Friday, May 4, 2007 | 7:03 a.m.
In July 1998, when Las Vegas was considering reducing the width of disabled parking spaces from nine feet to eight feet so businesses could squeeze in more parking, Vince Triggs stood up.
"It's a step backward for the entire community," declared Triggs, executive director of the Nevada Association for the Handicapped (today Easter Seals of Southern Nevada).
Triggs shamed city officials for acting on behalf of developers and retailers and not consulting with the area's leading disabled advocates before introducing a bill that also called for eliminating a 5-foot gap between spaces for disabled van accessibility in new developments.
After Triggs and others spoke up, the City Council recommending committee killed the proposal.
Vincent Lovell Triggs, a two-term Nevada assemblyman who for a quarter of a century was the conscience and voice of the state's disabled, died Tuesday after a brief illness. He was 59.
Services for the Las Vegas resident of 32 years will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Desert Memorial Chapel, 1111 Las Vegas Blvd. North.
On defeat of the bill that would have shrunk the size of parking spaces for the disabled, Triggs told the Sun : "We have come a long way since the days when we had to fight hard to get any handicapped parking spaces or handrails in bathroom stalls. Because we have made such tremendous progress, I hate to see us take any step backward."
Triggs founded the Nevada Association for the Handicapped in 1981 and spent much of that decade fighting for measures that improved the quality of life for the disabled: more parking, accessible entrances to public buildings, employment opportunities and housing.
He stepped down in 2004.
Triggs served in the Assembly in the 1987 and 1989 legislative sessions. Among the social issue bills he pushed was one that created the Nevada Commission on Substance Abuse Enforcement Prevention and Treatment.
Born New Year's Day 1948, in Oakland, Calif., Triggs graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor's degree in history. He earned a master's degree in education from Cal State University, Hayward.
He came to Las Vegas in 1975 and taught developmentally challenged children.
Triggs also served on the Clark County grand jury, the Regional Transportation Advisory Committee and the state's DUI Task Force, among other boards.
Triggs is survived by his wife, Joanna Triggs; a daughter, Courtney Triggs; four brothers ; and two sisters.
His family says donations can be made in Triggs' memory to the Nevada Disability Advocacy and Law Center, 6039 Eldora Ave., Suite C, Las Vegas, NV 89102.