it still go unanswered at board meetings.


As with other boards, this one is divided into various committees, with Richard Johnstone, as president, appointing all committee members.

We feel we were systematically excluded from several key decision-making committees when these appointments were made. The most important of these is the Executive Committee, since it exercises the full power of the board between the quarterly board meetings. Another is the Nominating Committee, an important one since the Society's voting membership is again limited to the board of directors (as it was prior to the court-ordered 1979 election) and this committee presents nominations for all seats on the board.

A board member is prohibited from attending any meeting of a committee he or she does not sit on. If a question is raised at the quarterly full-board meeting about a specific issue, the standard response is "that was covered at the committee meeting," even though the questioner was prohibited from attending that committee meeting. Thus, information made available to board members is largely at the discretion of the president through his appointment of the committees. One of the first resolutions we introduced after our election to the board was to open all committee meetings to board members who wished to sit in and listen. It was overwhelmingly rejected.

Since full-board meetings are limited to one hour every three months, one would expect the committee meetings to be well attended. However, these meetings are generally poorly attended and, in fact, are often cancelled. Those that are held generally lack a quorum. In many instances, if we had not been present at our committee meetings, the committee could not have functioned at all. Yet this is the "hard working board" that is presented as the Society's public face.

Since the board meets only quarterly, the Executive Committee excercises the power of the board between meetings. But its meetings are also off-limits to all board members who do not sit on the committee. In fact, when two blind board members attempted to attend one of the Executive Committee's meetings to learn more about the suspicious circumstances surrounding the "resignation" of Jesse Rosten as Executive Director, they were evicted. When blind board members tried to raise questions about Rosten's "resignation" at a subsequent board meeting, they were told that the matter had been handled by the Executive Committee.

As with the Executive Director's resignation, key staff and program changes are often made in these closed committee meetings without full-board involvement or approval, and little or no information is disclosed to the board. For example, this past year the Braille teaching staff was reduced by half, a change which would seem significant since the Society's purpose is to serve blind people. Yet the Executive Director failed to even mention it in his report to the board.

Questionable Financial Practices

As members of the board, we took seriously our fiduciary responsibility to the public to oversee how the tax dollars and United Way contributions which support the Society's programs are spent. We tried to determine what specific financial management and fiscal control practices the Society follows. When one of us tried to obtain a simple delineation of these practices, the Society management refused to answer. Only after intervention by the Secretary of State was this delineation provided. However, later audits raise serious questions as to the soundness of the "controls" cited in the Society's reply to our request, especially in the areas of inventory and fixed assets.

Many blind people involved with the Society have long been concerned about its financial practices, especially in the awarding of building contracts and sub-contracts for work done by the sheltered workshop. For instance, Society president Richard Johnstone awarded himself the plumbing and heating contract for a large building addition. His company also has held various contracts with the sheltered workshop. It is common practice to place contract-holders on the board of directors. As a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal revealed (January 25, 1979), blind sheltered workshop workers are often exploited to gain financial advantage for contract holders. CBS-TV's 60 Minutes perhaps summed up the situation best when it termed workshops for the blind "a domestic source of cut-rate labor."

This question of financial responsibility is especially troublesome to us because of mismanagement and misuse of funds which has occurred all over the country in sheltered workshops for the blind which, like the Society, are accredited by the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped. As revealed by the Wall Street Journal and 60 Minutes, executives of these charities are paid high salaries ($40 to $70 thousand) with open-ended expense accounts, while many sheltered workshop employees are paid below minimum wages (sometimes as little as 50 cents an hour). Direct pilferage by executives has been uncovered, with those involved receiving short prison terms or suspended sentences. These crimes are not taken seriously, however, as with most white-collar crime, especially if it involves only stealing from the blind.

The Society, like all charities in Minnesota, has an annual, routine audit performed by a certified public accounting firm. This would be of some comfort if it were not for the fact that these other charities for the blind which were found to be mismanaged were also audited in the same way without the fraud being disclosed. It was only through special investigations by public officials such as Attorneys General that the abuses were discovered. Even more disturbing is the admission by Society management, at the July 1981 board meeting, that this routine CPA audit would not necessarily reveal the types of crimes committed in other charities for the blind.

The practice of the Executive Committee's taking action and then withholding information on that action from the board also occurs with regard to financial management. For example, when Jesse Rosten resigned as Executive Director in September, 1980, the Society was facing a $250,000 deficit. We raised the question of that deficit at the October 1980 board meeting. We wanted to know the cause of the deficit, what was being done to correct the situation and if it had any connection with the Executive Director's resignation. The president simply refused to discuss the matter and insisted on moving on, saying the Executive Committee had handled the matter.

Since the honesty and ethics of an organization and its management will generally be the same when applied to different subjects and areas, the actions of the Society's management in the special election for the board of directors intensifies concern about its trust-worthiness. When the court ordered the new election (see Brennan et al vs. Minneapolis Society for the Blind), it laid down certain criteria for voting by proxy. The Society had exclusive control over enforcement of those criteria. Before the election, the Society disallowed numerous proxies supporting the plaintiffs saying they were in violation of the criteria. Following the election, the court ordered the Society to turn over all proxies to the plaintiffs for inspection and copying. The examination of the proxies in support of the Society administration revealed actions which can be considered nothing short of cheating and dishonest application of the court criteria. Nearly twenty percent of the proxies for the Society were found to be in violation of those criteria, yet they had been allowed to stand. Flagrant violations such as different signatures on the membership application and proxy, duplicates, missing identification data, and missing signatures raise serious questions about the honesty of those who would allow them.

Overall Treatment of Blind People

Probably at no time was the Society's real attitude toward the blind more visible than leading up to the court-ordered special election. As part of their campaign the Society administration published a series of newspaper advertisements beginning with the "tapping on Hennepin Avenue" ad. These ads presented blind people as responsibilities to be avoided by the public. The only choice, these ads suggested, was for the Society to continue "taking care" of blind people or to relegate them to tapping with their white canes on Hennepin Avenue. When some Society staff members objected that these ads severely damaged the image of blind people, they were told by the Society administration "We don't care, as long as they get us votes."

When we joined the Society board after the election, we made several sincere attempts to bring the Society and the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota together to work in harmony. The Federation passed a resolution in December 1979 pledging willingness to work with the Society if it were willing. We, as Society board members, introduced a similar resolution at the January 1980 Society board meeting. Our hopes for peace between the Federation and the Society were dashed when the Society board roundly rejected the resolution. We made three attempts to have the resolution considered and approved, but each attempt was overwhelmingly rejected.

Despite displays of hostility by the board, we continued our efforts to improve the quality of life for blind people "served" by the Society. For instance, we introduced a resolution to ensure that the blind workers in the Society's sheltered workshop would be paid wages on a par with their sighted co-workers, thus reducing their dependence upon public welfare. But this resolution was also soundly defeated.

III. Our Conclusions

During the past two years, we feel we've succeeded in getting the rest of the board of directors of the Society to pay only lip service to our belief in the capabilities and independence of blind people. However, only when this lip service is replaced by sincere action and improved rehabilitation programs will blind people be truly served by the Society.

At this time, it's apparent to us that the Society has chosen to continue its past practices as Judge Kantorowicz found them in Brennan et al vs. Minneapolis Society for the Blind. He summed them up this way:

"At a time when the evidence clearly reflects the need for active and concerned board leadership, the Society blatantly rejected the services of those who had the greatest knowledge of the feelings of the blind and who had progressed the furthest in overcoming the harsh realities of their handicap."

During the past two years, we, as concerned, active blind people, have repeatedly attempted to offer our assistance and expertise in our professional fields, such as social work, personnel management, and computer science, as well as in other areas where we feel we could benefit the Society and the blind people it purports to serve. Our offers have been consistently rejected.

But even more tragic than this rejection of help desperately needed by the Society is the discovery of just how ineffectual the board of directors really is.

As citizens of Minnesota, as well as blind people, we were shocked by the inability or refusal of public agencies which oversee charities to investigate the Society's actions and use of funds. This publicly-chartered, publicly-supported charity seems virtually immune from public scrutiny. We have been told the following:

— By the Attorney General's office—"The laws are too vague to make the Society accountable to its board."

— By the Charities Registration section of the state Department of Commerce—"If they file their audits, our responsibility is fulfilled."

— By the Secretary of State's office—"All we do is register their Articles of Incorporation."

— By the United Way—"We only provide funds. We look to the agencies to police themselves."

The Legislature also appears to have no authority over the Society's actions, despite the expenditure by the Society of a significant part of all the monies appropriated by the Legislature for rehabilitation of the blind.

Perhaps the most shocking of all is the attitude of the state Department of Public Welfare (DPW), which contracts with the Society to provide training to blind people to fulfill its legal responsibility to rehabilitate them. It pays the Society about half a million dollars each year. Yet DPW has no apparent interest in holding the Society accountable for its actions or use of those public funds. When DPW was approached for information regarding the Society's financial practices, it responded that it could not react to any questions about fiscal controls.

This situation was summed up well by an experienced state auditing official when he said "No one looks at the whole elephant." He was willing to look at the Society, but it is outside his jurisdiction. So what of the future of the Minneapolis Society for the Blind?

Judge Kantorowicz expressed what it should have been when he concluded his decision by saying:

"Hopefully, the opportunity to renew open membership and regain the trust of many blind people in Minnesota will not be lightly disregarded."

The Society quickly showed its contempt for his hopes when, immediately following the election, it again abolished open membership. Nearly every action since then has done nothing to regain any trust of the many blind people to whom Judge Kantorowicz referred.

As for ourselves, we can no longer be part of a charity such as the Minneapolis Society for the Blind, and will not seek reelection to its board of directors. Until the November, 1981 board meeting, we had hoped this action would not be necessary, but we have now concluded that:

— Because of its attitude that blindness is a severe handicap, the Society remains a poor source of rehabilitation and improved services to blind people.

— The board of directors has shown itself to be a simple sham, lacking concern for its fiduciary responsibility to the public and its moral responsibility to blind people. It is functioning as a largely disinterested group, seemingly just putting in time for charity.

— We cannot take legal or moral responsibility for the actions of this board and the Society. We therefore will not continue as part of either.

However, we will continue to work in every way we can, outside the Society, to improve the lives of blind people and to provide the positive support the Society cannot, or will not, provide.

Ten years ago, blind people spent their own money in the Brennan lawsuit to make the Society accountable to the public. Now it is up to the public agencies for which these same blind people pay taxes to undertake this responsibility. Therefore, we call for a public, independent, and thorough audit of the Society's affairs and behavior.

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Over and over we have been told through the years that the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) represents the best thing in the field, that it "improves the quality" of services to blind people, and that agencies must really strive to achieve NAC accreditation. NAC, we are repeatedly reminded, isn't trying to persuade anybody to seek accreditation. Quite the contrary. Only the best of the agencies are permitted to have it. Leader Dogs for the Blind is (and always has been) recognized as one of the most reputable agencies in the field of work with the blind. It predates NAC, and we have never heard it said that its services are substandard or below par. Back in the sixties, when NAC was first being engineered by the American Foundation for the Blind, Leader Dogs for the Blind and the other reputable dog guide schools tried to offer assistance in helping NAC establish reasonable standards. However, they were apparently given the same treatment of political brush-off, petty politics, and meaningless paperwork that everybody else got. They saw what kind of operation they were dealing with, politely said no thanks, and went home.

