Commentary by Linda Saxon
I am not expressing my opinion as Chair of the Essex County Accessibility Advisory Committee, but rather as an individual with a disability and advocate.
On August 21, I mentioned that Lora Petro’s and Ken Grant’s websites had problems with accessibility issues that may present barriers to persons with disabilities.
Since then, mayoral candidate John Sutton’s site was activated and all three candidates were advised of the barriers.
The results of pointing out the problem?
Lora Petro – Answered, Changes Made
Lora Petro quickly made changes; although a minor issue was found, it was also corrected when pointed out.
Note: thank you!
Ken Grant – Answered, No Changes Made
October 2, response: I understand your concerns about my website, I do support residents/persons with accessibility/disability issues. My website was not created by a professional web builder, I had purchased the site space thru a company (host) where you build the site yourself. After purchasing my space and building the site with the software they provide I began looking at the “Options Category” before activating the site. I noticed that there was no “Option” to allow such capabilities. I contacted the company to see if there was anything that can be done for persons with disabilities who wanted to view the site. The company had advised me that there was no option available for what I wanted and that I would have to hire a code developer thru a professional business to revamp my site. Unfortunately the cost was extremely high and out of my price range for the two months that the site would be active. Again I apologize!
Note: I expect candidates to be knowledgeable about accessibility because it is a municipal issue and council is the decision making body. However, when a candidate’s platform includes, “Continue to develop and support accessibility issues,” I expect more. WordPress.com is free, domain registration is minimal and so is WordPress for Badeyes: A Beginners Guide at $9.99. The guide provides information about how to secure a domain name, network host, and install and maintain WordPress for both individuals and enterprises. The language is simple, lucid, for those who use a Screen Reader or those who don’t.
Alternatively, a web developer could have been hired for under $500.
John Sutton – No Answer, No Changes Made
Twice I contacted Mr. Sutton. In addition to the site accessibility issues, I asked, “if you’re offering rides to the polls, does that include accessible transportation?” I subsequently remInded Mr. Sutton, “to date you have neither answered my question nor corrected the issues.”
Note: One could conclude that Mr. Sutton is indifferent.