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Mayor Suggests Noise Wouldn’t Bother Deaf People

November 4, 1994 GMT

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) _ The mayor has come under fire after offering a possible solution to complaints about noise from the airport: Move deaf people into the neighborhood.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner raised the idea at a staff meeting on Wednesday.

″That’s like saying let the blind work at night because they can’t see,″ said Dave Wielinski, chairman of Barrier Free Toledo, a group for the disabled. ″It would be an insult to the deaf community.″

On Friday, Finkbeiner wept at a news conference in which he said he meant no disrespect.

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″Nobody intended to be insensitive,″ he said. ″I didn’t say that it was a good or bad idea. My only words were that it was an interesting idea.″

With an increasing number of flights at Toledo Express Airport, neighbors have complained about the jet noise, and the agency that operates the airport has been buying up homes because the noise exceeds government standards.

Earlier this week, Finkbeiner said the deaf might not be as bothered by the noise, and he raised the possibility of offering them homes that others are fleeing. He said a citizen had suggested the idea in a letter.

″I think there may be people out there interested in living in a nice home if the noise factor was not going to be a problem,″ Finkbeiner said.

A deaf woman at Friday’s news conference, Delores Lisac, called the mayor’s suggestion an insult. She said deaf people can still feel the vibrations from the jets.

Perlean Griffin, the city’s affirmative action manager, called the mayor’s remarks ″unfortunate and inappropriate.″ Noting that staff members are required to go through sensitivity training each year to realize what is offensive, she asked, ″Why should we expect anything less from the mayor?″