But NAC wasn't satisfied to let well enough alone. As the years went by and its reputation diminished to the vanishing point, it made another try to bring the dog guide schools into the fold. But the effort backfired. The following exchange of letters lets it all hang out. What the letters say, and what can be read between the lines tell a story which any thoughtful person can understand. In fact, this correspondence (brief though it is) symbolizes the current status of NAC.

It is morally and politically bankrupt; it is desperate; and it is surely nearing the end of any useful existence which it might ever have possessed:

New York, New York
February 22, 1982

Mr. Harold L. Pocklington
Executive Director
Leader Dogs for the Blind

Dear Mr. Pocklington:

Last July, I wrote to you and to directors of other guide dog schools to seek your opinion on whether NAC should continue offering its standards and accreditation programs to guide dog schools in view of limited use of these programs. Of the five guide dog school directors who responded, three indicated they were not interested in NAC's accreditation program, one expressed some interest in helping to revise the standards, and the fifth, Donald Z. Kauth of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, recommended that NAC maintain its programs for guide dog schools.

In November, the Board of Directors received a recommendation from the Commission on Standards that the standards for guide dog schools be permitted to expire in June 1983. It also heard from Mr. Kauth who made a strong plea to the Board; and it considered resolutions passed by the American Council of the Blind, Guide Dog Users and the Affiliated Leadership League of and for the Blind of America, urging guide dog schools to achieve NAC accreditation. The Board decided to table action on the Commission's recommendation for one year to give those who believe NAC should retain these programs additional opportunities to encourage guide dog schools to use them. It is likely that the Board will allow the standards to expire unless additional schools show significant interest in achieving accreditation within the next year.

As a guide dog user, I am well aware of the great need for NAC accreditation in this field. It would indeed be regrettable if the standards were permitted to expire through lack of interest, commitment, or resolve on the part of leaders in this field. I hope that this result will be averted by decisive, positive action.

Your further thoughts and suggestions on this important issue would be appreciated.


Otis H. Stephens, President
National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the
Blind and Visually Handicapped

Rochester, Michigan
February 25, 1982

Mr. Otis J. Stephens, Jr.
National Accreditation Council

Dear Mr. Stephens:

This letter is in reference to your interesting letter of February 22nd regarding the National Accreditation Council.

You may recall we described in our letter of August 5, 1981, the work three Executive Directors did to assist the National Accreditation Council then in its infancy. Directors of The Seeing Eye, Guide Dogs for the Blind and Leader Dogs for the Blind spent a lot of time and did some traveling to present what we thought were useful guide lines for legitimate schools to follow. The guide lines were realistic.

The avalanche of useless paper that followed made us agree that we would not be interested in the accreditation program. We of Leader Dog continue that thinking. We do not need more forms to fill out and we do not need to be "examined" by people who have little knowledge of dog guide training.

We speak only for Leader Dogs for the Blind when we say "Donald Z. Kauth of Guiding Eyes for the Blind has no influence on our decision." There are probably some good reasons he feels he needs National Accreditation Council. We believe Leader Dog has a well planned operation, as evidenced by the hundreds who enjoy our services every year.

In our opinion, our standards are above reproach, at least we do not believe any "examining committee" can help us. Frankly, we are not interested in having National Accreditation Council approval and we are not interested in filling out any forms of application.

You may consider this decisive and positive action.

Very truly yours,

Harold L. Pocklington
Executive Director

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Federationists are familiar with the plight of Hester Bruner, the Iowa vendor who fought to preserve her right to manage her own vending facility, free from interference by the Iowa Commission for the Blind and its Business Enterprises Supervisor, James T. Robinson. (See Braille Monitor May, 1981, and July, 1981.) Those Monitor articles revealed a shocking change in the basic philosophy of the Iowa Commission for the Blind under Director John Taylor-from a program which proclaimed that blind people were the equals of the sighted, and fought to maintain that equality, to a custodial program in the style of the traditional blindness agencies-one which blamed the blind of the state for the agency's own failings.

It now appears that Mrs. Bruner's problems (as well as those of other blind vendors who have charged the agency with unresponsiveness, lack of support, political favoritism, and downright incompetence) were only symptoms of a far deeper decay which has permeated the Iowa vending program since the beginning of the Taylor administration in April of 1978.

On May 2, 1981, a report, entitled "The Iowa Commission for the Blind-Crisis in the Vending Program," which had been prepared by the Des Moines Chapter and the Orientation Alumni Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, was presented by vendor Joe Van Lent to the agency's board at its regular monthly meeting. This report, the result of an exhaustive examination of the agency's own statistics and those of surrounding states, had some surprises for the board and the agency's administration.

Perhaps the general thrust of the report can be capsulized in the following brief excerpts:

"The RSA-15 is the Commission's annual report to the federal government regarding the vending program. This detailed document contains just about anything you would want to know about the program—earnings, expenditures, number of new locations, and so forth. We examined the ones from federal fiscal years 1978, 1979, and 1980. (A federal fiscal year begins on October 1, and ends on September 30 of the following year.)

"Section I of the RSA-15 Report deals with a statement of earnings. Gross income for the entire program in FY (fiscal year) 1978 was $2,099,053; net profits to vendors were $351,608. For FY 1979, gross income was $2,326,732; net profits to vendors, $339,470. For FY 1980, gross income was $2,521,799. Net profits to vendors were $338,311. Even the casual observer will, from these figures, note that a very strange thing is happening—net profits are dropping while gross sales continue to increase....

". . . And what of the money spent on the program-could lack of money to buy new equipment and pay for vendor training, to pay for salaries of Business Enterprise Counselors, to provide advice on sound business methods to vendors-could this be the cause of the problem? Indeed, not. In FY 1978, the Commission spent $231,661 on the program. In FY 1979, it spent $283,107, an increase of 22.2%. In FY 1980, $340,216, an increase of $57,109, or 20.2%.

"Blind Iowans who criticize the agency have not been the cause of its problems—it has been the cause of its own problems."

It was apparent that the agency board members were totally unprepared for the revelations contained in the document presented to them by the Iowa Federationists. During Joe Van Lent's summary of the report's major points (he was not permitted to read it publicly) Commissioners Arlene Dayhoff and Nolden Gentry literally sat with their mouths open, pointing to various passages in the document.

Mr. Taylor and the Business Enterprises staff were obviously caught with their pants down. In their own vending report to the agency board that day (May 2, 1981) they had given no indication of problems nor mentioned any of the damning statistics. When faced with the Federation document, they did their best to make a recovery and give excuses—inflation was high, there was a lot of remodeling; Iowa had no military bases—but it was clear that they had no idea as to the causes of the problems. Sylvester Nemmers (the agency's hand-picked Chairman of the Blind Vendors Committee of the state) praised the Taylor administration for doing a good job—but nothing worked. The board directed Mr. Taylor and the staff to stop speculating, study the problem, and find reasons for the decline in vendor income.

It took the Taylor administration over three months to come up with a study, or what purported to be a study. Besides expanding on the reasons which the staff gave for the low vendor earnings in the May 2 meeting, the Taylor administration developed a very interesting philosophy regarding earnings. As might be expected, from the treatment afforded Mrs. Bruner, the vendors themselves (not the Taylor administration) were blamed for the low earnings—and the meaning of the word "independence" was radically redefined. No objective person can read this document without seeing what has happened to the Iowa Commission for the Blind under the leadership of John Taylor. It demonstrates the absolute scorn and contempt which the agency has for its critics, as well as simpering custodialism.

The agency's report (complete with appendices and attachments) is long and wordy. In the interest of space and the desire not to bore Monitor readers beyond endurance we are not printing it here, nor are we printing the May 2, 1981, report prepared by the Des Moines Chapter and the Orientation Alumni Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa. Let us hasten to add, however, (we are not playing the agency game of cover-up) that we will supply upon request complete and unedited copies of both documents.

The National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, now reorganized under the leadership of Peggy Finder, prepared an analysis of the agency's August 15, 1981, report. It was a most difficult document to analyze, due to its calculated manipulations of fact and intermingling of truth and falsehood. The general comment of most persons who examined the agency report was that they wanted to turn away from it in disgust. Nevertheless, an analysis was prepared—an analysis that, for all time, strips the Taylor administration's tactics bare for all to see.

The analysis (reprinted elsewhere in this issue) appeared under date of October 25, 1981. And what of the Commission board's response? It was apparent at the October 31 meeting that a tight gavel was being kept on the proceedings. Commissioner Gentry wanted to avoid blaming the Business Enterprises staff and move on to "positive" improvements in the program. The Federation's report was received without comment, and no reprimands were issued.

But the Taylor administration can never go back. No longer can the agency or the Taylor contingent of the agency staff maintain that programs at the agency are as good as they always were. No longer can the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa's protests be dismissed as the actions of a disgruntled group of radicals and malcontents. Already legislators, public officials, clients, and the public-at-large (as well as a growing number of staff members) are refusing to buy John Taylor's excuses, and his attempts at deception. Scrutiny of his administration by responsible officials will continue to increase—and many already don't like what they see. His administration is already on the long slide downward into oblivion.

But Federationists will also note the growing sophistication and political savvy of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, and of its President, Peggy Pinder, as manifested in its reports on the Commission's vending program. Still in the first year of its reorganization, the NFBI has made much progress in winning members and friends. For the first time in three years, Iowans do know who they are, and to what movement they belong. They, too, will never go back.

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A Report on the Taylor/Cobb Administration

prepared by

The National Federation of the Blind of Iowa

October 25, 1981

On May 2, 1981, a report, entitled "The Iowa Commission for the Blind—Crisis in the Vending Program" was presented to the Commission Board at its monthly meeting. The report, prepared by the Des Moines and Orientation Alumni Chapters of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, featured a carefully done statistical analysis of the agency's failures in its Business Enterprises or Food Vending Program.

The report was done in response to a number of complaints from blind vendors (managers) in the program. These included poor management assistance, poor training of new vendors, slow service or no service, and a generally defensive and hostile attitude on the part of the administration toward constructive criticism.

The report contained many surprises for the agency's Board and administration—among them, a revelation that net profits were actually decreasing (3.4% in Fiscal Year 1979 and .3% in FY 1980) as gross sales continued to climb (10.8% in FY1 979 and 8.4% in FY 1980). As a result, net profits had dropped from 16.8% of gross sales in FY 1978 to 13.4% of gross sales in FY 1980, indicating that a smaller percentage of earnings were being returned to the vendors than ever before.

Vendor average annual earnings were a respectable $13,023 at the end of FY 1978, the start of the Taylor administration. In the next year, they dropped to $11,911, rising ever so slightly to $12,126 in FY 1980.

Moreover, there was a shift in the various vendor earning ranges, with an amazing 79% increase in the number of vendors earning $6,000 a year or less (substantially below the minimum wage and definitely impoverished by federal standards).  32%, or 1/3 of the vendors in the program were living in poverty.

There were also substantial drops in the higher earnings ranges of $6,001-$12,000 (12%) and $19,001-plus (33.3%) as more vendors moved into the lower earnings ranges.

Interestingly, the report revealed that the other states in the region did not experience a drop in net profit but continued to increase theirs, with Iowa slipping from number two in the region (in terms of vendor earnings) to dead last. (Nebraska—$17,413; Missouri—$16,918; Kansas—$14,145; Iowa—$12,126).

During this period, ironically, the Commission was literally pouring money into the business enterprises program—$283,107 (or an increase of 22.2%) in FY 1979, and $340,216 (for an increase of 20.2%) in FY 1980.

Therefore, an unfortunate picture emerged—of an agency whose Business Enterprises Program was failing, despite the infusion of large amounts of capital, a program whose vendors were sliding, at an ever-increasing rate, into poverty, while the agency stood by, apparently incapable of doing anything about it.

