Downtown San Jose

Increased Security At San Jose City Hall Would Stifle Debate, Critics Say

Matt Bigler
May 24, 2019 - 10:12 am

SAN JOSE — A plan to increase security at San Jose City Hall is getting heavy pushback from local activists.

Some city leaders have proposed installing metal detectors outside of the council chambers after a protest in December revealed what they call an oversight in the building’s security.

The City Council was hearing arguments on the proposal to sell a large parcel of land to Google for a new campus Dec. 4 when protestors disrupted the meeting by chaining themselves to their seats. Eight people were arrested and Mayor Sam Liccardo cleared the chamber on a recommendation by city police.

Related: This Is The Hungry Face Of The Opposition To Google's Land Deal

Supporters say the incident also prompted the SJPD to recommend adding metal detectors to improve security.

“It’s a less expensive alternative then having a police officer and it’s less intimidating” said Councilman Johnny Khamis, who suggests activists would prefer metal detectors to the alternative. “What is more intimidating, a metal detector or a police officer with a gun?”

But community activists oppose the plan, saying activists and protestors have never been violent and accuse the City Council of trying to stifle public debate.

Other large cities including San Francisco already have metal detectors inside City Hall.

Written by Jessica Yi.