Legislative Hotlines, current issues for blind persons:
800-221-6359, after 5 PM and weekends
800-424-8666, 3-9 PM and weekends
DISCLAIMER: This publication contains announcements from the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind and is also a forum for opinions relating to blindness issues. Signed articles reflect the views, and research, of their authors.
STATUS: SVCB is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization under the California Council of the Blind.
Monthly in-person meetings are held at the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center (Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired San Jose). Meetings run 9:30 AM to 1 PM the third Saturday of the month and are open to all.
At our May meeting, by a unanimous vote, we decided to meet in person from now on. We will continue to meet on Zoom as well. So, no more wondering whether or not an upcoming meeting is in person or virtual. Every meeting will be in person and on zoom.
The American Council of the Blind virtual convention begins with a call to order Monday, June 19, followed by meetings covering resolutions and bylaws. The virtual exhibition hall overview takes place on Wednesday, June 21. To view the schedule of events, visit:
"Hey, Master, it's cold around here." Well, wait for the coming heat wave. "Then I'll say that it's hot around here." Yes, you will. "That's right!" Typical! Can't make you dogs happy no how. "Ah, that's not nice, just trying to get your column started." Thank you. Did it work? "Read on, and we'll see."
We had a productive meeting in May. Susan Glass discussed birds, and there were many questions and bird songs. You can hear the program segment at:
As Rob reported in his President's Message, subsequent SVCB membership meetings will be bobrids, in-person and on Zoom. "Bobrids?" What's that? That's hybrids in Kinguise. "O good, tell me more." Later! Anyway, you can always find the Zoom information in the Event Calendar of your newsletter.
And as Rob said, I'll be "telling my story", at the May meeting. "What, Master telling his story! I'm betting I'll have to get in there and set the records straight. I'll have his three other dogs around to back me up." Well, King, I wouldn't even try to set your record straight. "That's good; I'm gonna get away with everything."
After the May meeting, Carol Silveria hosted a celebration of life for John Vandervort, who was an SVCB member for many years. There were perhaps thirty people there, and I came away feeling that John was quite a fellow. Unfortunately, no one thought of recording the event.
Let's wish happy June birthdays to Ken Carey, Victor Clifford, Allen Jones, Sandy Quenzer, Alice Turner, and Art Takahara.
ACB Media is proud to announce the addition of two new podcast feeds, "ACB Business" and "Podcasts en español de la ACB" available through Apple Podcasts. "ACB Business" is where all official business meetings of ACB will be posted, including ACB Board meetings and ACB Committee meetings. The RSS feed URL is:
"Podcasts en español de la ACB" is where all Spanish language podcasts will be posted. Here you will find the podcasts of the Legislative Seminar and Presidents' Meetings that were simultaneously translated during the event. The RSS feed URL is:
https://pinecast.com/feed/acb-espanol. (This link is an xml address, used with podcast-catching software. It works if you use a podcast-catching program, where you can subscribe to the Spanish ACB podcast.)
Update your podcatcher to subscribe to these feeds. These feeds will soon also be available on
In this episode of the APH Change Makers podcast, Clark Rachfal, ACB's Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, discusses ACB's 2023 legislative imperatives: the Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act; the Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act; the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act; and the Exercise and Fitness for All Act. Listen by visiting:
-Federal Judge Refused Lyft Ride with His Guide Dog
U.S. Judge David Tatel and his wife had just left a discussion of blindness in the Torah. He was headed from Cleveland Park synagogue to the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. where he serves as a senior judge. But as soon as he got into his Lyft, Tatel said the driver got out and began shouting that he would not take his guide dog. "He went totally nuts; he screamed at us," Tatel recalled of being berated with his German shepherd, Vixen. "You would have thought we were asking him to carry plutonium." Refusing to accommodate service dogs is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the D.C. Human Rights Act, as Tatel's wife tried to explain to the driver.
Tatel knows those laws well as, in his three decades on one of the most influential appeals courts in the nation, he has written opinions on discrimination impacting institutions from D.C. public schools to the U.S. Foreign Service. But in that moment, he said, he felt as anyone would being shouted at on the street and refused service.
High school students with vision loss across the United States are invited to attend the six-day event from June 18-24, packed with more than 50 hours of hands-on sessions led by professionals currently working in the field. Sessions include assistive technology training, money management, cyber security, tackling transition, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics), career planning, and more.