When the report was presented, the agency staff immediately blamed the problems on "inflation." When it was pointed out that inflation also existed in Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas, all of which were doing well, the culprit became "remodeling" of facilities in Iowa. It was also pointed out that other states in the region were surely doing some of this, too.

Obviously unsatisfied by the staff's replies, the Commission Board directed the agency staff to find the cause of the problem and report back on it. Three months later, on August 15, 1981, presumably as a result of a period of intensive program study, the agency's own "Report on the Business Enterprises Program" was presented to its board, the blind of the state, and the general public. It is a disappointing document, both in terms of factual accuracy and honesty of presentation. The purpose of this present report by the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa is to analyze and evaluate the agency's attempt to respond to our May 2 report "Crisis in the Vending Program."

The Agency's Solution: Blame the Blind Vendor

In its August 15 report, the agency staff begins with a familiar theme, which becomes the dominant theme of the report:

"It is important to stress that the operators do not 'work for' the Commission, and the agency does not pay them or guarantee a set level of earnings for operators. They are licensed by the Commission to operate facilities in which the equipment is owned by the Commission, but they do so with full responsibility for profits and losses of the business. While the Commission provides manage-merit assistance as needed from initial training of new operators to technical assistance for veteran operators, it is the individual blind person 's skill and initiative combined with the potential of the location which determine the operator's net earnings." (emphasis added)

Of course, this is nothing new, and one would see why such statements would be made at the outset of the report. The Taylor administration has steadfastly maintained that it is not at fault for the vending problems. The most convenient "out" for administration and staff is to blame the vendors for the problems in the program. If this explanation can be made to stick, then the administration can escape its responsibilities simply by pointing the finger at individual blind persons. This is done artfully in the report.

If operator average earnings are low, it is because certain "individuals" are having problems, or because certain "individuals" prefer to run low-volume locations. And, naturally, the agency can point with pride to those "individuals" earning over $30,000 a year, and elicit sympathy for "five or six operators," all individuals, "who are having difficulty." "Diversity and flexibility" can be explained as the reasons for the low average annual vendor earnings. And, of course, such an "individual"-oriented program cannot be compared to those of other states, which presumably treat their operators like cattle.

The result of this (if the agency's Board, clients, and the people of the state buy it) is that the agency staff and administration get to do whatever they want, free from criticism. And that, of course, is what the administration and staff want. The "independence" touted here is not that of the blind vendor, it is that of the administration and staff.

In this connection, it is wise to remember this: most blind people entering the vending program have had no prior food service or management experience. They are solicited and chosen by the staff, trained by the staff; the staff decides when they are capable of managing a facility and licenses them to do so. They move into a facility which has been located by the staff, designed by the staff (or at least accepted as properly designed), outfitted by the staff. The staff helps them hire their first employees, and train those employees; advises them on menu planning, pay scales, pricing, taxes, sanitation, customer relations. Every day they prepare a report for the staff, and at the end of every month, too. When they need repairs, they call on the staff for help. The staff introduces them to new products, and conducts ongoing vendor training....

It is not hard, given the information just listed, to recognize what the administration and staff keep trying to deny—the program is a program and the staff are totally involved with it. They are, in all respects, responsible for its success or failure.

In the program currently, 32% of the vendors are earning less than $6,000 a year, and 50% are earning less than 59,052.76. If any private sector management training program showed such poor results in its graduates' earnings, it would soon cease to exist. The staff themselves would not choose to earn the level of income they apparently find so acceptable for the blind vendors.

The Agency's Tactics Laid Bare

It is obvious that the May 2 Federation report stung the staff severely. Unable to answer the charges made in that report directly, they do so in an indirect manner, the preferred mode of operation of the Taylor administration. We quote Paragraph 3 of Page one in its entirety:

"A formal, performance-based evaluation of public programs is currently very much in vogue. Comparisons are inevitable, some of them valid and some spurious. In the real world agencies differ markedly, not only with respect to operating philosophy but also with respect to characteristics of clients served, scope of program, and a host of other factors which make it extremely difficult to establish valid comparisons on the basis of one or two measures of performance. Furthermore, anyone who wishes to draw meaningful conclusions from any set of raw data on outcomes must be alert to possible relationships between measures of performance in different areas, and some working knowledge of program operations is frequently necessary in order to detect those relationships . . . Simplistic comparisons can grossly distort the truth and mislead the unwary.'' (emphasis added)

This is, of course, the shotgun approach. Most obvious is the tactic of attack on the May 2 Federation report using the Taylor administration's favorite tool—innuendo. The tactic is simple: without having to answer the questions raised in that report (which are admittedly embarrassing to the administration) it can heap scorn on the report and undercut its conclusions. This is done through carefully chosen words and phrases: performance-based evaluations are "currently very much in vogue," in other words, simply a fad of the times. "Comparisons are inevitable" (like death and taxes) and some are even "spurious" (of illegitimate birth; false; counterfeit).

The open contempt the staff feel (and wish the reader to feel) for the Federation report is emphasized by the fact that the report is never referred to by name. The staff obviously would like to pretend the report never existed, and obviously if the reader doesn't know the name of the report, he will be unlikely to read its criticisms of the agency's program.

The second tactic used by the staff in this report is that of confusing the issue and undermining—of the conclusions in the Federation report and of the reader's confidence in his ability to understand the issues. As one might guess, the administration regards "Valid comparisons" as "extremely difficult to establish," and feels that "some working knowledge of program operations is frequently necessary" in order to understand what is really going on. In other words, if a person isn't an agency administrator, there is really no way that person can hope to successfully evaluate the Commission's vending program.

As if this gratuitous patronizing of the agency Board, blind, and general public isn't enough, we learn that we are all babes in the woods and must watch out for even those reports (like the Federation report) which are easy to understand and seem to make sense. "Simplistic comparisons can grossly distort the truth and mislead the unwary."

This is not only drivel, it is highly insulting drivel. When one considers that the three Commissioners are educated professional people, and that Federationists ran the program for twenty years (and presumably know something about it) it is simply insufferable for the staff to explain what any intelligent person should know—namely, that it is essential to examine all arguments and reports carefully in order to ascertain the truth. But of course, the purpose here is not to instruct—it is merely to create doubt and undercut—no more, no less.

Finally, the tactic of redirection is used. The reader, now confused and uncertain of his own abilities, is steered toward information and conclusions that serve to quiet his doubts about the Commission staffs competence. Thus, the issue of drop in vendor income which is raised in the Federation report is conveniently ignored, as the writer tries to redirect attention to "safer" issues—specifically the alleged qualitative differences between the Iowa program and those of other agencies. Since the reader knows nothing of those agencies, the staff obviously feels it is on safer ground.

An Example of Redirection

We learn, as we proceed into the main part of the report, that "agencies differ in their willingness to (1) retain operators who have difficulty, (2) maintain low-volume locations for blind persons who wish to run them and do not desire to move to another location, (3) operate the program without collection of a set-aside from the profits of all operators, and (4) generally operate the program in conformity with a positive and progressive philosophy about the abilities of the blind persons who operate the facilities. In each of these areas, an agency may choose to deviate from the norm if a worthwhile goal demands doing so. Such a decision may be made despite the unflattering impact it may have upon the agency's statistics in one or more areas."

In other words, there is something virtuous about the low average earnings, according to the agency staff. What it means according to the staff is that the agency is not giving its vendors "one year to make it" like a (cruel) neighboring state, but is willing to work "just a little longer with five or six operators who are having difficulty" to "assist them on the road to independence . . . even if the average net profit figures on (the agency's) report are lower."

This conveniently ignores the fact that there are more than five or six vendors in trouble. According to the agency's own charts in Appendix B of the report, 16 vendors had a decrease in net profits in FY 1980. The problem is of epidemic proportions, but the reader's attention is redirected elsewhere.

Also conveniently ignored is the fact that, if the agency is "working with" the operators who are having difficulty, the earnings in the program should be improving, not getting worse.

It should also be noted that the agency staff, while criticizing its critics never clearly and coherently states specific program goals. Instead, at the critical point, it always hides behind the shield of "independence and individuality." Of course, the program deals with people, and the vendors who come into the program are a cross section of human beings here in Iowa, as they are in any state. The difference between a good program and a bad one will be found (1) where there are clearly defined goals, and (2) where the staff works effectively to achieve those goals.

Low Volume Locations Take the Blame for Low Earnings

The central part of the elaborate explanation for low earnings is the rationale for maintaining "low volume locations." We learn that these are "operated by blind persons who have been in them in many cases for a number of years." (note avoidance of actual statistics).

Dry-wet facilities are "being operated by persons who in most cases have been in them many years, have done a fine job, have built many friendships with customers, and have used the smaller incomes to enhance their total personal financial support in a manner appropriate for them."

We also learned that "these facilities are being closed more slowly in Iowa than elsewhere in the region" and "constitute a larger percentage of the total number of vendor person years reported . . . the Commission realizes that closing these facilities would tend to increase the average annual net earnings reported on the A-15; but the interests of blind vendors remain paramount."

From the previous explanation (discounting its unpalatable tone of self-righteousness) one gets the impression of a compassionate agency, interested in its clients' welfare above all, too soft-hearted to force "an older or semi-retired blind person [to] leave a business he or she wants to continue in order to maintain financial security because the agency says so," even though "in that case, average annual earnings would probably increase dramatically."

This sympathy ploy works, of course. The writer of the report knew it would. Nobody wants to see an older person thrown out in the cold. Of course, the Commission staff has neatly avoided telling the actual ages of these vendors, or how many of them there are. And, of course, the reader is encouraged to ignore the fact that, through improved merchandising techniques, such a location might make an operator a livable salary. Also ignored is the fact that the Commission is a vocational rehabilitation agency, and therefore operates under a mandate to use its funding to get blind people off Social Security and SSI, instead of keeping them receiving public assistance because of low earnings.

However, there is one major limitation in the argument that it is the low-volume locations that are bringing the net profit figure down—it is false!

As a matter of fact, the dry-wet locations are the only ones to show an increase in net profits over the last two years.

It is not the dry-wet facilities that are lowering the average annual earnings of the operators in the rest of the program.

Substantial income drops are occurring in the higher earning facilities (not in the dry-wet facilities) with the cafeteria managers hit hardest (minus $4242) then the vending machine facilities managers (minus $3869) and finally the snack bar managers (minus $2129). Only the dry-wet operators show a gain (plus $223).

It should be stated that the agency staff obviously had access to this information but chose not to reveal it in its report, preferring instead to mislead the reader. An agency whose staff can give lectures in print on ". . . the nature of an average and elementary statistical analysis in general" and the need for "some working knowledge of program operations" in order to be able to effectively evaluate the data on the RSA-15's, surely can add up the net profit to vendors in each category (already nicely broken out on the first page of the RSA-15), divide it by the number of vendor person/years in each category (also found on page one of the RSA-15) and come up with an average earnings figure. Assuming the agency administrators have even average intelligence (and the author of this report is obviously a skilled and articulate writer, which would tend to indicate some intelligence) it is not hard to do such figuring with a common calculator. What then can we conclude but that the agency staff set out, in a thoroughly calculated way, to deliberately mislead its own board, the blind of the state, and the general public, in an attempt to "get the monkey off its back?"

