10               ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO

        11                     KEYNOTE SPEAKER




        15                    Renaissance Hotel

        16                  999 9th Street, N.W.

        17                    Washington, D.C.

        18                      June 12, 1997






         1                  P R O C E E D I N G S

         2               Thank you very much.  It's a pleasure

         3     for me to be at this conference today, and it's

         4     a special privilege to speak before the

         5     American Institute of Architects which has been

         6     so helpful to us in this past year in our

         7     efforts to rebuild churches which have been the

         8     victim of church arsons across the country.

         9               Through the AIA, architects have

        10     donated their services free of charge in the

        11     construction and the renovation of burned

        12     churches.  I would also like to thank the AIA

        13     for sponsoring this conference.  I think it is

        14     just a classic example of how people should be

        15     working together.

        16               I have a very soft spot in my heart

        17     for architects.  My mother announced, when we

        18     lived way out in about 21 acres of pinewoods,

        19     that she was going to build a house because we

        20     needed a bigger house.  We didn't know quite

        21     what she meant, but she drew plans and she

        22     talked about it and planned, based on south


         1     Florida's wonderful southeast breezes.  She

         2     designed the whole house to avoid air

         3     conditioning if possible.  She put so much

         4     thought into it, but we never believed it would

         5     be a reality.

         6               To see that house take shape from

         7     those plans was to me one of the great

         8     miracles.  And to have lived in that house

         9     since then, since 1951, and to have it survive

        10     storms, and to have it continue to function

        11     without air-conditioning, even in south

        12     Florida, with cross ventilation is, to me, a

        13     recognition of the architect in my mother.  It

        14     inspires me every day, and it also gives me a

        15     very great regard for architects across this

        16     land.

        17               I will point out, however, that in

        18     the last year or two of her life, she was in a

        19     wheelchair quite often, and she hadn't designed

        20     it to be accessible, and I cursed it every

        21     single day.

        22               This conference is a fine example of


         1     what our nation's disability rights laws are

         2     all about.  Private parties and government

         3     working together to ensure that all Americans,

         4     regardless of their disabilities, have full and

         5     equal access to all that America has to offer.

         6               I am so gratified to see design

         7     professionals sitting down with people from the

         8     access board, the Department of Justice and

         9     disability rights advocates in a candid, good

        10     faith effort to bring down the barriers.  It's

        11     an effort in the finest American tradition and

        12     I salute you for it.

        13               For there should be no doubt what's

        14     at stake here.  It is nothing less than

        15     assuring that our nation's future is

        16     barrier-free and open to all.  It's about

        17     assuring that every American has a full and

        18     equal opportunity to make the most of their

        19     talents, and to participate fully in our

        20     nation's social, economic and civic plight.

        21               Universal accessibility is not about

        22     special designs to accommodate people with


         1     disabilities.  It is about designing buildings

         2     so that everyone can use them, both people with

         3     disabilities and without them.  When buildings

         4     are designed from the ground up with universal

         5     accessibility in mind, we all benefit in so

         6     many ways at such very little cost.

         7               The ADA and the Fair Housing Act

         8     Amendments are forward-looking laws.  They

         9     place their most stringest requirements on new

        10     construction, where incorporating accessibility

        11     features is less costly and less burdensome.

        12     If we ignore or we evade these requirements, an

        13     immense opportunity is going to be lost, the

        14     opportunity to make access a reality for all

        15     Americans, an opportunity to change the face of

        16     America for millions of Americans.  And we will

        17     have to undergo the costly and the painstaking

        18     process of retrofitting our buildings to

        19     include the accessibility features that should

        20     have been included in the first place.

        21               But if we take the requirements of

        22     accessibility to heart, if we build our new


         1     construction in a genuine and in a sincere

         2     attempt to comply with the law, then our

         3     accessible future will be assured.

