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Donald Trump Disregard For The Disabled

Trump’s Disregard for the Disabled is Nothing New

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump pledged to fight for all Americans. However, now he wants to cut billions of dollars over the next ten years from the programs for the disabled.

The programs that he wants to gut big time include The Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid, Medicare, SSDI, SSI, Food Stamps, Meals on Wheels, Special Education, and Vocational Training. He even wanted to defund The Special Olympics. This purge, along with more and more states passing Assisted Suicide laws, makes the atmosphere for the disabled alarming and quite depressing. Clearly, President Trump doesn’t care about disabled Americans.

This is not a new phenomenon for Trump and the Trump Organization, as is evident in a project they participated in that completely ignored the needs of the disabled.

The Avenue Z Park reopened in Gravesend, Brooklyn in the summer of 1986 after it was closed for some time due to disrepair, vandalism, and fires. It was located on land in the Beach Haven Apartment Complex that Fred Trump originally donated in 1952 to the city of New York to build a park. He subsequently donated funds to rebuild the new playground. Donald Trump was the president of the Trump Organization at the time and deserves credit and responsibility.

The event was captured in The Bay News, a local community newspaper, on August 4, 1986, entitled, “Avenue Z Park is Dedicated.” This publication is stored in microfilm at the Central Branch of The Brooklyn Public Library and The State Library of New York in Albany. However, in both libraries, the first page of the three-page article is missing. Perhaps, it still exists in the collection of the late John Walter, the Trump family historian.

Fred Trump was in attendance, as were Henry Stern, Parks Commissioner, and Howard Golden, Brooklyn Borough President. There were speeches, balloons, and plenty of happy children on hand.

Henry Stern, the Parks Commissioner gave Fred Trump a Certificate of Appreciation for his donation to create the new playground. The cost of the new playground was over $600 thousand dollars and word was that Fred and/or Donald Trump found the contractor to design and build the new playground, but I can’t verify this. The name of this company can undoubtedly be found on the original contract with the New York City Parks Department. Howard Golden, the Brooklyn Borough President, praised the city for creating such “an innovative park,” and said that this new park created a “safer environment for the children.”

It is important to note that the new park was an extreme park instead of an “innovative” one. The equipment was very high, perhaps ten feet or more, and the tall slides had no protective coverings. A five-year-old stated that he liked the park because “There are a lot of big kids’ rides here.” Nonetheless, he and the other children were eager to try out the equipment, and even very young children and babies were getting in on the act. However, no disabled children would benefit from the new playground. The equipment was very colorful and proved to be magnets for the able-bodied children who ran and climbed with delight, eager to reach the highest points! This new extreme park was clearly a predictor of many accidents and injuries. Even the rubber floor mats were no match to prevent injuries from falls from the high apparatus. A child could easily lose his or her balance or be pushed off by other kids. In addition, there was no park house, bathrooms, nor park attendant in place for first aid or to deal with emergencies. Soon, children could be seen around the neighborhood with casts on resulting from falls from the high equipment. One little boy broke his elbow and lost his dream of being a baseball player.

The new 1986 playground more resembled the taste of Donald Trump because of its grand scale and boldly colored design instead of Fred Trump, whose construction projects were more conservative and simpler. Further, Donald Trump may have wanted to go into park construction at that time as evidenced by his interest in recreation including, rebuilding the Wollman Ice Rink in 1986, taking over the running of the Central Park Carousel, as well as building many golf courses, hotels, and casinos. The extreme new park also was a chance to enhance the Trump’s Beach Haven apartment development because the park was right in the development located between two of the buildings and across the street from the others.

This new park was not accessible for the disabled. In my opinion, it was not safe for able-bodied children, and created a potential source for injuries and even may have caused children to become disabled or worse!

This was a time when the city should have been very sensitive to the needs of the disabled, as well as the safety of all children. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was past thirteen years prior, and the disabled community was very active in moving toward the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which became law only four years later. In fact, the first accessible park in the country had already been constructed in 1984 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. The link to this event can be found at https://www.nycgovparks.org/about/history/playgrounds

shows a photo of Mayor Ed Koch, Henry Stern and other officials cutting the ribbon opening this new accessible park.



Both the Trump Organization and the city officials were aware of construction trends and the needs of the disabled, but in the case of approving the plans for the Avenue Z park, they simply didn’t seem to care. This is surprising because Koch, Stern, and Golden ware lawyers and were aware of laws passed and laws that were being considered regarding the disabled, as well as the potential liabilities of the new equipment. What could have made these government officials approve such a dangerous and inaccessible park plan? Also, after giving a generous donation for the new playground, one would think that the Trumps would have also reservations about this new park design.

An investigation should be undertaken of all the injuries and/or disabilities that occurred among children in the Avenue Z Park between 1986 and around 2006 when the park was redone to become accessible. Clearly, the park reconstructed in 1986 not only showed no concern for disabled children, but no concern for able-bodied children as well!

Below are photos of the newer accessible Avenue Z Park, now called West Playground. This was constructed by the New York City Parks Department around 2006, fully sixteen years after President Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990.

It is evident that President Donald Trump didn’t care about the disabled in 1986; nor does he care about them today.

Trump’s base needs to know that if he doesn’t care about disabled children or if able-bodied children get injured, disabled, or killed because of his part creating this “extreme” park, why would he care about unborn children? He is just saying that he is pro-life because that’s what his base wants to hear. More than ever now, he needs the support of his base, especially in the Senate, to avoid being removed from office and/or possibly going to prison.

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