by Pam Zubeck
In the end, Colorado Springs City Council approved $300,000 for additional security measures for the City Administration Building, 30 S. Nevada Ave., and City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Ave.
The extra protection is needed, city officials have said, now that the cit'sy allowed employees with concealed carry permits to carry firearms into the buildings, just like citizens can do.
But during debate on the allocation, Councilor Helen Collins and city government critic Douglas Bruce got in a few jabs about how dumb they think the expenditures are.
Bruce said he didn't want to use the word paranoid, but said it seems city officials are "anxious about interacting with the people who put you in office."
"If you fear the public, don’t run for office. If you want to talk with the public only when you have police officers there, there, and there," he said, pointing to cops loitering in the Council chamber under orders to guard the meeting, "don’t run for office.
"Police are supposed to protect the public from the criminal," he added. "They're not supposed to protect you from the public."
Collins chimed in, "I do not believe we need police guarding utilities, guarding the Council, guarding the mayor." (Mayor Steve Bach usually has at least two officers accompany him in his appearances around the city.)
The city will spend $135,000 for card readers to block access to office suites, $55,000 for security cameras, $10,000 for physical security measures that weren't further explained in backup materials to the agenda, and an ongoing cost of $100,000 for a Colorado Springs Police Department officer.
As a footnote, Bruce has repeatedly complained about the three-minute limit on public comment, but he really got agitated when Council President Keith King called for a motion and second on the security measures vote before inviting the public to comment on the matter.
"It's interesting you move and second before asking for public comment," he said. "Another example of what high esteem you hold public comment."
The vote was 6-3, with Collins, Andy Pico and Joel Miller dissenting. Pico and Miller didn't say why they opposed the appropriation.
In the same vote, Council approved $155,000 for legislative software, which will make it easier for the public to follow agenda items online as well as in the archive, among other advantages.