With the high demand in technology based careers, Level Up works to prepare students for a successful transition into college or career. All nine core areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum are covered within the week-long Level Up event, and the exploration of potential career fields supports the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS).
For more information about Level Up, or to register, visit:
ACB and a coalition of other disability organizations are collecting personal accounts from people with disabilities about their experiences with inaccessible websites and applications. If you have a story to share, email:
-JAWS Now Available in Kiosks and Other Self-Service Devices
Vispero and TPGi are pleased to announce that the most popular screen reader worldwide, JAWS, is now available in kiosks and other self-service devices. This software will allow all enterprises, including restaurants, to increase their revenue by capturing the overlooked, underserved market of customers with visual impairments. It empowers users who are blind or have low vision to enjoy increased independence when performing tasks such as ordering at a quick-service restaurant or café. Learn more in this press release at:
Set during World War II, the Pulitzer Prize-winning story, "All the Light We Cannot See," follows the lives of two unforgettable characters: Marie-Laure, a blind French girl who takes refuge in her uncle's house in Saint-Malo, and Werner, a boy recruited by the German military because of his skills in radio technology. For "All the Light We Cannot See" to work, Director Shawn Levy had to find the right actor to play Marie-Laure, who became blind at the age of 6. After a worldwide casting search, he found his Marie in newcomer Aria Mia Loberti. Learn more in this article by Vanity Fair at:
Did you watch the coronation of King Charles III? If so, the Audio Description Project would like to hear from you. Let us know whether the audio description was available in your city, and if so, what channel you were viewing it on. Also, please provide any positive feedback or any constructive input that we can share with the networks and Descriptive Video Works, the company providing the description for the event. Send your comments to:
Ever frustrated because a hotel website doesn't provide enough—or any—information to reserve the accessible room you need? Tired of having to call and get the run-around just to find out which room has the right accessibility features?
DREDF wants to hear about your experiences! They would like to include as many stories as possible about the realities of traveling while disabled—specifically, how hard it is to make hotel reservations and secure a room with accessibility features because of a lack of information about accessible features on the website. Take the survey at:
NLS will be providing print/braille calendars starting this summer. The first calendars will cover a half year plus the first month of 2024. Near the end of this year, subscribers will receive 2024 calendars.
Calendars are available in two sizes. The larger wall-type calendar will be print/braille. The smaller pocket-sized calendar will probably be in braille.
To receive a calendar, contact your network library and subscribe. You can request one or both calendars.
-Audio Description on Max
On May 23, HBO Max became Max and launched with over 6,500 hours of audio-described content, thanks to the 2020 agreement that Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) and Disability Law Center, Inc., negotiated on behalf of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and Bay State Council of the Blind. Find out what to expect on Max with this info at:
On May 17, Senator Edward J. Markey and Representative Anna G. Eshoo released a press release applauding the FCC for announcing proposals that would, for the first time, ensure video conferencing platforms comply with accessibility requirements for people with disabilities. This announcement mirrors requirements in the lawmakers' legislation, the Communication, Video, and Technology Accessibility (CVTA) Act. The CVTA is an ACB legislative imperative, and accessible access to video conferencing platforms is critical for ACB and our members to engage in our modern digital world. We commend Chair Rosenworcel from the FCC for moving this issue forward under the Commission's existing authority, and we commend Sen. Markey and Rep. Eshoo for their leadership to ensure communications technology is accessible for everyone. Read the press release at:
Events take place at The Tabard Theatre, 29 North San Pedro Street, San Jose.
For monthly information about these events, see the Upcoming Tabard Theatre Events article in each SVCB newsletter.
(Copy Editor's note: There will not always be an upcoming events article in every newsletter. Many of the events would not be of interest to newsletter readers. If something shows up that I think readers might enjoy, I will include an article.)
The phrase "On Demand" means that the show can be viewed by services like Comcast.
3. Shows Described by AudioVision Bay Area
For all productions (Golden Gate, Orpheum Theatres, Broadway San Francisco, and Broadway San Jose), tickets are generally on sale four weeks before the production opens. To charge tickets and reserve receivers, call:
888-746-1799 (SHN Theaters), or fax your order to
415-581-2121 and ask for AudioVision tickets. If you have any questions, please email:
8. Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP)
BORP believes that everyone should have access to the unique challenges that outdoor recreation provides, and makes every effort to accommodate each person's needs, including providing transportation and volunteer support. For event listings, call Lori Gray at: