SF Supes Approve Wheelchair Ramp for Chamber

By Jessica Greene
|  Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010  |  Updated 12:00 PM PDT
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SF Supes Approve Wheelchair Ramp for Chamber

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It took years of debate, but the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has finally agreed on a plan to make the chamber wheelchair-accessible.

The board voted 9-1 Tuesday to accept a design for ramp that will lead to the president's podium and also lower the actual podium. The design comes with a $450,000 price tag. Sounds hefty but it's a far cry from the $1 million plan floated in 2008.

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who uses a wheelchair, and Mayor Gavin Newsom threatened to sue when the plan was rejected a couple years ago. Newsom made a vow this year on the 20th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act to get the ramp approved before he leaves office.

Alioto-Pier points out the ramp "should have been done when the building was brought up to code years ago."

Nobody actually uses the president's podium for some reason. Instead, the president sits at a lower desk in front of the podium. But after the structural changes are made, physically disabled visitors and lawmakers will have the option to go up to the post, just as anyone else can on foot.

Our friends at the Examiner tell us there's no word on where money to pay for the ramp will come from but the board will probably be asked to approve a spending plan in about a month.

The lone dissenting vote came from Supervisor Chris Daly, who said he would prefer the podium not be used.

Jessica Greene wonders if Chris Daly dropped the f-bomb as he cast his "no" vote.

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