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Discrimination by the Venice Town Council: in court September 11

6 settembre 2007 · 6 commenti
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 Translation of the article, Discriminazione di disabili dal Comune di Venezia: in aula l’undici settembre

A totally disabled, elderly couple abandoned and discriminated by the Venice Town Council in the allocation of public housing leads to a lawsuit against the administration presided by Mayor Massimo Cacciari

Venice: On May 7, 2007 an article,”Cacciari ai no-global: giusto occupare” (Cacciari to the no-global: just camp out in a municipal place), written by M. Fumagalli appeared in the Corriere della Sera (Evening Courier). In the article Prof. Massimo Cacciari, Mayor of Venice, declared, “If the Town Council does not listen to you, you can go inside municipal places and stay in them. That way, it forces someone to make an agreement.” In the same article the city council member to the House, Mara Rumiz, declared, “The route of the revolt demonstrates that, rather than escalate the conflict, the problem can be resolved with dialogue.”

There are citizens who would prefer to follow the law but, unfortunately, they find themselves before a town council whose members do not listen and so it is necessary to turn to the authorities to get that which is legally theirs. Such is the case with the Venice Town Council, really of the administration guided by Mayor Cacciari. The case deals with an elderly couple, both totally disabled citizens, who have waited for an answer from the town council about allocation of public housing since 2002 (date of their first request). In the latest notice (2005) from the Venice Town Council, they were moved from number 147 to number 158 on the waiting list. The Tommasini couple live in a third-floor apartment. There is no elevator and with 120 steps (60 to go down and 60 to come back up), they are prisoners in their own home – although their medical pathologies and certifications indicate they can walk around but not without extreme difficulty. Due to the situation, the daughter, Sonia, had to step in and closely monitor the Town Council who, in a lawsuit in December 2006, declared no knowledge of the case and, in fact, had taken no steps to find a resolution of the situation. In the following months, it was impossible to contact the council by official mail (the dependents could not talk to anyone in the office without a telephone appointment but were not able to schedule an appointment by telephone), the daughter demanded clarification of the situation from the offices of the Mayor and the city council members, as well as obtained the involvement of the civic defender, and asked the administration whether or not anyone had considered the Tommasini couple in the event of a social emergency. The civic defender, who stepped in to advocate, was also stonewalled by the offices and declared to the local press that the case of the Tommasini couple was particularly serious and that it should be managed outside of the normal allocation of lodgings ERP. The administration answered in the meantime through city council member Rumiz who made excuses to the Tommasini’s saying that the problem of not being able to contact the offices “presumably” was tied to the workload of those working in the offices. Only in the month of June 2007 did someone succeed in getting an appointment with the office to present further documentation on the health and psychological worsening of the Tommasini couple caused by the current lodging.

Subsequently, the situation has not been resolved and the living situation of Mr. and Mrs. Tommasini has gotten worse: the office has been sent a fax certified by doctors attesting that the Tommasini couple need to be able to get out but are prevented because of the housing situation in which they have to go down 60 steps and climb up 60 steps in order to return to the apartment, a condition that renders them prisoners.

Following the continued lack of participation on the part of the office, the daughter wrote a new letter to the highest offices of the community administration asking someone to intervene by June 30.

Having not received an answer, the couple has decided to go to a lawyer. The hearing is set for September 11, 2007 at 9:30.

Declaration of the lawyer

“The case of the Tommasini couple is a “bad example” of a deaf, blind, dumb and unattainable community administration” comments advocate Antonino Attanasio, the lawyer who has been retained by the relatives of the Tommasini couple to commence legal proceedings against the Town Council. “Law 67/2006 prohibits the direct or indirect discrimination” continues the lawyer for the Tommasini’s. It is the most underhanded indirect discrimination because the norm is applied solely by appearance, while in truth it crushes disabled people and puts to them in a condition of unjust disadvantage. This, in conjunction with a physiological state that is progressively getting worse, demands a prompt participation of the community administration or if not, then, of the judge.


Tags: emergenze abitative

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