The Braille Monitor

Vol. 34, No. 1                                                                                                    January 1991

Barbara Pierce, Editor

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The National Federation of the Blind
Marc Maurer, President

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ISSN 0006-8829


Vol. 34, No. 1                                                                                          January 1991


by Kenneth Jernigan & Barbara Pierce


by Peggy Pinder


by Peggy Pinder



by Ed & Toni Eames



by Kenneth Jernigan

by Robert J. Leblond



by Marc Maurer

by James Gashel



Copyright, National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1991

[2 LEAD PHOTOS. PHOTO 1: Grant Mack at rear of police paddy wagon, with three police officers. CAPTION: December 8, 1990, at the NAC dinner in Chicago. Grant Mack, who is chairing the event, is taken to the police station in a paddy wagon. He is shown here accompanied by the police as he enters the paddy wagon (see accompanying article). PHOTO 2: Picketers carrying signs outside of the Bismark Hotel. CAPTION: Saturday, December 8, 1990, in front of the Bismarck Hotel in Chicago. Blind people from throughout the nation picket a NAC committee meeting (see accompanying article).



by Kenneth Jernigan and Barbara Pierce

On the evening of December 8, 1990, thirty-four people were gathered in a third-floor meeting room at the Bismarck Hotel in Chicago's famous Loop. The sounds of chanting and singing from more than a hundred cheerful but grimly determined picketers wafted up from the street below. The dinner meeting included a number of members of the Illinois affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), representatives from local member agencies of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC), and a handful of officials from two Illinois agencies that had not accepted NAC accreditation. Also present were Oral Miller (Washington representative of the ACB) and Grant Mack (chairman of the board of National Industries for the Blind, past president of the American Council of the Blind, and a long-time NAC proponent). Before the evening was over, Mack (who was chairing the event) would find himself taken to the police station in a paddy wagon. In a very real sense this Chicago dinner (along with its accompanying spectacle of violence, confrontation, and police) was a fitting climax for NAC's twenty-five-year history of failure and conflict, but even for NAC the proceedings were shabby.

To understand the causes and implications of the fiasco, one needs to know something of NAC's genesis and background. In the 1950s the American Association of Workers for the Blind (now one of the components of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired) established what it called a Seal of Good Practices for agencies doing work with the blind. The AAWB hoped that its "Seal" would serve as a hallmark of excellence, conferring prestige upon agencies that received it and indicating quality performance--but it didn't work that way. Fewer than fifty agencies ever applied for the AAWB Seal of Good Practices, and many of those that did were among the worst in the field. By the mid-1960s the effort was abandoned.

However, the dream lingered, and the American Foundation for the Blind stepped into the breach. The goal was worthy, to establish standards and improve the quality of services provided by agencies working with the blind--but the method was negative and almost certain to insure failure. In the early 1960s the American Foundation appointed what it called the Commission on Standards and Accreditation for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (COMSTAC). Funded by the Foundation and having a Foundation staff member as its executive, COMSTAC was seen by many not as a new and broadly based instrument of the blindness field but as a mere extension of the Foundation in new clothes. COMSTAC could boast of distinguished members-- professors, deans, lawyers, officials from labor unions, and community and business leaders; but the real control lay elsewhere, with a handful of the more regressive spokesmen for a few of the agencies in the blindness field. By and large, representatives of the blind were not consulted, and such consultation as there was tended to be of a token nature. Moreover, it was not just the blind who were dissatisfied. Many professionals in the field were also unhappy.

When COMSTAC finished its work and prepared to go out of business, it appointed its successor agency (NAC) and gave NAC the staff member it had received from the American Foundation for the Blind. That staff member became NAC's executive director. (For a fuller account of NAC's beginnings see the article "NAC: What Price Accreditation" elsewhere in this issue.)

In its early years (the late 1960s) NAC was fond of saying that it would soon have as accredited members a majority of the more than 500 eligible agencies in the field of work with the blind, but this was not to be. As the 1970s came and went, NAC was still struggling to get twenty percent of the eligible agencies to accept its accreditation. In the sixties NAC had stressed that its accreditation was to be voluntary. A decade later it was angrily talking of compulsion and the linking of the receipt of federal and state funds to accreditation. And through it all the confrontation, belligerence, and chaos continued to grow. In the decade of the eighties many of the larger and better known agencies that had originally accepted NAC accreditation dissociated themselves from the sinking ship and quietly withdrew. To keep up the appearance of numbers, NAC replaced these defectors with smaller and less well-known agencies so that by the end of the decade the NAC roster had a new and even less impressive look than in the beginning.

And then total disaster threatened. In the late 1980s the American Foundation for the Blind, which had always provided some fifty percent of NAC's budget, told NAC that it must either improve its performance and streamline its procedures or lose Foundation funding. At long last the curtain was coming down. By 1990 the timetable had been set for a total phase-out of Foundation money. At this stage the leaders of National Industries for the Blind attempted to come to the rescue with a three-year program of cash bail-outs, but the trend was definitely downward.

It seems clear that some time during early 1990 the shrinking band of NAC die-hards panicked and decided that desperation measures had to be taken. The federal Rehabilitation Act comes up for reauthorization in 1991, and NAC decided to ask Congress to amend the Act to require that only those agencies that are "accredited" may receive federal funds. To lobby for this measure, the law firm employing former Rehabilitation Commissioner Robert Humphreys was hired, presumably with money received from the National Industries for the Blind grant. If the NIB grant is, in fact, the source of Humphreys' fee, the payment would likely be illegal since it is (at least, indirectly) federal money. The desperation nature of this action is demonstrated by the almost certain opposition and hostility which it will receive from the Bush administration and the state directors of rehabilitation agencies for the blind. For that matter (see article elsewhere in this issue) even the sheltered shops, which constitute the underpinning and constituency of National Industries for the Blind, will oppose it.

NAC has also caused a private charitable foundation to be created for the purpose of raising funds to replace its lost revenue. Corporate grants and individual contributions will be sought. In the past such efforts have been notably unsuccessful, but apparently NAC feels that a separate corporation with a different name might get the job done.

But this is by no means all. Obviously the panic ran deep. NAC decided to commence an accelerated membership drive to try to bolster its sagging finances and prestige. For this purpose it established what it called the National Committee for the Advancement of Accreditation, and it named Grant Mack as the committee's chairman. As will be seen, this was not to be simply an ordinary, garden variety membership drive but one with special features. The plan was to go to a different state almost every month, assemble officials from agencies that had not agreed to accept NAC accreditation, and lay it on the line with them.

But how was this to be done? How was NAC to explain its failure to recruit (or, for that matter, even keep) agency members? The answer came at the first state meeting of the National Committee for the Advancement of Accreditation--or, as Grant Mack and Oral Miller were to put it, the "truth squad."

On September 20, 1990, a gathering was organized in St. Louis. Two agencies that had not accepted NAC accreditation attended--the state rehabilitation agency, which is on record as being opposed to NAC accreditation, and a small agency in Kansas City that is beginning to work with blind children. One Federationist attended that meeting as a member of the state agency's advisory committee, but he did not speak out or ask any of the tough and embarrassing questions that he might have raised. As he told the Braille Monitor, "Other people were asking them already." The program for that evening established the pattern that subsequent meetings would follow. NAC supporters took the floor and said how wonderful NAC accreditation is and how important the concept of accreditation will continue to be. They said that anyone who opposes NAC is obviously against high standards and quality services, which somehow doesn't seem to follow--and they laid great stress upon the fact that it is ridiculous to point to poor service provided by NAC-accredited agencies and then to say that NAC accreditation has caused those agencies to be substandard. This, of course, is putting the cart before the horse. No one has ever said that NAC accreditation makes an agency bad but that poor agencies tend to seek NAC accreditation as a shield and that NAC does harm by representing to the public that substandard is good.

But how was NAC to explain the fact that after a quarter of a century fewer than twenty percent of the agencies in the field had accepted its accreditation, that only ninety-eight of the more than 500 are members, that it once had more than a hundred, and that it has had a net loss during the last year? The answer is as simple as it is old--find a scapegoat and divert attention. The principal event of the evening (mainly made by Mack and Miller) was an ill-tempered, bitter attack on the National Federation of the Blind--giving a distorted account of the history of the Federation's opposition to NAC and making numerous false statements.

On November 15, 1990, what one agency official termed "Grant Mack's road show" went to Columbus, Ohio. This time five unaccredited agencies were represented though one of these had chosen to disaffiliate with NAC years ago and two others provide special services for which NAC has no standards. This time the NFB was invited. Four Federationists (including the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio) joined the group for dinner and listened with astonishment to the unprovoked and untruthful attack. When, at the end of the meeting, the NFB state president and the other Federationists attempted to comment on the most flagrant of the misstatements, Grant Mack repeatedly interrupted, stridently insisting that they limit themselves to questions or be silent. These Federationists were invited quests. They had remained silent during the entire attack, and had only spoken after being recognized to do so by Mack, who was chairing the meeting. Everyone present agreed that they were polite and restrained.

This brings us back to the December 8 meeting in Chicago. Word had spread among the blind throughout the country of the treatment the Federation and Federationists had received in St. Louis and Columbus and of the bitter attacks being publicly made by Grant Mack, calling the Federation "mindless" and saying that its members were liars. Mack and Oral Miller had been saying that the failure of Federationists to picket recent NAC gatherings was a sign that the Federation had given up, that Federationists had recognized that NAC was winning. Statements that the picketing had been stopped to try to ease tension and in recognition of the positive steps made in recent years by the American Foundation for the Blind and of the growing threat to specialized services for the blind by the pan-disability movement were greeted with sneers and derision.

As November drew to a close, the feeling began to be expressed across the country that the December NAC meeting in Chicago could not be allowed to take place without the NFB's views being registered. It took time to discover where and when the meeting was scheduled, but by early December the word was out--and the blind from across the nation began to rally as they had in the days before the announcement by the American Foundation for the Blind that it was phasing out its financial support of NAC.

Saturday, December 8, came, and more than a hundred Federationists from Illinois and elsewhere in the nation were on the picket line at the Bismarck Hotel by 5:00 p.m. As usual in such situations, the police arrived to see what was happening-- and as usual, they commended the blind picketers for their courtesy and cooperation. The hotel entrance was not barred or blocked, but not everyone who walked through the picket line was courteous or even lacking in violence.

One NAC supporter did something that no one has ever done before at a NAC demonstration. He came down to the picket line and began to move through it, angrily elbowing and shoving the peaceful picketers. He swore at the marchers and taunted them, trying to start a fight with his words and his elbows. He was heard to say, "Federationists! Dumb asses! Go home!" When he failed to incite anyone on the line to reciprocal violence or rudeness, he went up to the meeting in the hotel. Several hours later, as he was leaving, he again deliberately plowed into the picket line. Despite the fact that the path from the hotel door to the street was completely clear and that at least one sighted person with him urged him not to do so, he veered to the side and jostled the marchers, who were forced back against the people behind them. As he completed this maneuver, he angrily said, "Get the f--- out of my way." The man's name is Bob Jones, and he is a long-time member of the American Council of the Blind. The blind of the nation can be proud to report that not one person replied in kind. The picketers simply walked around him and ignored the disruption.

On the third floor of the hotel the mood was definitely ugly. James Gashel, NFB Director of Governmental Affairs; Valerie Williams, his assistant; Steve Hastalis, a sound recording technician and member of the Chicago Chapter of the NFB; John Halverson, who was serving as a reporter for the Braille Monitor; and Marty Arellano, his assistant, had joined the group gathering for dinner. Federationists had been part of the Columbus, Ohio, meeting, and the word had been spread that Federationists were coming to Chicago--so a Federation contingent was on hand to record what happened on sound and video and to try to set the record straight during the after-dinner discussion.

The Federationists appeared promptly at 5:30, the beginning of the pre-dinner reception. When Grant Mack arrived, Dennis Hartenstine (executive director of NAC) was overheard telling him that about fifteen Federationists had crashed the event. (As has been said, five were actually in the room.) At first Mack ruled that they could stay as long as they were courteous. This was an easy condition to meet since the group had come with the intention of remaining courteous whatever happened. However, Mack's participation in the discussion that followed could hardly be characterized by the word "courtesy." But in the end he agreed to allow the Federationists to stay. Here is the transcript of part of the conversation between Grant Mack and James Gashel:

Mr. Mack: This was by invitation. You said somebody came with tickets.

Mr. Gashel: Well, Grant, you know we all have tickets.

Mr. Mack: Tickets for what?

Mr. Gashel: I have a ticket right here in my pocket.

Mr. Mack: To what?

Mr. Gashel: This event.

Mr. Mack (Becoming more agitated): We didn't sell tickets to this event.... Well, I don't know where you got your tickets or who paid for it, but it was not authorized, and you got a lot of damn balls to come in here and break in on it.

Mr. Gashel: I don't think anybody...

Mr. Mack: Now, we don't mind, but I want you to understand that you're not going to disrupt this meeting.

Mr. Gashel: Oh, we don't plan to.

Mr. Mack: All right.

Mr. Gashel: We don't plan to. That's not the purpose for being here.

Mr. Mack: Well, the hell it isn't.

Mr. Gashel: No it isn't, but I don't think you should say the things you did in Columbus or in St. Louis.

Mr. Mack: Well, we'll say the same things.

Mr. Gashel: And you will not be allowed to do that. You don't have to behave that way.

Mr. Mack: Well, we're going to say the truth.

Mr. Gashel: The truth doesn't include the things you said. You certainly have a right to promote anything you want to, but you don't have a right to bash us.

Mr. Mack: Nobody deserves it more, but this is like a private home, you see.

Mr. Gashel: Well, that's fine; it looked like a public meeting to us.

Mr. Mack: Well, it was not a public meeting; no one offered to sell you tickets.

Mr. Gashel: No, they gave me a ticket.

Mr. Mack: Who did?

Mr. Gashel: I don't know who gave it to me, to tell you the truth, but it was given to me. I assumed it came from the Illinois people.

Mr. Mack: Well, that is not right; we did not issue any tickets.

Mr. Gashel: Well, it looks to me like the Illinois people are a lot more cooperative than you are.

Mr. Mack: I'm plenty cooperative; I just think that the brashness of you...

Mr. Gashel: Nobody's going to disrupt your meeting.

Mr. Mack: Well, you're right about that. I just want you to understand that. I got no problem with you being here, not at all.

Mr. Gashel: I'd just like to have dinner with you.

Mr. Mack: Yes, I understand; you've come all the way from Baltimore just to have dinner.

Mr. Gashel: Absolutely....

Mr. Mack: You play it cool, baby.

Mr. Gashel: You too.

There you have the exchange between Grant Mack and James Gashel; and, if it cannot be characterized as cordial, it certainly leaves the reader (and, in fact, left Mr. Gashel) with the impression that the evening's host was resigned, at least, to having NFB observers in the meeting. Before dinner was served, however, Grant Mack seems to have lost his cool.

John Halverson, one of the leaders of the Missouri affiliate, was serving as a reporter for the Braille Monitor. In addition to observing the discussion, he was directing the work of a video cameraman, who was setting up his equipment during the reception. Dennis Hartenstine talked with Mack, and Mack hurried over to Halverson. This is what happened next, as John Halverson recalled it later for the Braille Monitor:

I said that I was a reporter for the Braille Monitor and planned to video the speeches. Both Mack and Hartenstine said there would be no taping in this meeting. Mack asked who had invited me to the meeting. I replied, "I am a member of the press and want to report on the NAC meeting. I also have a ticket for the dinner." Mack said that this was a private meeting and there would be no taping. At that point someone called for hotel security. Mack continued speaking and getting more angry. He repeated that it was a private meeting and that I was not invited. He said there were several uninvited guests in the room and they would have to leave. I told Mack that I was a member of the press in a public hotel covering a meeting which would be discussing federal funds for agencies serving the blind. I continued, "You are talking about the lives of blind persons; and I, as a reporter, have a right to be present."

At about this time a member of hotel security arrived. Mack said that, if I was not out of the room in five minutes, he would have the hotel call the police and they would bring the wagon and take me away. The hotel security guard agreed. Again, I stated that I was a member of the press and wanted to cover the meeting because it would deal with the lives of blind persons....

At about this time Mack became more belligerent. While speaking with me, he kept moving in closer, causing his dog guide to brush against my leg. At one time he said, "The Braille Monitor is a yellow journal." He said, "You are all liars," and he added that I was a liar.

I asked, "How do you know that I am a liar? You don't know me."

Mack repeated, "You are all liars. I know about you; I know you have a reputation for being a liar."

There you have the exchange between Grant Mack and John Halverson as Dr. Halverson reported it, and even though Mack got his way and the Monitor reporter was nonconfrontive (or maybe because of these facts), something in Grant Mack seemed to snap at this point. The next thing people noticed was that Mack was announcing in a loud and angry voice that all Federationists would have to leave the room or be arrested. Then he supervised as hotel security escorted the Federationists from the room, one by one. However, they were not leaving quickly enough for Grant Mack. According to witnesses, he sought them out individually, shouting and swearing at them to leave.

When he reached Steve Hastalis, he found him talking in a group composed of the superintendent of the Illinois school for the blind; the director of the state vocational rehabilitation agency; and Catherine Randall, first vice president of the NFB of Illinois, who was present as an advisory board member from the agency. Mack grabbed Hastalis's arm and, twisting it, spun Hastalis around to face him. According to several witnesses, Mack then shouted at him to "Get the hell out of here with that thing."

According to Hastalis, this was the first he had heard of any instruction to leave. He had been talking peacefully with friends and acquaintances, and he was suddenly spun around and shouted at. All he could think of was the need to stay on his feet. As a big city resident, he has been the object of several street muggings, and he knew that the violence directed at him by word and action could be dangerous if he were to be thrown to the ground in a vulnerable position. He says that he also knew that it was important for him to suppress his natural impulse to protect himself by fighting back as he has successfully done against muggers. He says that he was determined to be courteous and peaceful, so he concentrated his energy on keeping his temper and staying on his feet--an effort which, along with the force and torque of Mack's grasp on his arm, caused him to drop several pieces of the valuable equipment he was carrying. His microphone stand was broken and the microphone was damaged when Mack grabbed it and ripped it away from the battery pack.

Hastalis says that the school superintendent, Richard Umsted, later sought him out and apologized to him for what had happened. One of the members of the board of an agency that has not agreed to accept NAC-accreditation agency later commented to Catherine Randall that he had seen the whole thing and that it looked pretty violent to him. According to Randall the director of the vocational rehabilitation agency later told his table mates that the Federationists should not have been thrown out.

[PHOTO: NFB members gathered in meeting room at Bismarck hotel. CAPTION: Blind picketers have left the line in front of the hotel to hear a report from Marc Maurer concerning the physical attack made on Steve Hastalis by Grant Mack.]

Those who had been ejected from the NAC meeting then made a report to the full group of blind people, who came in from the picket line to hear what had happened. Everyone then took a break, returning to the picket line at about 8:15. In the meantime, Steve Hastalis had obviously been searching his soul. He was deeply shaken by the violence of Mack's rage. Hastalis is a quiet, gentle man. He goes about his business, earns his living, and believes in blind people. He came to the conclusion that the violence he had experienced at the hands of Grant Mack was wrong, so he called the police.

When they arrived, Grant Mack was chairing the meeting. He was summoned from the room and escorted by five of Chicago's police from the hotel. He was put into a paddy wagon and taken to the police station. Steve Hastalis and Peggy Pinder, who is an attorney in private practice, followed him in a squad car. They found that Oral Miller had already arrived, and the conclusion of the discussions that followed was that the police, unsure of their ground, decided not to act that evening. The whole matter was referred for further investigation.

Mack and Miller returned to the third-floor meeting at the Bismarck, and at the close of it Mack had one more distasteful encounter with a member of the Federation. Francesca Bacon, a member of the NFB staff and an active member of the Baltimore chapter, had spent the evening taking pictures of the picket line and the activities on the third floor. Here is an excerpt from her written account:

At 10:30 p.m. Mr. Mack and Mr. Hartenstine were leaving the meeting together, along with Matthew (Mack's dog guide), and I was taking the opportunity to get some pictures. Mr. Mack said, "Do you want me to autograph those pictures for you, Honey?" His tone was sarcastic.

I said, "Well, I suppose we could arrange to send you a copy or two of these pictures for you to autograph if that's what you want. And, by the way, my name is Miss Bacon, not Honey."

Mr. Mack's response was, "Well, Honey, you sound really hard up."

I said, "I am not your honey, and I am not hard up."

On Monday morning, December 10, 1990, a complaint was filed against Mack, and a hearing was set for early January. A summons was delivered to Grant Mack at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah, and there the matter stands at the time of this writing, (late December).

It is not certain at this time whether a peaceful resolution to this matter can be found. This is not the time when elements in the blindness field should be locked in an internal struggle. We are facing perhaps the most dangerous threat that has ever beset us--the juggernaut of the generic disability programs that would engulf us and submerge the needs of the blind in the larger (and, for the most part, very different) needs of the pan- disability movement. In recent years the major organizations in the blindness field have made very real strides in building new understandings and agreeing upon joint action. At this moment of genuine internal promise and profound external danger, NAC and its supporters have gathered themselves for one last effort to shatter the progress that has been made.

There are a growing number of professionals in the blindness field who have taken part in NAC's agency self-studies or on-site reviews who will say in private that both these exercises are frequently a bad joke played on staff and clients alike. When the blind protest that the accrediting body must bear some responsibility for poor agency service among its members, NAC replies that it is innocent. Surely there would be a public outcry against a city health department that licensed a restaurant that had repeated outbreaks of food poisoning. The city could argue that it had not given anyone food poisoning, that clean restaurants were also licensed, and that poor management might benefit from having health officials come from time to time to discuss the health code with them. But the victims of the food poisoning, their families and friends, and even those healthy people who might wander in to the restaurant occasionally would all resent the city's attitude and demand accountability. That is what the blind demand of NAC today-- accountability.