Incidentally, it should be pointed out that Iowa is the only state in the region where dry-wet locations are considered "low-volume." Kansas dry-wet stands earn an average of $ 16,495; Nebraska's, $11,964 (Missouri doesn't use this classification). Such figures are the result of prudent supervision of the programs, and obviously reflect a philosophy emphasizing "earning a good living" and "being able to support one's own family" as opposed to Iowa's paternalistic emphasis on "personal growth."

Two Examples of Statistical Manipulation:

Two classic examples of the way the staff is willing to manipulate figures in an attempt to deceive are shown on page 5 of the report. Ironically, the agency botches one effort and manages to reveal the truth (accidentally of course) despite itself.

We learn, on page 5 that "the median (middle figure in the series of 29 [vending facility] reports) was $9,052.76, while the average was $12,126." This, of course, is appalling. Using the average, one would assume that 50 percent of the vendors were earning less than $12,126—now we learn that 50 percent are earning much less.

The agency staff not only admit this, but seem to take pride in this:

"A median which is $3,073.24 lower than the average seems in this case to be an indication of a small number of fairly high annual earnings figures which tend to bring up the average for a range containing a larger number of fairly low figures." (emphasis added)

Why, does one ask, would the agency be willing to admit this, much less trumpet it in print? After all, some vendors have charged that the Commission spends most of its time and money on the high earning locations which are run by the agency's "pets." The agency staff are reaching a little too far for a distinction in the next paragraph:

"In a somewhat interesting fashion one recent analysis of annual earnings reported by range from federal FY 1977 through FY 1980 rearranged the groupings of annual earnings in a manner that completely obscured the fact that Iowa had, in FY 1980 increased to 7.2 percent of its total number of vendor years the number of operators earning $30,000 per year or more. Iowa has consistently ranked first or second in the region ... in this regard." (emphasis added)

This is hardly something to brag about. An increase "to 7.2%" of the "total number of vendor years" means that one person moved into the $30,000 plus range, making a total of two vendors in that range.

The staff also takes an opportunity to attack the Federation report—again, indirectly, not mentioning it by name, of course—the words "rearranged" and "completely obscured" imply that some dishonesty was used. Actually, the ranges were simply grouped together for ease of understanding. While it is true that there was an increase (of one person) in the $30,001 plus range, there was also a decrease of one person in the $24,001 to $30,000 range, as well as a one person decrease in the $19,001 to $24,000 range. This, of course, is intentionally disregarded as the staff strives pathetically to defend its performance. As a matter of fact, it could be argued that the Federation arrangement of the ranges was entirely too kind to the staff. Since the staff chose to emphasize one range, we feel it is only fair to emphasize another: the number of vendors earning below $3,000 jumped from 1 to 2.7 vendor person-years during the same period, accounting for nearly 10% of the program's vendors. The staff, in reaching too far for an opportunity to compliment itself, has fallen flat on its face.

Business Enterprise or Business Therapy?

One of the ways in which the Commission staff compliments itself is in its refusal to impose "set-aside" fees on vendors in the program. Certainly, this is a way in which the Iowa program is different from those of the other states in the region. But is it actually better?

It is possible to compare the actual earnings of operators in the four-state region, if one compares net proceeds rather than net profits. "Net proceeds" represent the actual earnings of the operators of vending facilities before "set-asides" have been taken out and "fair minimum return" has been added. (Fair minimum return is paid only in the state of Kansas.) Using FY 1980 reports for an example, the figures for net proceeds are unusually revealing: Nebraska: Net Proceeds—$19,787, Net Profits—$17,413; Missouri: Net Proceeds—$18,700, Net Profits—$16,918; Kansas: Net Proceeds—$17,799, Net Profits—$14,145; and Iowa: Net Proceeds—$12,126, Net Profits—$12,126.

Not only do the vendors in the other three states pay for a significant portion of vending program costs, they still earn far more than the Iowa vendors. In addition, the Kansas vendor gets a "fair minimum return" (subsidy), health insurance, paid sick leave and vacation. The Missouri vendor gets a retirement pension, health insurance, paid sick leave and vacation. The Iowa vendor has to pay for his own, further reducing his meager income. In addition, the Iowa vending program, because of the absence of set-aside, draws a larger amount of rehabilitation money away from the Commission's other programs.

Certainly, we do not advocate that set-asides be imposed upon Iowa vendors. They obviously can't afford to pay them—or much else. It is obvious, from the statistics quoted above, that vending in our neighboring states is big business.

In contrast, the Business Enterprise Program in Iowa is obviously not run as a business—the emphasis is on "individual growth" and "independence," at least as much as "is possible."

"The Iowa program . . . imposes no set criteria for determining whether a blind person will be afforded opportunity to stay in the program . . . rather, the operators are encouraged to exercise as much independence from supervision by the Commission as possible." (emphasis added)

These, of course, are the words of a therapist. Everything is apparently so "individualized" that there are no criteria upon which to base judgements of individual vendor performance, except for a subjective judgement on the part of the staff that the vendors are experiencing "personal growth." (Although how such "personal growth" is evaluated, without criteria, remains a mystery.) No mention is made of net profits, which are apparently unimportant.

It would certainly be appropriate, considering the fact that these vendors are "beneficiaries of a philosophy and policy tailored to their needs," to change the name of the program from "Business Enterprises" to "Business Therapy." In that way, the notion that earnings are important, and that the Commission has some role in making sure those earnings are substantial, can be disregarded and the vendors can "[use] the smaller incomes to enhance their total personal financial support in a manner appropriate for them."

Phony Graphs and Phony Conclusions

In "Appendix B" of the Commission staff report, we see an interesting example of the very thing the staff warns us about, the danger of "spurious" and "simplistic comparisons" which "can grossly distort the truth and mislead the unwary." Oddly enough, the staff seems to have no reservations about using methods which it earlier had condemned, in drawing the bar graphs which are a part of the appendix.

Two points are in order. First, the purpose of graphs is that of interpretation and clarification—to use the visual medium to make the implications of a set of figures understandable. Second, the actual data upon which the graphs are based should be provided. This permits examination of the conclusion drawn by the graph, which is, after all, interpretative in nature.

The Commission staffs graphs fail on both counts. First, the bars are drawn from a base of minus 90 percent, instead of from zero, as is customary. This has the psychological effect of making slight increases, and even decreases, look good.

The "mountains" created by bars drawn from a base of minus 90 percent are higher—and deliberately deceptive. In addition, in order to "read" the percentage decreases in this particular graph, the viewer must, in effect, read the white space between zero and the beginning of the bar, a reversal of the usual graphing practice. Thus, decreases are not in fact seen but must be inferred.

We have redrawn the graphs in two ways to make them more honest—first, we darkened the zero line on the Commission's own graph. Everything below the line is a decrease—everything above is an increase. Second, we redrew the graphs using the standard approach—from a base of zero, with increases shown as increases, and decreases shown as decreases.

As we mentioned earlier, no monetary figures are provided in the graph or in the accompanying explanation (no percentage figures are, either). Since the locations (scrambled) and names of operators are not revealed, there's no reason why such data could not be provided, since it was used to draw the graph. The significance of this omission is not readily apparent to the lay person, but the Commission staff, with its knowledge of "the nature of an average and elementary statistical analysis," could explain why it was left out. The degree of percentage change in a figure, such as those used for "cash receipts" and "net profits" depends entirely on the figures which are being used to make the percentage calculation.

For example, a vendor whose net profits were $1500 last year increases his net profit to $2500. His actual increase is $1000. His percentage of increase is $1000 divided by $1500, or 66.6%.

Another vendor's net profits increased from $15,000 to $16,000. His actual increase is $1000 (the same as the first vendor). His percentage of increase is $1000 divided by $15,000 or 6.6%.

Both vendors increased their net profits by the same amount, yet the percentage increase of one was ten times (10x) the other.

It is easy to see from this example that the low earnings vendors (and the program has plenty of those) will show a much more impressive percentage increase than the high earnings vendors in such a graph. And, of course, this is why the actual earnings are not shown. They would ruin this attempt at deception.

The only thing that one can say about these graphs, and the page of conclusion drawn from them, is that they are essentially useless in revealing anything except the length to which the staff will go in order to deceive. The Commission board should direct the staff to trot out the actual earnings figures and draw an honest graph. In that way, perhaps the truth of the matter of individual vendor earnings will be shown.


Much more could be written about this Commission for the Blind "Report on the Business Enterprises Program." We have left out as much as we have included in our analysis of the staff's response to the federation's May 2 report "Crisis in the Vending Program." It is sufficient to say as we did in that report that there is a crisis in the program, and that it continues.

As a means of dealing with the crisis, the Commission staff's August 15 report is useless. Instead of spending the three months from May 2 to August 15 on a careful study of the program in an attempt to find the cause of (and hopefully) solution for, its problems, the staff has spent the time concocting an elaborate and deceptive rationalization for "business as usual."

We have tried, in this analysis, to reveal the tactics used by the agency staff in this endeavor and have debunked the more obvious attempts at deception contained in its report.

It comes as no surprise that the staff would try to intentionally deceive its own board. Quite bluntly, the board has been asking for it for some time by refusing to deal with issues, ask hard questions of its staff, and, in general, take the responsibility for determining policy and practice within the agency. When problems and criticism of the staff and administration have surfaced, the board has been all too ready to accept the staff's explanations and excuses, however lame they might be. As long as the staff was able to maintain the desired illusion, that things were "just as good as they always were, only better," the board was content to let the staff run it, instead of vice versa.

Those times are now at an end. The Business Enterprises Program—and many of the Commission's other programs—are now in jeopardy. The board must understand the issues—it must insist on penetrating the staff's rhetoric to study the programs thoroughly and learn what is really going on. It must stop ignoring the Federation's criticism and use the blind community as an important source of information in the discharge of its public duties. In this connection, it must insist that the staff make the Program of the agency understandable not only to itself but to the blind and general public so sound decisions can be made based on clearly understood information. And, if the staff will not, or can not, interpret the Program to the Board, the blind, and the general public, then the staff must be replaced, no matter what the cost.

Certainly, as a starter, the Commission Board should make it abundantly clear that it will tolerate no more of this kind of deception. As a bare minimum response, a public reprimand (followed by a written reprimand) of the staff involved in preparing the August 15 report would serve this purpose. (The Board should also seriously consider replacing such staff.)

The Commission for the Blind, in the years ahead, will be beset by many challenges as it has been in the past. To deal successfully with these challenges will require honesty, competence, and the willingness to make hard decisions, as well as love and respect for the people the agency is to serve. It cannot afford the luxury of cover-ups, of buck passing, of combat with the organized blind movement.

The current Board can do much to bring about a bright future for the blind of Iowa. But will it?

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by James Gashel

It is said that water (one of the softest substances on earth) can wear away stone by repeatedly hitting it a drop at a time. So it is with our contest with the nation's airlines. Several years ago it was United which gave us the most trouble in trying to confiscate our canes during flight and requiring guide dog users to sit in specific areas, usually the bulkhead seat. However, the battle with United is pretty much at an end. Except for an occasional isolated skirmish now and again, the battle with United is just about finished. Personnel are courteous; people with canes and dogs can sit where they please unmolested; and we can travel just like anybody else.

Of course, all of this did not occur in a day or a week or a month (or, for that matter, in a year). It took a lot of unpleasantness, no small amount of confrontation, and considerable negotiating. Then, there was Delta. Same story—same battles. But the Delta battle, too, is also just about finished. Mostly blind persons are courteously treated, not hassled about their canes, and allowed to sit where they please regardless of whether they are accompanied by dogs or not.

A number of years ago we had bitter battles with Northwest. Then, there seemed to be a thaw and an era of good will. More recently there have been renewed confrontations.

