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San Fran takes over 4 years and over $1 million to build 10 foot wheelchair ramp.

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San Fran takes over 4 years and over $1 million to build 10 foot wheelchair ramp.

Old 02-28-08, 11:05 PM
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San Fran takes over 4 years and over $1 million to build 10 foot wheelchair ramp.

This is another example of why taxes are too high.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl.../BANQV90AT.DTL

Wheelchair ramp will cost $100,000 a foot

Phillip Matier,Andrew Ross

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Where else but San Francisco City Hall could a 10-foot-long wheelchair ramp wind up costing $1 million?

Thanks to a maze of bureaucratic indecision and historic restrictions, taxpayers may shell out $100,000 per foot to make the Board of Supervisors president's perch in the historic chambers accessible to the disabled.

What's more, the little remodel job that planners first thought would take three months has stretched into more than four years - and will probably mean the supervisors will have to move out of their hallowed hall for five months while the work is done.

"It's crazy," admits Susan Mizner, director of the mayor's Office on Disability. "But this is just the price of doing business in a historic building."

Supervisor Jake McGoldrick said Tuesday that the issue went to the heart of liberal guilt that often drives the city's decision making. He also choked on the price tag, and asked that the board take some more time to come up with an alternative, like maybe just getting rid of the president's elevated seat.

The root of the problem dates back to when City Hall got a $300 million makeover in the 1990s that made just about every hallway, bathroom and office accessible to the disabled. The exception was the board president's podium, which is reachable only for someone who can climb the five steps from the chamber floor.

The understanding was that the room would eventually be made fully accessible. But no one worried about the podium until 2004 when Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who uses a wheelchair, joined the board.

City architect Tony Irons and representatives of the state Office of Historic Preservation - which had to be consulted to make sure the city was sensitive to the building's designation as a state landmark - were called in to take measurements.

Then preservation architects from the San Francisco firm Page and Turnbill worked up no fewer than 18 design options - at a cost of $98,000 - with ideas ranging from an electric lift to abandoning the president's lordly podium altogether.

No one could decide which design to use, so after a year of arguing, the Department of Public Works was ordered to make 3-D computer models of all the options.

The ramp won, which means lowering the president's desk, which means eliminating three of the "historic" stairs and tearing out Manchurian oak panels that are no longer available, which in turn will mean finding a historically correct replacement.

And because the ramp was going to encroach on the room's sound equipment, officials decided they might as well use the opportunity to upgrade the board chamber's entire audio-visual system, to the tune of $300,000.

Here's what else is going into the million-dollar ramp:

-- $77,000 for the city's Bureau of Architecture project manager, design and construction fees.

-- $455,000 for the actual construction, plus asbestos removal.

-- $28,000 for a construction scheduling consultant.

-- $3,500 for an electrical consultant.

-- $68,000 for the Bureau of Construction Management to oversee the construction and various consultants.

-- $12,000 for Department of Technology and Information Services oversight.

-- $16,500 for permits and fees. (Yes, believe it or not, the city charges itself.)

-- And as much as $65,000 for bid overruns.

All for a total of: $1,123,000.

And counting.


The supervisors considered signing off on the work Tuesday but put it over for another week. Even if the board gives its final blessing, however, construction of the ramp won't be completed before the end of the year - midway through Alioto-Pier's second and final term.

"I deserve equal access to every part of the chamber," Alioto-Pier told her colleagues, adding that ending discrimination is worth the $1 million.
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Old 02-28-08, 11:25 PM
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Portland would have made a bicycle ramp and the cost would be triple that amount. Consider yourself lucky, San Fran.
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Old 02-28-08, 11:36 PM
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Could have been made of gold.

Those ridiculously expensive remodel projects just the tip of the iceberg.

