The lawsuits sprouted like spring poppies over the past few years, spreading south from Sacramento – first to Stockton, then Manteca and Ripon, finally to Modesto’s doorstep. The targets were small businesses, and the allegation was always the same: Violations of disability access laws.
Merchants cried foul and dubbed them shakedown lawsuits, meant to score a quick buck rather than boost access to folks in wheelchairs. The duel over disability access landed in the state Capitol. But this year, both the tone and the substance of the debate are different, and there’s hope that real progress is at hand.