One of the latest outbreaks has come with TWA. We are here printing a letter from Carol Ebner of Colorado. She recounts a situation which would have been commonplace three or four years ago but which is now coming to be the exception.

Our persistence, our mutual encouragement, our publicity, our organized effort, our increasing sophistication in political action, our absolute determination, and our rising level of conscience and self-awareness are bearing their inevitable fruit. We of the National Federation of the Blind try to make very certain that we are reasonable and that we are morally right in the stands which we take, but once we undertake a project we never give up or abandon it. We have lost many skirmishes; we have lost occasional battles; but we have never lost a war:

Colorado Springs, Colorado
February 6, 1982

Mr. C. E. Meyer, President
Trans World Airlines

Dear Mr. Meyer:

I am writing this letter to inform you of the treatment my friends and I received on a recent flight with your airline.

There were eight of us, three of whom have guide dogs. Prior to boarding Flight 431 in Washington, D.C. in route to Denver, Colorado, at 5:10 p.m. EST. on February 3, 1982, five of us, two ladies with dogs, checked our luggage and received seat assignments. We then proceeded to Gate G-5 where we checked in for boarding at which time we were told that those with guide dogs would be reassigned seats in the bulkhead. We informed them that we would be very happy to remain in our assigned seats. (The names of the ladies with dogs are: Pat Smith, Diane McGeorge, and Janet Gonzalas.) As Pat and I were preparing to board they, your personnel, changed the seat assignment for Pat and hustled us aboard. In order for Pat to be seated in her newly assigned seat, a young couple had to step into the aisle with their baby. This caused much confusion. Meanwhile, my friends who had not received assigned seats had to wait until all passengers with assigned seats had boarded and then they were seated in the first-class section. Janet with her dog was seated in an aisle seat, either row 2 or 3. Diane persisted that she wished to be seated in the seat she had first been assigned. The flight crew continued to argue that she had to sit in the bulkhead. Finally when the plane had moved from the gate, the crew informed Diane that either she be seated in the bulkhead and be content or she would have to leave the plane. Diane chose to leave the plane and was accompanied by her husband. I believe your crew was rude, inconsiderate and inconsistent. First of all, the blind person with the dog knows best where they and their dog will be most comfortable, secondly, the hassling by the crew caused confusion by all concerned and embarrassment, thirdly, if they insist that those with dogs be seated in the bulkhead, then why only two and not the third person. Nor is it considerate of the other passengers to make them move after settling in their seats or causing them discomfort as they did for the young couple sitting with Pat.

May I suggest that blind persons with dogs be asked if they would prefer the bulkhead or not. If they do not wish to be seated in the bulkhead let them be seated elsewhere. I am certain that you have the best interest of your passengers at heart and wish to keep them satisfied.

May I suggest that you contact the office of the National Federation of the Blind and request that we send a representative to speak with your personnel on the philosophy, the type of assistance or non-assistance of blind persons. Some blind persons do wish more assistance than others and should be treated accordingly. You may contact our office by writing to Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, President, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230 or phone 301-659-9314.

I might add that I am applying for a guide dog and should I obtain one, I would certainly give it serious consideration whether or not to fly TWA after the treatment my friends and I received at the hands of your flight crew. Nor would I reccommend that any friends consider TWA.

I hope that you will take steps to correct this problem.

Carol Ebner

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by Kenneth Jernigan

We have often said before: It is not necessarily the major, dramatic confrontations which change history. It is the cumulative effect of repeated patterns of small incidents which build to irresistible force.

For at least a decade the blind of the nation have been insisting that the airlines treat us with dignity and accord us the first-class status given routinely to other passengers. Sometimes there have been sharp exchanges, bordering on violence. More often the encounters have been low key and individual. The important thing is the pattern of action and response which is emerging.

At first only a few of us insisted on our rights—or even thought about them very much. If somebody wanted us to sit in the bulkhead seat or said we couldn't sit in the exit row, we let it go. If the flight attendant insisted on taking our cane during take-off and landing, perhaps it was annoying—but no big deal. If those of us with dogs were told where to sit and expected to accept it without comment—if we were talked down to, treated like children, and custodialized—well, you know how people are; and besides, the airlines people were just trying to be helpful. They really didn't understand.

But those days are gone. Maybe the airline people don't understand, but more and more blind people are beginning to feel that this isn't good enough. As we have written article after article in the Monitor and taken action after action as a movement, the mood of the individual blind passenger has changed. It is not an attitude of belligerence but of absolute determination which characterizes the behavior of the blind person riding the planes these days. It is not just the leaders of our movement who understand the implications of the seemingly small incidents of custodialism. It is all of us (each of us), acting in our capacity as individual human beings determined to be free people and full citizens.

The following letters (not angry or belligerent—indeed, almost matter of fact) make the point. We are winning the battle of the airlines—one dog and one cane at the time: here a discussion about whether we are compelled to be preboarded, there a letter of protest, and somewhere else a polite but determined conversation with a ticket agent. It is avalanching into a pattern of irresistible proportion. Yes, there will be many more incidents, communications, disputations, and (perhaps) a few more lawsuits here and there—but we are winning. We never give up, and we never lose sight of our goal.

Colorado Springs, Colorado
Februarys, 1982

Dear Dr. Jernigan:

Enclosed is a copy of a letter I have written and mailed to TWA Airlines, and I wanted you to hear it. I am so frustrated with some of the airlines which cause dog guide users and other passengers to play musical chairs. We with dogs are often not given enough room with our animals, and it is as if we are punished for using this mode of travel.

Thank you for your time in listening to my complaints.

Patricia Smith

Colorado Springs, Colorado
February 7, 1982

TWA Airlines
Mr. C. E. Meyer, President

Dear Sir:

I am a blind woman. I have a dog guide named Pagen. Last week, Pagen and I took a business trip for the National Federation of the Blind to Washington, D.C. The trip from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Washington, D.C. was most pleasant and uneventful. However, coming back to Colorado Springs, eight of us boarded the plane at National Airport, flight number 431, TWA, leaving Washington, D.C. at 5:10 p.m. Three of us had dogs, three of us were not assigned seats. My friend with a dog was not assigned seating previously. She received an assignment in first-class and not in the bulkhead. Two other people with canes were also given first-class locations. I was assigned E-19, but upon stepping into the craft, I heard one steward tell another that I would have 5-F. To my dismay, this turned out to be the bulkhead in coach and it was very cramped quarters with a family of three. I had no leg room and my dog was very uncomfortable, having almost to fold herself up to fit. The other person with a dog was offered a bulkhead seat too, but she refused and then she was asked to leave the plane, which she promptly did along with her husband. I expressed my displeasure with these conditions, but nothing was said or done to indicate that anyone had heard my complaints. The male crew on this flight of February third were most inconsiderate, rude, and indifferent. They all seemed insensitive to my needs. When it was almost time to land, the plane took a steep dive and the tray which fits onto the seat as would a highchair slid off and peas, chicken, hot coffee, and salad fell upon my sleeping dog guide, causing her to become nervous and shocked. Needless to say, I feel that forced changes of seating just because a person chooses to use a dog guide is not always a good thing. There is not always the most room in the bulkhead compartment. I am not satisfied and I feel that as president of this airline, you would wish to know what is going on. The treatment of all of us was not consistent.

Patricia Smith

Denver, Colorado
February, 1982

Mr. C. E. Meyer. President
Trans World Airlines
New York, New York

Dear Mr. Meyer:

On January 30, 1982, Jeanette Gonzales boarded TWA flight 108 to Washington, D.C. by way of St. Louis. I am blind and carry a white cane. Jeanette has a dog guide named Herman. We took our assigned seats. Presently we were approached by Pat Brinkman. Ms. Brinkman told Jeanette that she would have to move to a bulkhead seat in first-class. Ms. Brinkman explained that an F.A.A. regulation stated that blind persons with dog guides had to sit in the bulkhead. [Of course, there is no such F.A.A. regulation.] Jeanette explained that her dog was trained to sit anywhere in any assigned seat. Ms. Brinkman came back stating that there was an F.A.A. regulation. Jeanette wanted to see a copy. She was informed that when the plane reached St. Louis she would receive one. Jeanette said she was going to Washington, D.C. She further stated that she preferred to sit where she was. Ms. Brinkman then got a man named Mr. Martin. Mr. Martin told Jeanette that if she did not move to the bulkhead she would be thrown off the plane. Jeanette moved and flight 108 proceeded on to Washington by way of St. Louis. From St. Louis the blind passengers were treated well.

Sir, on February 3, 1982, eight blind persons including myself, Judy Dixon, Diane McGeorge and others who are blind boarded Flight 431. All of us waited a long time at the ticket gate then we went aboard. Diane McGeorge has a dog guide named Pony. Her dog guide can sit where she sits. A flight agent approached her and told her that she would have to sit in the bulkhead seat. She wanted to know why. She was told it was F.A.A. regulation. Diane asked the agent to show her a copy. The agent did not show her a copy of the regulation, instead he chose to be condescending to her, treating her like a second-class citizen because of her blindness. The agent kept insisting that she sit in the bulkhead seat. Diane said that she did not have to and that she preferred to sit in her assigned seat. She was told that if she did not move an airline official would call the police. She was given a choice. Either she would move or get off the plane. She got off the plane. After she got off the rest of us were subjected to humiliating and condescending treatment.

At one point I headed for the restroom and one of the flight attendants came and put his hand on me. I explained to him that I would find the restroom myself. He then pushed me and said "there it is, it's that way." Flight 431 left Washington to Denver by way of Chicago. When we left Chicago, we were treated very nice. However, we were not treated well from Washington, D.C. to Chicago.

Mr. Meyer, I'm sure that you are aware that blind persons do not appreciate being treated like second-class citizens. Blind persons prefer to be treated like first-class citizens, if not, we will take whatever steps necessary.

Thank you.

Kenneth Chrane

Marc Maurer
Attorney at Law
Baltimore, Maryland
February 25, 1982

David Brictson, Esquire
Counsel for Frontier Airlines
Denver, Colorado

Dear Mr. Brictson:

This is a demand that Frontier Airlines compensate my client, Diane McGeorge, for injuries caused to her, and that Frontier Airlines take action to ensure that future injuries do not occur. Specifically, Frontier Airlines must:

1. Establish and promulgate a non-discriminatory policy regarding the handling of blind air passengers accompanied by dog guides,

2. Offer an apology to Diane McGeorge for the discriminatory and insulting treatment she received; and

3. Make compensation to Diane McGeorge for the injuries received, the discrimination imposed, the public humiliation, and the degrading and insulting treatment she suffered at the hands of Frontier Airlines.

