Terry Lamphier, City Council Grass Valley

Terry Lamphier: City Council

Q: · At FREED, we interact with a lot of people who would like to participate in public meetings, but who are unable to get reasonable accommodations for their disabilities. What are some of the barriers that people with disabilities might find in attending a public meeting, and how might reasonable accommodations be provided?

TL: You have indicated that folks are unable to get reasonable accommodations to attend public meetings. It is my understanding that both the City of Grass Valley and Nevada County facilities are in compliance with law. As a Councilmember, I would certainly support correction of any non-compliance issues. Beyond that, as a Councilmember I would certainly lobby colleagues as necessary to be sure that any Council decisions affecting the disabled community would recognize and be in compliance with law.

 

Q: · The numbers of Americans needing long-term care will more than double, from 12 million to 27 million by 2050. Medicare does not cover long-term care. With the aging of the U.S. population how would you recommend your city or county address its current and growing needs for long-term services and supports?

TL: As our population ages, I think we are headed for crises in care services. One possible way to address funding might be to offer folks a “buy-out” of their social security entitlement with a one-time cash payout. To make it work, the arrangement would have to be structured using an estimate of the total likely standard payout over the expected lifetime of a person (based on actuarial data), then offer a one time lump sum reduced amount payment instead of monthly payments. This personal choice incentive system would likely have large initial financial impacts but over time should reduce overall system costs, assuring a stronger reserve fund for those who elect to stay with the traditional system of monthly payouts.

 

Q: Independent, low income, housing for seniors and people with disabilities is highly impacted. Many low income facilities have 2 year waiting lists. What types of public policy would you favor in order to ensure older adults or people with disabilities who have fixed low incomes can afford to live near vital community services (hospitals, shopping, social services).

TL: On a local level, Grass Valley is already a primarily low-income community with approximately 60% of housing being rentals and household incomes hovering around $40,000/year (while around $80,000 a year is needed to purchase a home). Directing priorities towards enhancing earning opportunities will translate to less demand for social services and attendant increased funds available for those who can’t work or are retired.

To be a successful financial model, however, any efforts to support economic development need to be geared towards creating good paying jobs, not more minimum wage jobs that would only worsen the need for supplemental social services, further reducing available funds.

 

Q: As a regional example, Yuba City neglected the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) requirements when remodeling Plumas Street, a primary district for shopping and restaurants, thus creating barriers for seniors, people with disabilities, bicyclists, women with strollers etc. A complaint was filed with the Department of Justice and Yuba City had to renovate the street again, in order to be in compliance. Good planning and guidance from the top down would have saved Yuba City millions of dollars. How can a city council prevent this sort of thing from happening?

TL: As I stated before, it is my understanding that both City and County government agencies are well attuned to the needs of the disabled community. Certainly as Councilmember I would be diligent in assuring government actions comply with the law, as I have demonstrated in my role on the Grass Valley Redevelopment Agency Dissolution Oversight Board.

 

Q: Individuals who cannot drive face barriers in traveling to work, shopping, social events and city council meetings, because of limited public transit options. How might the city work with nonprofits, businesses, as well as cultural or entertainment organizations to enhance transportation options in a rural community? What kinds of transportation options would you like to see in our rural community?

TL: It is my understanding that with funding of public transportation, it appears there have been funding sources for acquisition of buses, but not for salaries of drivers, leaving recovering of labor costs to local entities by either cutting services or raising charges, neither of which are palatable options to me. Yosemite National Park has an amazing bus system that naturally draws folks to want to use it. The buses are clean, quiet and very comfortable, have large windows for viewing, stop anywhere safe to pick up/drop passengers – and it is “free” (costs shared by all).

Increased ridership is a key component in maintaining or expanding service, while reducing the need for multi-million dollar road projects – thereby freeing up more funds for public transit.