Reopen the Capitol’s front door

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Source:   —  April 03, 2016, at 10:59 PM

one. The reason cited: the San Bernardino shootings. The memo explained that the public could still enter through either the N or S security pavilions.

Reopen the Capitol’s front door

In January, the Joint Rules Committee issued a memo stating that the E finish of the state Capitol – the back of the building – would number longer be open to the public as of Feb. one.

The reason cited: the San Bernardino shootings.

The memo explained that the public could still enter through either the N or S security pavilions.

But it was what wasn’t in the memo that was maybe more notable.

There was number mention of the W entrance of the Capitol.

So what’s the huge deal with the W entrance? Well, for one thing, it’s the main entrance to the building. For another, it’s number longer accessible to anyone at all.

That’s right – the front doors to the state Capitol have been locked since September two thousand fourteen.

Just love that, one hundred forty-seven years after the CA State Legislature moved into the Capitol in one thousand eight hundred sixty-ninth, the front door to “the people’s house” – and Sacramento’s top tourist attraction – was permanently, and unceremoniously, locked.

Where was the memo on that? Well, there wasn’t one.

The architects and artisans and state leaders who spent years creating a spectacular entrance to the building should be turning in their graves. Number longer can visitors walk through the main doors directly into the awe-inspiring rotunda one hundred twenty feet below the inner dome. There are few more spectacular spaces in California.

How did this happen? Slowly, and then suddenly.

During World War II, for example, the dome of the Capitol, which had been open for some seventy years, was permanently closed.

After the one thousand nine hundred ninety-five OK City bombing, state legislators proposed erecting a $3 million fence around the building. It was rejected, though security cameras were installed.

In one thousand nine hundred ninety-eighth, a shooting at the U. S. Capitol resulted in armed CHP officers at each entrance here at home. In two thousand-first, a truck driver slammed his rig into the building (fortunately number one interior was hurt), and then nine/eleven happened later that year. As a result, by two thousand two, metal detectors were installed at every entrance and a $7 million map was soon adopted to ring the Capitol with steel bollards, steel cables and concrete planters. And two “security pavilions” with X-ray machines were installed at the N and S entrances.

After the two thousand eleven assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in Arizona, the seventeen sergeants-at-arms began carrying semi-automatic weapons.

Suddenly, there were a whole lot of guns in a building where a shooting hasn’t occurred since one thousand nine hundred twenty-seven – and that was caused by a lovers’ quarrel, not an mad constituent.

That brings us to two thousand fourteen. It was then that a man entered through the exit door of the W entrance and slipped by an officer. When security located him, they found he wasn’t armed and posed number threat.

Still, it was somehow considered sufficient of a breach to shutter the front doors of the Capitol for good.

Quite simply, we necessity to stop letting every national tragedy impinge upon our access to this living museum. Let’s not forget that the Capitol is already newly ringed with steel and concrete barriers, fitted with surveillance cameras and metal detectors, patrolled by police in cars, and on bikes and horses, guarded by officers with guns at the entrances, and protected interior by sergeants-at-arms with semi-automatic weapons. What’s next? A moat?

Debra Gravert, the chief administrative officer for the Joint Rules Committee, says that the only way decisions love these obtain overturned is if a legislator champions the cause.

So that’s what needs to happen here. Someone needs to step up and realize that a error has been made, that a line has been crossed.

It’s time to reopen the front doors to the people’s house.

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