On Sunday, February 21, 1982, Diane McGeorge boarded Frontier flight 192 to travel from Reno, Nevada, to Denver, Colorado. Diane McGeorge is blind and is accompanied by a dog guide. At your ticket counter in Reno, Mrs. McGeorge requested a non-bulkhead seat, and accordingly, she was assigned to seat 4B. Then, the passenger agent told Mrs. McGeorge that he would accompany her aboard the plane, "in case there is a problem with the seat." Mrs. McGeorge assured him that there would be no problem. Nonetheless, the passenger agent went aboard flight 192 with Mrs. McGeorge. Members of the flight crew told Mrs. McGeorge that she could not sit in her assigned seat. They said she must sit in a bulkhead seat because this was required by government regulation. Mrs. McGeorge asked to see the regulation, but Frontier Airlines refused. Frontier told Mrs. McGeorge that she would be more comfortable in a bulkhead seat. Mrs. McGeorge denied it. Frontier explained that a bulkhead seat would be more convenient and more comfortable for the dog guide accompanying Mrs. McGeorge. Mrs. McGeorge denied that. Then Frontier Airlines flight crew members had the effrontery to suggest that the determining factor in seating Mrs. McGeorge would be the opinion of passengers sitting near her. They said that Mrs. McGeorge could sit in her assigned seat if the other passengers in row four (4) did not object. Consequently, Frontier Airlines flight crew personnel asked the passengers in row B whether they wished to exercise a veto power over the life of Mrs. McGeorge. The flight crew explained this astonishing and insulting behavior by telling Mrs. McGeorge that it "might be inconvenient for passengers sitting near Mrs. McGeorge to have a dog guide beneath the seat in front of her." The passengers in row B were asked if it would be "acceptable" for Mrs. McGeorge to sit in seat 4B. None demurred, and Mrs. McGeorge was seated in her assigned seat.

Before the plane reached Denver, a flight attendant approached Mrs. McGeorge and asked her to give her name and address. Mrs. McGeorge asked what the purpose was for the flight attendant's curiosity. The flight attendant said that she was required to fill out a report. When Mrs. McGeorge asked the flight attendant to read this report, the flight attendant read only a portion of it to her. The report was filled with derogatory and condescending comments about Mrs. McGeorge. It said that Mrs. McGeorge was unreasonable and uncooperative. It alleged that the cause of all this trouble was not Frontier Airlines but Diane McGeorge. It did not allude to the fact that Frontier Airlines had been practicing discrimination against Mrs. McGeorge. Rather, the tone of this report indicated that Mrs. McGeorge should be grateful that Frontier Airlines was willing to tolerate her presence. It suggested that she had no rights except those granted to her by Frontier Airlines. If Frontier im- posed a restriction on Mrs. McGeorge, no matter what the reason, and regardless of the purpose, she must abide by it. Mrs. McGeorge asked for a copy of the report, but Frontier Airlines refused to give it to her.

The discrimination continued in Denver. Mrs. McGeorge was met by supervisory ground personnel in the Denver Airport. She was told that she would not be permitted to fly on Frontier unless she agreed to sit in a bulkhead seat. Although Mrs. McGeorge held a confirmed reservation on a Frontier flight from Denver, Colorado, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, she was informed that she would not be permitted to board the plane unless she gave Frontier Airlines personnel her personal commitment that she would sit where she was told and do what she was told.

In answer to the false and discriminatory charges made against Mrs. McGeorge it should be said that there are no government regulations which specify seating for blind persons accompanied by dog guides. The harassment, the public humiliation, the insult, the discrimination, and the refusal of Frontier Airlines to provide transportation to Mrs. McGeorge are in violation of her rights. The treatment of Mrs. McGeorge by Frontier Airlines is not rationally based. It is discriminatory and illegal.

At the outset Frontier Airlines personnel insisted that there are regulations which do not exist. Then, your personnel asserted knowledge which they do not have. You said, for example, that it would be more convenient for Mrs. McGeorge and her dog if she sat in a bulkhead seat. Mrs. McGeorge has flown on more than four hundred (400) airplanes in the last five (5) years. It is inconceivable that you could give her information regarding the convenience of her seating arrangements which she does not already have. She told you that it would be more convenient for her to sit in her assigned seat. After you have asserted the existence of non-existent regulations, and after you have claimed knowledge which you do not have, that is knowledge regarding the convenience of a blind passenger and the convenience of a dog guide accompanying a blind passenger, the real reason for the treatment you perpetrated upon Mrs. McGeorge came out. You said that Mrs. McGeorge could be seated in her assigned seat if the other passengers in row B found it "acceptable." You thereby admit that you are ashamed of blind people and ashamed that Mrs. McGeorge was on your flight. You admit that the presence of Mrs. McGeorge was odious to you. And, without consulting Mrs. McGeorge, and without a basis in fact or law, you granted to other air passengers the right arbitrarily to refuse air transportation. Mrs. McGeorge, a blind person, is singled out for this treatment. You do not single out passengers who are apparently old and feeble and inquire if their presence in a row of seats is "acceptable" to other passengers. You do not single out passengers who are apparently non-hygenic and ask other passengers in the same row of seats if they are "acceptable." You do not single out the obese and inquire of their seatmates if their presence will be "acceptable." You do it only for the blind.

Such discriminatory treatment is unreasonable, and illegal. Frontier must offer recompense to Mrs. McGeorge for the injuries done to her. Frontier refused to provide Mrs. McGeorge with the government regulations on which its behavior was allegedly based. I now demand that those regulations be forwarded to me.

Frontier refused to provide Mrs. McGeorge with a copy of the report completed by the flight attendant. I now demand that this report be forwarded to me.

In addition, on behalf of Mrs. McGeorge, I demand that Frontier Airlines establish a non-discriminatory policy regarding the treatment of blind air passengers accompanied by dog guides. I demand compensation for the injuries suffered by Mrs. McGeorge. Finally, I demand a letter of apology.

Very truly yours,
Marc Maurer, Esquire

Olympia, Washington
March 1, 1982

Dear Dr. Jernigan:

An article in the February Monitor (United Airlines Underlines New Policy Concerning Dog Guide Users) prompted me to write to you to relate my recent experience with both United Airlines and TWA.

On January 10, 1982, I flew United from Seattle—Tacoma, to Columbus, Ohio, via Denver, Colorado. I was making the trip for the purpose of retirement and replacement of my Pilot Dog, Argus. After reading in previous issues of the Monitor of the treatment by many airlines of blind persons, I approached the trip with a certain amount of hesitation.

Upon picking up my tickets, I found that, as usual, I had been assigned bulkhead seating, both in Seattle and in Denver. Prior to boarding, I was asked by an attendant if I wished any assistance in getting on and finding my seat. I mentioned the seating, and explained that my 75-pound dog might be more comfortable in something other than the bulkhead area. The attendant (I never got his name) then asked for my ticket folder and said that "he would see what could be done." In about five minutes he returned telling me that it had all been arranged. I had a wonderful, but quite rough trip the rest of the way to Columbus. I was treated very nicely, and the bulkhead seating question was not raised again on that trip. As you can imagine, I was quite pleased.

The remainder of my trip, and my two-week training period, were uneventful but successful.

I returned to Seattle via St. Louis on January 22, 1982, on TWA Airlines. This time, the story ran true to form—bulkhead seating, attendants that treated me worse than a two-year-old baby, demands that I must not leave my seat "until someone came back to help me," and all of the rest.

I should probably have mentioned earlier that I do not fly often and was quite nervous during both trips. I found the United personnel much more reassuring—but thankfully not condescending.

In closing, it is my opinion that the message of the "movement" is getting through—at least, to some of the air carriers. I am greatly encouraged by United's first-class treatment, and have high hopes for better times in the future.

Sincerely yours,

Albert Sanchez

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The December 7, 1981, edition of Newsweek magazine carries a particularly insidious article called "Light for the Sightless." The harm which the article does is contained in its apparent reasonableness. It describes this and that gadget or device and tells what those devices can do to assist the blind. Its insidiousness comes not from any given part of the article. But from the total impact.

One comes away with the impression that blindness means complete inferiority, that the only hope for blind people is the ultimate creation of an artificial eye which will allow the blind to have normal sight. The next best thing is a fancy array of expensive electronic gadgets, but they are a poor second. Very little of this is directly said but only implied. That is the insidiousness of it all. In fact, the article is written from the point of view of taking it for granted. From the perspective of the writer, it is not respectable to be blind.

No damage was intended, of course. The article was doubtless done with the best intentions in the world, but the effects are just as harmful. Newsweek has a wide circulation, as does the New England Journal of Medicine, which carried an earlier companion article in August of 1981. The combined effect of the Newsweek and New England Journal of Medicine articles can do incalculable damage.

But the blind of today are not the blind of a generation ago. Our level of consciousness and conscience has been raised. The biggest single factor in the new attitudes on the part of the blind (and many of the public, as well) is the National Federation of the Blind. It is not merely national leaders or state presidents of the Federation who speak out these days. It is blind individuals—people who have learned to stand alone and march together. Nowhere can this better be illustrated than in the following letter sent to Newsweek magazine by Anthony M. Burda of Illinois and the letter sent to the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Kenneth Gould and Roberta L. Tipton of New Jersey. It would have been very nearly impossible for such letters to have been written twenty years ago, but now it is happening with increasing frequency. The blind are simply no longer willing to be second-class citizens, and we are taking our destiny into our own hands.

Those who have not read the New England Journal of Medicine and the Newsweek magazine articles would do well to get copies and study them. The articles are well-intentioned, apparently informative, and (on the surface) upbeat; but they constitute one of the most subtly insidious, negative, and false representations of blindness which can be found in recent popular literature. Here are the Burda and Gould-Tipton letters:

Cicero, Illinois
January 18, 1982

Dear Editor:

Since becoming blind over six years ago at the age of twenty, I have graduated from college with honors, earned a professional certification, secured a full-time clinical position, lectured to health professionals, married, and purchased a home. All of these not so unusual accomplishments have been brought about without the assistance of any of the new-fangled inventions emitting an "eerie nasal voice" or "soft buzzing sound" described in Newsweek's "Light for the Sightless," ( Medicine, December 7, 1981).

Transforming the average blind person into a 20th Century computerized robot via the variety of sophisticated and expensive electronic gadgetry depicted in your report will do little to solve the real problems confronting the visually impaired population of our society. Indeed, if inflation continues at its current pace, a blind individual will surely become the first "Six-Million Dollar Man" with no individual or government agency willing or able to foot the bill for these seemingly wonderful substitutes for sight.

Problems facing the blind have existed for as long as mankind itself has been in existence. The most appropriate solutions, too, have been with us just as long, although society as a whole has been too "blind" to recognize and implement these reasonable common sense courses of action. Total acceptance of the blind through unhampered accessibility to education, housing, and full employment by society, and development of pride, self-confidence, and self-reliance in the individual have always been and always will remain the ultimate "light for the sightless." Simple as it may seem, the objective of assisting the blind to become productive contributing members of society can be realistically met without massive expenditure of already scarce funds by private and governmental sources.

During any comprehensive discussion of the so called "rehabilitation" of the blind, keeping the impact of new technology in a proper perspective is imperative. A fantastic myriad of fancy, modem, and complex equipment with a self-doubting, self-pitying, and frightened blind person at the controls will certainly not propel him into the status of first-class citizenship, the real goal of all the blind. The statement by Dr. DeWitt Stetten, Jr. (who is blind), of the National Institute of Health, "Behind a pair of unsighted eyeballs, there is a quivering person crying out for something to be done," only serves to underscore the unfortunate state of mind harbored within himself and far too many of our nation's sightless citizens. Their independence has been forfeited by building a prison around themselves constructed of feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and inadequacy, which inevitably becomes a greater handicap than their lack of 20/20 visual acuity. A positive philosophy and outlook can spark far more personal success and achievement for the blind than any technological breakthrough could ever initiate.

Quite possibly the reason your article failed to reflect a more energetic and optimistic tone was that all your reference sources conspicuously consisted of agencies and organizations "for" the blind whose fully sighted administrative staff are often plagued with all the stereotypes, misconceptions, and fears about blindness so typical of the public in general. In the future, for clear straightforward information regarding blindness, I advise your editors, journalists, and readers to contact an association "of" the blind speaking for themselves. Write:

National Federation of the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230

I truthfully doubt that a few thousand dollars worth of the fancy electronic gizmos outlined in your report would have made life easier for me by diminishing obstacles blocking my path towards academic equality, full licensure, and competitive employment. But Oh! what would I have paid for just a little more open-mindedness and respect during past encounters with professors, government bureaucrats, and potential employers.

