June 04, 2010

D-Bag O' the Day (v. 1.11)—
Canadians vs. Handicapped Woman, Eh

Our D-Bag O' the Day is a double first—our first woman, and our first Canadian.  So what did Elizabeth Brown do to merit this lofty status?  Well, she is leading the opposition to plans to raze a house in Toronto to permit a husband to build a handicap-accessible new home on the site so that his wife—a quadriplegic suffering from transverse myelitis—can live with him.  Brown claims the house deserves "heritage" designation which would limit the renovations that can be done to the home in the interest of preserving a historically significant home.  The home did not have a heritage designation until Brown caught wind of the plans for the property, and she moved quickly to have the home considered for the designation.  Brown doesn't want anyone to think her insensitive:
I’m not fighting to prevent her from something, even though they’ve been clear they’d like to build this house to help her with access because of her paralysis. I’m trying to preserve a home that adds character and beauty to my neighbourhood for future generations to enjoy. So: I don’t wish them any harm. I just want to protect that house.”
That's right, Brown thinks her "right" to protect a view of a pretty house she doesn't own should trump the property rights and legitimate needs of the actual property owners.  Oh, and she rolls her eyes at the handicap angle:
I don’t have a disability. Sorry. If I did, maybe I could use that, too.
Brown truly is a stellar example of D-Baggery at its most exquisite.

Definitely not the house in question!

5 comments:

  1. Amazing what people consider their right to do. A saying I live by: "My rights end where yours begin."

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  2. Trying to preserve one neighborhood isn't d-bag. Not sure of the historic/beauty aspect but I live in neither and wouldn't want an outlandish change proposed nearby.

    That said the approach is all wrong. In the past, we'd approach a neighbor and discuss the situation. Neighborhoods used to be friendly and courteous places. Today, we tend to tell others our PC views or idiot views and use the courts to enforce our prejudices and lack of personal skills.

    You like finding your d-bags. Your heart goes out to the downtrodden. But are you so sure? The guy with the disabled wife could be as big a d-bag as his opponent. Easy situation to jump to a conclusion and miss something.

    Remove the disability and it is a different story with a fresh dynamic. Now we can look toward things like eminent domain that screws with peoples lives in d-bag fashion bring about similar limits on our rights.

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  3. I ran over to Google and toured the street. If I found the right area and, Google says I did, it is a quirky, very upscale area with amazing landscaping. But, what is more amazing is that the street is about 10' below grade on both sides of the street. I can't think of a worse lot to pick out in any town to build for a disabled person.

    Our greatest wealth is in our home. The one they bought is better than serviceable and fit the neighborhood. An eyesore out of sync with the street would affect wealth up and down the street. They can probably live with it as it is a damn wealthy street. But, now we're prejudice against those who might have more success.

    I know that in this country the rights of the disabled are often out-of-control to somehow correct past abuses. It is a tendency we have in many areas. I'd like to get Germany to help me out a bit. They were unkind to my ancestors.

    Maybe somebody in Toronto knows the area and can add perspective. Maybe there are still lots available there that don't hold a lovely home that will be torn down.

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  4. Sorry to be an ass about this but I find it interesting.

    There's a lot of info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beaches
    http://www.openfile.ca/toronto-file/204-beech-ave-house-or-home

    What seems to be coming out is a neighborhood cat fight. What would the outcome be if one of the parties wasn't disabled? d-bagging seems pretty common on both sides of the issue. The proposed house doesn't fit the ambiance. Do the neighbors have a right to expect that it should?

    It will be interesting to see what comes out of all this. Similar situations are occurring in upscale areas north of Chicago where even a Frank Lloyd Wright house was proposed to be torn down for building something else. Desirable areas like "The Beaches" are getting pulled to and fro in similar battles. They just don't have a disability angle.

    Where's King Solomon when you need him?

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  5. @ KenP: Some good comments. Why I feel this was a D-Bag situation rather than a typical neighborhood squabble is two-fold. First, when the house was purchased, there was no "heritage" designation. In fact, the purchasers checked before buying. So, for Brown to use the "heritage" process to attempt to restrict the rights of her neighbors after the fact is quite troubling. And let's keep in mind her justification is purely that her rights to a particular view and a hypothetical effect on her property value should trump the rights of her neighbors to do what they wish with the property they actually own (and I doubt they are going to do something that negatively affects property values in the neighborhood, as that would negatively affect themselves at the same time).

    Also, Brown's parting shot quoted above reflects a rather callous attitude. She seriously thinks that quadriplegia is being "used" as a tool to thwart her personal happiness. Brown needs to get a grip.

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