Be all of that as it may, the greatest enemy of NAC is NAC itself. On December 8, 1990, at the Bismarck Hotel in Chicago NAC probably provoked the trigger event which will finally cause its long overdue demise--and the blind of the nation, as well as most of the professionals in the field, will rejoice. The rejoicing will occur not because of NAC's failure but because of the harm which it has done to the blind and the agencies in the field. Surely it is time to put this unfortunate and unsuccessful episode behind us and to move on to a better day of harmony and cooperation. Let the dead be dead.

[PHOTO: Dennis Hartenstine and Grant Mack standing in Bismarck Hotel hallway. Grant Mack's dog guide, Matthew, is also shown. CAPTION: Grant Mack (right), chairman of NAC's Committee for the Advancement of Accreditation, and Dennis Hartenstine, NAC's Executive Director.]


From the Editor: As has been reported elsewhere in this issue of the Monitor, Grant Mack was taken to the Chicago police station in a paddy wagon on December 8, 1990. A few days after this incident, Mack circulated a document purporting to give the facts. We think it may be instructive to Monitor readers to know what he said, so we are printing the entire text of his paper. When conflicting claims are made, it is sometimes difficult to judge their accuracy. However, in the Grant Mack document we have a rare opportunity. It contains statements which are provably not true and which are refuted by the internal evidence of the document itself. This permits us to judge other statements by Mr. Mack when proof is not available one way or another.

All who were present at the Bismarck Hotel on December 8 agree that not more than thirty-five people were present at the dinner. All agree that Catherine Randall, First Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, was one of those present by invitation. In his paper Mack says: "All thirty- five people present offered to be a witness to the situation." We have talked with Catherine Randall, and she says that she made no such offer. If one argues that Mr. Mack was simply careless with his facts, it makes the point. Moreover, Steve Hastalis, who was the victim of Mack's attack, says that Richard Umsted (superintendent of the state school for the blind in Illinois) apologized to him for Mack's behavior. Others who were in the room expressed shock and surprise. Based on the evidence presented in the Mack paper and elsewhere in this issue of the Monitor, where does it seem that the truth lies?

There is more. In his paper Mack says "I discovered the room had at least 10 NFB people equipped with video cameras and microphones." There were only five NFB representatives in the room, and we have named them elsewhere in this issue of the Monitor. Perhaps Mr. Mack could tell us who the other five were. Moreover, there was one video camera and one tape recorder. Certainly all of these ten Federationists in the room were not equipped with video cameras and tape recorders. Again, would Mr. Mack like to prove to the contrary?

By Mr. Mack's own statement he committed a battery, which is a criminal act. His own words are: "I reached out, grabbed the microphone, tore it up, and threw it down." Of course, one could draw the clever distinction that Mr. Mack did not physically attack Steve Hastalis but only Hastalis's microphone, carefully avoiding any contact with Hastalis himself--but naivetŠ ends somewhere. Mack tries to explain his rowdyism by saying that when he arrived at the dinner he and others who were blind did not know of the multitude of video cameras and microphones that were present. Is this believable?

Members of the National Federation of the Blind have been attending NAC meetings for almost twenty years, and in each and every instance tape recorders have been brought. Mr. Mack has attended these meetings. Therefore, he knew (or had every reason to know) that recorders would be present. Additionally, he had already ejected John Halverson from the room and had discussed with Halverson the fact that Halverson had a video camera and that recording was being done. No, it won't wash, and Mr. Mack's contrived explanation does not alter the fact that a battery was committed.

The explanation which Mr. Mack gives as to why he was taken to the police station is laughable and transparently at variance with reality. "We were escorted to the elevator," he says, "down to the ground floor, and into a paddy wagon. Strangely, the entire distance from the meeting room to the paddy wagon was lined with `blind' NFBers with cameras, an obvious set-up." Is it really "strange" that the hall was lined with people and cameras? After all, the Federation representatives were there to demonstrate, and they knew that charges had been filed. It would have been "strange" if there had not been a large crowd on hand to witness the spectacle.

And what about the charge that the trip to the police station was "an obvious set-up?" How could it have been a set-up since no one knew in advance that Mr. Mack would lose his cool and physically attack Steve Hastalis, breaking a microphone and throwing it to the floor? No, again it won't do.

The microphone worked long enough to record Mr. Mack's foul language and swearing, his belligerence and real behavior. He lost his cool and probably gave the final death blow to NAC in the process. But let Mr. Mack's own words (words which he cannot now take back or deny) convict him. Here is the paper he circulated:

On Saturday, December 8, 1990, an NCAA (National Committee for the Advancement of Accreditation) committee-sponsored dinner was scheduled for the Bismarck Hotel in downtown Chicago. Preparations for the meeting had begun some three to four weeks prior to December 8. With the help of Joyce Russell, President, Illinois Council of the Blind, several responsible consumers as well as a number of agency directors (of both accredited and non- accredited agencies) had been issued invitations to attend this dinner meeting. Thirty-five people confirmed their intention to attend. Those who were asked to make presentations at the meeting were: Dr. Toni Heinze, Immediate Past President of AER and professor at Northern Illinois University; Dennis Hartenstine, Executive Director, National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped; Oral Miller, National Representative of the American Council of the Blind; Bob Esposito, American Foundation for the Blind representative in Washington, D.C.; Milton Samuelson, Executive Director of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind; and Dr. Richard Umsted, Superintendent of the School for the Blind in Jacksonville, Illinois.

A week or so before the actual meeting, rumors started to surface to the effect that the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) was going to picket the meeting in full force. What triggered this reaction on the part of NFB? Two similar meetings had been held in Missouri and Ohio respectively in October and November. NFB people were present at both meetings by invitation. Did the word reach NFB headquarters to the effect that these meetings had been successful in generating interest in accreditation; that the myths being promulgated about accreditation, what it is and isn't, was finally reaching responsible people; or was it a speech I made at the NAC Biennial meeting in Washington on November 18, in which I reported the success of these meetings and our intention to continue them?

At any rate, upon arrival in Chicago early on Saturday morning, it became very evident that NFB was in fact planning a major demonstration. On checking with hotel staff, I learned that the NFB people had come in the day before, found out where our dinner meeting was being held, and then immediately reserved rooms next to ours, obviously with the intention of disrupting our meeting. When informed about the potential problem, the hotel people were very cooperative in moving our meeting room to the opposite end of the third floor which would assure privacy. We also alerted the hotel to the fact that it was very possible that some trouble could develop and we insisted that they have plenty of security people on hand to handle any incidents.

The dinner was to be served promptly at 6:30 p.m. preceded by a hospitality gathering of thirty to forty minutes prior to that time. Upon reaching the room at approximately 5:45 p.m., I discovered the room had at least 10 NFB people equipped with video cameras and microphones. Those of us who are totally blind were, of course, not aware that the cameras and recorders were in place for some minutes after our arrival. James Gashel appeared to be their leader. He was told that they were not invited and were asked to leave. Their pretended innocence at being excluded from a meeting involving blind people should have tipped us off that it was a staged provocation. It was about at that point I learned the cameras and recorders were in place. After much jostling and patient cajoling, the hotel security people finally were able to remove most of them, but only after threatening to call the police. Mr. Milt Samuelson, Executive Director of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, told me that one person was left with a microphone, and that he was holding the mike right in front of me. I reached out, grabbed the microphone, tore it up, and threw it down. Security then cleared the room and we proceeded with our meeting.

At around 8:15 - 8:30 p.m., when the meeting was reaching the point where all the presentations had been made and we were getting to the "question and answer" period, I was informed by a person near the door that a Chicago policeman wanted to talk with me outside. I left my guide dog under the table and accompanied the lady to the door where I was informed by a sergeant from the Chicago Police Department that a complaint had been filed against me for battery, and he requested that I come with him for questioning. I suggested the meeting was nearly over and if he would wait, I would accompany him. He said he was sorry but I must come now. Someone retrieved my dog for me and informed Oral Miller of what was happening, so, when Matthew and Oral Miller appeared in the entrance, we all left.

We were escorted to the elevator, down to the ground floor, and into a paddy wagon. Strangely, the entire distance from the meeting room to the paddy wagon was lined with "blind" NFBers with cameras, an obvious set-up. Oral Miller was put in a police car and we were taken to the Downtown Loop police station.

After being ushered to an inner room, the sergeant left and returned with the captain. Responding to the captain's query on exactly what happened, I repeated the story as outlined above. He disappeared, returned shortly, and then apologized for the inconvenience. He said he had lectured Steven Hastalis, the complainant, on the right to privacy and the laws of eavesdropping with electronic devices, and he suggested that there should be no more trouble from him. As the sergeant escorted Oral Miller and me back to the paddy wagon for the return trip to the hotel, he said, "Had I been in the same situation, I would have found it difficult to keep from hitting the guy."

Oral Miller and I returned to the hotel and were surprised to find the meeting still in session. The meeting concluded and many people apologized for the inconvenience experienced in Chicago. I told them it was not their fault. It was not Chicago people or Illinois people who caused it, but outsiders. All thirty-five people present offered to be a witness to the situation.

This unbelievable incident has been reported as correctly as I can remember it. It is incredible to me that someone who proports (sic) to be interested in the welfare of blind people can continue to waste time, means, and effort in a mindless vendetta against an organization which many years ago he found that he could not control.


by Peggy Pinder

Robert Heinlein, the science fiction writer, is remembered and read fondly by millions all over the world. To my mind, he has four outstanding strengths: First, he locates crucial action in two of his books in Grinnell, Iowa. Second, all but one of his books include cats as characters, the exception being one in which the principal action takes place on the moon. Third, he wrote The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, an achievement which, by itself, would crown any life's accomplishments. And, fourth, he formulated and disseminated the important concept of Tanstaafl--"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."

The National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) has thought for a long time that it is above the rules of the game, including the one about free lunches. Its very existence has been a free lunch. NAC has never been a going concern. It has never made enough money through fees to cover its expenses for the service it offers. Every year it has made the rounds of various benefactors, such as the American Foundation for the Blind, trumpeting the value of its services and asking for money to make budgetary ends meet. And every year, someone has come up with the cash. For each of its twenty-four years, NAC has run a deficit and has been saved by others from the usual consequences of such behavior. No wonder NAC believes there is a free lunch; it has been on a twenty-four-year binge, eating on somebody else's tab.

The American Council of the Blind, an organization with a well-deserved reputation of its own for sitting down at other people's tables whenever and wherever the board has been spread, has steadily (if ineffectually) raised its voice in support of NAC. In the November, 1982, Braille Forum (the ACB's publication) Grant Mack, the then president of the ACB, wrote, "Let it be noted from now on the ACB will use all its power to encourage every agency to seek accreditation. Those agencies that have turned their backs on accreditation in the past will no longer do so with impunity. This is not a threat, but merely a statement of fact, because the American Council of the Blind plans to use every method at its disposal to make certain that every agency serving the blind is accredited."

So said the ACB's president in 1982, and through the years the ACB members of the NAC cheering section have remained faithful and vociferous despite the continuing refusal of the vast majority of agencies in the field to ally themselves with NAC and despite the increasing tide of accredited agencies divesting themselves of their NAC seals.

In 1986, when some of its traditional benefactors began to show weariness at NAC's yearly raid on their balance sheets, NAC started down a new avenue for meeting its expenses. National Industries for the Blind (NIB), the agency that actually hands out federal contracts to sheltered workshops under the Javits-Wagner-O'Day program, announced to all workshops that they could be accredited by NAC at no cost to themselves. NIB would pay the tab. This new effort to cover NAC's annual deficits would result in two free lunches: NAC would get fees from more accredited agencies, and workshops would get accreditation without having to pay for it. That is the attractive offer that NIB made to NAC and the workshops. Those involved in the planning undoubtedly expected this to create a situation in which everyone would be happy, and the Heinlein principle of tanstaafl ("There ain't no such thing as a free lunch") would be proved wrong forever.

There was only one fly in this ointment. The workshops didn't care for the offer. Apparently they had read Heinlein, and they knew all about the real cost of a free lunch. They stayed away in droves from the offer of free NAC accreditation.

Late in 1989 NIB added dessert to the free lunch it proposed to serve to NAC. Not only would NIB pay for any workshop that wanted accreditation, but NIB itself would also give NAC $300,000 over the next three years, $125,000 the first year. Shortly before this generous offer was made, NIB announced that it was increasing the commission that workshops must pay to it. Though the law gives workshops for the blind a priority in the letting of federal contracts, NIB got in the way years ago and convinced everybody that it should be the middle man between government and workshop, taking a cut of every contract as the money passed by. NIB announced a hike in this commission rate; and, although it stoutly maintained that other expenses had driven up the commission rate, everyone understood that the real explanation was the need to pay for its generous gift to NAC. (Well, of course, as you can see, NIB wasn't exactly doing the giving. It was to come from the workshops--but the workshops don't count. So NIB was doing the giving.) The cost of the free lunch began to be revealed.

This hike in the commission rate brought forth a storm of protest. Workshops use the proceeds from contracts to pay the salaries of managers and the wages of workers and to buy raw materials for the next contract. NIB's extra bite out of the contract proceeds meant less for everybody in the workshops. So feeling the pinch, the managers and workers found themselves for once in the same camp, resisting NAC.

NIB has heard a proverb or two in its time, so it tried to lure the fly out of the ointment by using a little honey. But the only honey it could come up with turned out to be the renewal of its old promise to pay every cent of accreditation costs for each sheltered workshop in the country. But the workshops were still not biting. They knew about two chickens in every pot, pie in the sky, and free lunches--and they had also had a look at the check. The cost was coming out of commissions (the commissions paid by the workshops to NIB), and it was too high.

All of this serves as prelude to the banquet served up at the fall meeting of the General Council of Workshops for the Blind, held from October 21 to 24, 1990, in New Orleans. At these gatherings workshop managers congregate; NIB comes; and meetings of all sorts occur. These include regional gatherings of the General Council, as well as full meetings of all workshop representatives and a meeting of the NIB board of directors. On Sunday, October 21, 1990, the workshop representatives met by region over breakfast. Each region considered topics of interest to its members, including any issues of national scope that regional members chose to bring up. Knowing the process and having plans of their own, the friendly folks at NIB and NAC had decided to seek workshop and NIB board approval of a resolution which would recommend that the federal Rehabilitation Act be amended to require accreditation before any federal rehabilitation money could be received. Many workshops, of course, receive federal rehabilitation money in addition to their federal contract priority sales. Here is the text of the resolution as it was circulated:

WHEREAS, accreditation of education, human, and social service programs for people with disabilities is essential to ensure quality services and program accountability; and

WHEREAS, both taxpayers and beneficiaries of services increasingly are demanding assurance of quality of programs funded by federal tax dollars; and

WHEREAS, authorities under the Rehabilitation Act expire September 30, 1991 and the Act will be amended and extended by Congress next year; and

WHEREAS, programs under the Rehabilitation Act would benefit by linking federal funding to accreditation;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Industries for the Blind supports and endorses amendments to the Rehabilitation Act to require accreditation as a condition for federal funding for programs authorized under such legislation;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution shall be provided to the Secretary of Education and appropriate subsidiary officials of the Department of Education, and to the Congress.


There it is, and one can see why a number of workshop managers were less than enthusiastic when they read it and thought about the implications. Richard Brueckner, President of Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, was one who put his thoughts on paper in a letter to a member of Region I of the General Council. Although he was not planning to attend the fall meeting, he wanted to be certain that his views were heard and understood. Here is what he had to say:

Baltimore, Maryland
October 18, 1990

Mr. Alan Wingrove
Delaware Industries for the Blind
New Castle, Delaware

Dear Sir:

Please be advised that Blind Industries and Services of Maryland is absolutely and unequivocally opposed to the proposed resolution in support of accreditation to be presented to the NIB Board of Directors on Sunday, October 21, 1990.

This organization cannot support the idea of accreditation without an impartial consideration of the accrediting authority which confirms its legitimacy, its ability to make sound decisions, and its ability to apply fair standards.

This organization can in no way support the activities of NAC, which currently pretends to provide accreditation to organizations such as ours.

We strongly urge the NIB Board of Directors not to adopt this resolution.

Richard J. Brueckner, President
Blind Industries and Services of Maryland

The topic of the resolution was raised at all four regional meetings over breakfast. The results were like this:

Region IV, basically the Far West and Southwest, discussed the resolution and then tabled any further action on it. Regions II and III, the country's midsection, heard mention of the resolution from the podium and didn't even bother to discuss it. Region I, the Eastern Seaboard, discussed the proposed resolution with vigor. After vehement expressions of opinion from many, the Eastern Seaboard region voted unanimously and resoundingly to reject the resolution. Not a single region supported it, and attitudes ranged from unwillingness to discuss the issue to strenuous opposition.

NIB's board met later that day. In the chair was Grant Mack, bringing to NIB all of the skill he showed in shepherding the American Council of the Blind to virtual financial and other ruin when he was president of that organization. Mack had the constant, personal support and assistance of Dennis Hartenstine, executive director of NAC, who was much in evidence this day, offering to talk to anyone who would listen. The discussion at the NIB board meeting began with Mack's opening the subject in a tone of sweet reason, as if the topic were one on which all people of good will would agree. But the proceeding quickly progressed to stormy debate and ended with the NIB board tabling the resolution. One observer stated that the NAC opponents began as a minority; but as the depth and strength of the opposition to NAC became evident, they gained a majority of the votes and tabled the matter. Another observer (a strong supporter of NAC) was heard to comment that the tabling of the motion was the only way out of a bad situation for Mack and NAC. The pro-NAC forces did not realize the strength and depth of opposition to NAC and fought a rearguard action to avoid having the resolution actually defeated by pleading that it be tabled while the re-authorization of the Rehabilitation Act was under discussion. Then, says our NAC supporter, after NAC accreditation is completely ignored in the 1991 Rehabilitation Act re-authorization, the issue will be allowed to pass away quietly into the night.

According to several reports, Grant Mack was beside himself over his failure to contrive board passage of the pro-NAC resolution. Mack, of course, would not have characterized his defeat in such terms, maintaining fiercely that the resolution was written to support the concepts of accreditation and quality standards in general and that NAC--the only major accrediting body in the blindness field as Mack would put it--was just an incidental beneficiary. But whichever way one describes the resolution, the obvious fact remains that NIB's attempt to go on record as supporting incorporation of an accreditation prerequisite in the Rehabilitation Act amendments has failed. By the time the matter can be raised again at an NIB Board meeting in the spring, the amendment recommendations will pretty much have been agreed upon. Everyone in the NIB Board meeting with any political sense understood this timetable and took part in the discussion in full recognition of it.

With this fact in mind, it is interesting to note the way in which Grant Mack described the NIB Board's action (or lack of action) when he was asked directly about it in a public meeting on November 15, 1990, in Columbus, Ohio. He told Barbara Pierce, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio, that several members of the NIB board seemed, as he put it, unable to understand the true intent of the resolution. They apparently thought, he said, that federal contracts with the workshops might soon be predicated on NAC accreditation. According to Mack, it was clear to proponents of the resolution that no matter how simply and clearly (in fact, no matter how earnestly) they stated the purity and innocence of their intentions, there were going to be a couple of votes against the resolution. Mack said with a perfectly straight face that the proponents felt that it was important to have a unanimous vote in support of the resolution, so the decision was made to table it until it could be explained to those who couldn't understand. In that way a unanimous vote could be secured the next time around.

It will be remembered that Grant Mack said in 1982 that the ACB would "use all its power to encourage every agency to seek accreditation" and that "those agencies which have turned their back on accreditation will no longer do so with impunity." It would seem that the ACB's power now extends to the rewriting of history (at least, when in Columbus, Ohio) and to ignoring obvious facts about the financial stability of NAC. Surely everyone would have to agree that NAC's survival is currently dependent on NIB's financial support and further that NIB's continued financial support depends, in turn, on widespread acceptance of NAC by the workshop managers. That acceptance is now at an all-time low and likely to sink still lower.

NAC has now become hooked on the free lunch. It seems to have concluded that, for it to exist, agencies throughout the country will have to be compelled to accredit. Voluntary association is not enough. With this part of NAC's analysis we heartily agree. Almost nobody outside the original network of NAC creators supports NAC these days. Agencies have to watch their pennies, explain their expenditures, and justify sending tens of thousands of dollars out of state to a New York entity from which they can demonstrate no corresponding benefit. Agencies must also deal with the reality that blind consumers are offended and insulted by NAC and that NAC accreditation poisons efforts to develop strong partnerships with local members of the blind community. We, the blind, have seen too much poor service and life-endangering action by agencies accredited by NAC to permit the farce to continue. We decided long ago that we, the blind, would speak for ourselves. More and more agencies are listening.

A final interesting note to this most recent effort by NAC to cadge another free lunch. One of NAC's earliest and strongest supporters is Carl Augusto, now head of the Cincinnati Association for the Blind, including its famous (or perhaps infamous) workshop. Augusto hopes that his decades of agreeing with NAC and its old boy network will land him some day at the head table. It is common knowledge that he is aiming at the executive directorship of the American Foundation for the Blind. He is also aiming for a very special place by a set of wily tactics he hopes will gain him applause from the NAC crowd. The Cincinnati Association is now a union shop, which gets work from NIB. Augusto is reportedly toying with the idea of transforming his workshop from one employing only the blind to one employing a broader group of the severely handicapped. The blind have collective bargaining; the severely handicapped do not. Augusto, like Frank Lorenzo before him, hopes to step to greatness over a broken union. We would merely note that it didn't work for Lorenzo, and there is no reason to expect that Augusto will fare any better.