Respectfully yours,

Anthony M. Burda, R. Ph.
Poison Information Specialist
Board Member, NFBI
Chicago Chapter

Berkeley Heights, New Jersey
February 20, 1982

The New England Journal of Medicine
Boston, Massachusetts

To the Editor:

My wife and I have just read Dr. DeWitt Stetten's Sounding Board article entitled "Coping with Blindness" (August 20, 1981 issue) and a related article entitled "Light for the Sightless" in Newsweek for December 7, 1981. We understand Dr. Stetten's desire for blind individuals to be made aware of sources and devices which might help them in their daily lives. The attitudes Dr. Stetten has expressed toward blindness, however, have done a great deal of damage to the lives of blind people.

All the aids and devices in existence cannot wipe away his reinforcement of the societal prejudice that blind people are helpless, miserable human beings incapable of coping with even the simplest tasks. A reader of Dr. Stetten's article gets the impression that blindness must surely be the end of life, and that blind people do nothing but hope and pray for someone to restore their sight. While no sane individual wishes to lose his vision, most blind people do a lot more with their lives than wait for an end to blindness. Dr. Stetten's sentiments reveal more about his state of mind than they do about the realities of being blind, and they tell us that he is having difficulty accepting his own blindness.

There are, in fact, ways for blind persons to do just about anything they want to do using alternative techniques for knowing and manipulating the environment. Proper training and use of these techniques can reduce blindness to a mere inconvenience. While aids and devices such as those described by Dr. Stetten can be useful, they are no substitute for good training and a positive attitude. Many blind persons hold jobs in competitive employment; they are physically and intellectually active and competent. I take the strongest exception to an image of myself as "a quivering person crying out for something to be done" existing in "a living hell." We agree with Dr. Stetten's contention that ophthalmologists should assist patients in obtaining aids, appliances, and training in alternative techniques. However, this can be done most effectively simply by referring patients to competent visual rehabilitation programs, low vision centers, and organizations of blind people who have already dealt with many of the problems faced by those losing their sight. An excellent organization for this purpose is the National Federation of the Blind (National Center for the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230). In fact, we suggest that Dr. Stetten contact this organization himself and become familiar with what blind people can do instead of dwelling upon what he thinks they cannot.

Very truly yours,

Kenneth A. Gould, Ph.D.
Roberta L. Tipton, M.L.S.

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by Kenneth Jernigan

In the late 1700's William Pitt was Prime Minister of England. Then, a change of government occurred, and he was replaced by a relative nonentity named Addington. A popular poem of the time said: "Pitt is to Addington as London to Paddington."

Not too long ago a new 72-volume Braille dictionary became available to the blind. Well, it is about as new (copyright 1970) as books of that size usually are by the time they reach the blind. Produced by World Publishing Company, it is The Second College Edition of Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language. It defines the word parasite as follows: "One who eats at the table of another, parasite, toady ... 1. A person, as in ancient Greece, who flattered or amused his host in return for free meals. 2. A person who lives at the expense of another or others without making any useful contribution or return; hanger-on. Synonym—parasite refers to one who derives advantage or sustenance from another and gives nothing in return; sycophant, toady, hanger-on, leech, sponge (or sponger)."

Seven or eight years ago the National Federation of the Blind began to make recorded Public Service Announcements and distribute them to radio stations throughout the nation. Recently the American Council of the Blind announced that it was making recorded Public Service Announcements and distributing them to radio stations throughout the nation. Some time ago the National Federation of the Blind computerized certain phases of its operation. Recently the American Council of the Blind announced that it was computerizing certain phases of its operation. Since 1952 the National Federation of the Blind has had a full-time Washington Office, and for a long time a Director of Governmental Affairs. The American Council of the Blind now has a Washington Office and a Director of Governmental Affairs. For many years the National Federation of the Blind has conducted leadership seminars. Recently the American Council of the Blind announced that it was beginning to conduct leadership seminars. The monthly publication of the National Federation of the Blind, the Braille Monitor, has for many years invited people to remember the organization through wills and bequests. In recent times the American Council of the Blind, through its publication, the Braille Forum, has invited people to remember the organization through wills and bequests. The National Federation of the Blind first started (many years ago) publishing its magazine in Braille, then in recorded and print form. The American Council of the Blind in recent times has made its magazine a monthly publication, first publishing it in Braille and now in recorded and print form. Several years ago the National Federation of the Blind invited blind people and the public to call a number in the Washington, D.C. area for information about blindness and the latest happenings. During the last year the American Council of the Blind has established a number (it calls it "the Washington connection") and has invited the blind and the public to call for information about blindness and the latest happenings. Somewhat more than a year ago the National Federation of the Blind began sending every member of Congress a print copy of our monthly magazine, the Braille Monitor. The American Council of the Blind announced with pride in its February, 1982, Braille Forum that it is beginning to send its monthly publication in print to every member of Congress. The article is entitled "The Braille Forum Goes to Congress." For quite some time the National Federation of the Blind has sent its monthly magazine to every agency doing work with the blind in the nation. The American Council of the Blind has not yet announced that it is doing likewise, but if the pattern holds—

Those who take the trouble to compare the Braille Monitor and the Braille Forum month by month and side by side, will find the contrast is devastating. The publications speak for themselves. Both are monthly magazines published by organizations purporting to be representative organizations of blind people working to improve the lives of the blind. But shadow cannot be confused with substance.

For many years the National Federation of the Blind has fought for the right of blind workers in sheltered shops to be paid at least the minimum wage. The American Council of the Blind has opposed this action. The National Federation of the Blind has fought to protect the rights of blind vendors, has worked to eliminate discrimination against blind passengers on airlines, has developed the model White Cane Laws (civil rights laws) for the blind in various states, has developed, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor, the program of Job Opportunities for the Blind, has published books and otherwise carried out an extensive national campaign of public education about blindness, has opposed the regressive policies of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC), and has sponsored and developed the National Center for the Blind. In these matters of substance the American Council of the Blind cannot be placed in parallel with the Federation, belatedly imitating the shadow of its actions, years late and results short.

There once was a great man named Robert Louis Stevenson. In his long and useful life he wrote many gentle, perceptive, and wonderful things—some of them were deceptively simple. Stevenson was a poet, a philosopher, and a purveyor of wisdom. Often in the guise of verses for children he spoke great and profound truths. Once he said:

I have a little shadow that goes in and
out with me.
And what can be the use of him is
more than I can see.

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For many years the blind of Illinois have been saying that rehabilitation in their state has at best been cumbersome and ineffective. At worst it has been something far more sinister and unpleasant. In the past when blind people have criticized the program and said they wanted improvement, when they have argued that more money did not necessarily mean more service to the blind, they have been accused of being "antiagency," "militant," and "radical." It is the old story: Agency officials have said that one must either favor more money for rehab, support of the agency, and better lives for blind people; or less money for rehab, criticism of the agency, and harm to blind people. But it isn't like that. Sometimes money can be appropriated for the blind and not be spent in their behalf at all. Sometimes money can be appropriated and only a fraction of it be spent for the blind. Sometimes increased appropriations can actually mean less service because of more emphasis on paperwork, increased bureaucracy, and decreasing focus on the problems of the people for whom the money was appropriated in the first place. Sometimes, of course, increased appropriations can mean more professional workers with sensitivity, more and better services, and real opportunity and hope. Throughout the country the record of the state and private rehabilitation agencies has been steadily becoming worse during recent years. The present budget crunch and federal cutbacks are partly their own fault, the cumulative backlash of the general public and the blind client. Some insist that the answer lies in beating Congress and the President over the head for greater and greater appropriations and more and more rehab as usual. Maybe a few things are wrong with the system, they argue, but the only humane and proper thing to do is pour in more money and figure that some of it will reach the recipients.

At the 1981 national convention in Baltimore we of the Federation said (see Resolution 81-04) that no such simplistic solution would work. We said that we should find a way to secure adequate funding for those agencies which really help the blind but that we should oppose funding for those agencies which custodialize and hurt the blind. It should not be a take it or leave it situation, all or nothing. The cuts and the funding should be selective. Furthermore, in this time of fluidity and re-examination, ways should be found of reforming the system. If a method could be found of insuring that the money would actually be spent to help blind people and not just glorify the agencies and perpetuate the system, we felt (and we are now more convinced than ever) that the money will be forthcoming and the appropriations can be had.

This is the new reality, and it must be heated if the system is to survive at all. Illinois is a case in point. The Illinois Visually Handicapped Institute is now being closed by the state, and many of the blind of Illinois feel that its going will be no great loss. They feel that the poor philosophy, the custodialism, and the shenanigans have been such that the blind may actually be better off without the Illinois Visually Handicapped Institute than with it. It is true that it will mean that some blind people will go without service, but it is also true that some of those who have been harmed by the bad philosophy and poor training of the Institute will now be spared that difficulty.

Our position can easily be understood. The solution is not to close the Illinois Visually Handicapped Institute, nor is it to keep it open and fund it as usual. The solution is meaningful consumer input, reform, realistic objectives, partnership instead of custody, reopening the Institute on a new basis, funding it adequately, and re-establishing confidence on the part of the public and the blind. No single one of these elements can be omitted. If so, the whole thing will fail, and it is just as well for the Institute to remain closed.

The Illinois rehabilitation mess is underlined by an article in the February 21, 1982, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Headlined, "State Officials Accused of Misusing U.S. Funds Intended to Aid the Blind," the article reads as follows:

Springfield, III.—Federal investigators are looking into allegations that Illinois officials have improperly obtained and diverted federal funds for the blind.

Terry Conour, acting regional commissioner of the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration, acknowledged that the agency's investigations unit had begun examining files and interviewing officials in the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services. That department handles money for the blind.

Conour said that the investigation had begun after complaints that federal money intended for the blind was being used for other purposes, including aid for other handicapped persons. The allegations were made by advocacy groups for the blind and by sources within the state agency.

Conour termed the charges serious. Among them, he said, are charges that case-workers were ordered by state officials to backdate files so the state could get money for services that already had been provided.

In addition, Illinois officials are alleged to have used federal funds as the state's matching funds to get other federal funds.

The Illinois auditor general completed a brief review of similar charges last week and found that "case records may have been adjusted." But the state auditor made no judgment on whether any department actions were improper. Doing so, an audit report said, would require an in-depth review.

State officials who administer programs for the blind deny any wrongdoing.

Robert W. Granzeier, acting director of the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services, said in an interview that an internal investigation by his department showed the allegations to be untrue.

"There is no indication of any attempt to defraud the federal government," Granzeier said. He said that irregularities in case files had been caused by "errors in counselor judgment."

The backdating is believed to have begun last summer when state officials learned that Illinois was eligible for $330,000 in extra money if the state could provide matching funds. Illinois gets about $3.5 million in federal money for the blind each year.

Because there were no spare dollars in the budget at the time, department officials tried to find matching funds and began backdating to accomplish that, critics charged.

Conour said the federal agency was reviewing the files of 112 people served by the department. If the review uncovers violations of federal regulations, Illinois might have to repay the federal funds.

Advocates for the blind pushed for the investigation. "Blind people should not be used as a fund-raising arm for the agency," said Peter Grunwald of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois. "Blind people are the victims and not the beneficiaries of this scam to defraud the federal government."

