You know what really grinds Rep. Allen West's (R.-Fla) gears? Things that make people's lives easier by enabling them to do things they couldn't do before. Like, for instance, a recent Florida regulation that requires all public pools, spas, and hot tubs to be handicap-accessible with permanent lifts. Rep. Allen West is angry about this law. He's probably as angry about it as he would be if someone, say, invented a low-cost and risk-free home teleportation device, or a machine that lets you eat anything you want without gaining weight, or anything that would greatly contribute to the quality of others' lives. 

Rep. Allen West is angry. And you wouldn't like him when he's angry. REP. ALLEN WEST SMASH.

Why is Rep. Allen West so angry, you ask? Well, probably because Rep. Allen West's parents didn't read to him enough as a child. But that aside, Rep. Allen West says that the new regulation would pose a great financial burden to South Florida hotels and other public pool operators, who will have to spend approximately $10,000 to install handicap-accessible lifts in their pools before the law takes effect in May. As Rep. Allen West explained to the Sun Sentinel:

"This is another example of the bureaucratic nanny-state not considering the economic ramifications of its insidious regulatory policies. I have talked with and received letters from several South Florida hotels saying this is a wasteful exercise that will cost Florida businesses a lot of money and accomplish nothing."

Rep. Allen West also predicts, in his trademark, Rep. Allen West™ foreboding tone, that hotel managers will be forced to shut down their hotels if they fail to meet the May deadline, potentially yielding "devastating" consequences for the Florida tourism season.

Here, Rep. Allen West™ brings up an interesting point. Because if the Florida hotels are shut down, where will all the elderly tourists who go down there every year stay? I mean, you gotta figure most of these guys have limited, if not close to zero, mobility, so whatever pool they choose to do their water aerobics in would probably have to... like... address those physical limitations. Somehow. Not sure how. Hmmmm.

Well, this is a real brain-buster. Who wants to take this? Anyone? Rep. Allen West? 

Tags Florida GOP

Commentarium (9 Comments)

Mar 28 12 - 5:49pm
Architecture Grad

So actually, what he's angry about isn't all that ridiculous. As ADA laws stand now, any new construction with a public ANYTHING must be compliant, and that includes pools. If you decide to renovate (in which case you must obtain a permit, though some people take a huge risk by forgoing that just to avoid expensive ADA updates), you must then make everything in your existing structure compliant to the laws as they stand currently, and that would also include the pool lift. I'm not certain on this, but I believe that most publicly-funded facilities like these must update no matter what, regardless of the existence of renovations (if not, I think it should be that way, given that the disabled are paying taxes just like everyone else).

What this rep. is probably angry about is the requirement for private institutions to update as well. Have you ever been in an older building and said to yourself, "wow, this place would be so much better if they just tore down this wall," or "why hasn't the restroom of the gorgeous antique building been updated since 1970?"? It's likely because they can't afford to do all the ADA renovations at the same time as whatever else they want to change. A sudden $10,000 expense can be a huge burden on these institutions, and chances are most of the ones really struggling with it are going to be of the smaller variety where that's a pretty big chunk of money. I think a longer grace period, or at the very least a way to apply for one is necessary here.

Mar 29 12 - 1:18pm

This comment was definitely a lot better thought out than the actual article. I'm not sure that I entirely agree with Rep. West's point of view, but I think it's pretty silly to pretend that his point of view is meritless. It is an extra cost that facilities would have to meet and that's bound to have some kind of economic impact. The question is how big of an economic effect would it have and would that be worth it in order to ensure handicap-accessible public pools.

Mar 30 12 - 12:21pm

Especially because its handicap accessible pools. I mean nobody cares about ramps to get into buildings or elevators instead of stairs, but when has anyone seen a handicap lift for a pool? Spending $10,000 for each new pool lift across the state for some device that I've never seen before and I bet will seldom get much use seems a bit ridiculous.

Mar 29 12 - 11:54am

The hotels won't be shut down, but their pools will be.

Apr 26 12 - 9:04am

Who made this insane law? Washington. Who runs Washington? Lawyers! Installing these wheelchair ramps and devices will result in thousands of lawsuits from people diving into them ,tripping over them,and swimming into them. Brilliant move on the politicians part, one way or another its about getting more money from businesses.

Apr 30 12 - 6:55pm
Phil MkCrevice

As a long time pool operator for condo's and apt's, I have a few questions. #1. If you're disabled to the point you need a lift to get into a pool and you fall out or need help, what then? No apartment or hotel pool I've seen has on-duty life guards. 2# Is Aqua Quip lobbying congress or something, because businesses just shelled out about 10 grand/pool last year for Virginia baker act. #3. Since the pool has to be handicap accessible, aren't you gonna have to have push button entry gates too? I bet that's next. You're gonna see alot of owners deciding to just fill their pools in most likely. The new law says you gotta have it on your jacuzzi's too. That's silly. It will be a contraption that is half the size of the jacuzzi itself.

May 21 12 - 4:42pm

It is just like ALL those with a victim mentality to judge anyone who might oppose over regulation that benefits only them. Mr. west knows there are other ways to take car of giving equal access to wheelchair bound people. Small hotels, especially, are now vulnerable to fines they cannot pay for not complying with a law requiring them to install equipment they can't afford to buy. It is abundantly obvious that the ADA is flexing it's muscles to build for even more overregulation that can justify its existence. Whatever the motivation, there is nothing "fair" about hurting American business further. Many hotels and motels will see a decrease in business to their small establishments when patrons go to big hotel chains because they can enjoy lounging by a cool blue pool. Florida is hurting enough. Maybe this liberal big fat government can subsidize the businesses they are killing and help them comply with their big brother everything must be equal everywhere for everyone rules.

Jul 15 12 - 10:00am

Actually, Florida law is moot. The 2010 ADA update already mandates accessibility (e.g. lifts) on *ALL* pools for Title II and Title III entities (government/private, respectively). The update will *force* pools to add lifts, even if they don't make other structural renovations, as Architecture Grad suggests.

You can read about the deadline (January 31, 2013) for existing pools on the official US Government's ADA web site:

Federal law trumps the laws of states and political subdivisions. Something called the United States Constitution, Article VI, paragraph 2 (commonly known as "the Supremacy Clause") says so:

Jul 30 12 - 10:33pm
Judith Wilson Burkes

There are those of us within the community of people with disabilities who would rather see portable or temporary lifts that could be moved into place instead of permanent ones. These are more economical, more likely to be utilized in older pre-ADA buildings and would reduce misuse and vandalism. Save some money and then train the staff how to use them and show good customer services to all their customers, whether they use a wheelchair or not. Just my opinion.

But, if there is something there, more people (and their families) will travel to those hotels and use the pool; a definite win for hotels who want to increase their bottom line in this down-turned economy.