As for NAC, it is clear that its time is running out. After alternately bullying and flattering the workshops with threats and promises of accreditation, it has apparently worn out its welcome. In place of the elusive free lunch, we commend to NAC that other pastime conducted at tables, the poker game--and particularly the song about it made famous by Kenny Rogers:

You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run.

The time has come for NAC to run. Tanstaafl. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Sooner or later, one pays--and NAC's bill has come due.


A Report to National Federation of the Blind Members
by Kenneth Jernigan, President
National Federation of the Blind

From the Editor: I delivered this address at the 1971 convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Houston. NAC's president and executive director had come to discuss what NAC was doing and why. My remarks were meant to set the tone for the debate. In the context of NAC's current maneuvering I think this 1971 analysis is still pertinent. Here it is:

When the Commission on Standards and Accreditation on Services for the Blind (COMSTAC) and its successor organization, the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Impaired (NAC), came into being during the 1960s, the leaders of the organized blind movement sounded the alarm. It was pointed out that the American Association of Workers for the Blind had unsuccessfully tried, during the 1950s, to gain control of the field of work for the blind by instituting what it called a "seal of good practices." Of the several hundred agencies and organizations in this country doing work with the blind only twenty or thirty ever applied for and received this "seal." Several of those which did were not regarded by the blind as either very effective or very progressive. As the decade of the '60s approached, the proponents of rigid agency control apparently decided to change tactics. The American Foundation for the Blind and certain other leading agency officials adopted the idea of establishing a so-called "independent" accrediting system for all groups doing work with the blind. Although individual blind persons who were agency officials were involved in the establishment and development of COMSTAC, the blind as a group were not consulted--that is, the representative organizations of the blind were not given a voice, except occasionally as a matter of tokenism. Thus, the consumers of the services were not heard in any meaningful way, and they had no part in developing or promulgating the standards to govern the agencies established to give them assistance.

Profiting by the earlier failure of the AAWB "seal of good practices" experiment, the authors of COMSTAC built more carefully. The American Foundation for the Blind appointed an "independent" commission--the Commission on Standards and Accreditation for Services for the Blind (COMSTAC). The full-time staff consultant for COMSTAC was a staff member of the AFB, on loan to the group, purely as a means of demonstrating the Foundation's concern with the improvement of services for the blind. To add respectability, people of prestige outside of the field of work with the blind were placed on the commission-- public officials, business executives, the dean of the Temple Law School, etc. These were people of good will and integrity, but they were not knowledgeable concerning the problems of blindness. Obviously they took their tone and orientation from the Foundation appointees on COMSTAC. All of these appointees, it must be borne in mind, were high-ranking officials doing work with the blind. Not one of them represented the blind themselves. Not one of them came from a membership organization of blind persons.

As its work developed, COMSTAC divided into subcommittees, involving hundreds of people throughout the country, since the subcommittees further subdivided into smaller groups. Again, the pattern was followed. The subcommittees, or the subcommittees of the subcommittees, had, in every instance, at least one of the COMSTAC agency officials as a member, plus people of prestige and ordinary rank and file agency workers or board members. In fact, at the sub-subcommittee level a few members of the organized blind movement were even added.

The American Foundation for the Blind and COMSTAC were later to proclaim with pride that they had sought and achieved a broad consensus throughout the field of work with the blind. However, the method of arriving at that consensus was, to say the least, novel. At Denver in the summer of 1965, for instance, the AAWB convention was largely taken up with a discussion of the COMSTAC standards--to gather opinions and achieve consensus, it was said. Only the discussion leaders had copies of the standards (there had been a delay in mimeographing), and any touchy point which was raised was answered either by the statement that it was covered somewhere else in the COMSTAC standards or that another group was discussing that matter and it was not properly the concern of the group in which it had been raised.

Home teachers from throughout the country were present and were considering the standards affecting their specialty. The overwhelming majority apparently disagreed with a particular item in the COMSTAC document and suggested that a vote be taken to determine the sentiments of the group. They were informed by the discussion leader that a vote certainly would not be taken but that their views would be reported to COMSTAC, which had the sole responsibility for deciding such matters.

Throughout the summer and fall of 1965 promises were repeatedly made that copies of the proposed COMSTAC standards would be made available. They were forthcoming, hundreds of pages of them--three days prior to the final conference in New York City, which brought together hundreds of agency representatives for the announced purpose of arriving at a final consensus. Dr. Jacobus tenBroek and I attended that conference. Again, the democracy and fair play with which it was conducted were novel. One had to indicate in writing ahead of time which particular group discussion he would like to attend. There was no assurance that his choice would be honored. He might be assigned to another group. He could not move from group to group at all. If he had not received a special invitation, he could not attend the meetings. COMSTAC appointees were stationed at the door to check credentials, and I personally witnessed the turning away of one agency director who had been critical of COMSTAC.

It is no wonder that the blind people of the country felt apprehensive. What type of standards were likely to emerge from a commission so appointed and so conducted? Not only the blind but also many of the agencies expressed concern. Many felt that the AFB and federal rehabilitation officials (unwittingly aided by people of prestige in the broader community) would impose a system of rigid controls--which would stifle initiative, foster domination, and take the emphasis off of real service and place it on bureaucracy, red tape, and professional jargon. It was further felt that what purported to begin as a voluntary system would (once firmly established) become mandatory. The AFB and other proponents of COMSTAC and its successor organization, NAC, vigorously denied these assertions. COMSTAC and NAC were to be truly independent. Their very watchword was to be objectivity. They were to be the means of improving services to blind people throughout the country and the vehicle for progressive thought and constructive change.

Readers of the Braille Monitor will remember that from 1965 through 1968 a detailed analysis was made of the COMSTAC and NAC reports and activities. The fact that the Federation has not called attention in recent months to COMSTAC and NAC should not lead the blind to believe that the threat has passed or the situation improved. Quite the contrary is the case.

The question of NAC's independence, for example, is no longer a matter for serious debate. The Scriptures tell us that "where a man's treasure is, there will his heart be also." In an official NAC document entitled "Budget Comparison--1968 and 1969," dated April 15, 1968, the following items appear.

"Total approved budget calendar year 1968, $154,034; total projected calendar year 1969, $154,000. Estimated income 1968: grant from American Foundation for the Blind $70,000; grant from Department of Health, Education, and Welfare $75,000. Estimated income 1969: grant from American Foundation for the Blind $70,000; grant from Department of Health, Education, and Welfare $70,000."

Today (in 1971) the overwhelming majority of NAC's funds still come from HEW and the American Foundation for the Blind. Many of the NAC meetings are held at the AFB building in New York, and the executive director of NAC is a former Foundation staff member, the same one who was on "loan" to COMSTAC. When the first annual NAC awards were given, in 1970, it may be of significance that two recipients were named: Mr. Jansen Noyes, President of the Board of Directors of the American Foundation for the Blind; and Miss Mary Switzer, the long-time head of rehabilitation in the federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Even more to the point may be Miss Switzer's comments upon that occasion as reported in the NAC minutes of April 24, 1970: "She predicted that difficult times might lie ahead if agencies accept the idea of standards but do nothing about them. The expending or withholding of public money can provide the incentive that is needed."

Thus spoke Miss Switzer, confirming what Federation leaders had predicted and COMSTAC spokesmen had denied a decade ago. The full meaning of Miss Switzer's statement was spelled out by Alexander Handel, Executive Director of NAC, as reported in the NAC minutes of April 25, 1970: "Mr. Handel reported a new and important step in encouraging accreditation. The Council of State Administrators has passed a resolution that by July 1, 1974, state rehabilitation agencies will require that agencies from which they purchase services be accredited." The use of the word "encouraging" in this context is almost reminiscent of George Orwell's double-think and new-speak of 1984--only thirteen years away, at that. Perhaps sooner. The "encouraging" of agencies to seek accreditation from NAC will probably be called by some by the ugly name of blackmail. The pressure for conformity and the concentration of power could well be the most serious threat to good programs for the blind in the decade ahead.

Federationists who attended the 1966 Louisville convention will remember that a report on COMSTAC and NAC was given at that time. I had been officially asked to serve on the NAC board. The offer was, of course, tokenism of the most blatant sort; and the question was whether to accept, leaving the Federation open to the charge of approving NAC actions, or to reject, exposing us to the charge of non-cooperation and leaving us with no means of observing and getting information. Federationists will remember that it was decided that I should accept the invitation. Thus, I have been a member of the NAC board since its inception. In the spring of 1970 I was elected to another three-year term. There are more than thirty NAC board members, of whom I am one.

While expressing my minority views, I have tried to be personally congenial and friendly with the NAC board members. Nevertheless, tokenism remains tokenism. The other members of the board not only seemed unconcerned with but unaware of the non- representative character of NAC. It is as if General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, and American Motors should set up a council and put six or seven officials from each of their companies on its board and then ask the UAW to contribute a single representative. What would the unions do in such a situation? What would racial minorities do if their representative organizations were offered such tokenism--in the establishment and promulgation of standards affecting their lives? I think we know what they would do. They would take both political and court action, and they would instigate mass demonstrations. Perhaps the blind should take a leaf from the same book. We cannot and should not exhibit endless patience. We cannot and should not forever tolerate the intolerable. I continue to sit on the NAC board, but I often wonder why. It does not discuss the real problems which face the blind today or the methods of solving those problems. In fact, NAC itself may well be more a part of the problem than the solution. I repeat that tokenism by any other name is still tokenism. In May of 1969, for instance, I received a document from NAC entitled "Statement of Understanding Among National Accreditation Council, National Industries for the Blind and the General Council of Workshops for the Blind." This document was sent to all NAC board members with the request that they vote to approve or disapprove it. It contained six points, of which one and five are particularly pertinent. They are as follows: "1. By June 30, 1970, all NIB affiliated shops shall have either: a. applied to NAC for accreditation and submitted a self-study guide (or) b. applied to the General Council for a Certificate of Affiliation with NIB and submitted a self-study guide. 5. Certificates of Affiliation with NIB entitle shops to membership in the General Council and to access through NIB to: a. Government business allocated by NIB, b. Commercial business allocated by NIB, c. Consulting services of NIB, d. Any and all other benefits of NIB affiliation." In other words if a workshop for the blind wishes any contracts from the federal government, it had better get into line and "volunteer" for accreditation by NAC. No pressure, of course, merely a system of "voluntary accreditation!" As you might expect, I voted no on the NIB agreement. Along with my ballot, I sent the following comments:

"I do not approve this statement because I do not believe government contracts and other benefits to workshops should be conditioned upon their accreditation by NAC. Rather, receipt of government contracts and other benefits should depend upon the quality of performance of the workshop in question. Does the shop pay at least a minimum wage? Do its workers have the rights associated with collective bargaining? What sort of image of blindness does it present to the public?

"Prior to NAC (in the days of COMSTAC) many of us said that NAC would become a vehicle for blackmail--dressed out nicely, of course, in professional jargon. It would appear that the prophecy is beginning to come true, earlier assurances to the contrary notwithstanding."

As I say, I voted no. What do you suppose the final tally of the ballots indicated? Twenty-seven yes votes and one no vote. How different the results might have been if there had been equal representation of the blind themselves and the agencies! Yes, tokenism is still tokenism.

In order that my position cannot be twisted or misinterpreted I would like to say that the quarrel is not with the concept of accreditation itself. Rather, we object to what is being done in the name of accreditation. Proper accreditation by a properly accredited group is a constructive thing. What NAC is doing is something else altogether.

There is, of course, not time here to go into the details of all of the standards originally developed by COMSTAC and how being fostered by NAC, but a brief sample is sufficient to make the point. Federationists will remember that the Braille Monitorfor February, 1966, carried an analysis of the COMSTAC standards on physical facilities. That analysis said in part:


The standards [on physical facilities] are perhaps notable chiefly in that they are so vague and minimal as to be equally applicable to office buildings, nursing homes, or universities by the simple substitution of the names of these other facilities....

Perhaps a brief run-down of the standards themselves would serve as the best and most complete illustration (headings theirs).

1. Overall Suitability--The total facility is constructed to best serve the needs of the particular agency. It will adequately serve everyone concerned. It will meet the requirements of its governing body, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and the city building code. The physical facilities will be helpful to the program.

2. Location--The facility is located where it can easily be reached by staff, clients, and others who need to use it. The facility should be close to shopping and other community interests. The location is reasonably safe, with hazards minimized.

3. Grounds--The grounds will be large enough to allow for future expansion. They will be pleasant ("free of undue nuisances and hazards,"), with parking areas and roadways. Signs will be posted to help people locate the proper areas.

4. Activity Area--The layout of the facility will be efficient. The facility will be designed for the planned activities, will be large enough and well organized (reception rooms next to entries, work areas together, etc.). Sufficient maintenance will be provided for.

5. Privacy--People will have as much privacy as individual cases call for. Confidentiality will be maintained.

6. Health and Safety--The health and safety codes of the community will be met. Sufficient heat and light will be provided. Sanitary conditions will be as good as possible. Suitable entries will be provided for wheelchairs, etc. Safety features will be related to the level of competence of the occupants, the activities undertaken, and the equipment used. Adequate first aid facilities are provided.

7. Fire and Disaster Protection--All buildings will be so designed and equipped as to minimize the danger of fire. The buildings will be inspected by local authorities and/or independent authorities and records of inspection kept. Smoking areas are clearly specified. Proper protection shall be provided the occupants of the facility to minimize danger should fire or disaster occur. Suitable fire extinguishers will be provided. Fire alarms will be installed as to be heard throughout the facility. Fire drills will be held irregularly. Special provisions will be made for fire warnings to deaf-blind.

8. Maintenance--"The condition of the physical facility gives evidence of planful and effective maintenance and housekeeping."

9. Remodeling--When remodeling is undertaken, it should be to best suit the needs of the program.

The preceding is an inclusive summary! One can imagine the breadth of interpretation that can result from application of these standards. One can also imagine the range of individual whim and axe-grinding, not to say blackmail and favoritism, that can enter into the proposed accreditation of agencies for the blind based on such vague and capricious requirements. The danger to be anticipated is the possibility of varying application of standards to friends and foes when "accrediting" agencies....

One is tempted to dismiss this entire report of "Standards for Physical Facilities" with the single word, "Blah!" But more intensive study indicates otherwise. Tucked away among the platitudes and the generalities are the age-old misconceptions and stereotypes.

What, for instance, is meant by the requirement that a facility for the blind be located near to shopping and other community interests, and that it be in a location reasonably safe, with hazards minimized? The exact words of the committee are, "Where undue hazards cannot be avoided, proper measures are instituted to assure the safety of all persons coming to the agency. (For example, where an agency is on a street with heavy traffic, a light or crosswalk or other means is available for safe crossing by blind persons.)"

If this standard is simply meant to express the general pious platitude that everybody ought to be as safe as possible, then what a farcical and pathetic waste of time and money to assemble a committee to spell out what everybody already knows. On the other hand, if the standard means to imply that the blind are not able to live and compete among the ordinary hazards of the regular workaday world and that they need more shelter and care than others, the implications are not only false but the are insidiously vicious.

Of a similar character is the committee's statement that the grounds must "provide pleasant and appropriate surroundings, and be free of undue nuisances and hazards." Surely we do not need a special commission on standards and accreditation to tell us that people should live in pleasant surroundings that are free of undue hazards, if this is all that is meant. If, however, the committee is saying that the blind require surroundings that are more "pleasant and free from hazards" than the surroundings required by other people, one cannot help but be unhappily reminded of the 19th century concept that the blind should be entertained and provided with recreation, that they should be helped in every way possible to "live with their misfortune."

If this type of analysis seems blunt, one can only reply that this is no time for nice words and mousy phrases. The people who were formerly the Commission on Standards, and are now the National Accreditation, hold themselves out to the public at large as the qualified experts, the people who have the right to make standards and grant or refuse accreditation to all and the sundry. These are not children indulging in the innocent games of childhood. They are adults, playing with the lives of hundreds of people.


Federationists should review the Braille Monitor from 1965 through 1968 to study the COMSTAC reports in light of present developments. I have not tried here to analyze the content of those reports. Mostly it is bad, and the standards and rules established by COMSTAC and NAC harmful. Let anyone who doubts this assertion read the COMSTAC reports and the Monitor analyses. They speak for themselves.

One final matter requires comment. At a recent meeting of the National Accreditation Council I was telling a new member of the board (a prominent businessman totally uninformed about the problems faced by the blind) that I thought most of the actions of NAC were irrelevant. He seemed surprised and said something to this effect:

"If you think what we are doing here is not relevant, what is relevant?"

To which I said, "Last fall a blind man in Minneapolis (a person who had worked for several years as a computer programmer at Honeywell and was laid off because of the recession) applied to take a civil service examination for computer programmer with the city of Minneapolis. His application was rejected, on the grounds of blindness. The National Federation of the Blind helped him with advice and legal counsel. As a result, he took the examination, and he now has a job with the city of Minneapolis as a computer programmer.

"How many of the people who are on the NAC board," I asked, "are even aware that such an incident occurred? How many of them think it is important?"

"Or," I went on, "consider another incident. A few weeks ago in Ohio a blind high school senior (duly elected by her class) was denied the right to attend the American Legion Girls' State. The story was carried nationwide by United Press, and the matter is still pending. Do you see any of these people here today concerned or excited about this case? Do you see them trying to do anything about it?"

"Well," my companion replied, "your organization seems to be working on matters like this. Maybe NAC is doing good in other areas."

"The difficulty," I told him, "is that the actions of NAC are helping to create the kind of problem situations I have been describing to you."

"How?" he asked me.

"NAC," I said, "accredits workshops, for instance. What kind of standards does it use in determining whether a shop should be approved and presented to the public as a worthy and progressive institution? NAC is concerned about whether the workshop has a good accounting system. It is concerned about good pay and good working conditions for the professional staff (almost all of them sighted). It is concerned with the physical facilities and (perhaps) whether there is a psychologist or psychiatrist available to minister to the blind workers. But what about minimum wages for those same blind workers, or the right of collective bargaining, or grievance committees? On such items NAC is silent. It will accredit a sheltered shop which pays less than fifty cents an hour to its blind workers. By so doing, it puts its stamp of approval on such practices. It helps perpetuate the system that has kept the blind in bondage and made them second-class citizens through the centuries. It helps to slam the door on the computer programmer in Minneapolis and the high school student in Ohio. Worst of all, perhaps, it reinforces and helps to continue the myth that blindness means inferiority, that the blind are unable to compete on terms of equality in regular industry or the professions, that the blind should be grateful for what they have and stay in their places. The workshop example is only that, an example. The same theme is everywhere present in NAC's action and standards--and, for that matter, in its very makeup."

As we talked, my businessman companion seemed shocked that there were sheltered shops paying less than the minimum wage to blind workers. Yet, he is on the NAC board, lending his name to the accreditation. I pointed out to him a variety of other ways in which the work of NAC is helping to promote misconceptions about blindness and add to our problems. I can only hope that the seeds I planted will bear fruit.

To round out the picture we are considering today, one further item might be mentioned. The April 25, 1968 minutes of NAC report as follows:

"Over thirty agencies and schools have indicated, in writing, an interest in applying for accreditation. Official applications have been received from six agencies. Some of these have already paid the application fee. The American Council of the Blind is the first membership association to apply for membership in the National Accreditation Council."

In a letter dated July 11, 1968, from Alexander Handel, Executive Director of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped, to members of the NAC Board of Directors an article is discussed which appears in the July, 1968, issue of the Braille Forum (the official publication of the American Council of the Blind). The article says in part:

"It should be emphasized, however, that from the first, ACB officers and members actively consulted with the various committees developing the standards, and ACB was the only national organization of the blind which both participated in and financially supported the National Conference on Standards which led to the formation of the National Accreditation Council."

I give you this quotation without comment. It speaks for itself. So do the actions of NAC. I presume all of you have read the exchange of correspondence concerning the appearance of NAC representatives at this meeting today. The contempt and condescension inherent in NAC's bland assumption that it was proper to reject our invitation to appear at this convention because a debate might occur are clear for all to see. Likewise, the agreement just concluded between NAC and the American Foundation for the Blind whereby the Foundation will work with agencies and help prepare them for accreditation is equally revealing.

In any case the one central point which must be repeatedly hammered home is the total irrelevance of NAC as it is now constituted and as it is now performing. What we need today and in the years ahead is not more detailed standards but a real belief in the competence and innate normality of blind people, a willingness on the part of agency officials to help blind people secure meaningful training and competitive employment, a recognition that the blind are able to participate fully in the mainstream of American life. We need acceptance and equality, not shelter and care.

When seen in this light, NAC must be viewed as one of our most serious problems in the decade ahead. The blind of the nation should thoroughly inform themselves about its activities and should insist upon a voice in determining the character of programs affecting their lives. We should insist that state and federal governments not delegate their powers of setting standards for state agencies to a private group, which is not responsive to the needs or views of the consumers of the services. It is true that many of the agencies doing work with the blind need to be reformed and improved, but NAC is not the entity to do it. We the organized blind intend (in the best tradition of American democracy) to have something to say about the scope and direction of the reform and the improvement. We are not children, nor are we psychological cripples. We are free citizens, fully capable of participating in the determination of our own destiny, and we have every right and intention of having something to say about what is done with our lives.


by Peggy Pinder

Anniversaries are times to pause and look back, to take stock and contemplate the future. As everyone in the blindness field knows, the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) is approaching its twenty-fifth birthday, so the time would seem right for an in-depth look. What has NAC done? Where has it been, and where is it going?

At the time of its founding, NAC proclaimed that it would serve the "universe of agencies" serving blind people in the United States. It said that this universe consisted of approximately 500 agencies. The major agencies in the blindness field are, of course, the state vocational rehabilitation agencies, the schools, and the sheltered shops. Each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia has a rehabilitation agency (total 51). The American Foundation for the Blind lists 71 schools in its Directory of Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons in the United States, 23rd Edition, Copyright, 1988. National Industries for the Blind lists 80 workshops on its roster. Thus, there should be a total of about 200 major agencies in the United States. From these numbers it can easily be seen that NAC contemplated accrediting all of the large mainstream agencies, as well as about 300 of the smaller regional or city- based agencies scattered throughout the country. But in its first quarter century, how has it measured up?

Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies

The federal Rehabilitation Services Administration identifies one agency in each state and the District of Columbia to receive the congressionally appropriated vocational rehabilitation money to give services to the blind of that state. The number of state agencies that have agreed to accept NAC accreditation has always been low. A mere ten of these agencies held NAC accreditation in 1990. These ten are Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Virginia. This means that after nearly twenty-five years of arduous work NAC can claim as members fewer than twenty percent of the state agencies delivering basic services to the blind of the continental United States.

But the small number of accredited state rehabilitation agencies is not the entire story. NAC holds itself out as the nation's standard-setter in work with the blind. How do these ten agencies perform? Leaders of the blind from throughout the nation were surveyed on this point. Each survey respondent travels around the country regularly, and routinely discusses matters concerning blindness with people living across the nation. These leaders have the sophistication and the information to look beyond agency claims of achievement to the results of agency work in the lives of blind men and women, state by state and in comparison with other agencies. Survey respondents were asked to list the ten worst vocational rehabilitation agencies in the country without knowing why the list was wanted. In every single case, eight or nine of the NAC-accredited agencies appeared on the list. As one survey respondent commented, "If you are a blind person living in one or another of most of these ten states, it is almost impossible for you to get quality services."


As has been said, the American Foundation for the Blind lists seventy-one schools in its Directory of Services. Of these, only 26 schools (or 37 percent) have agreed to accept NAC accreditation.


Of the 80 workshops listed on the roster of National Industries for the Blind, only 33 (or 41 percent) have agreed to accept NAC accreditation. While workshops are accredited in the highest proportion of the three major service categories, it must be remembered that National Industries for the Blind offered four years ago to pay all costs of accreditation for any workshop that would agree to accredit. The offer has been available for those four years, and it remains available today. In view of this free offer (and there has been a great deal of pressure to accept it) a showing of only forty-one percent is astonishingly low. As recent events have demonstrated, NAC is not loved by a majority of the workshops. In fact, from 1986 through 1990, only two workshops agreed to accept NAC accreditation while three dropped it.


Approaching its twenty-fifth anniversary, NAC has accredited only 34 percent of the agencies in the three large service categories. At the moment (late 1990) it is accrediting only ninety-seven agencies in the United States--fewer than one-fifth of the universe it defined for itself at its founding. It also accredits one agency in Canada.

The Rest of the Ninety-Eight

Who are the other agencies accredited by NAC, the ones not included on any of the lists of the three major service-provider types? These are entities drawn from that three hundred-agency figure NAC placed in its original estimate of five hundred agencies to accredit--the regional and city-based agencies around the country. The list of NAC-accredited agencies is conspicuously padded. Almost one-third of the list of NAC members (twenty-eight) do not appear on any of the three lists of major service providers. That is quite a high proportion of smaller agencies, but they swell NAC's list of adherents, bringing it to its current size. Yet, this is a mere ten percent of the three hundred smaller agencies originally defined by NAC. Here is a sampling: Center for the Partially Sighted, Santa Monica, California; Visually Impaired Persons of Southwest Florida, North Ft. Myers; Vision Enrichment Services, Grand Rapids, Michigan; the Alliance for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Memphis, Tennessee; and the Sight Center, Toledo, Ohio.


An odd geographical pattern emerges from an analysis of the NAC-accredited agencies. A mere thirteen are accredited by NAC from that vast part of the country that lies west of Nebraska--roughly the Mountain Time Zone and farther west. Apparently, as one gets farther from New York, the influence of NAC wanes in proportion. And nearly half of these western accredited agencies lie within the borders of Arizona--the home of NAC'S long-time and belligerently loyal former executive director, Richard Bleecker. In fact, if one counts the accredited agencies in four states (Arizona, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania), one has accounted for one-third (thirty-two) of the NAC list. Yet it would be very hard to find anyone familiar with the conditions of blind people in these four states and throughout the rest of the country who would maintain that these four lead the rest in excellence--or, for that matter, even fall within the top ranks.

Sixteen states have no NAC-accredited agencies at all. They are: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, and Wyoming. Fifteen more states have only one NAC-accredited agency. They are: Alabama, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Costs to Agencies

What are the costs of this accreditation which so very many agencies have chosen to reject? There are several. One (and only one) is the actual outlay of cash. In the course of considering re-accreditation, the Virginia Department for the Visually Handicapped recently reviewed the following figures:

$12,000 annual accreditation fees ($2,400 per year for each of five years)

$5,000 cost to agency for on-site review team

Total for the five-year period, $17,000

According to Grant Mack, one of NAC's principal proponents, the annual dues are figured on a sliding scale at 0.0075 of annual budget. However, the minimum is $250, and the scale escalates quickly to reach the top level of $2,250 per year, according to Mack, who says that no agency is required to pay more than this top figure, regardless of budget. If Mack has accurately described the assessment schedule, then any agency with an income in excess of $300,000 will pay the top assessment.

At any rate, according to those close to the situation in Virginia, the agency was assured by NAC officials that the on-site review would be conducted as cheaply as possible. In other words, review team members would be brought from nearby, saving travel costs. It should be noted that it took the Virginia Department several years beyond its 5-year accreditation term to decide to accept re-accreditation by NAC. During this time (and in flagrant violation of its own carefully-stated accreditation standards) NAC simply continued the accreditation status of the Virginia agency even though the annual fee was not paid and the agency did not request continuation of its accredited status. Obviously NAC hoped to convince Virginia to sign up again and was willing to beg, wheedle, and pay to get the job done.

One can be certain that the Virginia review team members (when they are appointed) will not only be from nearby but will also be strongly predisposed to grant the re-accreditation just to keep Virginia in the fold--a predisposition which necessarily defeats the purpose of the on-site review. NAC estimated that the review would cost $3,500, but Virginia officials are sure that the cost will reach at least $5,000 unless the hand-picked members of the team don't pass along their costs. Based on NAC's conservative figures, accreditation will cost Virginia over $3,000 per year for the five-year accreditation period. Using more realistic figures and adding in the costs of the self-study, it is more likely to cost $4,000 to $6,000 per year. In fact, another agency recently considering NAC accreditation was told that the cost would be $6,000 to $7,000 per year.

But there is a second, hidden cost not directly paid to NAC--the self-study. This step in the accreditation process is performed before the on-site team arrives. Virginia Department staff declined to estimate the cost for this preliminary step of re-accreditation. They did so, based on NAC's assurances that the self-study step could be accomplished very inexpensively by merely copying the work that was done the previous time onto the new forms, with obvious and appropriate updating of information. This portrayal of the self-study by NAC is widely at variance with the other version which it usually puts forward when it is touting the rigor and thoroughness of its procedures to the public and to foundation and federal officials. This alternate version holds that the self-study is the heart of the accreditation process, the means by which staff members working at the agency can step back and (with the help of professionally- created assessment tools) review from the loftier perspective of goals, objectives, and missions the operation of the institution in which they do their day-to-day tasks. In this view of self- study, involved staffers disengage themselves from their normal duties, offer honest assessments, and learn how they and their agency can work better through honest self-analysis and clear- headed criticism. Done this way, the self-study would necessarily cost thousands and thousands of dollars in staff time.

The final cost paid by an agency accrediting with NAC is that of soured relations with the blind community. NAC is offensive and insulting to many blind people, and an accredited agency can expect that its NAC membership will complicate its on- going relationship with members of the blind community. Some agencies do not choose to engage in this interaction with blind consumers, so they are (at least, in the short run) unaware of this fact of life. Agencies that are interested in their blind clients and wish to avoid a source of conflict simply decline association with NAC or abandon the relationship created by others before them.

Expansion and Attrition

In its early years NAC experienced steady growth in its list of accredited agencies. NAC acquired half of all the agencies it has ever accredited in its first eight years, and during the same time period (1968-1975) it did not lose a single agency.

After 1975 the picture changed. NAC began to lose agencies in 1976. In no year after 1975 has NAC accredited more than ten new agencies. In one year, 1988, it accredited no new agencies. NAC's peak year was 1986 when it had 104 member agencies. Since that time the trend has been steadily downward. In the most recent five-year period, 1986-1990, NAC accredited ten new agencies while sixteen dissociated themselves from it.

Benefits of NAC Accreditation

People generally pay money in exchange for some benefit, and institutions do the same. What one gets from NAC is the questionable privilege of using its seal of approval and the even more questionable honor of a place on its list of accredited agencies. People often ask what else the agency gets. The answer is nothing. Some describe the NAC seal as aesthetically unpleasant, symbolically offensive, and otherwise worthless. (It is a stylized eye--an odd symbol for blindness.) NAC adherents describe the seal as symbolizing the agency's upholding of the high-quality standards approved by the profession itself. Either way, that is all there is to it. There is no other benefit to NAC accreditation.

NAC has tried for years to add a third dimension to its accreditation. This attempt can best be described as an effort at legalized blackmail since it would actually be a form of compelled adherence to NAC. NAC has tried repeatedly to condition every agency's receipt of vocational rehabilitation funds on NAC accreditation. NAC has recently coined a term for this concept, calling it "linkage." NAC has declared that it will seek linkage of accreditation with funding in the 1991 reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act. If NAC has its way, no state rehabilitation agency will get federal money unless the agency is accredited. With the low number of vocational rehabilitation agencies currently agreeing to accept NAC accreditation, this will clearly be an uphill battle with no chance of ultimate success. In its most recent attempt to foster linkage, NAC sought to have National Industries for the Blind (one of NAC's strongest supporters) take a stand in favor of "linkage." Even the NIB board, which is supporting NAC financially, refused to adopt a resolution supporting compelled accreditation. (See the article entitled "NIB, NAC, and Tanstaafl" elsewhere in this issue.)

NAC Agencies Whose Accreditation Expires in 1991

The following list shows agencies whose NAC accreditation (according to NAC's own statistics) expires in 1991. There are 37. Curiously, more than half of these 37 agencies originally had accreditation only through 1990. It appears that NAC simply extended the accreditation for 19 agencies from 1990 to 1991. Originally, there were 31 agencies whose accreditation expired in 1990. Of these 31, 8 were re-accredited, but for terms varying from two years to four years to the standard five-year re- accreditation period. One dissociated from NAC, and three are still shown as having their accreditation expire in 1990. Of the 31 agencies, only 9 were handled in some way by December of 1990.

The vast majority of the 31 agencies whose accreditation was due to expire in 1990 are now shown as having their accreditation expire in 1991. There could be several reasons for this. One possibility is that NAC is so small that it simply cannot deal with the re-accreditation of 31 agencies in a single year. Another possibility is that some of the agencies whose accreditation was extended have no intention of re-accrediting, but NAC is trying to keep them in the fold by extending the accreditation while it pleads with them to stick around. Still another possibility (and one experienced by a number of agencies in the past) is that the agency has decided to dissociate itself from NAC but cannot convince NAC to take it off the list. For any or all of these reasons, the majority of agencies due to be re- accredited in 1990 are now scheduled to have their accreditation expire or be renewed in 1991.

Those agencies listed by NAC as coming up for re- accreditation in 1991 are listed here. Those agencies whose names are starred once were originally scheduled for re-accreditation in 1990. Those agencies whose names are starred twice were originally scheduled for re-accreditation in 1989 or before and have been carried forward to 1991 by NAC. One final oddity appears on the 1990 list. Though NAC only managed to handle nine of the thirty-one agencies scheduled for handling in 1990, it found the time to deal with one agency scheduled for re- accreditation in 1991, the Arkansas School for the Blind. The Arkansas School is one of the oldest and staunchest adherents of NAC and, although its accreditation extended into 1991, NAC jumped it ahead of many agencies scheduled for 1990 review and has already re-accredited it. This commentary concerning NAC re- accreditation would not be complete without noting that the Arkansas School, according to NAC's records, received only a two- year extension of accreditation rather than the standard five years. Here is the list:

Arizona State Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired 12/91
Low Vision Services, Regional Eye Center (AZ) 12/91
Tucson Association for the Blind (AZ) 6/91 *
Division of Services for the Blind (AR) 6/91
Conklin Center for Multihandicapped Blind (FL) 12/91
Suncoast Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (FL) 12/91 *
Visually Impaired Persons Center (FL) 12/91
Independence for the Blind (FL) 6/91 *
Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches (FL) 12/91 *
Center for the Visually Impaired (GA) 12/91
Georgia Industries for the Blind 12/91
The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind (IL) 12/91
Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School 12/91
Louisiana Association for the Blind 6/91
Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ME) 12/91 *
Maryland School for the Blind 6/91 *
Perkins School for the Blind (MA) 6/91 **
Greater Detroit Society for the Blind (MI) 6/91
Duluth Lighthouse for the Blind (MN) 12/91
MSB (MN) 6/91
New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired 12/91 *
Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany (NY) 6/91
The Lighthouse, Inc. (NY) 12/91 *
North Dakota School for the Blind 12/91 *
Ohio State School for the Blind 12/91 **
The Sight Center (OH) 6/91
Parkview School (OK) 12/91 *
Delaware County Branch, Pennsylvania Association for the Blind 12/91 *
Pittsburgh Blind Association (PA) 6/91 *
York County Blind Center (PA) 6/91 *
Loaiza Cordera Institute for Blind Children (PR) 12/91 **
IN-SIGHT (RI) 6/91 *
Tennessee School for the Blind 12/91 *
Ed Lindsey Industries for the Blind (TN) 12/91 *
Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind (TX) 6/91 *
Lighthouse for the Blind of Houston (TX) 12/91
Utah School for the Blind 12/91 *


From the Editor: We do not vouch for the accuracy of this list. It represents NAC's claim of membership as of July, 1990. The blind and interested professionals should check this list well and verify that the agencies which are named actually admit to association with NAC. This, indeed, is a roll call of shame and should be treated accordingly.


Services for Blind and Visually Handicapped Children and Adults
of the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind
P. O. Box 698
Talladega, AL 35160
(205) 761-3200
Dr. Thomas S. Bannister, President, AIDB
Fiscal Year Ending: September
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993


Arizona State Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
4620 North 16th Street, Room 100
Phoenix, AZ 85016
(602) 255-1850
Mr. K. Edward House, Manager
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Foundation for Blind Children
1201 North 85th Place
Scottsdale, AZ 85257
(602) 947-3744
Mr. Chris Tompkins, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Department for the Visually Handicapped
Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind
P. O. Box 5545
Tucson, AZ 85703-0545
(602) 628-5357
Mr. Noel Stephens, Director
Department for the Visually Handicapped
Dr. Barry Griffing, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Low Vision Services
Regional Eye Center
Carondelet St. Joseph's Hospital
350 North Wilmot Road
Tucson, AZ 85711
(602) 296-3211
Ms. Janet M. Dylla, Supervisor
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Tucson Association for the Blind
3767 East Grant Road
Tucson, AZ 85716
(602) 795-1331
Mr. Jon Miller, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991


Lions World Services for the Blind
2811 Fair Park Boulevard
Little Rock, AR 72204
(501) 664-7100
Mr. James A. Cordell, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1994

Arkansas School for the Blind
2600 West Markham, Post Office Box 668
Little Rock, AR 72203
(501) 371-2109
Mr. Leonard Ogburn, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Division of Services for the Blind
P. O. Box 3237
Little Rock, AR 72203
(501) 371-2587
Mr. James Hudson, Director
Fiscal Year Ending: September
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991


Lions Blind Center
3834 Opal Street
Oakland, CA 94609
(415) 654-2561
Ms. Barbara Green, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Sacramento Society for the Blind
2750 24th Street
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 452-8271
Mr. Thomas C. Ryan, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Center for the Partially Sighted
720 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 200
Santa Monica, CA 90401-1713
(213) 458-3501
Dr. Samuel M. Genensky, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993


Conklin Center for Multihandicapped Blind
405 White Street
Daytona Beach, FL 32014
(904) 258-3441
Mr. Edward F. McCoy, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Broward Center for the Blind
650 North Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
(305) 463-4217
Dr. Elly du Pre, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1994

Florida Association of Workers for the Blind
601 South West Eighth Avenue
Miami, FL 33130
(305) 856-2288
Mr. Vernon Metcalf, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

Suncoast Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc.
P. O. Box 486
New Port Richey, FL 34656-0486
(813) 845-3770
Mr. Charles F. Jackson, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Visually Impaired Persons Center
P. O. Box 4026
North Fort Myers, FL 33918-4026
(813) 997-7797
Ms. Marian M. Geiger, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

School for the Blind
Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind
207 North San Marco Avenue
St. Augustine, FL 32084
(904) 823-4000
Mr. Jerry Stewart, Principal
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Division of Blind Services
2540 Executive Center Circle, West
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(904) 488-1330
Mr. Carl McCoy, Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1994

Independence for the Blind
307 East Seventh Avenue
Tallahassee, FL 32303
(904) 681-6835
Mr. Pinkney C. Seale, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: September
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991

Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind
1106 West Platt Street
Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 251-2407
Mr. Clifford E. Olstrom, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1992

Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches
7810 South Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, FL 33405
(407) 586-5600
Mr. William S. Thompson, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991


Center for the Visually Impaired
763 Peachtree Street, N. E.
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 875-9011
Miss Carolyn Kokenge, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Georgia Industries for the Blind
P. O. Box 218
Bainbridge, GA 31717
(912) 248-2666
Mr. Clayton Penhallegon, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Georgia Academy for the Blind
2895 Vineville Avenue
Macon, GA 31294
(912) 751-6083
Dr. Richard Hyer, Jr., Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Savannah Association for the Blind
64 Jasper Street
P. O. Box 81
Savannah, GA 31405
(912) 236-4473
Mr. W. Chandler Simmons, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992


Services for the Blind Branch
1901 Bachelot Street
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 548-7408
Mrs. Jane Egi, Administrator
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992


The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind
1850 Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 666-1331
Mr. Milton Samuelson, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December 1991

Philip J. Rock Center and School
818 DuPage Boulevard
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(708) 790-2474
Mr. Raymond Miller, Chief Administrative Officer
Ms. Christine Dorsey, Director
Fiscal Year Ending: August
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

Illinois Bureau of Rehabilitation Services for the Blind
622 East Washington
P. O. Box 19429
Springfield, IL 62794-9429
(217) 782-2093
Mr. Gil Johnson, Deputy Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1990

Illinois School for the Visually Impaired
658 East State Street
Jacksonville, IL 62650
(217) 245-4101
Dr. Richard G. Umsted, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1990


Indiana School for the Blind
7725 North College Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46240
(317) 253-1481
Dr. Michael Bina, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: June, 1995


Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School
1002 G Avenue
Vinton, IA 52349
(319) 472-5221
Mr. W. Dennis Thurman, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991


The Lighthouse for the Blind
123 State Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 899-4501
Mr. Regis Barber, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

Louisiana Association for the Blind
1750 Claiborne Avenue
Shreveport, LA 71103
(318) 635-6471
Dr. Hank Baud, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991


Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired
32 Winthrop Street
Augusta, ME 04330
(207) 289-3484
Mr. Bud Lewis, Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Maine Center for the Blind
189 Park Avenue
Portland, ME 04102
(207) 774-6273
Dr. Robert J. Crouse, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: September
Accreditation Expires: June, 1992


Maryland School for the Blind
3501 Taylor Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21236
(301) 444-5000
Mr. Louis M. Tutt, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991


Perkins School for the Blind
175 North Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 02172
(617) 924-3434
Mr. Kevin Lessard, Director
Fiscal Year Ending: August
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991


Greater Detroit Society for the Blind
16625 Grand River
Detroit, MI 48227
(313) 272-3900
Mr. Carroll L. Jackson, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991

Visually Impaired Center, Inc.
725 Mason Street
Flint, MI 48503
(313) 235-2544
Ms. Laurie McArthur, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

Vision Enrichment Services
215 Sheldon, S. E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 458-1187
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1992


Duluth Lighthouse for the Blind
2701 West Superior Street
Duluth, MN 55806
(218) 624-4828
Mr. Michael Conlan, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

1936 Lyndale Avenue, South
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 871-2222
Mr. Steven A. Fischer, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991


Royal Maid Association for the Blind
P. O. Drawer 30, Hansen Road
Hazlehurst, MS 39083
(601) 894-1771
Mr. John E. Granger, President
Fiscal Year Ending: September
Accreditation Expires: June, 1992

Mississippi School for the Blind
1252 Eastover Drive
Jackson, MS 39211
(601) 987-3952
Mr. John Parrisch, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind
P. O. Box 4872, Fondren Station
Jackson, MS 39216
(601) 354-6411
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993


Kansas City Association for the Blind
1844 Broadway
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 421-5848
Mr. Thomas Healy, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: September
Accreditation Expires: June, 1992

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Association for the Blind
25 Walker Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 224-4039
Mr. Gale N. Stickler, President
Fiscal Year Ending: August
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

New Jersey

St. Joseph's School for the Blind
253 Baldwin Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(201) 653-0578
Mr. Herbert Miller, Administrator
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 Raymond Boulevard
Newark, NJ 07102
(201) 648-3330
Mr. Gerard P. Boyle, Acting Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

New Mexico

New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped
1900 North White Sands Boulevard
Alamogordo, NM 88310
(505) 437-3505
Mr. Jerry Watkins, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1994

New York

Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany
301 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 11206
(518) 463-1211
Dr. Michael B. Freedman, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: September
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991

Programs for the Visually Impaired
New York Institute for Special Education
999 Pelham Parkway
Bronx, NY 10469
(212) 519-7000
Dr. Robert L. Guarino, Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

