In a January 20 Traffic Commission meeting, New Bedford City Councilor Linda Morad shockingly came out against modest accommodations being made for her disabled constituents, stating, "I dislike the millions of handicap parking spaces across the city" (see 20:11 of the video below).

After her stomach-turning ableist tirade, Morad remained completely silent on the issue, making no effort to clarify or apologize for her comments.

Now, just under five weeks later, it appears Councilor Morad's assault on the city's disabled community may not be over. Ahead of the New Bedford City Council's March 11 meeting, Morad filed a letter on the record from a constituent, requesting it be referred to the Traffic Commission. This letter, written anonymously, is full of comments equally as discriminatory and disgusting as the ones Morad made earlier this year.

In the letter, the resident claims that their neighbors on 173 Park Street are fraudulently using a handicap placard and wrongfully obtained approval for a handicapped parking space across the street from them at 180 Park Street. Park Street only allows parking on one side of the street. The angry resident confidently says that the City of New Bedford is "giving out handicap parking signs so people can solidify a guaranteed parking spot" and that everyone should have that "luxury."

Read the resident letter regarding the handicapped space

The resident is outraged, and they demand the handicapped parking space be rescinded. The resident signed the letter: "A Resident of Morgan Street without Luxury Parking" (Morgan Street is a side street of Park Street). This resident is confident that their neighbor is not really disabled and is taking advantage of a wrongfully-obtained parking spot but apparently not confident enough to put their name on these accusations.

Here's the kicker: there is no handicapped parking space at 180 Park Street. After I reviewed the letter, and read the resident's claim several times that the handicap space at 180 Park Street should be removed, I drove by the property and found no such space in front of that address. The only handicapped space on that street was 170 Park Street, which was approved unanimously by the Traffic Commission on September 23, 2020. There was a placard on file, meaning the person who obtained the space showed proof of their disability and was granted a handicapped parking space – or as this cowardly author of the letter sees it, the person has the "luxury" of having a disability and needing accommodation to get safely from their car to their home.

Read the minutes of the Sept. 23, 2020 Traffic Commission Meeting

Just to recap: Councilor Morad, following her hardline stance against handicapped parking, has decided to file on public record a patently false accusation of fraud levied against one of her disabled constituents. She is seemingly engaging the whims of this disgruntled resident, who is certain that their neighbor is engaging in fraud but not apparently observant enough to even get their neighbor's address right, and is so callous that they refer to handicapped accommodations as a "luxury."

This letter was addressed to the Traffic Commission but CC'd to three city councilors: Morad, Ward 4 Councilor Derek Baptiste and Ward 5 Councilor Scott Lima. The resident makes it clear that Baptiste and Lima are CC'd because Morgan and Park Street straddle their wards. But why is Councilor Morad CC'd?

Maybe it's because this resident knows that they and Councilor Morad share a disdain for accommodations made for disabled residents and that she would give this mean-spirited and cowardly letter legitimacy by using the power of her office to make it public record?

I would call this a new low for Morad, but we should all expect very little from an elected official who laughs while voting against 1,000 new jobs for the city, and suggests that New Bedford firefighters are lazy and overpaid.

Morad continues to demonstrate her dangerousness as an elected official. She is unfit for office.

Marcus Ferro is the host of The Marcus Ferro Show airing Saturdays on 1420 WBSM from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Contact him at marcusferrolaw@gmail.com. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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