WSVN — When he developed a medical condition, he started using a golf cart to take his grandkids to the park. But then he was told, “You can ride in the golf cart at the park, but the kids have to get out.” He thought that made no sense, so he turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser to get some answers.
Kerry didn’t want to retire, but he had no choice.
Kerry Stark, grandkids can’t ride: “I had to quit working because of some lung disease I have, COPD.”
But with that bad news came some good news. Kerry gets to spend more time with his grandchildren.
Kerry Stark: “Oh, love it, love it. They are our world.”
Using his electric golf cart, Kerry was able to pick up the kids from school and — he thought — take them to play this summer at a nearby park.
Kerry Stark: “They have a playground there. There is a lake there where I can sit on the shoreline and fish with them. There are all sorts of things we can do over there during the day.”
Great idea … until the people at Larry and Penny Thompson Memorial Park saw Kerry pull in.
Kerry Stark: “I was told I can go into the park with my disability handicap sticker, but nobody else could be in the golf cart but me.”
Patrick Fraser: “So you can drive around the park, but the grandkids can’t be in the golf cart.
Kerry Stark: “Nobody can be, only by myself. What’s the sense of going to the park if I can’t take my grandkids?”
The park is the largest in the county. With Kerry’s lung condition, he cannot walk the 270 acres.
Since he has a handicapped sticker, the county will let him drive his golf cart, but the kids have to get out and walk to the lake or playground.
Patrick Fraser: “Explain the logic to me.”
Kerry Stark: “I can’t. I mean, it don’t make sense.”
Kerry keeps saying it doesn’t make sense because he can drive the golf cart through the park, but the kids can’t be in the golf cart at the park.
Kerry Stark: “That’s basically saying I can’t drive my truck with other people in it and park in a handicap spot. I have to be there by myself, too? That doesn’t make sense.”
Kerry tried to reason with Parks and Recreation and says he just could not get them to budge.
Kerry Stark: “I watch Help Me Howard on TV all the time, and I said, ‘You know what? I think this is something Howard and Patrick can help up with.'”
Well, Howard, Kerry says letting him drive but making the kids walk doesn’t make sense to him, but legally, does it make sense?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Legally, it does not make sense. The county appears to be violating the Americans with Disability Act, a federal law that requires them to allow Kerry and his passengers into the park in the golf cart — unless the county can show it’s a safety risk. And if it’s safe for Kerry to ride, why does it matter if there are two children with him?”
We contacted Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation. They disagree with Howard’s interpretation of the ADA. A spokesperson told us no golf carts are allowed at that park, but because of his condition, Kerry can transport himself in his golf cart. However, he cannot transport his grandchildren.
The spokesperson added, “We are not being cold and heartless, but he have to follow the law.”
Kerry Stark: “I am unhappy with the county. I really am.”
The county can block Kerry from taking his grandkids to the park, but they can’t convince him that they are right to do it.
Kerry Stark: “They are being stubborn. Only I can be in it. They want the kids to walk alongside. You want a 5-year-old and a 9-year-old to walk alongside of a golf cart at a park? That’s ridiculous.”
Ah, well, Kerry, sorry we couldn’t get the county to budge.
Now, an expert in ADA law says Kerry would likely win if he sued Miami-Dade County, but Kerry isn’t sure he wants to go to court. He just wants to take his grandkids in the golf cart to the park.
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