Helen Keller Services for the Blind
57 Willoughby Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 522-2122
Mr. Martin Adler, President
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: June, 1990

Blind Association of Western New York
1170 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14209
(716) 882-1025
Dr. Ronald S. Maier, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: October
Accreditation Expires: June, 1992

Catholic Guild for the Blind
1011 First Avenue
New York, NY 10022
(212) 371-1000, Ext. 2520
Ms. Ann Therese Snyder, Administrative Director
Fiscal Year Ending: August
Accreditation Expires: June, 1992

Jewish Guild for the Blind
15 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023
(212) 769-6200
Mr. John F. Heimerdinger, President and C.E.O.
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

The Lighthouse, Inc.
111 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 355-2200
Dr. Barbara M. Silverstone, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Rockland County Association for the Visually Impaired
Rockland County Health Center, Building C
Pomona, NY 10970
(914) 354-0200, Ext. 2051
Mrs. Ruth C. Wein, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1995

Association for the Blind and Visually
Impaired of Greater Rochester
422 South Clinton Avenue
Rochester, NY 14620
(716) 232-1111
Mrs. Gidget Hopf, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: March
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992

Syracuse Association of Workers for the Blind
616 Salina Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
(315) 422-7263
Mr. Milton Rosenblum, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1992

Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
507 Kent Street
Utica, NY 13501
(315) 797-2233
Mr. Donald L. LoGuidice, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1992

Guiding Eyes for the Blind
611 Granite Springs Road
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
(914) 245-4024
Mr. Martin Yablonski, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1990

North Dakota

North Dakota School for the Blind
500 Stanford Road
Grand Forks, ND 58201
(701) 777-4144
Mr. Alan J. Mealka, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991


Cincinnati Association for the Blind
2045 Gilbert Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 221-8558
Mr. Carl R. Augusto, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1995

The Clovernook Center, Opportunities for the Blind
7000 Hamilton Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45231
(513) 522-3860
Dr. Gerald W. Mundy, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: April
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Ohio State School for the Blind
5220 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43214
(614) 888-1154
Mr. Dennis L. Holmes, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Vision Center of Central Ohio
1393 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43201
(614) 294-5571
Dr. Richard Oestreich, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

The Sight Center
1819 Canton Street
Toledo, OH 43624
(419) 241-1183
Mr. Barry A. McEwen, President and C.E.O.
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991


Parkview School
P. O. Box 309
Muskogee, OK 74403
(918) 682-6641
Mr. R. Max Casey, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Visual Services Unit
Department of Human Services
P. O. Box 25352
Oklahoma City, OK 73125
(405) 424-6006
Mr. Norman Dalke, Director
Fiscal Year Ending: September
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993

Oklahoma League for the Blind
501 North Douglas Avenue
P. O. Box 24020
Oklahoma City, OK 73124
(405) 232-4644
Mr. LeRoy F. Saunders, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: September
Accreditation Expires: June, 1993


Delaware County Branch
Pennsylvania Association for the Blind
100-106 West 15th Street
Chester, PA 19013
(215) 874-1476
Mr. William J. DeAngelis, Managing Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Lancaster Association for the Blind
244 North Queen Street
Lancaster, PA 17603
(717) 291-5951
Mr. Stephen Patterson, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: September
Accreditation Expires: June, 1992

Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center
1200 West Godfrey Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19141
(215) 276-6060
Dr. Anna Bradfield, Administrative Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1990

Pittsburgh Blind Association
300 South Craig Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 682-5600
Mr. Dennis J. Huber, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991

York County Blind Center
800 East King Street
York, PA 17403
(717) 848-1690
Mr. William Rhinesmith, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991

Puerto Rico

Loaiza Cordero Institute for Blind Children
P. O. Box 8622, Santurce Station
Santurce, PR 00910
(809) 723-9160, 722-2498
Mrs. Awilda Nunzez, Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Rhode Island

43 Jefferson Boulevard
Warwick, RI 02888
(401) 941-3322
Ms. Judith T. Smith, President
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991

South Dakota

South Dakota School for the Visually Handicapped
423 South East 17th Avenue
Aberdeen, SD 57401
(605) 622-2580
Mrs. Marjorie Kaiser, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1990


Tennessee School for the Blind
115 Stewarts Ferry Pike
Donnelson, TN 37214
(615) 885-2451
Mr. Ralph Brewer, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

The Alliance for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1331 Union Avenue, Suite 601
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 276-4444
Ms. Greta T. Tyler, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

Volunteer Blind Industries
758 West First South Street
Morristown, TN 37814
(615) 586-3922
Mr. Roy Proffitt, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Ed Lindsey Industries for the Blind
4110 Charlotte Avenue
Nashville, TN 37209
(615) 741-2251
Mr. Allen Broughton, Executive Vice President
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991


Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 West 45th Street
Austin, Texas 78756
(512) 454-8631
Dr. Philip Hatlen, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: August
Accreditation Expires: June, 1992

Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind
P. O. Box 64420
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 821-2375
Mr. Jeffrey Battle, President
Fiscal Year Ending: September
Accreditation Expires: June, 1991

Lighthouse for the Blind of Houston
P. O. Box 13435
Houston, TX 77219
(713) 527-9561
Mr. Gibson M. DuTerroil, President
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991

Southwest Lighthouse for the Blind
607 Main Street
Lubbock, TX 79401
(806) 747-4215
Mr. Robert Crain, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1990


Utah School for the Blind
742 Harrison Boulevard
Ogden, UT 84404
(801) 399-3748
Mr. Dwight C. Moore, Coordinator
Dr. David West, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1991


Virginia Department for the Visually Handicapped
397 Azalea Avenue
Richmond, VA 23227
(804) 371-3140
Mr. Don Cox, Commissioner
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1990


Lighthouse for the Blind
P. O. Box C-14119
Seattle, WA 98114
(206) 322-4200
Mr. George Jacobson, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1992

Community Services for the Blind and Partially Sighted
9709 3rd Avenue, N. E., Suite 100
Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 525-5556
Ms. June W. Mansfield, Executive Director
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: June, 1994

West Virginia

West Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind
301 East Main Street
Romney, WV 26757
(304) 822-3521
Mr. Max Carpenter, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992


Industries for the Blind
3220 West Vliet Street
Milwaukee, WI 53208
(414) 933-4319
Mr. John Clark, Executive Vice President
Fiscal Year Ending: December
Accreditation Expires: December, 1993

Wisconsin School for the Visually Handicapped
1700 West State Street
Janesville, WI 53545
(608) 755-2950
Mr. William H. English, Superintendent
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1990

Visually Impaired Persons Program
Milwaukee Area Technical College
1015 North Sixth Street
Milwaukee, WI 53203
(414) 278-6838
Mr. George Sippl, Manager
Fiscal Year Ending: June
Accreditation Expires: December, 1992


Centre for Sight Enhancement
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
(519) 885-1211, Ext. 6330
Dr. J. Graham Strong, Director
Fiscal Year Ending: April 30
Accreditation Expires: December, 1994


From the Editor: The following twenty-six agencies can hold their heads high. They once agreed to accept NAC accreditation but have now withdrawn. The blind of the nation salute them. Why, one may ask, would we salute agencies that were once accredited and have now withdrawn instead of saluting those that have never accepted the NAC stigma? We do salute that broader group, but (as in the biblical story) we especially rejoice at the return of the prodigal son. In the following list the first date is the time of original NAC accreditation; the second date is the time of withdrawal from NAC. Here is the honor roll of pride:

NAC Members Dissociated
26 Agencies
As of December, 1990

Glenns Falls Association for the Blind (NY) 1984, 1990
Virginia School for the Blind 1983, 1990
Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (DC) 1970, 1989
Recording for the Blind (NJ) 1972, 1989
Dallas Services for Visually Impaired Children (TX) 1970, 1989
Division of Services to the Visually Impaired (SD) 1972, 1988
Hadley School for the Blind (IL) 1970, 1987
Blind Work Association (NY) 1971, 1987
Governor Morehead School (NC) 1972, 1987
Center for the Visually Impaired (OH) 1981, 1987
Rhode Island State Services for the
Blind & Visually Impaired 1970, 1987
Travis Association for the Blind (TX) 1982, 1987
Michigan School for the Blind 1970, 1986
Kansas Division of Services for the Blind 1971, 1986
Center for the Blind (AZ) 1982, 1986
Center for Independent Living, VCB/CIL (NY) 1980, 1986
Yuma Center for the Visually Impaired (AZ) 1981, 1984
Recording for the Blind (NY) 1972, 1983
Cleveland Society for the Blind (OH) 1968, 1983
Evansville Association for the Blind (IN) 1971, 1981
Oregon School for the Blind 1969, 1980
Maine Institution for the Blind 1978, 1980
Massachusetts Association for the Blind 1969, 1979
Blind Industries and Services of Maryland
(formerly the Maryland Workshop for the Blind) 1971, 1976
Lions Club Industries for the Blind, Inc. (NC) 1970, 1976
Raleigh Lions Clinic for the Blind, Inc. (NC) 1974, 1976


by Ed and Toni Eames

From the Editor: Ed and Toni Eames chair the National Federation of the Blind of California's Guide Dog Committee. Dr. Eames is president of the Fresno Chapter of the NFB of California, and Mrs. Eames is first vice president. Both Dr. and Mrs. Eames are adjunct professors of sociology at California State University at Fresno, and lecturers at the California School of Professional Psychology. Here is their report concerning the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind.

During Ed's recuperation from surgery, we had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the engrossing account of our organization's history, Walking Alone and Marching Together. It is apparent from this superlative narrative that we, the organized blind of America, have come a long way since our founding in 1940. It is equally apparent, however, that we have a long way to go to achieve full integration into American society, to achieve our goals of security, equality, and opportunity.

A major theme of our history as a social movement has been the conflict between us and a number of agencies ostensibly established to help us. Many agencies, private and public, have seen our emergent consumerism as a threat to their monolithic control over the lives of their clients. From this perspective, NAC can be seen as an attempt to strengthen and justify the control of the agencies over our lives. An interesting parallel development has occurred in California, where the three existing guide dog schools exemplify the agencies, where the State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind is analogous to NAC, and where we, the consumers, have to fight off the joint attempts by these two entities to diminish our rights and undermine our attempts to control our own destinies.

California is the only state with a governmental agency controlling guide dog activities. Established more than forty years ago, the Board was a response to the proliferation of organizations emerging in the state to provide guide dogs to blinded World War II veterans. While the Board was effective in eliminating many of the questionable organizations, a similar shaking-down process took place in the rest of the country without the establishment of a governmental agency. Though the seven-member Board is part of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, it seems less concerned with securing consumer rights than with preserving the power of the existing schools. Two Board members are guide dog users, another represents the Department of Rehabilitation, and the rest represent the public.

Approximately one-and-a-half years ago, the Board was empowered by the state legislature to conduct a year-long study, including public hearings, to establish recommendations about the future of assistance dogs in California. Assistance dogs include guide dogs partnered with blind people, signal or hearing dogs partnered with deaf people, and service dogs partnered with physically disabled people.

Although the Board held nine public hearings, very few disabled people were informed of them, and very few were aware of the mission of the Board. On the other hand, representatives of the three guide dog schools--Guide Dogs for the Blind, San Rafael; International Guiding Eyes, Sylmar; and Guide Dogs of the Desert, Palm Springs--presented their views at almost all of the meetings. Some representatives of the other assistance dog providers presented testimony at some of the public hearings. Representatives of bus driver unions, the restaurant industry, and other businesses presented their concerns.

After the conclusion of the study, the Board began preparing a preliminary document summarizing the results and suggesting changes in the current law and in the Board's status. Major points developed in this document called for converting the present board to the Board of Assistance Dogs for the Disabled, expanding the Board membership to include signal and service dog users, extending licensing to signal and service dog trainers and programs, outlawing privately trained assistance dogs, placing residential training options entirely in the hands of the guide dog schools, requiring an identification card for all school graduates, and developing an 800 telephone line to help assistance dog users faced with access problems.

It was at this stage that we began our discussions with Pat Urena, secretary for the Board and the only paid staff member. (It should be noted, incidentally, that her husband, Manuel Urena, is a member of the Board.) Mrs. Urena sent us a copy of the report, which we read with great care and interest. Assuming the Board was serious in its desire for consumer input and response, we wrote the following letter, which is reproduced in part:

Fresno, California
April 4, 1990

Dear Pat,

Thanks for sending the preliminary documents the State Board has prepared for the legislature. Once again, we must commend the Board for undertaking a prodigious task and extending the rights currently enjoyed by guide dogs to hearing and service dogs. However, there are a number of aspects of the document to which we take strong exception.

We believe that the document, as it exists, provides protection and safeguards for the assistance dog schools rather than for consumers. Specifically, no provision is made to certify dogs trained outside the school environment, even if these dogs and their disabled partners demonstrate the highest standards of obedience training, civility, control, and assistance functions. For example Toni's guide dog, Ivy, who was privately trained and was legal in New York, would have no legal rights in California. This would raise the constitutional issue of promulgating a state law which hampers Toni's right to move freely from state to state without any restrictions. Some provision should be made to certify the non-school assistance dog who meets all the behavioral requirements for an assistance dog. This could be done by the schools or by the Board. We are not talking about large numbers of teams, but about consumerism and choice.

If we are going to call these assistance dog training organizations "schools," we should recognize changes taking place in the educational sector. Presently, we give credit for life experience and provide the opportunity for advanced placement in many subjects. An equivalent process should be available for those disabled people who obtain assistance dogs outside the school setting.

Related to the issue of non-school training is the recommendation that licensed trainers be recognized as such only while working for a licensed school. Since the licensing of guide dog trainers has been done by the Board, such licenses should not be dependent on continued employment at a licensed school. In fact, in the past such experienced trainers have sometimes been the source of non-school-trained guide dogs. To invalidate the license of a trainer who leaves a school is analogous to taking away a lawyer's right to practice after leaving a law firm or a nurse's right to practice his or her profession while not employed at a hospital.

Another anti-consumer provision is the exclusion of at-home residential training for first-time assistance dog applicants. The experience of Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation in the northeastern United States has clearly demonstrated the efficacy of such a program. In addition, the provision requiring re- trainees to spend at least half as long in getting successor assistance dogs as they did for their first dogs is much too rigid a requirement. People differ in their abilities and training needs.

The suggestion that non-California assistance dog users apply for temporary certification while visiting California is another anti-consumer thrust of the proposed legislation. It appears that lack of such certification would invalidate the assistance dog user's right of access. We recognize that the Board's intent is to protect out-of-state assistance dog users who might have access problems. However, the proposal has many flaws. How will the Board notify assistance dog users throughout the country about this policy? We estimate a current population of 15,000 assistance dog users in the United States. Processing applications for temporary certification would take time and money and would establish yet another bureaucratic structure. The suggestion of spending limited taxpayer money on such a program is unnecessary.

By defining a guide dog as one trained by a licensed trainer working at a licensed California guide dog school, the Board denies legitimacy to all teams trained outside the state. We realize that this rule is not adhered to and that recognition is given to graduates of the seven non-California schools in the United States. However, when a similar rule is extended to hearing and service dog schools, the issue of acceptance and evaluation become crucial. There are at least 40 hearing and service dog programs in the country. In addition, new ones are emerging in many regions. The Board will not have the staff, money, or time to investigate and evaluate each program to determine its suitability for certification.

What is missing from the proposal is any attempt to protect the rights of consumers of the services of assistance dog programs. We have been hearing a number of complaints, and we strongly recommend the establishment of a grievance procedure for the hearing of complaints against the schools. The 800 telephone number procedure is primarily intended for registration of complaints about access by assistance dog users and complaints by the public about assistance dog users. There is no grievance procedure for the assistance dog user or potential user who has a complaint against a training program. The Board should establish a committee to look into complaints of this nature.

We summarize our objections to the current document by stating that, from our point of view, it does nothing to protect the rights of consumers, while fostering the power of the schools. We agree with the Board's desire to extend access rights to all assistance dogs, but feel that the current document does more harm than good.

Ed and Toni Eames

Continuing to work under the assumption that the Board was truly interested in consumer input, we prepared and submitted the following set of recommendations to rectify some of the glaring errors of the initial draft:

1. A guide dog is any specially trained dog working with a legally blind person. Parallel definitions can be used for hearing and service dogs. (Such a definition is currently used in New York and Connecticut.)

2. Any assistance dog trained by an organization established to train dogs for disabled people will be recognized as a certified assistance dog. (This gets rid of the cumbersome and probably illegal attempt to define assistance dogs as those graduated from licensed California training centers.)

3. An assistance dog must be well-trained, well-behaved, and under the control of the disabled person at all times in public places. (This provision must be included to protect the public.)

4. Assistance dogs trained outside school settings can be certified by any school or by the Board. (This would validate dogs such as Toni Eames's dog, Ivy.)

5. A licensed trainer will retain the right to train assistance dogs after leaving a training center. (Licensed trainers should not be de-licensed when they leave a school. If the demand for assistance dogs is going to increase, we need a large pool of qualified trainers.)

6. Eliminate all attempts to certify assistance dog users who visit the state.

7. All assistance dog users are guaranteed rights of access to all public places. (This must be clearly stated with the legal recourse suggested in the Board's recommendations.)

On June 30, 1990, the Board presented its final report to Senator Milton Marks, Chair, California Senate Subcommittee on the Rights of the Disabled. It was obvious from this 22-page document that the Board was not interested in consumer input or the opinions of the three unlicensed California assistance dog providers. One of the few changes made was the abandonment of what came to be known as the "Visa program." This was the requirement that out-of-state assistance dog users apply to the Board for a temporary identification card at least 30 days before visiting California. In almost all other respects, the final recommendations remained unchanged. We now recognized that the Board not only had the ability to bark, but, if not constrained, would bite.

We sent the following letter to Senator Marks and other members of the Subcommittee:

Fresno, California
August 8, 1990

Dear Senator Marks:

We are writing to object to many recommendations made by the State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind in its report submitted to you on June 30, 1990. We believe the recommendations, on the whole, will diminish our rights as consumers of guide dog school services and increase the power of the Board and the existing providers of guide dogs. As co-chairpersons of the Guide Dog Committee of the National Federation of the Blind of California, we want to go on record in opposition to an expansion of the Board and its functions.

For years, blind people have been struggling for autonomy and independence. We feel the Board is destructive of this goal; it is paternalistic and custodial and wants to assume the responsibilities which we, as blind people, should assume. It now wants to extend its custodial stance to deaf and physically disabled people. The Board should not be expanded, it should be abolished. It is regulating an industry, which by its own admission, does not need regulation. No other state has such a regulatory agency; the NFB contends it is a waste of California taxpayers' money. This money would be better spent on developing employment opportunities for disabled people or improving library services for us.

An increase in the Board's membership from five to nine and the assumption of responsibility for licensing signal and service dog programs and trainers will only increase the budgetary needs of the Board. It will place barriers in the way of new and innovative assistance dog training programs. After stating several times in the report that there is no evidence of poor training or abusive fund raising by existing signal and service dog training programs, the report concludes: "The licensing of assistance dog programs will be possible and beneficial." Who will benefit? We do not believe we, the consumers, or the public will benefit from a licensing program. Obviously, the two major signal dog providers in California do not believe they will benefit either. We wonder where the reported "substantial community support for licensing" comes from. Members of the assistance dog using community had little knowledge of the purpose of the public hearings nor were their views sought.

As guide dog users, we object to several specific recommendations which will have a direct and detrimental impact on us. These are:

1. Home training will only be available to those who have gone through a four week guide dog training program at a licensed California school. The schools will determine who is eligible.

This recommendation disregards the track record of Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation in Connecticut which has been successfully training first time guide dog users at home for several years. Fidelco is the fastest growing guide dog program in the country based on consumer demand. An innovative program like Fidelco's would not be permitted in California. In addition, the right to extend this form of training to alumni is placed squarely in the hands of the schools. No guidelines are set forth. No definition of "necessary conditions" for home training is provided. No power is given the blind consumer who wants to challenge denial by a guide dog school of a request for at-home training.

2. No opportunity is provided to certify a privately trained assistance dog.

The Board notes that the vast majority of disabled people cannot afford such training. We agree, but does this mean the small minority who want and can afford it should be denied the opportunity? We think not. Toni's guide dog, Ivy, was privately trained and, if the Board's recommendations are translated into law, Ivy will become illegal and lose access rights. In addition, many signal and service dogs have been privately trained by deaf and physically disabled owner/trainers. No evidence, other than rumor and hearsay, is provided by the Board to suggest privately trained dogs do not measure up to licensed school standards.

3. Licensed trainers who are no longer employed by a licensed school lose their right to train assistance dogs.

Such a recommendation, if accepted, gives monopolistic power to the schools and deprives consumers of the services of experienced licensed trainers. It is the equivalent of a physician who can only practice medicine at a hospital. Private practice would be illegal. Once again, the Board is operating in a custodial fashion and is giving more and more power to the schools.

Several issues are raised in the report which are never dealt with or are misperceptions of reality. We do not believe an identification program is a solution to our problems of public access. The taxi driver in San Francisco who drove off as we and our guide dogs were getting into his taxi couldn't care less about whether or not we and our guide dogs had identification. Managers of restaurants, apartment complexes or hotels who refuse to read the copy of the law we always carry with us would not be impressed by a fancy identification card. Although the issue of public safety is raised several times, nowhere in the recommendations is this issue addressed. It is assumed if all assistance dogs in the state are trained by licensed training programs, the public will be protected.

For purposes of legal access and identification, the Board suggests the recognition of assistance dogs graduated from out- of-state training programs considered to be "substantially equivalent" to California licensed programs. Since currently there are fifty such programs in the other 49 states, how is the Board going to determine which of these is "substantially equivalent?" Are members of the Board, at our expense, going to travel throughout the country to investigate and evaluate these programs? Will it be necessary to hire new staff members to carry out these duties? If all out-of-state training programs are accepted as "substantially equivalent," as we suspect they will be, then licensing has no value. If non-licensed assistance dog training programs are "substantially equivalent" to California licensed programs, then why should we, as taxpayers, have to assume the financial burden of an unnecessary licensing board?

