It’s been two weeks since New Bedford City Councilor Linda Morad took a hardline stance against her constituents with disabilities, and she wants you to forget that she did. 

A quick recap: in a January 20 Traffic Commission hearing, I was speaking on behalf of a friend who was petitioning for a handicapped parking space in front of their home. This petitioner had several surgeries resulting in a rod through their midsection, and screws through their ankle, neck, and spine. The vote was 4-1 in favor for the petitioner but failed because five voters are needed to approve. The vote was essentially filibustered by Manny Silvia, a DPI superintendent known for flexing his power by being boisterous and unnecessarily contentious in Traffic Commission hearings – essentially, the Linda Morad of the Traffic Commission. 

But the most shocking moment of the hearing is when Councilor Morad spoke in opposition to the petition, and took the time to express on the record her disdain for a modest accommodation made for individuals with disabilities.

“I dislike the millions of handicapped spaces we have across the city. I commend the traffic commission for holding these types of hearings and asking the petitioners that actually do have driveways why it’s necessary that handicapped spots be placed on the city streets, and I also commend you for rescinding them when no longer needed," she said during the meeting.

“This petitioner should be making accommodations on their own property for the problems that the petitioner has, or whether something has to be done on a city street to accommodate them,” Morad continued. “It just seems to me that this petition is out of order.”

That's right, if you are a resident of New Bedford with a disability and you want a handicapped parking sign to make your daily life just a little bit easier, Councilor Morad is vexed by you and your need for this accommodation, and during a public health and economic crisis requires that you renovate your property instead. 

In spite of the widespread backlash for her monstrous and discriminatory comments, Councilor Morad has been silent on these remarks. We can make two assumptions from her silence: either Councilor Morad understands her comments are categorically indefensible and she wants you to forget that she made them, or she thinks her comments are perfectly fine, and she is okay with taking the position that local government making accommodations for people with disabilities is personally annoying to her. 

I think it’s both. Councilor Morad, in a brief moment of candor, revealed to the public the kind of public servant she is and the attitudes she takes toward our most vulnerable population. She revealed to us that she views constituents with disabilities as a burden of charity, and she’s hoping you’ll forget it in an election year. 

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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