Couple complains about campaign office restroom


By D. Anthony Botkin - abotkin@civitasmedia.com



A presidential campaign office located in downtown Delaware raised concerns with a local couple wanting to volunteer there when one of them went to use the first-floor restroom.

However, the building, at 22 S. Sandusky St., like many structures in the city, is exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

RD “Bob” Lortz II said he and his wife are longtime Democrat supporters. She uses a wheelchair and when they went to Hillary Clinton’s Delaware campaign office there was no handrail in the restroom and they said the toilet was too low for her to use.

“The Democratic campaign offices are not accessible to people with disabilities and frail elderly citizens and disabled veterans,” Lortz said in an email to The Gazette. “Therefore, people with disabilities are not able to participate and volunteer at the Democratic Campaign Offices. I find this exclusion to be unacceptable, disturbing, disrespectful and discriminatory.”

According to Laura Zapata, Hillary for America, Ohio press secretary, Lortz inspected the office and pointed out that the bathroom was not compliant. “Our team reached out to the landlord to request changes to the bathroom,” she said in an email. “The landlord responded and installed the railing.”

Zapata asked the city to inspect the building regarding ADA compliance. The city did so and found nothing actionable.

“The City Building Division looked into this complaint and found there to be no alterations to the existing building or change in use that would trigger application of accessibility standards,” said Lee Yoakum, spokesperson.

“Our interpretation of the Ohio Building Code can be appealed to the Ohio Board of Building Standards, if the complainant feels it is incorrect. The matter also could be pursued by the complainant as a civil rights issue with the US Justice Department.”

That means it may have been inconvenient for the Lortzes to use the restroom, but no federal law was broken.

According to Delaware County Auditor’s records, the structure was built in 1920.

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By D. Anthony Botkin

abotkin@civitasmedia.com

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.