         4               As we move forward, as new buildings

         5     go up and old ones are renovated, we can change

         6     the face of America.  Our nation will become

         7     more and more accessible to all people, and all

         8     Americans will be more and more able to realize

         9     their fullest potential as workers, as

        10     consumers, as citizens, as people.

        11               We've already begun to see it happen.

        12     The ADA has been in effect now for nearly seven

        13     years, and the Fair Housing Act Amendments for

        14     nearly nine.  In that time, we've reached out

        15     to explain the law, persuade people to comply

        16     with the law and to enforce the law if they

        17     didn't comply.  We've seen most people comply

        18     voluntarily once the law's requirements were

        19     explained to them.  And as a result, we've seen

        20     the barriers coming down across America.

        21               Because of the ADA, because of people

        22     in this room who are advocates, because of


         1     people in this room who are architects who

         2     care, doors are opening to jobs, to stores, to

         3     city halls, to courthouses.  All those places

         4     that are an essential part of the life of a

         5     productive and an active citizen.

         6               Doors are also opening to places of

         7     rest and relaxation, places that are also part

         8     of any well- rounded life.  Places like movie

         9     theaters, restaurants, hotels and sports

        10     stadiums, and the vehicles necessary to get you

        11     there.  And thanks to the Fair Housing Act, the

        12     doors are now opening to apartments and

        13     condominiums as well.

        14               As people with disabilities face

        15     fewer arbitrary limits on where they can live,

        16     all that this nation has to offer is becoming

        17     more accessible every day.  And it's happening

        18     because Americans are coming together to

        19     understand how important, and how simply

        20     wonderful the ADA and the Fair Housing Act

        21     really are.

        22               Look at what we have seen in these


         1     seven years in terms of people gaining access,

         2     of people in your workplace that couldn't get

         3     around, that had limitation in what they could

         4     do.  Look at what is happening when you walk

         5     into a courtroom and see how America has opened

         6     up to blind people who are now prosecutors, and

         7     doing a wonderful job.

         8               Just look around you at family or at

         9     friends, at workplaces, wherever you are, and

        10     you will see what the ADA has done to open up

        11     America and to make America richer and stronger

        12     for having so many more people have access to

        13     this nation and its heart.

        14               So the disability rights laws are

        15     already at work, and a great deal of the credit

        16     goes to the very caring, conscientious design

        17     professionals fully committed to designing

        18     buildings that are open to everyone.  To those

        19     here, who by your participation here indicate

        20     that you're one of those, I say, thank you.

        21               We can build on the progress that

        22     you, the advocates, the Department of Justice


         1     have made.  And we can make accessibility a

         2     lasting feature in our nation's design

         3     landscape.  We must all work together and we

         4     must each do our part, and I pledge the

         5     Department of Justice's best efforts to doing

         6     our part.

         7               But what is your role?  You are the

         8     people licensed by the state to design

         9     buildings.  You are the ones who builders look

        10     to for guidance on how to construct the

        11     facilities that they want to put up.  You have

        12     the power to explain to builders how to provide

        13     full access for people with disabilities.  You

        14     have the creativity to make buildings fully

        15     accessible while still meeting your clients'

        16     design goals.

        17               Your clients are not the only ones,

        18     however, that rely on you.  All of society

        19     relies on architects.  After Hurricane Andrew,

        20     I walked out into the desolation that

        21     surrounded our house.  All the trees were down.

        22     It looked like a World War I battlefield.


         1     Houses throughout the area were damaged or were

         2     destroyed, but that house that my mother, the

         3     architect, had designed had lost only one

         4     shingle and some screens.

         5               All of society relies on architects

         6     who do their job.  We rely on you to exercise

         7     your best professional judgment to design

         8     facilities that are safe and sound.  We rely on

         9     you to tell your clients when their plans would

        10     be unsafe, and we rely on you to stick to your

        11     guns.

        12               If a client told you to design a

        13     building with one fire exit when two are

        14     required, or to use a design that was

        15     structurally unsound, we'd expect you to tell

        16     your client that you could not participate in

        17     creating such a safety risk.  If your client

        18     insisted, we would expect you to stand firm.

        19     Your unique expertise and the important role

        20     you play in the community give you that

        21     responsibility.

        22               The same responsibility extends to


         1     accessibility.  We know that new buildings can,

         2     and all but the most exceptional circumstances,

         3     be designed to provide full and equal access

         4     and at little or no cost.  You wouldn't design

         5     a building that would be unsafe, nor would you

         6     design a building with separate facilities for

         7     black people and white people.  And neither

         8     should you design a building that shuts out

         9     people simply because of their disabilities.

        10     Whatever your client says, you have an

        11     obligation to produce designs that provide full

        12     and equal access to all.

        13               In many ways, those responsibilities

        14     exist independently of any law.  The future of

        15     construction in America is in many ways up to

        16     you, and we as a society are relying on you to

        17     help create an open and barrier-free nation.

        18     You have the opportunity to make it happen, and

        19     we want to work with you, not against you,

        20     every step of the way.

        21               I want to emphasize that we seek to

        22     work with you, not to litigate, not to oppose


         1     in angry terms.  At the Justice Department, we

         2     have worked with architects as well as

         3     governments and other businesses to achieve

         4     voluntary compliance.  Our plan is a very

         5     simple one: educate people as to the

         6     requirements of the law; educate people as to

         7     how the law can benefit, not just with those

         8     with disabilities but all Americans; explain

         9     the law; provide technical expertise; get

        10     information to people about how it can be done

        11     reasonably and without a burdensome expenditure

        12     of monies.  Then, negotiate.

        13               There may be disagreement, but

        14     negotiate in the best of good faith using, when

        15     appropriate, means of law, alternate dispute

        16     resolution, so that we can come to a common

        17     understanding that is in the best interest of

        18     all concerned.  And third, if we have to and I

        19     don't want to, but I'm prepared to, we will

        20     litigate and litigate as vigorously as

        21     possible.

        22               But we found that that's not


         1     necessary some of the time.  We found that many

         2     businesses will voluntarily comply with the ADA

         3     and the Fair Housing Act once they know what

         4     the law entails.  I have had on two separate

         5     occasions business representatives, industry

         6     representatives come to the Department of

         7     Justice.  And when they first came, they said

         8     that when they first dealt with the ADA, they

         9     found the regulations terrifying.  That upsets

        10     me.  I want to make sure that we make the

        11     regulations, the requirements, as easily

        12     understood as possible, and that we work with

        13     you in that effort.

        14               These are common sense laws.  They

        15     are flexible and they are reasonable.  And as

        16     businesses come to understand this, more and

        17     more choose to comply on their own.  You've

        18     probably found that too, as you've explained

        19     the requirements of federal law, local building

        20     codes and other requirements to your clients.

        21     That's why we've conducted a nationwide

        22     campaign.  We've done this, not just to


         1     familiarize businesses and local governments

         2     with these obligations under the law, but also

         3     to provide the tools for people with

         4     disabilities to use in their attempts to

         5     achieve compliance as well.

         6               Our efforts have been extensive.

         7     Over the past four years, we've been blanketing

         8     the airways and filling mailboxes with

         9     information about the law.  We've put ADA

        10     information files in 15,000 public libraries

        11     across the country.  We've mailed information

        12     packets to millions of businesses.  And we've

        13     also put an ADA home page on the worldwide Web.

        14     Both the Department of Justice and the

        15     Department of Housing and Urban Development are

        16     committed to providing technical assistance to

        17     aid people who are attempting to comply.

        18               One thing that many businesses and

        19     architects have found particularly helpful is

        20     our ADA information line, a toll-free phone

        21     number that receives more than 75,000 calls

        22     each year.  But in the spirit of working


         1     together, I ask you -- and Mr.  President, I

         2     ask you -- let us know when we can do more,

         3     when we can be more responsive in providing

         4     information and explaining requirements, and

         5     working together to make sure that this law is

         6     a reality for all Americans.