Several recommendations made by the Board should be implemented. Among these are increasing the penalties for motorists who endanger us and our assistance dogs, giving our dogs the same legal status as persons in case of vicious dog attacks, and posting notices in public places about the legal right of access for assistance dogs and their partners.

As you can see, we believe the results of a year-long series of public hearings have many negative implications for those of us who are assistance dog users. We strongly recommend you disregard most of the recommendations of the Board and move for its abolition. We do not need regulatory boards which regulate us rather than the industry they are supposed to control. The recent debacles at two of the three guide dog schools in this state bear testimony to the fact that the Board is not, and has never been, an agency concerned with protecting the rights of consumers.

Ed and Toni Eames, Co-Chairpersons
Guide Dog Committee
National Federation of the Blind of California

A special meeting of the NFB of California Guide Dog Committee was called during our state convention in San Mateo the first weekend in November, 1990. Two resolutions were adopted by the convention. One called on the Subcommittee to disregard the recommendations of the Board, while the other called on the legislature to abolish the Board.

On the afternoon of November 15, 1990, Senator Marks conducted a public hearing in Sacramento. During the three-hour session, more than fifty people presented their views of the Board's proposal. Every disabled person who spoke attacked some elements of the Board's suggestions.

Toni's oral presentation was critical of the proposed ban on private training and the de-licensing of trainers who no longer work for licensed schools. Ed criticized the Board on several points, including its proposal to give the existing schools more power, its avoidance of any description of how the Board would determine which non-California assistance dog programs were substantially equivalent to California licensed schools, and the Board's inability to deal with our current problems of denial of access rights.

Curiously, representatives of the California affiliate of the American Council of the Blind were quite critical of the Board and its recommendations. In addition to opposing the suggestion that non-school dogs be deprived of legal protection and licensed trainers who leave schools be denied the right to continue their careers, they challenged the Board's position on ownership and repossession of dogs and the Board's inability to deal with the problems at International Guiding Eyes. But astonishingly, despite these sweeping condemnations, the two ACB representatives suggested that the Board be given more authority and power, but not extend its domain over other assistance dog programs.

Representatives of the Hearing Society, the San Francisco Lighthouse, the Blinded Veterans Association, and even the American Kennel Club spoke out against the Board recommendations. Testimony presented by representatives of Canine Companions for Independence and the San Francisco SPCA Hearing Dog Program attacked the Board's demand that they should be licensed. In fact, one of the major themes dominating the hearing was the interpretation of the recommendations as an attack on the rights of disabled people to choose the kind of training they desire.

Only two individuals who spoke endorsed the Board's proposals. They represented Guide Dogs for the Blind and International Guiding Eyes.

At the conclusion of the hearing the Subcommittee announced that it would continue to receive written testimony until November 30, 1990. We took this opportunity to add the following comments to the record:

Fresno, California
November 19, 1990

Dear Senator Marks:

We would like to include the following material in the written record appended to the oral testimony given at the November 15, 1990, public hearing regarding the proposed legislative recommendations of the State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind dated June 30, 1990.

It was apparent to us at the hearing that you are quite concerned about any attempt to restrict the rights of disabled people who work with assistance dogs. In addition, your legislative record on disability rights is outstanding. Your chairing the Subcommittee is, therefore, quite appropriate, and we applaud your leadership.

In the public hearing several issues regarding guide dog schools in California were brought forth which were not directly related to the recommendations of the State Board. These are very important in evaluating the role of the Board.

One speaker noted that only twelve teams were graduated from International Guiding Eyes, Inc., Sylmar, during an entire year. Later in the hearing the representative of the school explained this shortcoming as a result of the disruption caused by laying off the director of training and the subsequent resignation of the entire training staff. One part of the equation left unmentioned was the expenditure of $900,000 during that same period and the collection of $3,500,000 in public contributions. The Board has done nothing about this misuse of funds contributed by the public. An attempt to get the Attorney General involved led to the response that it is up to the Board to investigate such problems. It is rumored that the Board is finally going to investigate, two years after the fact. IGE's representative at the hearing mentioned a more recent figure of thirty teams graduated last year but failed to mention the amount of money spent by the school during this period.

Two years ago, as a result of pressure by irate consumers, the State Board held a public hearing into the events that took place at IGE. We were told by the chairperson of the Board that it had no power or authority to investigate a licensed school as long as it had one licensed trainer on its staff. Apparently a licensed school can continue to collect funds from an unsuspecting public as long as it has at least one licensed trainer on staff, even if no guide dog/blind person teams are being trained.

Some discussion of ownership of guide dogs took place at the hearing. Present regulations promulgated by the Board permit a school to charge its graduates who acquire ownership for aftercare, if the school decides to do so. The representative from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc., San Rafael, said his school does not impose this charge. However, the threat of charging for visits by the training staff is an obvious deterrent to applying for ownership. Once again, it is the State Board which has established these regulations.

Many of those participating in the hearing were surprised to learn that the guide dog schools had the power to repossess a dog graduated from their programs. The representative of Guide Dogs for the Blind said this would only happen if the school felt it was a matter of team safety. We can certainly document cases in which dogs have been repossessed for reasons other than safety. If complaints about repossession or any other activities of the schools have been reported to the State Board, the response has consistently been that such problems are not part of the Board's responsibilities. Once again, the Board appears to interpret its mission as the protection of the guide dog schools rather than the protection of guide dog users.

During the hearing every disabled person who spoke opposed all, or a significant part, of the Board's recommendations. Representatives of Canine Companions for Independence and the San Francisco SPCA Hearing Dog Program were eloquent in their opposition to licensing and their defense of the need to retain the recognition of privately trained assistance dogs. It seems that these organizations have a much higher opinion of the abilities of their disabled clientele than the guide dog schools have toward their blind clients.

Two speakers referred to the case of Victoria Doroshenko and her seizure/service dog, Harley, which had been featured on "Unsolved Mysteries" the night before the hearing. If the State Board's recommendations are translated into legislation, Victoria and Harley will have no public access rights in this state. Assistance dogs that work with people who have seizures would not be recognized as service dogs. In addition, we predict that the Prison Pet Partnership Program developed by prisoners in the state of Washington would not be considered by the State Board to be substantially equivalent to a licensed California school. It is this program which trained Harley and several other seizure/service dogs.

Although members of the California Council of the Blind criticized many recommendations of the Board, they concluded that the Board should have more authority and power and should continue to supervise guide dog schools and trainers. We think logic requires us to come to a completely different conclusion and call for the dismemberment of the Board since it has done such an abominable job in developing its recommendations to the Subcommittee. Pat Urena, secretary for the Board, stated at the hearing that the Board spent only $25,000 for its nine public hearings and the preparation of the draft and final document. We believe this is a very low figure. But whatever the actual costs to the taxpayers, it has been a waste of our money. Continuation of the Board would be a further waste of our money in a time of budgetary crises and cuts in the state budget for worthwhile programs.

Ed and Toni Eames

The fundamental question still remains, "Is the Board's bark worse than its bite?" If the Board were a dog, it would be characterized as aggressive and potentially dangerous. The humane way to handle such a dog would be to euthanize it before it goes on a destructive rampage. That is exactly what we plan to do for the California State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind!



From the Editor: The following column appeared in the Seattle Times for October 8, 1990. Written by Shelby Gilje, it demonstrates that at least a few people still have a modicum of sanity. Here it is:

It's the Rule: Elderly, Infirm, Obese Rejected for "Captain Exit" Role

by Shelby Gilje
Times Staff Columnist

"Fly Safely Airways. We get you there, you betcha. How may I help?

"Hi, Fly Safely. Can you book me on a flight to Adventure, Iowa, tomorrow?"

"Yes, Ma'am. And will that be coach or first-class?"

"Are you kidding? I'm a consumer columnist. Make that coach. And I'd like a window seat."

"OK. What time did you want to leave? We have an 8:15 or 9:45 a.m. flight."

"Ummm, how about 9:45 tomorrow? My credit card number is..."

"Wait just a moment, please. Our computers are tied up. Besides I need more information.

"Are you traveling with small children?"

"No. Hey, could you just make my reservation? I've got to get off this phone. I've got a meeting to attend and people are waiting."

"In a minute. Can you tell me, are you 15 years of age, or older?"

"Older. Definitely older."

"And how's your health?"

"Is this a health spa or an airline?"

"Well, sorry, ma'am, but we need to know if you are... well... strong."

"Strong? Why on earth..."

"There's this new Federal Aviation Administration rule about who sits next to the emergency exit, and I've got just a few more questions...."

"Oh, I know what you're talking about. I call it the new `Captain Exit' rule. The one that went into effect last Friday. The passengers who will assist the flight crew in case of emergency."

"Thanks for being so understanding, ma'am. Now, would you say you are elderly or infirm or obese?"

"Are there other choices?"

"Please be patient, ma'am. I'm nearly ready to reserve you a seat."

"But I thought sitting in the `Captain Exit' seats was purely voluntary."

"Well, it is. You don't have to sit there, but, as it happens on the particular flight you want, that's the last window seat left. And no one else qualifies on this trip. You can't sit there if you are under 15 years of age, traveling with small children, disabled, or obese. And you have to be able to read, speak, and understand English. If you qualify to sit in the exit row seat, I can book you."

"Well, luckily, I don't have any physical disabilities, except I can't see without my glasses."

"Wear your glasses."

"It's always debatable whether reporters can speak and read English. And what's this about obesity?"

"Well, how much do you weigh?"

"None of your business. Keep asking those questions, and I'll call your competitor!"

"You'll have to answer the same questions at the other airlines, ma'am. Or that is, someone will look you over at the ticketing desk and again on board the aircraft to see if you qualify for that seat. This is all for your safety, you know. That's why the FAA implemented the rule, to save lives and speed up evacuations during an emergency."

"I know some blind people who can find their way around in the dark better than I can, because that's what they do every day. I don't think you and the FAA should be so quick to dismiss their abilities."

"Sorry, ma'am. Rules are rules."

"OK, I get the message. Is there any special training to sit in the `Captain Exit' seat? It sounds like it's pretty important."

"Don't worry about a thing. You'll get a brochure when you board the aircraft that will explain your duties, should there be an emergency."

"Is that it? A brochure? No training class?"

"That's it. You probably won't have to do anything special."

"Would I be credited with some added mileage for my special duties?"

"Nope. We're to treat you just like any other passenger."

"But you're not if you're checking my weight, my abilities to move around... my... Tell me, can I still sleep aboard the aircraft, or will I be on duty for the whole flight?"

"Oh no, it will be just the usual kind of flight. You can doze if you like."

"But what good is a dozing `Captain Exit'? What if there's an emergency and I'm asleep at the exit?"

"Well, don't worry. If the flight crew needs assistance, you and the others in the exit rows will be the first to know."

"I suppose there's a ban on alcoholic drinks being served to those who sit in the `Captain Exit' seats? Flight crews are expected to abstain from alcoholic beverages and so should the assistants, don't you think?"

"No, as I said, ma'am, you'll be treated like any other passenger. You may order a beverage. But don't overdo, or the crew will stop serving you."

"I'll tell you what. Let's make a deal. You choose one of your own to sit in the `Captain Exit' seat. That way you'll have someone who is strong, say, as big as a tackle for the Seahawks, with perfect vision, no warts, not too fat--whatever that is--and perfect in every way.



by Kenneth Jernigan

For at least a half dozen years a major argument has been raging about whether blind persons should be barred from sitting in the emergency exit rows on commercial airplanes. The National Federation of the Blind has led the fight for what it calls nondiscrimination, and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the nation's airlines have led the fight for what they call safety. The Federation has repeatedly said that if a safety question is really involved, it does not want blind persons to be allowed to sit in the exit rows; and the FAA and the airlines have just as vehemently said that if a safety question is not involved, they do not want to discriminate against the blind. So what is the truth, and what are the facts? Is it safety, or is it discrimination?

To begin with, some ground rules of reason have to be established. It is not enough to show that a given blind person in a given instance may block an exit or pose a safety hazard. Blind persons are just as diverse and variable in their behavior and characteristics as sighted persons are. If the blind as a class are to be barred from sitting in the exit rows, it must be shown that they are not being held to a higher standard of conduct than others in the general population and that there is something about blindness that makes the blind less capable of dealing with an emergency than the ordinary passenger who might be seated in an exit row.

The Federation has repeatedly pointed out that if safety is the only consideration, no one at all will fly. But just as in using automobiles, there are tradeoffs, and we are willing to accept a certain amount of risk in order to go where we need to go and get our business done. In fact, not traveling at all would also involve safety hazards and carry with it a price tag, one that would be too heavy to bear. So we choose to travel, knowing that it involves a certain amount of risk.

The next fallback position for maximum safety in air travel would probably be to place trained, healthy airline officials in the exit rows, but the airlines say this is unacceptable because of the lost revenue from those seats and the cost of hiring the extra personnel. So it is not just that we are willing to accept a certain amount of risk to have air travel but that we are willing to accept additional risks to improve the economics of it.

If we go to the next fallback position for maximum safety, it would probably be to widen the exit row aisles and have no one sit in them at all. This would at least save the cost of training and hiring extra personnel to be there--though still depriving the airlines of the revenue which they now make from the paying passengers who sit in the exit rows. Again the airlines are not willing--and again for the same reason, economics. As they point out, they have enough trouble making their business pay even as it is.

Then perhaps the airlines could at least refuse to sell liquor to people who sit in the exit rows or ask for volunteers to sit there who do not intend to drink anyway. They decline to do the first of these things because of lost revenue and the second because of concern about frightening the passengers by reminding them of possible crashes or in-flight emergencies.

Of course, none of this makes the case for permitting blind persons to sit in the exit rows, but it does demonstrate that safety is not the only (or perhaps even the prime) factor being considered. Before coming to the main argument advanced by the airlines, we must dispose of a couple of matters which are sometimes used to cloud the discussion. Regarding the liquor issue, the airlines say that they will not serve excess alcohol to any passenger, let alone those who sit in exit rows. Regardless of rules and protestations to the contrary, this is simply not the truth, and all you have to do to prove it is to ride on any commercial airline and watch the liquor flow and, at the end of the flight, the inebriated stagger down the aisle.

Besides which, how much is too much? We know that alcohol (even two drinks) takes the edge off of judgment and impairs function. Is drunk driving worse than drunk flying? For that matter, if safety is really uppermost in the thinking of the airlines, is it sensible to serve liquor on planes at all? Yet, in actual dollar volume the airlines and airports are probably the nation's biggest bartender.

On another topic, the airlines and some of the press often introduce irrelevant comments about how admirable it is that the blind "want to try to be independent" but that the exit row is simply not the place to demonstrate it. This is pure nonsense. Blind persons are either a greater hazard than others seated in exit rows or they aren't. If they are, they shouldn't sit there-- and any blind person with any sense wouldn't want to. If they aren't a greater safety hazard than others, then prohibiting them from sitting in the exit row is discrimination--and in either case, admiration and emotion have nothing to do with it.

So where does this leave us? Never in the history of commercial aviation has there been a single recorded instance of a blind person's blocking an exit, slowing an evacuation, or contributing to an accident. But there are recorded instances to the contrary. At night or when the cabin has been filled with smoke, blind persons have on more than one occasion found the exits and led others out.

Nevertheless, say the airlines, there is a countering situation. What if there is a fire just outside of the exit and the blind person (unable to see it) opens the exit and triggers disaster? This (even though it has never happened) is, of course, theoretically possible--but it is hard to see how such a hypothetical scenario can outweigh the reality of what has actually occurred--the effective performance of blind passengers in dark or smoke-filled cabins, leading others to safety.

There are also other considerations. How many so-called normal, healthy passengers have undetectable (or hidden) disabilities (bad backs, heart conditions, emotional instability, or the like) which would make it totally inappropriate for them to sit in the exit row? But we always come back to the single issue of fire on the wing or outside the exit. The sighted can see it, and the blind can't--and this, say the airlines, is totally controlling and makes everything else irrelevant. The sighted, they tell us, would be able to function--and would do it. The blind couldn't and wouldn't. To the Federation's argument that the exit row issue is as important and all-encompassing as the refusal by Rosa Parks to sit at the back of the bus (with all that was implied), the airlines tend to answer with a single scare word--"fire!"

So let us deal with that word. Let us bring fire out of the realm of ghosts in the night and nameless terror and deal with it. What do sighted people actually do when they see fire on the wing? Not what they are thought to do or what they are believed to do, but what do they really do--not in simulations or textbooks, but in real life? What would a blind person (one who did not have the sight of fire to spur his imagination and drive him to frenzy) do? We do not have the answer to both parts of the question, but we do have a definitive answer to half of it. We know what sighted people do--or certainly what they did do in at least one real life situation. As you read the following article by Neil Centennial of the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel, reprinted in the September 11, 1990, Seattle Times, ask yourself some questions. Are blind persons who fly less suited than others to sit in exit rows? Are the blind being held to a higher standard than others? In the situation described in the following article, do you think a blind person similarly situated would have been more or less likely to panic than the sighted who were there and participated in the debacle? Remember that we are not talking about just one sighted person, or even a handful. We are talking about dozens and dozens, a whole planeful. Here is the article. Judge for yourself:

Fire! Panic on Runway in a Moving Jet

The first shout of "fire" came from a passenger sitting by the right wing of the Boeing 727, shortly after TWA Flight 194 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., touched down at New York's LaGuardia Airport.

Other passengers quickly joined in, yelling and pointing to flames shooting from an auxiliary power unit on the wing as the aircraft taxied toward the terminal Sunday night.

What happened next caught everyone by surprise: Panicked passengers flung open emergency exits and bailed out. A few jumped from a wing onto the tarmac while the plane was moving, said Passenger Lauren Rubel, 44, a New Yorker with a home west of Boca Raton, Fla.

The rest of the 134 people on board slid down chutes after the jetliner stopped on the taxiway, airline officials said.

"People were shouting `Get out of the plane--use the emergency exits,'" Rubel said.

"Everybody started to scream. Everybody went crazy," said another passenger, John Fontana, 60, who divides his time between his Brooklyn home and his Hallandale, Fla., condominium.

At least three passengers were injured--none seriously--in the emergency evacuation that occurred shortly after the jet landed, airline and Federal Aviation Administration officials said.

TWA officials called the evacuation an overreaction on the part of passengers. The flames came from an auxiliary power unit that backfired, they said.

As the plane was landing, the control tower told the pilot there was a fire on the wing, and he shut down the power unit, FAA officials said. The flight crew did not order passengers to go out the emergency exits, the officials said.

"The passengers thought there was a fire, and they overreacted," TWA spokesman Jim Faulkner said from St. Louis. "The captain did try to communicate to them it was not a fire, but they had already headed for the doors."

FAA officials said it was highly unusual for passengers to evacuate while a plane is moving and without a flight crew instructing them to do so.

FAA investigators were checking the jet's auxiliary power unit, which supplies electricity for air conditioning, lights, and other onboard systems when the engine is shut off. The team also will interview the flight crew, FAA spokesman Duncan Pardue said.

"I can't remember an episode like this, frankly, where passenger panic brought about an evacuation" instead of evacuation being ordered by a crew member, he said.

Amid the initial confusion, passengers looking for flight attendants to help them could not find any, said Rubel, a retired shoe store owner who jumped from the left wing with her husband, Robert, 55, after the plane had stopped.

"We were shouting, `What should we do?'" she said. Pardue said flight attendants are "trained to be there instructing the (passengers) on how to get off." He said the FAA was investigating "why all this happened, why the flight attendants couldn't contain the passengers."

Passengers said the captain left the cockpit briefly to tell passengers to sit down and not to panic. But "the people didn't give a damn anymore," Fontana said.

Just after the plane landed, Robert Rubel said, he heard a shout of fire then saw a "big ball or flash of red outside the plane." A young woman sitting in a row in front of him bolted out of her seat, opened an emergency door, and darted onto the wing, he said.

A wave of "organized panic" then took over as other passengers left the plane, most of them sliding down four emergency chutes that were deployed, Lauren Rubel said.

Before leaping from the wing, Lauren Rubel said she tossed her dog, a Maltese named Tiger, into her husband's arms. Then she, too, jumped into his arms.

Immediately after the evacuation, two passengers were taken to Elmhurst General Hospital, one with leg pains and one with a possible heart problem, and one was taken to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police said.


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, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, 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."



by Robert J. Leblond

From the Associate Editor: Robert and Connie Leblond are leaders in the National Federation of the Blind of Maine. They are also conscientious, caring parents of two blind youngsters. They have been instrumental in founding and guiding the New England Parents and Educators Division of the National Federation of the Blind. They understand that involvement with the NFB at every level of their lives is the surest way they can help their youngsters to grow into well-adjusted, productive adults. Recently they had an experience which pointed up the differences between the Federation's outlook on the world and that of most of the rest of the field of Special Education and Exceptional Children. This is the way Bob Leblond tells the story:

I am the father of two blind children--the experts would stipulate that they are only visually impaired. My daughter Hope is a quick-witted 13-year-old, sometimes wonderfully refreshing, sometimes totally unnerving; but that's how 13-year-old girls are supposed to be, isn't it? My son Seth is 8 going on 25--highly interested in everything and looking forward to becoming president of the National Federation of the Blind in 30 years or so. Both are fluent Braille readers and fine cane travelers--just regular kids who can't see too well. Both are mainstreamed in regular classrooms and cope very well indeed. As their parents, we of course immerse them in NFB philosophy on a regular basis.

