For some, council meetings are drudgery. But for Dimitri Belser, president of the Ed Roberts Campus board of directors, and others who came to Tuesday’s meeting to support the ERC, the session proved to be exactly what they had hoped for.
“Tonight, that dream [of Ed Roberts Campus] could become a reality,” said Belser, just moments before the unanimous council voted to give $2 million to the project that will house seven nonprofits that serve disabled people, a fitness center for the disabled, and childcare. The campus will be located on the east Ashby BART station parking lot.
With $4.5 million approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission Wednesday and new funding from BART, the ERC has the $44 million it needs to break ground for the project that has been 12 years in the making.
Councilmembers expressed concern that they were taking funds originally intended for a sound wall between Aquatic Park and the freeway, but pledged to find new funding for the wall, estimated to cost more than $5 million.
In other council actions:
• Councilmember Kriss Worthington withdrew a resolution supporting Metro Lighting workers in a dispute with their employer, saying that he placed it on the agenda with inadequate research.
• By unanimous vote and without discussion the council gave a $50,000 sole source contract to Build It Green to do the groundwork for a pilot project funded by the city and the Department of Energy to get more homes and businesses to use solar energy.
Solano Ave. BID
At around midnight, Susan Boat, owner of the salon Scissors and Comb on Solano Avenue, addressed the council along with several other Solano Avenue business owners, calling for dissolution of the Solano Avenue Business Improvement District.
They said they were not speaking simply for a handful of business owners, but that they brought with them petitions from 130 business owners calling for the dissolution of the district. The petitions, they said, represent nearly 60 percent of the membership and 59 percent of the value of the assessments.
The merchants said they object to the involuntary nature of the district and the domination of Albany merchants on the board of the nonprofit—the Solano Avenue Association—that houses the BID. (There was a separate BID board that recently dissolved itself.)
Economic Development Manager Dave Fogarty said in a phone interview on Thursday that it is up to the City Council to decide if the BID should be dissolved. The item was not on Tuesday’s agenda and, to date, has not been scheduled.