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New: Broken Elevator Forces Berkeley Council to Postpone Tuesday Meeting

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday July 25, 2012 - 06:03:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council was forced to postpone its meeting last night because the elevator at the aging building where it meets broke down, city spokeswoman Mary Kay Clunies-Ross said. 

The council meets on the second floor of Old City Hall at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, which was built in 1909. 

People could still walk up the stairs to go to the meeting but the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that the meeting be accessible to people with disabilities, Clunies-Ross said. 

The council had been scheduled to have a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. today on a proposed pedestrian plan and its regular meeting at 7 p.m. The meetings are now scheduled to be held at the same time next Tuesday. 

Acting City Clerk Mark Numainville said he can't remember any other council meetings in recent years that had to be postponed because of mechanical issues or other problems at Old City Hall, which also houses the Berkeley Unified School District's administrative offices. 

Old Berkeley City Hall is thought to be seismically unsafe and last year the City Council considered the possibility of holding its meetings at another location. 

But Numainville said the council ultimately decided that the best option is to stay at Old City Hall and do some seismic upgrades, although that work hasn't been done yet. 

He said the school district plans to move its administrative offices to a building at Bonar Street and University Avenue, which is part of a larger development called "West Campus." 

One of the agenda items the City Council was scheduled to discuss tonight was a resolution authored by council members Jesse Arreguin and Susan Wengraf that urges the U.S. Postal Service not to sell the downtown Berkeley post office at 2000 Allston Way, which was built in 1914. 

Harvey Smith, one of the leaders of a movement to save the post office, said he and others went ahead with a rally at 5:30 p.m. yesterday to celebrate the post office's birthday. 

Smith said The Committee to Save the Berkeley Main Post Office will hold another rally before the City Council meeting next Tuesday night.