Recently Seth was nominated for and won a "Yes I Can" award from the Foundation for Exceptional Children. Seth's itinerant teacher called us one day in December, 1989, asking us whether we minded if she nominated him for an award in the category of academics. Seth, who scores in the top 1% of his age group in reading, math, and science and outstrips all his peers in computer use, was a prime candidate. Although we dislike the clinical term "exceptional child," we didn't want to stop the teacher from nominating him and perhaps keep him from receiving the recognition to which he was entitled.

My wife Connie and I were recently elected to be secretary and president respectively of the New England Parents and Educators Division of the National Federation of the Blind. Shortly after receiving word that Seth had won the Council for Exceptional Children award, a reporter from the local newspaper called to ask if he could do a story about our family and the new division. During the interview Seth's award was mentioned along with the fact that we were unable to pay for a trip to Toronto, where the awards were being presented as part of the Council's annual convention.

Shortly thereafter, we received a call from Angela Faherty, our local special education director, with whom we have always enjoyed a productive working relationship. She informed us that she had seen the article and would try to put together some funds from various sources so that we could travel to Toronto, where Seth could receive his award. Funds were made available through the local chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children, the State Department of Special Education, and the local school.

We were going to Toronto. Hope and Seth were excited, and Connie was the typical proud mother. Dad has an acute and exquisite fear of flying but faced the trip stoically.

We were informed that the night before the awards ceremony there would be a special reception in honor of the recipients, who ranged in age from 7 to 20, with the majority between 10 and 16. Speculation abounded--would it be a pizza party? Perhaps the ever popular hamburger would be served. Much to the children's dismay it was a wine-and-cheese reception (which the adults enjoyed very much). If this was to honor the children, however, it missed the mark, for I personally have never met a 10-year-old wine connoisseur.

Seth weathered it fairly well, however, and endured about an hour and a half of picture-taking and praising of various CEC officers. At that point he confidentially whispered to me, "Let's get out of here; I need some beef!" Being in no position to argue, we took our leave as gracefully as we could.

Back at our hotel (over a round of much-appreciated burgers), we discussed the reception. Both Connie and I had encountered a gentleman who introduced himself as the President of the Maine chapter of CEC. I mentioned to him that I was President of the New England Parents Division and discussed some of our aims, along with some of the problems associated with creating a division of such size and scope. He seemed very impressed. Connie told me that she had met this person also; and, when she informed him that she was the vice president of the NFB of Maine as well as an officer in the Parents Division, he patted her on the back and replied, "That's nice." Worrying that the distinction he made in his behavior toward a blind mother and a sighted father was an indication of the attitudes we would encounter at the ceremony the following day, we retired for the night.

Friday came and with it the moment we had all been waiting for--the presentation ceremony. Although everyone had been asked to report to the convention center by 9:00 a.m., it was 10:30 before things got underway. Interviews with the winners were conducted, and Seth had some answers to questions that had clearly not been anticipated. When asked what this award meant to him, Seth said that it meant that he had worked hard and well. When asked what he wanted to do when he grew up, he replied without hesitation, "I'm keeping my options open." Both Hope and Seth have always been told that they can aspire to anything and will probably succeed if they don't mind working hard toward their goals. We never realized how many children don't get that kind of reinforcement.

So the official ceremony began. A famous folk singer performed for about half an hour. The songs he chose were full of the usual negative sentimentalism: "We all have our burdens to bear," "My brother's slow, can't learn too well, but we love him," etc., etc., etc.

After 10 minutes we were bored; after 30, disgusted. In looking around the room to see if anyone else was feeling this way, I saw people with tears streaming from their eyes, hands trembling with emotion. Then I knew that we had crossed to the other side of the fence. These people, you see, were for the most part special educators of some sort--typical professionals with low expectations and poor attitudes. I knew then that these awards were given, not so much to honor the children, but to make the professionals feel good. This idea had not previously occurred to me because of my involvement with the Federation.

After the tear-jerking songster came the presentation. Seth was to be the eighteenth of thirty-five to ascend the stage and claim his trophy. Seth wields a mean cane and travels with no more difficulty than your average eight-year-old. This has always been expected of him and Hope, and we all take independent travel for granted. Wrong again! About a dozen winners were blind people ranging in age from 8 to 20, but of them all only Seth could move around without a sighted guide.

The Council for Exceptional Children representatives, however, had obviously not met too many independent cane travelers because, rather than describing to Seth or showing him his place in line, he was taken by the scruff of the neck and moved into position. This didn't go over big with either Seth or me, but with difficulty we both refrained from comment. Seth's turn came to receive his award, and his academic achievements were touted. The fact that he was a national winner in the Braille Readers are Leaders contest last year was also mentioned. The presenter then announced him as a seven-year-old. Seth figures that it's taken him a long time to get to be eight, and the mistake was nearly a fatal one for the presenter. Fortunately, Seth is basically non-violent, but there have been exceptions.

Returning to our hotel, we had a swim and prepared for our flight back to the States. Seth was happy about the award but felt sad for all of the blind people who couldn't get around by themselves. All four of us discussed this and came to the consensus that the Council for Exceptional Children people are well-meaning and just need more exposure to the kinds of attitudes that we and the National Federation of the Blind project.

But in the meantime how do you retain a hold on your sanity in a world full of sighted professionals?



Monitor readers will remember that on September 1, 1989, the California State Police entered the offices of the Department of Rehabilitation and escorted four employees off state property (including Roger Krum, the head of the Business Enterprise Program) for the duration of an investigation, which the police began immediately. (See the Braille Monitor issue for January, 1989.) This was not the first time that the California Business Enterprise Program (BEP) had been the subject of intensive investigation, and clearly it will not be the last. Millions keep disappearing from the Vendors' Trust Fund, and significant amounts of equipment seem to vanish without a trace from the program's inventory. Nothing significant was done about these problems the last time they turned up, in the late seventies, and it is now clear that the Department of Rehabilitation has no interest in putting its house in order this time around either. The District Attorney is still investigating the events that led up to the September 1 sweep, but in early October, 1990, the Department of Rehabilitation announced that in return for quiet resignations from the BEP, it would reverse the firings of the four, thus enabling them to seek other state employment.

Needless to say, the blind of California were outraged, but the views of blind people seem never to have been of much concern to the Department of Rehabilitation. No one is talking, but the only plausible explanation for its decision to conclude its internal examination of the problems by letting the four fired officials resign is that some sort of deal was struck. The result of all this is that everything will be swept under the rug until the mess oozes out again at some future date. After all, only the blind will suffer--the blind and the recipients of services in whatever offices the four find new work. The Sacramento Union published the report of the Department's actions on Thursday, October 4, 1990. The story was written by Trinda Pasquet. Here it is:

Fired State Employees Allowed to Resign

Four employees fired in March by the Department of Rehabilitation after $1.6 million in equipment disappeared from a business program for the blind have been allowed to resign instead, state officials confirmed Wednesday.

In exchange for the resignations, all adverse personnel actions were withdrawn, and the employees were given reinstatement rights to reapply for state jobs without losing seniority.

In fact, one of the employees, Joseph Edward Parilo, a business enterprise consultant for the Department of Rehabilitation for 17 years, has already found another job with the Public Employees Retirement System. He could not be reached for comment.

That settlement has outraged the blind community, says Sharon Gold, president of the National Federation of the Blind of California.

"This is the second time and the second administration that got its hand slapped for apparently squandering or mismanaging equipment purchased by the blind vendors themselves," Gold said.

In 1976 $1.2 million in equipment could not be located. And last fall auditors within the Department of Rehabilitation determined that another $1.6 million in equipment was missing.

The Business Enterprise Program--which grossed $49 million last year--provides training and helps set up blind entrepreneurs in vending stands and food service operations in public and private buildings.

Sacramento Deputy District Attorney Ana Bravo said she is still investigating the case, trying to determine whether to file charges against some or all the employees.

Members of the California Vendors Policy Committee are planning to file a grievance objecting to the department's "lenience," according to the group's chairman, blind vendor John Friesen.

Besides Parilo, employees initially fired and who were allowed later to resign are Roger Krum, chief of the Business Enterprise Program and a 24-year department employee; James C. Flint, Krum's assistant administrator and 26-year department employee who has not retired; and Anthony Budmark, a management service technician with 15 years.

Another employee, Howard Mackey, was suspended for 30 days. The department's director, gubernatorial appointee Hao Q. Lam, was transferred to a lateral position in the state's Health and Welfare Agency.

A source said at least one of the men also received back pay from the time he was suspended last fall through the time of the settlement this summer.


[PHOTO/CAPTION: Portrait of Jerry Vaughn.]


From the Editor: Jerry Vaughn is blind. He is also a Federationist. He is in business for himself as a gravel contractor, and he now finds himself being squeezed between major contractors who are wealthy and small and/or new contractors who qualify for minority business preference. Under date of September 19, 1990, an article entitled "Blind Troy Businessman Does Not Qualify for Benefits" appeared in the Union City, Tennessee, Daily Messenger. Here is what it says:

NASHVILLE (UPI)--A legally blind Troy man is fighting for the same advantages in business the state now gives women, blacks, and other ethnic minorities.

Jerry Vaughn, a sand and gravel contractor, said he is nearly bankrupt because his blindness does not qualify him as "socially and economically disadvantaged."

Vaughn said he has to meet both criteria to be part of the state's Minority Business Enterprise program and receive preferential treatment in bidding for state jobs. Also, he said, he cannot receive technical and financial assistance available to minorities.

State Rep. Phillip Pinion, D-Union City, asked Attorney General Charles Burson whether a legally blind person qualifies as a Minority Business Enterprise. The answer, released Monday, was no.

Burson said blindness does not qualify unless the individual also has been discriminated against because of race, religion, ethnic background, or sex.

"How much more minority can you be than blind?" Pinion said. Vaughn contends he is being discriminated against because he is a white male.

"Handicapped does not apply," he said. "I'm excluded." Pinion said he may sponsor legislation that would make handicapped Tennesseans eligible for the state's Minority Business Enterprise program.

"I'm going to look into it and try to find out what criteria have to be met," he said. "I feel like this is definitely discrimination. He could be sitting on his duff doing nothing, but he's out trying to make a living and it seems like the bureaucracy literally stops him."

Vaughn said he is not able to compete with wealthy prime contractors because of his handicap, but he also cannot receive the advantages given by the state to minorities.

"I don't have the money now to even fight," Vaughn said. "I'm at the point of bankruptcy or foreclosure."

Vaughn said he is not opposed to giving special considerations to blacks, women, and other minorities.

"Those people need help, but I do too" he said. "I can't participate. I haven't had the technical and financial assistance I'm entitled to due to the white male factor. White women are given preferential treatment. What about us blind persons?



by Marc Maurer

One of the most extraordinary characteristics of our Federation family is the way in which we are prepared to drop everything in our busy lives and rush to answer the call of duty or help each other. The weekend of December 8, 1990, turned out to be one more notable example of this truth. All of us had plans that day--social engagements, preparations for the holidays, studying for exams. But the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) was conducting a propaganda session in Chicago, attacking the Federation, and the blind of the nation were needed to demonstrate our continuing outrage at the charade NAC is perpetrating against us in the name of accreditation. (See the lead article in this issue.)

Mid-week before the NAC dinner, word went out that the blind of the nation were coming to Chicago to stand and be counted. Hotel arrangements were made, and signs and buttons were produced. But most of all, people--lots of them--began rearranging their lives for the weekend.

It seems to me that half of the Federation chapters in the Midwest had planned Christmas parties for that Saturday evening, and several state boards had meetings scheduled, including New Mexico, which moved its entire board to Chicago and combined the conduct of state business with the meeting of the NFB Committee on Standards and Accreditation, whose activities usually consist of brisk walking, singing, and alerting the public to what NAC is doing to harm the blind. Our Chicago chapter's Christmas party and annual auction were scheduled for Saturday afternoon, and those events took place as planned. Then chapter members adjourned to the Bismarck Hotel to join their colleagues and friends from around the state and nation.

It is impossible to catalogue all the personal sacrifices that were made to support this urgently important effort. Candice Peterson, whose mother Bonnie is the President of the National Federation of the Blind of Wisconsin, had her tenth birthday party without her mom, and I overheard one Federationist remark that Christmas shopping would be simplified this year because this trip was it for him and his wife.

But I think that the one who suffered most during the weekend was Steve Benson, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois. He was not among us because on Friday, December 7, he underwent abdominal surgery. A repair was made in the bladder wall, and he is now firmly on the mend. But when I visited Steve in the hospital early Saturday afternoon, he was fretting because he could not be with us, taking his stand and pulling his share of the load. I assured him that there were plenty of hands to do the work, and his part was to get himself back on his feet.

Our opponents are often frustrated by our discipline and focus. It is infrequent today to find dedication to a cause by a large group of people who are knit together with the love that binds the National Federation of the Blind. Our opponents try to explain it away by saying that we are "mindless parrots," repeating what we've been told, as Grant Mack called us at a meeting in Columbus, Ohio. The NAC crowd can attempt to dismiss our unity by willfully misunderstanding and misinterpreting it, but there is no explaining away the love and camaraderie we share in this movement. Like faith, such love and dedication can move mountains; they can even remove NAC.


[PHOTO: Portrait of James Gashel. CAPTION: James Gashel, Director of Governmental Affairs of the NFB.]


by James Gashel

The beginning of each year brings with it annual adjustments in Social Security programs. The changes include new tax rates, higher exempt earnings amounts, Social Security and SSI cost-of-living increases, and changes in deductible and co- insurance requirements under Medicare. Here are the new facts for 1991:

FICA (Social Security) Tax Rate: The tax rate for employees and their employers during 1990 became 7.65% and will remain at the same rate for 1991. This rate includes payments to the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Trust Fund of 6.2% and an additional 1.45% payment to the Health Insurance Trust Fund. The maximum FICA amount to be paid by an employee during 1991 is $5,123.30, up from $3,855.60 during 1990. The largest amount of this increase results from a higher ceiling on taxable earnings used to support the Health Insurance Trust Fund. Self-employed persons will pay a Social Security tax of 15.3% during 1991, and their maximum Social Security contribution will be $8,170.20. Self-employed persons who earn more than $53,400.00 will also pay an additional amount into the Health Insurance Trust Fund.

Ceiling on Earnings Subject to Tax: The taxable earnings ceiling for Social Security purposes was $51,300.00 for 1990. Earnings above this amount were not subject to FICA contributions. Beginning in 1991 there is a new higher ceiling on earnings that are taxable for purposes of Medicare. The ceiling on earnings subject to tax to support the Social Security trust funds will be $53,400.00 during 1991. The new Medicare ceiling will be $125,000.00. Persons who earn more than $53,400.00 will continue to make a 1.45% tax contribution to the Health Insurance Trust Fund up to the new higher ceiling of $125,000.00.

Quarters of Coverage: Eligibility for retirement, survivors, and disability insurance benefits is based in large part on the number of quarters of coverage earned by any individual during periods of work. Anyone may earn up to four quarters of coverage during a single year. During 1990 a Social Security quarter of coverage was credited for earnings of $520.00 in any calendar quarter. Anyone who earned $2,080.00 for the year (regardless of when the earnings occurred during the year) was given four quarters of coverage. In 1991 a Social Security quarter of coverage will be credited for earnings of $540.00 during a calendar quarter. Four quarters can be earned with annual earnings of $2,160.00.

Exempt Earnings: The earnings exemption for blind people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is the same as the exempt amount for individuals age 65 through 69 who receive Social Security retirement benefits. The monthly exempt amount in 1990 was $780.00 of gross earned income. During 1991 the exempt amount will be $810.00. Technically, this exemption is referred to as an amount of monthly gross earnings which does not show "substantial gainful activity." Earnings of $810.00 or more per month before taxes for a blind SSDI beneficiary in 1991 will show substantial gainful activity after subtracting any unearned (or subsidy) income and applying any deductions for impairment-related work expenses.

Social Security Benefit Amounts for 1991: All Social Security benefits, including retirement, survivors', disability, and dependents' benefits are increased by 5.4% beginning January, 1991. The exact dollar increase for any individual will depend upon the amount being paid.

Standard SSI Benefit Increase: Beginning January, 1991, the federal payment amounts for SSI individuals and couples are as follows: individuals, $407.00 per month; couples, $610.00 per month. These amounts are increased from: individuals, $386.00 per month; couples, $579.00 per month.

Medicare Deductibles and Co-insurance: Medicare Part A coverage provides hospital insurance to most Social Security beneficiaries. The co-insurance payment is the charge that the hospital makes to a Medicare beneficiary for any hospital stay. Medicare then pays the hospital charges above the beneficiary's co-insurance amount. The Part A co-insurance amount for hospital stays from sixty-one through ninety days is $157.00 a day, up from $148.00 a day in 1990. Each Medicare beneficiary has sixty "reserve days" for hospital stays longer than ninety days. The co-insurance amount to be paid during each reserve day is $314.00, up from $296.00 in 1990.

The Medicare Part B (medical insurance) deductible will increase from $75.00 in 1990 to $100.00 in 1991. This is not an annual deductible amount. A new benefit period can begin sixty days after discharge from a hospital or skilled nursing facility. The Medicare Part B basic monthly premium rate will increase from $28.60 charged to each beneficiary during 1990 to $29.90 per month during 1991.


From the Associate Editor: The bitingly cold weather of the winter season always makes my thoughts turn to bread-baking. When it comes to the household arts, I am frankly a coward. For example, I enjoy knitting more than sewing because you don't have to cut, and even if you do break the yarn, you can tie it together again with no one the wiser. Sewing, on the other hand, requires one to commit irrevocably to one size, one arrangement of the pattern on the material and then--most unalterable act of all--to cut.

Bread-baking is like knitting; you can always start over--as long as you haven't killed the yeast. People are impressed with a well-baked loaf out of all proportion to the skill required to produce it, and nothing is more comforting on a blustery day than a slice from a warm loaf with butter melting into the texture of the bread.

A few hours of research and experimentation are well worth the investment when you find that, like knitting sweaters, you have a skill that everyone appreciates benefiting from. People generally think that baking bread is complicated and time- consuming. It does not actually take very long at any one time, but you must choose a day when you can be in the kitchen occasionally during a several-hour period. Bread is patient for the most part. If you let it rise so far that the loaf falls again, you can simply reform it. As long as the yeast has food to grow on, it will keep multiplying and producing the carbon dioxide bubbles that make the loaf rise. As I say, the only absolute rule is don't kill the yeast with hot water or an oven that is too hot during the rising.

There are loaves for every occasion and taste. One of my favorites is tiny loaves served with sandwich-makings for a special lunch. Each guest can slice an individual loaf hot from the oven and create several small sandwiches to warm his or her own heart. Here are several recipes from Federationists who like to bake and who find bread pleasing. See what you think.

by Barbara Pierce

This recipe makes four individual loaves and can be thrown together in a food processor, a mixer with a bread hook, or a bowl and wooden spoon. The last method requires old-fashioned kneading but is a great way of constructively releasing pent up frustrations or other unhealthy emotions. Once you have the hang of bread-baking, experiment with different kinds of flour, sweeteners, or flavorings.

1 tablespoon active dry yeast (1 package)
1 cup warm (not hot) water
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups unbleached or bread flour

Method: In a warm bowl combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir to dissolve the dry ingredients. Add half the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Adding the rest of the flour will be harder work, and eventually you will want to turn the contents of the bowl out onto a floured board for kneading. Bread is ready to rise when it is satiny and elastic and does not need more flour for easy handling. (If cracks or folds begin to appear in the dough, you have added too much flour. Just sprinkle a few drops of water over the dough and knead it in well without additional flour.)

Place the dough in a well-buttered bowl, butter the top of the dough generously, cover the bowl with a towel, and allow to rise in a warm spot (about 85 degrees if you can manage it) until it doubles in bulk. Knead the dough briefly to release the air and allow the bread to rest for 10 minutes or so. Divide it into four equal pieces and roll each into a small rectangle. Be sure that there are no air pockets in the dough at this point; they will spoil the texture of the finished product. Roll up each rectangle to form a small loaf. Pinch the ends and bottom to seal. Place each loaf in a buttered or oiled foil bread pan measuring 3 inches by 5 and butter its top. Allow to triple in bulk in a warm place. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when gently tapped. Tip the loaves out onto cooling racks to cool. If you see that it is not done on the bottom, pop them back into the oven for a few more minutes. It is not necessary to return the loaves to the pans at this stage of baking. Enjoy lunch.

by Tony Sohl

Tony Sohl is an active member of the Tempe-Mesa Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona. His mother is Ruth Swenson, President of the NFB of Arizona. Tony frequently contributes recipes to these pages. He demonstrates with energy and style the truth that young men can enjoy cooking and do well at it.

1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
4 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 package refrigerator biscuits, each biscuit cut into quarters
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Method: Mix brown sugar, water and margarine in a saucepan. Cook over very low heat until melted. Pour into a large Pyrex bowl. Add biscuit pieces and walnuts. Stir to coat each small biscuit. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until done. Top will be dry to the touch.

by Orna Weinroth

Orna Weinroth and her husband Robert Greenberg, a 1986 NFB scholarship winner, have just returned to New Haven, Connecticut, from a year of linguistic research in Eastern Europe for Robert's doctoral dissertation. Orna is a very busy woman and provides proof for my contention that everyone who wants to can find time to bake bread.

4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon dry yeast (one package)
1/4 cup malt powder
7 tablespoons dark molasses
3 cups bran
10 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt

Method: Proof the yeast by dissolving it in a little of the warm water. Let it stand in a warm place until bubbles begin to form. This takes five to ten minutes and demonstrates that the yeast is alive and active. Be sure that the water is just comfortably warm to the touch (about 110 degrees). If you use water that is actually hot, you will kill the yeast, and the bread will not rise. If this does happen, just dissolve another package of yeast in a little more water and knead it into the bread at any point before baking. This will rescue the entire project.

