Fight about wheelchair ramp for board chambers comes to an end 

The seemingly never-ending debate about building a wheelchair ramp in the historic Board of Supervisors chambers came to a close Tuesday.

The Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 to approve the borrowing of about $500,000 for the installation of the ramp to make the board’s president’s dais currently not in use, accessible.

The opposing vote came from Supervisor John Avalos said the chamber’s wheelchair project was “almost a luxury,” compared to all the other accessibility needs he sees in his own district that would benefit so many more. “The symbolism of a bus boarding area that is not accessible has much greater symbolic value than the ramp here,” Avalos said.

The debate carried with it political intrigue since Michela Alioto-Pier, who was the only member of the board using a wheelchair, had threatened to sue The City if the ramp was not built. And Alioto-Pier, now a candidate for mayor, was a moderate voting for a political agenda that riled the progressive bloc on the board. She was termed out of office on Jan. 8.

“Due diligence has be done. We have brought the costs down approximately by 50 percent,” Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said.

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