The city of Baton Rouge was focusing on building some needless short extension to join two roads. Total cost so far - $10 million for planning and design. They haven't even built anything yet, and it's unclear if the project will even go through the final stages of planning. Many more projects like that.
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Old 02-28-08, 11:39 PM
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Let's increase taxes so that these fools have more of our money.
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Old 02-29-08, 12:49 AM
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No one could decide which design to use, so after a year of arguing, the Department of Public Works was ordered to make 3-D computer models of all the options.
Ha ha ha!
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Old 02-29-08, 08:20 AM
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I don't see the problem with this.
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Old 02-29-08, 08:24 AM
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the building is a historic landmark

pretty much every local government has laws that say a historic landmark has to be renovated in a special way to preserve the historic look. even applies to private property designated as a historic landmark

means you have to go out and buy up all kinds of very expensive materials to preserve the look

OT, but an enviromental group persuaded NYC to stop using mahogany on the Brooklyn Bridge. one reason is that something like 2-3 acres of forest needs to be chopped down just for one mahogany tree. now the historic Brooklyn Bridge will have plastic boards in it's pedestrian walkway. a lot cheaper too

Last edited by al_bundy; 02-29-08 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 02-29-08, 08:24 AM
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The ramp at my building is a sheet of plywood on a couple cinder blocks.
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Old 02-29-08, 08:26 AM
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To be fair, I have to say that I don't see the problem with this because it doesn't affect my pocket directly.
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Old 02-29-08, 10:05 AM
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I hope the city has the million budgeted or they might have to take it out of their fund to pay for employee sex-change operations. That's enough to pay for 22 people!
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Old 02-29-08, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
the building is a historic landmark

pretty much every local government has laws that say a historic landmark has to be renovated in a special way to preserve the historic look. even applies to private property designated as a historic landmark

means you have to go out and buy up all kinds of very expensive materials to preserve the look

That's a bad policy.
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Old 02-29-08, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by The Bus
To be fair, I have to say that I don't see the problem with this because it doesn't affect my pocket directly.


Yes it does. State and local income taxes are deductible from federal income tax. So your federal income tax dollars are subsidizing this waste.
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Old 02-29-08, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by grundle
Yes it does. State and local income taxes are deductible from federal income tax. So your federal income tax dollars are subsidizing this waste.
And you call that <i>direct</i>?
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Old 02-29-08, 02:44 PM
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Wow, California's City Commission's are really tearing it up in the eyes of all normal Americans. Way to go, CA!
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Old 03-02-08, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
And you call that <i>direct</i>?
Perhaps "direct" is not the most accurate word. But my point is that by allowing people to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal income tax, the federal government is encouraging state and local governments to have higher taxes than they would otherwise have, and that this encourages this type of waste.
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Old 03-02-08, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
the building is a historic landmark

pretty much every local government has laws that say a historic landmark has to be renovated in a special way to preserve the historic look. even applies to private property designated as a historic landmark

means you have to go out and buy up all kinds of very expensive materials to preserve the look

OT, but an enviromental group persuaded NYC to stop using mahogany on the Brooklyn Bridge. one reason is that something like 2-3 acres of forest needs to be chopped down just for one mahogany tree. now the historic Brooklyn Bridge will have plastic boards in it's pedestrian walkway. a lot cheaper too
Historic buildings can usually get away without making these sorts of changes at all. They can just claim that it would be an unreasonable burden or that it would harm the historical authenticity of the building. I worked at a local historical society after the ADA had been passed and they did nothing to make the two 18th century buildings more accessible.
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Old 03-02-08, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by grundle
Perhaps "direct" is not the most accurate word. But my point is that by allowing people to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal income tax, the federal government is encouraging state and local governments to have higher taxes than they would otherwise have, and that this encourages this type of waste.
So, you think the taxpayer should be taxed twice on their income? I don't think so, bud.
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Old 03-02-08, 01:32 PM
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Let's put the government in charge of healthcare. I'm sure they can find a way to spend 4 years and $1,000,000 on a dislocated finger.
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Old 03-02-08, 02:49 PM
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Meh. That's nothing compared to the Big Pig....I mean.....Big Dig.
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