Combine the wet ingredients in a large bowl, then add the dry ones. Stir until the mixture forms a soft dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic and does not need more flour in order for you to handle it easily. This will take about ten minutes of vigorous kneading. Place in an oiled bowl, turning the dough over once to coat the top. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and allow the dough to rise to about double in bulk in a warm place, 1-1/2 hours. Punch the dough down, letting the air escape. Allow the dough to rest for ten to fifteen minutes, then divide into two pieces and roll both into loaves, and then put them in well buttered pans and keep warm and covered. Let rise until the dough doubles. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let the bread cool in the bread pans for a few minutes before removing them to a rack to cool completely.

We make this bread every week without fail. The salt and malt are optional.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Portrait of Barbara Cheadle.]

by Mrs. Barbara Cheadle

Barbara Cheadle is president of the Parents of Blind Children Division of the National Federation of the Blind. She is the mother of three active and usually hungry children, so she knows the value of keeping nutritious food on hand. Muffins are, of course, not yeast bread; but they are delicious. Barbara says of this recipe: "These muffins are mixed, stored in the refrigerator and baked whenever they are wanted. Twenty-five minutes before serving, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spoon batter into buttered muffin tins, filling 2/3 full. Bake 20-22 minutes and serve. You can make two muffins or enough for a large family."

3 cups wheat bran
1 cup brown sugar
2-1/2 cups flour
2-1/2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine
1 pint buttermilk
2 eggs
1 cup of boiling water

Method: Combine 1 cup bran and the boiling water, stir and let steep. In a separate bowl cream sugar and margarine. Beat in the eggs. Mix together flour, soda, the 2 remaining cups of wheat bran, and salt. Combine and mix together well the cup of steeped bran with all other ingredients. Chill in tightly covered plastic container. Let stand at least 12 hours before baking. Batter will keep in refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.

by Jonathan Ice

Jonathan Ice is an active member of the Metro Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota. He works for a bakery.

6 cups warm water (75 - 105 degrees)
2 tablespoons dry yeast (2 packages)
1 cup dry milk
1/2 - 3/4 cup honey (or other sweetener)
1 cup corn meal
1/2 cup wheat gluten flour (found in health food stores)
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup bulgur
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2-1/2 tablespoons salt

Method: Combine all ingredients, except flour, in a large bowl. With wooden spoon, stir in enough whole wheat flour so that dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl (approximately 7-10 cups). Turn out contents of bowl onto 3 cups of unbleached white flour. Knead until dough is only slightly tacky and very elastic. Put in greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let dough rise in a warm place until it about doubles in volume (about an hour). Punch dough down and divide into six equal pieces. Shape into round loaves, smooth on top, and let rise on cookie sheet(s). Bake about thirty minutes in 350-degree oven. (I prefer round loaves because I find that the bread turns out moister, but do it in bread pans if you prefer.) Yields six 1-pound loaves.

by Ronda DelBoccio

Ronda DelBoccio is Director of Community Outreach for BLIND, Inc., the NFB's adult rehabilitation center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and an active member of the Metro Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota.

3 cups very hot tap water
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, margarine or reduced calorie
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons active dry yeast (2 packages)
9 - 9-1/2 cups all purpose flour (unbleached is healthier)
salad oil

Method: In large bowl, combine water, butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until butter is melted. Let cool to about 110 degrees. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and allow to dissolve. Beat in about 5 cups flour to make a thick batter. Add enough of remaining flour to make stiff dough (usually 3 - 3-1/2 cups). Turn out onto floured board. Knead until texture is satiny and very elastic (15 to 20 minutes). Work in flour as needed, but don't overdo it. Place dough in greased bowl. Turn over to grease top. Let rise until double (about 1 and 1/2 hours). Punch down. Knead briefly. Make smooth ball. Cut a circle of foil large enough to cover bottom of 5-quart Dutch oven. Place foil in Dutch oven. Grease the top surface of the foil and lid of Dutch oven with oil. Place dough in Dutch oven. Cover and let rise until dough pushes lid up about 1/2 inch. (Watch closely. It takes about 1 hour.) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake covered with lid for 12 minutes. Remove lid and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until loaf is golden brown. Turn out onto rack, peel off foil and turn loaf upright. Recipe makes 1 huge loaf. Allow to cool awhile before cutting. Traditionally, Basque shepherds made this bread by the campfire in a large kettle. When serving it, they cut the sign of the cross into it and gave the first slice to the invaluable dog. This bread freezes well and is excellent toasted.



The Capitol chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas reports the results of their September 7 election as follows: President, Bill Munck; Vice President, Larry Waymire; Secretary, Linda Balek; and Treasurer, Susan Ewing. Board members who were elected are Jim Nottingham, Diane Hennigan, Eric Ewing, and Tom Balek.

**Better Late Than Never:

From the Associate Editor: Delighted we were to read the following announcement in the Fall, 1990 issue of "Insight," the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota:

Delighted Industries is a name of the past. The newly established name is South Dakota Industries for the Blind. It's about time.

**A Further Budget Rent-a-Car Update:

From the Associate Editor: The July and October/November, 1990 issues of the Braille Monitor carried stories about Larry and Sandy Streeter's attempt to rent a car from Budget Rent-a- Car. It is now clear that Budget got the message. Loraine and David Stayer, leaders in the NFB of New York, recently obtained the following notice, which was circulated to all Budget Rent-a- Car outlets:

Granting Equal Access: How do you treat a person with a disability? Like a person. Equal access laws have raised awareness of, and demand for, more service to meet disabled travelers' needs. In 1987 Budget Rent a Car Corporation made a recommendation concerning this issue. Many of these travelers have credit cards but no driver's licenses and travel with someone who has a driver's license but no credit card. As we move into our busiest months, please remind your staff of the policy to waive the prerequisite that the primary renter have a driver's license. We should accommodate renters over age 25 who are proven credit-worthy, will accept responsibility for the vehicle, and are traveling with a licensed driver (e.g., a family member or other companion).

To show this on the rental agreement, simply write the word "handicapped" on the line indicating license number, expiration date, and state and fill in the "additional driver" section of the agreement. We further recommend that this type of rental not be subject the additional driver surcharge.

Equal access is a major public policy issue that has significant public relations impact on all businesses. Let's be sensitive to the concerns of this influential group of consumers. For more information please call Jody Wilson at (312) 408-6624.

**From Little Acorns:

Linda and Tom Balek are leaders in the Capitol chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas. Their eight-year- old son Jeff is a member of the chapter and already understands the meaning of Federationism. This note appeared in the Parent Corner section of the chapter's October 1, 1990, newsletter:

For many people the civil rights movement of the 1960s is symbolized by a small, black woman named Rosa Parks, who refused to sit in the back of a bus. Her act of defiance set the tone for those who followed and made clear to the world just how foolish and wrong discrimination is.

Capitol Chapter member Jeff Balek, a third grader at Berryton Elementary school, has never heard of Rosa Parks. But he knew something was wrong when his school bus driver made him sit in the front row while the other (sighted) students were allowed to sit wherever they wanted.

When Jeff asked his driver why he couldn't sit in the back with his friends for the 45-minute rides to and from school, she announced to him and his peers, "it wouldn't be safe."

Jeff's parents and his principal took up the fight with the misguided, but steadfast, driver. Local chapter members, alerted to the situation, stood ready to step in.

Meanwhile, every day for two weeks Jeff repeated his wish to sit with his friends and was rebuffed. Finally the driver relented.

Discrimination is just as wrong when applied to the blind as it was, and is, for southern blacks. Sadly, parents of blind children must still be vigilant to protect their civil rights.

**New Game Available:

We have been asked to print the following:

"Hi-Lo" is an exceptionally designed dice and domino game, not only for sighted individuals, but especially for the visually impaired. The "Hi-Lo" is of high quality, constructed of solid oak, with walnut dominoes and a green felt playing arena. The ten dominoes, dotted one through ten, have beautiful raised brass dots for easier tactile readability. Also enclosed are larger sized, red transparent dice with white dots, as well as a free audio cassette with playing and ordering instructions. For low vision individuals, there are fourteen-point bold print instructions with a re-order coupon attached and a unique score pad for all. The "Hi-Lo" is an excellent solitaire or group game and is portable for your convenience.

To order, send $19.95 plus $3.00 shipping and handling for one or $34.95 plus $3.50 shipping and handling for two "Hi-Lo"s to TLR Sales & Marketing, P.O. Box 577, Rossville, KS 66533.

We accept VISA and MasterCard. (Credit card holders call toll free 1-800-334-1387.) Sorry, no CODs. Kansas residents add 5% sales tax, please. Raised dot dice available--please add $3.00 additional per "Hi-Lo" ordered. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Karen Mayry and Akiko Noguchi.]

**Reaching Out to Blind Neighbors:

We received the following notice from the National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota's state office:

Marshall and Karen Mayry were hosts to Akiko Noguchi from Japan during July. Akiko, a 16-year-old blind student, traveled to America with the JAJA, Japan American Jamboree Adventure program. The program is designed to help Japanese students learn more about Americans and improve their English skills. Akiko, who lives in Kyoto, was the first blind student to be included in the JAJA program. Upon learning of her attendance, the program director contacted the NFB of South Dakota office regarding her housing. "We were thrilled to have her stay with us, and she was equally thrilled to stay with a blind adult. It was quite an experience for all of us. Her English improved greatly; unfortunately, we did not do as well with our Japanese," said Mrs. Mayry.


Marilyn Womble, who has been the energetic President of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida for a number of years, has recently experienced health problems that have forced her regretfully to resign from the presidency. She will remain active in our Florida affiliate by chairing the state's legislative committee, and she continues, of course, to live her Federationism and to work hard for the movement every day. Under date of November 1, Marilyn wrote a letter to members of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida announcing the results of the elections conducted at the state convention. Those serving as officers of the NFB of Florida are President, Wayne Davis; First Vice President, Joyce Mathis; Second Vice President, Melody Lindsey; Secretary, Charlotte Christensen; and Treasurer, Theresa Schaffer. Elected to serve as board members are Dan Hicks, Jeff Harmon, Janet Caron, and Gloria Mills.

**New Baby:

Mike and Barbara Freeman, who are leaders in the National Federation of the Blind of Washington, have been attempting to adopt a blind child for about five years now. All of us who know and love them have agonized with them through the many trials and disappointments they have faced. But on Tuesday, November 13, the Freemans welcomed Shanti Anne into their family. She celebrated her first birthday with her new parents on November 27, 1990, and all of us join in wishing her a belated happy birthday and look forward to meeting her in New Orleans at the 1991 national convention.

**Braille Mexican Cookbook Available:

We have been asked to print the following:

The National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico has announced the availability of the cookbook, Selections from Simply Simpatico. This Braille cookbook contains over 150 recipes for Mexican and Southwestern foods.

The two-volume soft-cover Braille book is available at a cost of $15.00. The book is also available on MS-DOS computer disk as text files for a cost of $10.00. Please specify 3.5- or 5.25-inch disk when ordering.

If you have ever wondered what to do with that pile of chili peppers your neighbor gave you or how to make tortillas, enchiladas, sopaipillas, or countless other Mexican and Southwestern dishes, then this is the cookbook for you.

Selections from Simply Simpatico has been excerpted from a cookbook called Simply Simpatico originally published in 1980 by the Junior League of Albuquerque, which has graciously granted the NFB of New Mexico permission to excerpt from the original cookbook. The project is a fund raiser for the New Mexico affiliate.

Selections from Simply Simpatico will serve the needs of the beginning as well as the experienced cook. It contains a glossary of terms and food types, which will give you all the background information you will need to get started. In addition, it also contains a Basic Preparations section which will give you step- by-step instructions for handling all necessary ingredients, as well as recipes for everything from red and green chili to salsa, and from tacos and enchiladas to chilies rellenos. This book will answer all the questions you have ever had about Mexican and Southwestern food but were afraid to ask.

In addition to the glossary and basic preparations sections, the cookbook also has sections on appetizers, beverages, soups and sandwiches, breads, salads, accompaniments, eggs and cheese, rice pasta and grains, vegetables, meats, poultry, and desserts. Further, the book features short essays on New Mexican food and history and the Southwestern lifestyle.

All checks and money orders should be made payable to the NFB of New Mexico. Send all orders to NFB of New Mexico, David Andrews, 906-1/2 Fruit Ave., N.W., Albuquerque, NM 87102. If you have any questions or need additional information, you can call David Andrews at 505-243-5160.

**Computer Instruction:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

"Instruction in Soft-Vert available as well as instruction in Word Perfect. Various aspects of Soft-Vert covered. Commands in both communication and review modes, as well as use of the verbal options menu and dictionary are covered. Instruction in Word Perfect includes Search, Edit, Print, Merge, Macros, Spellcheck, as well as other aspects needed for employment or personal use. Fee: $15/hour, will travel in New York City area. Call or write: Mr. Jan Koy, 302 Mott Street, New York, New York 10012; (212) 431-8114."


Pauline Murphy of Missouri writes as follows: At our November meeting of the National Federation of the Blind of St. Joseph, Missouri, Chapter the following persons were elected: President, Jerry Maccoux; Vice President, Pauline Murphy; Secretary, Melba Miller; and Treasurer, Larry Murphy.

**Hospitalized and Back to Work:

In mid-September of 1990 Curtis Willoughby, a long-time leader of our Iowa affiliate, suffered a minor heart attack. He was in the hospital one week where doctors found and treated him for blockage in two small arteries which supply blood to the heart. Using non-surgical techniques they completely cleared one artery. Apparently, they determined that the second blockage is a non-debilitating or threatening problem and released Curtis without further medical treatment but did outline an exercise and diet regimen for him to follow. As of early October, Curtis is back to work.

**American Foundation Seeks Director:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

"American Foundation for the Blind seeks President/Executive Director. Advanced degree and successful experience in education or rehabilitation of persons with visual impairment. Broad knowledge and understanding of the present and future direction for delivery of quality services. Demonstrated leadership abilities in present and previous positions and in professional organization and ability to monitor the budgetary process of a large national organization. Skilled in oral and written communication with a variety of audiences. Position open until appropriate candidate is identified. Send letter of intent and resume to Mr. Michael M. Maney, Sullivan & Cromwell, 125 Broad Street, New York, New York 10004. AFB is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer."

**Catholic Religious Material:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

"Free--a 10-lesson taped home study course on the Catholic faith and our free catalog. Send for lesson 1 on cassette tape and our catalog by contacting Catholic Inquiry for the Blind, 228 North Walnut Street, Lansing, Michigan 48933; (517)342-2500."

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Portrait of Cheryl McCaslin.]

**Foreign Recipes:

Cheryl McCaslin, long-time member and sparkplug of the Cultural Exchange and International Program Committee of the National Federation of the Blind, writes as follows:

The C.E.I.P Committee is going to have a new fundraising project. We are planning to make an International Dining Cookbook. We will sell it in both Braille and print so it will be for everyone. Each of you can help us with this exciting project by sending in your favorite foreign recipes. Be sure, however, that the ingredients of each recipe can be obtained in the United States, so we do not have to do foreign traveling in order to cook that recipe. If you have any recipes to submit to this cookbook, please send them to: Joyce Scanlan, NFB of Minnesota, Suite 715 Chamber of Commerce Building, 15 South 5th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402. We will be looking forward to hearing from each of you with those delicious foreign recipes.

**A Word of Thanks:

From the Editor: As you can imagine, we get all kinds of requests to carry this or that in the Monitor. Some of the items are appropriate; others not. Sometimes the sheer volume of material causes something to be eliminated. On the other hand, there are requests which seem particularly fitting. Here is one of them, just as we received it. After all, the Federation is, first and foremost, a family:

"To the Editor:

"I am writing you this brief letter to just give my thanks to my fellow brothers and sisters from the New York State chapter meeting that was held in Rochester, NY, from Friday the 19th day of October to Sunday the 21st day of October, 1990. Here is my story. On Saturday night during the banquet dinner I felt sick and went to check my blood/sugar since I am a diabetic. Well, the reading that I got was 28, which was low, so I took all the necessary measures to bring it up. Well, it went up to about 80, but I still felt sick; so the good folks at the Rochester Ramada Inn where the convention took place phoned the hospital, and I was sent there by ambulance. My blood/sugar at this time was 130, but it was not that which was causing my problems. It was my heart. Well, everything turned out right, and I was given more medication. Here is where the story takes its climax. The fellow members of our wonderful group, Dr. Donna E. West, Jodi Constanine, Charles Hamburger, Roxanne Simms, and the others (including the great hotel staff), I wish to thank them once again for their love and care by not only taking care of me but my guide dog Gabby.

"Once again, thanks from the bottom of my heart.

"Sheldon M. Werner, C.P.A., B.C.L."

**Braille Newspaper:

We recently received the following news release:

World's First Braille Newspaper Debuts in Hong Kong

In a major advancement in disseminating "hard news" to the visually impaired, the world's first Braille daily newspaper is now being published in Hong Kong.

Since August 20, up to 70 copies of the English-language paper, officially known as The Braille Post, are printed each work day and are reaching nearly 500 people.

The Braille Post is the brainchild of Bob Howarth, Editorial Technology and Training Manager for the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's main English-language daily newspaper, and Fred Leun, Supervisor of the Hong Kong Society for the Blind's Centralized Braille Production Center.

**Ann Morris Enterprises:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement: "Inexpensive talking calculators with headphone jacks, televisions which receive descriptive video, tactile meat and candy thermometers, Braille cookbooks and craft books, jute wheelbags, and a refillable large print address book are just some of the products in Volume 5 of the Ann Morris Enterprises, Inc. catalog. Write or call today for your free large print or cassette edition or send $8.00 for a Braille copy. Discover, MasterCard, Visa, and COD accepted. Address all correspondence to: Ann Morris Enterprises, Inc., 26 Horseshoe Lane, Levittown, New York 11756; phone: (516) 796-4938."

**Recovering at Home:

As reported elsewhere in this issue, Steve Benson, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois and a member of the NFB Board of Directors, was suddenly hospitalized on Saturday, December 1, 1990. After several days of tests, he underwent surgery on Friday, December 7, to repair his bladder wall and prevent a repetition of the infection he had been fighting. We are delighted to report that Steve was discharged from the hospital on December 19 and is now recovering at home with his family. We all wish him a speedy and uneventful return to health.

**O.K. With Mary Kay:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Would you like something fun to do during those times at the Washington Seminar when you have no appointments and Mercury has none to be assigned? You are invited to stop by and visit the Mary Kay display in Marie Cobb's room. You can browse through the exciting Valentine's Day gifts, treat yourself to a free facial, or why not do both? If you find items you wish to purchase, we do free gift wrapping, and we also accept MasterCard and Visa. WHERE: Marie Cobb's room, Holiday Inn. WHEN: Saturday, February 2, 1991, at Noon, through Wednesday, February 6 (except during the main briefings and group meetings). Incidentally, part of the proceeds will be donated to the Federation.

**Rolling Stone:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

"Triformation Braille Services, Inc., 3142 S. E. Jay Street, Stuart, Florida 34997, has entered into an agreement with Rolling Stone magazine to produce their magazine in Braille. If you are interested in subscribing to this bi-weekly publication, please call TBS at (407) 286-8366. A subscription list is being made up at this time, and the first issue is anticipated for the first of the year.

**Transcribers and Educators Convention:

Bill Gerrey, a member of the National Federation of the Blind of California, has asked us to print the following:

California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH) is meeting from March 14 to 16, 1991, in Oakland. This 32nd Conference, titled "Consumers Are the Reason," will be, as usual, the major coming together of VH professionals in the country. There will be wide-ranging workshops for teachers, consumers, and transcribers as well as more than 50 exhibits.

Contact Charlene Okamoto, Oakland Unified Schools, 1025 Second Avenue, P-16, Oakland, CA 94606, (415) 836-8154 for a pre-registration packet. IMPORTANT: Pre-registration must be received by February 15, 1991.

**Illinois Convention:

Steve Benson, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, reports as follows:

Nearly 140 Federationists and friends from across Illinois and five other states gathered at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lisle, Illinois, Friday, September 28 to Sunday, September 30, for the 1990 convention of the NFB of Illinois. Rami Rabby, prize-winning author and management consultant in addition to being the president of the NFB of New York City, presided over an outstanding Job Opportunities for the Blind seminar Friday afternoon. The remainder of the convention sustained the quality and pace set by the JOB seminar.

At the Saturday evening banquet Joyce Scanlan, secretary of the National Federation of the Blind and president of the NFB of Minnesota, delivered a stirring and thought-provoking address. Tony Burda was presented with the Gwendolyn Williams Award for his exemplary work in and on behalf of the Federation.

On Sunday morning, September 30, the following officers and board members were elected to serve two-year terms: Steve Benson, President; Cathy Randall, First Vice President; Steve Hastalis, Second Vice President; Ruth Isaacs, Secretary; Bill Hafer, Treasurer; Rita Szantay, board member; and Tony Burda, board member.

**Tell Us More:

From the Editor: With increasing frequency we are getting requests to carry announcements in the Monitor which may be thoroughly constructive but which are worded in such a way that they don't get carried. Such an announcement might, for instance, say something like this: "Wonderful business opportunity! Work in your own home, and make good income!"

If we get a request to carry such an announcement and if we don't know the person who has asked us to carry it, our tendency is not to do it. It may be perfectly legitimate, or it may be a rip-off. The difficulty is in knowing how to tell. It is true that our carrying an announcement does not constitute an endorsement, but whether it does or not, we feel some responsibility.

Therefore, if you want us to carry an announcement regarding business opportunities or products, it will be to your advantage if you give us references or enough information to help us determine what it is we are being asked to promote and who is asking us to do it. As Monitor readers know, we make no charge for carrying announcements. What we are trying to do is to provide a service.