Grunwald and other advocates contend that services to the blind have deteriorated in recent years. The field staff, for example, has been reduced by three rehabilitation teachers and five counselors. As a result, the critics charge, services decrease while staff caseloads increase.

Richard Grove, a former counselor in Belleville for the state rehabilitation department, said in an interview that he had resigned in December after 21 years with the agency because of pressure to get federal dollars.

Grove said he had been punished for referring blind clients to a St. Louis facility rather than one in Chicago because the move prevented the state rehabilitation agency from getting additional federal funds.

"The whole emphasis has shifted from improving services to getting more money and keeping a bad ship afloat," Grove said.

by Beth Curtiss

Ms. Curtiss, a graduate student at Sangamon State University, is an intern in the Post-Dispatch's Springfield bureau.

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In 1981 three Governors (those of Washington State, Maryland, and Connecticut) proclaimed National Federation of the Blind Month in their state. This is the first time in history that such an occurrence has taken place. It demonstrates the momentum our movement is achieving and the widespread support and recognition we are getting.

The trend is continuing in 1982. The NFB of Idaho held a dinner in January to inform legislators of the problems and needs of the blind of the state. Idaho has 105 legislators. Sixty-five of them came to the dinner, and their expressions of support for the Federation and its work were overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

If anything more is needed to underline the constructive and imaginative leadership being given to the NFB of Idaho by its able President, Dr. Norman Gardner, as well as the teamwork and energy of its members, it can be found in the Proclamation issued by Idaho Governor John V. Evans designating January, 1982, as National Federation of the Blind Month in Idaho:




WHEREAS, in 1935 blind citizens of Idaho joined together to advance the well-being of blind persons throughout the State and later affiliated with blind persons nationally in the National Federation of the Blind; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has, since 1940, worked to integrate blind persons into American society so they are seen as normal participating citizens; and

WHEREAS, it is commendable that the blind are speaking for themselves with a positive voice through the National Federation of the Blind; and

WHEREAS, the blind, if given the opportunity, become productive employees who are an asset to any employer; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind is working throughout the State of Idaho to help blind persons secure gainful employment for their benefit and that of the State as a whole; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind needs and deserves public recognition and material assistance to carry out its mission in the State of Idaho;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN V. EVANS, Governor of the State of Idaho, do hereby proclaim the month of January 1982 to be

National Federation of the Blind Month

in Idaho and urge all citizens and employers in Idaho to support the work of the National Federation of the Blind.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Idaho, at Boise, the Capital, the thirteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred eighty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred sixth, and of the Statehood of Idaho the ninety-second.

John V. Evans
Governor of the State of Idaho

Pete T. Cenarrusa
Secretary of State

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by Mary Brunoli & Robert Rehahn


by Mary Brunoli
(Note: Mary Brunoli is one of the leaders of the NFB of Connecticut.)


3 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 cups margarine or butter 3 cups flour
6 cups oatmeal (raw)

Put these ingredients in a large bowl, mash, knead, and squeeze. When this is mixed thoroughly, form into small balls (about English walnut size) on an un-greased cookie sheet. Butter the bottom of a small glass. Dip it in granulated sugar, then mash the balls flat. Keep doing this, occasionally buttering the glass bottom; but redip in sugar for each ball. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. This recipe makes 15 dozen, but can be cut down and will keep well.


by Robert Rehahn

(Note: Robert Rehahn is a Federationist from Southgate, Michigan.)


1 box (3 cups) graham cracker crumbs
2 sticks butter soft
2 eggs whole
2 cups powdered sugar
4 bananas sliced
1 large can crushed pineapple drained
cool whip, large nuts (chopped), and cherries (chopped)

Mix graham cracker crumbs as directed on box for crust. Put in large oblong cake pan (9 inch by 13 inch). Beat for at least fifteen minutes butter, eggs, and powdered sugar. Pour over graham cracker crust. Cover with bananas and pineapple. Top with cool whip, nuts, and cherries. Store in refrigerator.

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Crawford promoted:

Richard Crawford, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Dick Crawford of Grinnell, has been promoted to vice president/investment officer in the Sioux City office of Dain Bosworth, Inc.

Prior to his promotion, Crawford had been a registered representative of the investment banking firm, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn.

Crawford, who lives in Sioux City, has been with the firm since 1976. He has qualified for Dain Bosworth's Century Club for the past several years.

He is active in the National Federation of the Blind and the Exchange Club of Sioux City and is one of three commissioners for the Iowa Commission for the Blind, appointed by Governor Robert Ray.

Dain Bosworth has more than 375 brokers located in 44 offices throughout the Midwest and Rocky Mountain areas.

From Montana:

Six year old Brent, blind foster son of Federationists John and Susan Ford, won first place in Kalispell and fourth place in state-wide competition in the 1981 read-a-thon of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He read 25 books. Only 13 of them were in Braille, because his parents and teachers could not find more than that at his reading level. The rest of the books Brent read were in recorded form. He raised $175.00 for the read-a-thon. Brent was one of only three children in his class who were considered good enough readers to take part in the read-a-thon. His accomplishment is especially noteworthy for those who remember that four years ago when he came to live with the Fords, Brent was extremely underdeveloped and undernourished. For Brent Ford and his parents, the National Federation of the Blind has made the difference.

From The Index, Chicago:

We thought a long time before deciding to print the following announcement since it does not deal with our purposes as an organization and is certain to be controversial. However, it is not our business to decide what type of material blind persons should read or refrain from reading: and unless we respond positively to the request to print the announcement, our readers will likely not have the data to permit them to make the choice. It goes without saying that our decision to print does not constitute an endorsement; and, indeed, none was requested. The announcement comes from The Index, Inc. of Chicago, and is as follows:

The Index, Inc. of Chicago would like to know if there is a market for sexually stimulating audio cassettes. Each cassette would be about one hour in length and contain two original short stories. The selections would be highly erotic without being exploitative or violent. Each tape would sell for around $15.00. If you would be interested in material of this nature, please write THE INDEX, 750 North Dearborn #210, Chicago, Illinois 60610. Please include any comments or suggestions you might have.

From Ohio:

The officers of our Canton, Ohio, Chapter for 1982 are as follows: Arthur Leading, President; Mary Fetter, Vice President; Lavicia A. Brumbaugh, Secretary; Dorothy Wolfarth, Assistant Secretary; Barbara Schreiber, Treasurer; and Helen Bonsky, Assistant Treasurer.

From Arie Gamhel:

The Human Services Division will meet at 1:00 p.m., Monday, July 5, at the 1982 NFB Convention at the Leamington Hotel in Minneapolis. Persons interested in or working in human service professions are encouraged to come and participate. The Division is also publishing a newsletter entitled The New Image. Persons wishing to subscribe should contact Arie Gamhel; President, NFB Human Services Division, 3120 Hull Avenue, Bronx, New York 10467.

From Delaware:

A new Federation chapter was organized in Dover, February 27, the Lower Delaware Chapter. A lively group adopted a constitution and discussed ways the Federation can solve many of the problems facing the blind of Southern Delaware. Officers elected are as follows; Roberta Jensen, President; Ruth Whelan, Vice President; Nettie Ziegler, Secretary-Treasurer; Brady Shahan, Kent County Representative; Debbie Bredell, Suffolk County Representative. We welcome these new members in the Federation.

Jana Simms Moynihan:

Jana Simms Moynihan has been selected as one of the Outstanding Young Women of America for 1981. Her biography will appear in the annual awards volume, Outstanding Young Women of America. This means that she is eligible for the competition to be selected as the Outstanding Young Woman of her state. From these state winners the ten Outstanding Young Women of America will be selected and honored at the annual awards luncheon to be held this fall in Washington, D.C. As Federationists know, Jana is one of the long-time members and leaders of our movement in the Kansas City area. We offer our congratulations to her for this richly deserved honor.

New publication:

The newest book to be published by the National Federation of the Blind is Competing on Terms of Equality: The Goal and the Reality, edited by Mary Ellen Anderson. This book is available from NFB Headquarters at a cost of $5.95. It is a valuable and up-to-date addition to the growing reservoir of top-quality NFB literature. Members are urged to make it known to libraries, colleges, employment offices, rehabilitation agencies, and others that this book is available. It contains information about jobs blind people are doing and cases of discrimination against the blind. With regard to employment, it is a clear and forceful statement of the Federation's declaration of independence: We know who we are and we will never go back.

On the way to recovery:

Ruth Goodwin, who has been one of the stalwarts of the Federation in Massachusetts for many years, underwent surgery in January. Ruth writes: "I was home in a week, and the surgeon is delighted with my progress." She says that her activities will be restricted for a few weeks but that she and her sister have already got their tickets and reservations for the Minneapolis convention and are ready to go.

Minneapolis Society loses again:

Late in 1981 the Minneapolis Society for the Blind went to court and asked the judge to rule that their procedure in conducting their infamous proxy campaign and Board election late in 1979 were proper and aboveboard. The judge has now ruled. They are doubtless sorry they ever brought the matter up. The judge's order was short and to the point. This is what it said:

"The above-entitled matter came on for hearing before the Honorable Richard J. Kantorowicz, Judge of District Court, on January 13, 1982, at the Hennepin County Government Center, City of Minneapolis, County of Hennepin, State of Minnesota, upon the Motion of Defendant for an Order for Final Judgment.

"Jerome Truhn, Esq., appeared on behalf of Defendant.
"Based upon the arguments of counsel, and upon all the files, records and proceedings, herein,
"That Defendant's Motion is in all respects denied."

From Joyce Scanlan:

Jim Schleppegrell, who was President of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota at the time of the 1970 national convention, has recently undergone surgery for cancer. He is currently recovering at home. Jim is well-known in the Federation and would enjoy hearing from friends around the country. His address is: 3950 Forty-second Avenue, South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55406; telephone 612-729-3505.

Blind Printing Broker:

Mr. William H. Porter, PAK International, 38771 Lewis Avenue, Zion, Illinois 60099, writes:

"I just received the latest issue of the Braille Monitor and, as with all copies, read it with much interest. It really does fill a need for the blind and visually impaired of this country. Keep up the good work!

"By way of introduction, or background, I am legally blind and have been so all my life. For some time, I was employed as a stenographic reporter, but decided to leave that field in order to fulfill the American dream of owning my own business.

"I am a printing broker . . . yes, a blind printing broker, and am proud to represent several printers who offer high quality work at reasonable prices. The prices I offer are very low . . . often times lower than local instant printers.

"Most printers charge extra for the following. I do not: Free UPS delivery anywhere in continental USA, free type-setting of logo on advertising circulars, and choice of color stock.

"I would be pleased to provide a 10% discount to NFB or to any of its members providing they advise me of their membership. I can provide stationery, business cards, forms, circulars, etc., for business or personal use."


Kathy Sullivan (one of our long-time, staunch leaders in Wisconsin) underwent surgery in St. Paul, Minnesota, in early March. At the time of this writing we do not have details but hope that she has a speedy recovery.

Braille Calendars:

"In your February issue of the Braille Monitor, we read where you made mention that Braille calendars by American Brotherhood for the Blind are free.

"We, too, are producers of Braille calendars, that we forward upon request at no cost. It would be appreciated if you would make mention in your forthcoming issues."

Ralph J. Hoffman, Executive Director
Michigan Braille Transcribing Service
State Prison of Southern Michigan
4000 Cooper Street
Jackson, Michigan 49201

(Note: The calendars are pocket size and are produced on thermoform pages. The pages are stapled together.)

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