Due to scheduled surgery, Councilmember Dona Spring will not be able to physically attend Tuesday’s City Council meeting during which the council will finally vote on the long, contentious and controversial proposal to build a synagogue, school and social hall at 1301 Oxford St.
Spring, who relies on a wheelchair, was involved in an accident two years ago in which she injured her right shoulder. She has been scheduled for some time to undergo surgery Monday at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Spring said she tried to get the surgery date changed but her doctor refused.
However, Spring will be able to attend the meeting via teleconferencing, which the City Clerk’s office and the Department of Public Works have worked through the weekend to arrange.
The council’s decision will be the culmination of two years of the Beth El project working its way through city departments, commissions and the City Council. The issue has pitted religious organizations against neighbors and environmentalists who say the project is too big and will harm the Codornices Creek corridor. The site is also a city historic landmark.
“Beth El is one of the most important land use issues the city has dealt with in 10 years and my participation is critical,” she said. “Besides voting on the issue, I might be needed to make or second motions.”
Spring said during a special City Council meeting on Thursday that she had concerns about noise, parking and possible impacts on the historical and environmental elements of the property. She said she hoped the two sides would be able to find a “better compromise.”
Spring said she is a veteran of surgery and does not expect to be cognitively impaired from pain medication. However she expects to be in a great deal of pain.
“We will have to live with the results of the council’s action for
all of posterity and there are too many people depending on me,” she said.
California’s open meeting law, the Ralph M. Brown Act, allows legislative bodies to use teleconferencing for all potential purposes of an official meeting.
City Clerk Sherry Kelly said the hospital had been helpful with arranging the installation of teleconferencing equipment.
Besides being able to listen to all the microphones in the City Council chambers, Spring will have to have access to a fax machine in case last minute documents are provided to council.
“We have the cooperation of Pacific Medical Center,” Kelly said. “They have been very gracious in responding to our needs. All they ask is that other patients are not disrupted.”