MENTAL HEALTH: Group Sues Pittsburg Over Location of Clinic
As expected, a disabled-rights group has filed suit against Pittsburg, claiming the city violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and federal fair housing law by preventing a mental health clinic from setting up an office in historic downtown. Oakland-based Protection and Advocacy is asking the state Superior Court to override the City Council's decision and allow the clinic to open. It also seeks unspecified monetary damages. City officials had expressed concern that the clinic would "detract from the city's attempts to draw for-profit businesses and new customers to the downtown." Protection and Advocacy Executive Director Barbara Lyon said, "This is a civil rights issue. When the city says no (to the mentally ill) and does it by manipulating the zoning laws to keep us out, we have to ask ... the courts to intervene." City Attorney Michael Woods said he had yet to see the suit, but based upon the organization's "past claims of discrimination, he does not believe the group has a case." He stressed that the clinic could have moved into several other available spaces in the city, without obtaining the special permit required for the downtown location (Heredia, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.