Report Indicates Dozens Of California Court Buildings Seismically Unsafe

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — According to a new report, dozens of court buildings around California — including several here in the Bay Area — pose a safety hazard in the event of an earthquake.

The Loma Prieta Earthquake ravaged the Bay Area, causing the collapse of buildings, bridges and freeways.

The destruction is still fresh in many minds.

“I was in the ’89 earthquake and trust me you are not prepared. no one is prepared for that!” said Brentwood City Councilwoman Claudette Staton

Staton was visiting the Alameda County administration building Friday when she learned it is seismically unsafe, currently ranked the second worst for earthquake safety in the state.

The new report from the Judicial Council of California found eight Bay Area county courthouses — including the San Francisco Hall Of Justice — could collapse and result in the loss of life if an earthquake hit.

Other courthouses ranked seismically unsafe in the report include the Sonoma County Hall of Justice and the Alameda County-Fremont Hall of Justice.

But the council says the state has diverted about $1.4 billion away from court constructions funds.

Contra Costa County Superior Court CEO Stephen Nash told KPIX 5 his building is among the worst off.

“It’s not being addressed in a rational manner,” said Nash. “Each year it’s only going to be more and more risky. And we live in California. It’s not if a major earthquake is going to occur, it’s when.”

The council is asking state lawmakers to reinvest in county courthouses. Just to retrofit the Alameda County administration building — which has civil court on the third and fourth floor — would cost $64 million.

“It’s all about money. They have to be able to fix it,” said Staton. “Where are they going to get the money from?”

A final report identifying exactly which buildings need urgent funding is due in early 2018.

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