When San Jose voted Dec. 4 to sell public land to Google for its proposed mega-campus, a group of activists showed up to City Hall and chained themselves to chairs in protest.
To prevent similar acts of civil disobedience from happening again, one local elected wants the city to install metal detectors at the entrance of the council chambers.
Councilman Johnny Khamis pitched the security measure in a May 22 budget memo, citing that chained-to-the-chairs protest as the catalyst.
According to the District 10 councilor’s office, procuring and installing metal detectors would cost $124,100 and incur $97,000 a year from then on out. Money to pay for the added security would potentially come from the general fund or the proceeds from property seizures by law enforcement, according to the document.
In a written proposal summary, Khamis credits the cops for the idea.
“When anti-Google protesters succeeded in bringing chains into the council chambers and chained themselves to the seating, disrupting the people’s business being conducted in the chambers, it revealed a gaping hole in City Hall security,” the memo explains. “Rank and file police officers suggested to me that metal detectors are needed to avoid a repeat of this type of violation, or something much worse.”
Like guns, knives, or anything that could be fashioned into a weapon.
“Installing metal detectors will deter individuals from smuggling items that could be used as weapons, or weapons themselves, into meetings within the City Council chambers,” the memo reads, “which will increase safety of the public, city staff and elected officials.”
Metal detectors at civic centers are not uncommon in major cities, and increasingly so in smaller municipalities. San Francisco’s had metal detectors at certain entrances since at least the 1970s. And Los Angeles installed some of its own in 1995.