         7               We've also engaged in more long-range

         8     educational efforts.  We've been working with

         9     architectural schools to help make

        10     accessibility a part of the curriculum that

        11     every design professional learns.  As I said,

        12     the disability rights law looks to the future.

        13     And we see a future where universal

        14     accessibility is truly a universal part of

        15     architectural training, where accessibility,

        16     like safety and structural soundness is a basic

        17     element of all design and construction.

        18               This conference is a further example

        19     of how important education is.  But not only

        20     must universal accessibility be something every

        21     architectural student learns, it must be a part

        22     of the continuing education every practicing


         1     architect undergoes.  This conference is a good

         2     start, and I urge you to do more for education

         3     is the key to our common goals.

         4               Even if we work together, we may

         5     still end up disagreeing, even after education,

         6     even after negotiation, disagreeing about the

         7     scope of your legal responsibilities.  My view

         8     and the Department of Justice's view should be

         9     clear: the ADA requires that new facilities be

        10     designed and constructed to be readily

        11     accessible to, and usable by people with

        12     disabilities.  The Fair Housing Act Amendments

        13     impose a similar requirement on new apartments

        14     and condominiums.

        15               Everyone involved in the design and

        16     construction process has an obligation to

        17     comply with these requirements, and everyone

        18     involved in that process may be liable if a

        19     building does not comply.  This is a position

        20     we feel strongly about.  We have defended it in

        21     court, and it is one that we will continue to

        22     defend whenever necessary.


         1               The ADA and the Fair Housing Act are

         2     both the law of the land.  They're binding on

         3     architects as well as developers.  And we will

         4     work with you to make sure that we seek

         5     compliance, but we will take action whenever it

         6     is necessary.  I think, when I see the example

         7     of this conference, that it will be less and

         8     less necessary as time goes by.

         9               But too often it's attitudes as much

        10     as any structural obstacle that prevent people

        11     with disabilities from contributing the

        12     fullness of their talents.  The only way to

        13     change these attitudes is to increase the

        14     opportunity for people with disabilities and

        15     people without disabilities to interact with

        16     each other.

        17               Let me tell you what I mean.  About a

        18     year ago, a lawyer in the Department of Justice

        19     came to me, claiming that people denied him the

        20     opportunity to really seek courtroom work

        21     because of his disability.  About two years

        22     ago, a person had come to me.  His name was Joe


         1     Hartzler.  Joe Hartzler could not get through

         2     one door of the Justice Department with his

         3     scooter because it was not accessible.  Another

         4     door just happened to be accessible.

         5               Joe Hartzler is the person who, day

         6     in and day out for the last two years, has

         7     represented the United States in the McVeigh

         8     case.  And the opportunity for people to see

         9     him, and the opportunity he has had to have

        10     access to that courtroom and to contribute the

        11     fullness of his talent is an example of how

        12     important it is to break down the architectural

        13     barriers, to give people like Joe Hartzler and

        14     that other lawyer the opportunity to break down

        15     the attitudinal barriers.

        16               I don't expect the law to change the

        17     world overnight.  For far too long, the doors

        18     remained shut.  And in many places, they still

        19     do.  But one day soon, all the doors are going

        20     to be open, and you're going to be holding the

        21     keys.  You've stepped up to this responsibility

        22     by your presence here.  You're helping to build


         1     a barrier-free America.  By coming together, I

         2     think we are well on our way to doing that.

         3               We have a commitment too.  The

         4     Department of Justice and I, for as long as I

         5     am attorney general and even after that, are

         6     committed to working with you every step of the

         7     way in a common effort to change the face of

         8     America, and to give America access to

         9     wonderful talents and wonderful strengths, and

        10     wonderful people.

        11               Thank you very much.

        12                    (Whereupon, at 11:25 a.m.  The

        13                    PROCEEDINGS were adjourned.)

        14                      *  *  *  *  *