By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A California Assemblyman is demanding change inside the Capitol’s aging annex building.

Assemblyman Ken Cooley’s push comes ahead of a new report being released next week about the building’s deteriorating condition.

“This building has issues. It issues that affects the safety of the public,” said Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova).

Cooley put on his walking shoes Friday and took reporters on a Capitol tour revealing a close up of the structural deficiencies inside the heart of our state’s government.

A piece of cardboard covering a hole in the wall, and paper exit signs, may be the most visible, but perhaps, the least concerning flaws.

“You’re like a salmon trying to swim upstream to get your way through the throng of people here,” he said.

People with disabilities have an even harder time navigating through awkward winding corridors.

“Who are just guests to the people’s house,” he said.

The people running the house, state lawmakers, haven’t been able to bring the building up to code because of money.

The legislature would have to approve millions to make any changes.

Cooley says a building this age needs to be demolished, not repaired.

Inside a mechanical closet, he showed us makeshift drains and puddles, revealing an aging annex building that can no longer handle the fast pace of modern California politics.

“It disrupts business,” he said.

Many people don’t realize the Capitol building is split into two. On one side is the historic west wing built in the 1800s. And on the other, the annex, the building in question.

It’s 65 years old, and not built to today’s standards.

As recently as two years ago, the lieutenant governor’s offices here were flooded when water pipes burst through the walls.

It’s not water, but fire alarms Cooley’s worried about in a building without any sprinklers.

“It does have fire hoses,” he pointed out.

How did this building get permitted without fire sprinklers?

“It wasn’t the standard in 1952,” Cooley said.

And if there’s a fire, what do you do?

“You’re going to try to get out as fast as you can,” he said.

For now, he’s fired up about a state report being published next week. In it, a top architectural company is expected to make recommendations on the next step forward.


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