In spite of the coming Capitol Visitor Center, which will funnel all visitors through underground checkpoints like airline passengers, a vastly increased security budget and thousands of metal bollards so expensive they are a “national security” secret, Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer wants an iron fence around the Hill’s favorite park — the Capitol grounds.
While numerous members of the House and Senate recoiled from this latest revision of master landscaper Frederick Law Olmsted’s design, others saw it as the thin edge of a wedge, wielded by a secretive and unelected four-man group of officials, to seal off the Capitol from the public with stone and metal and allow entrance only through a few guarded screening ports.
Already Congress has allowed the Capitol Police Board ... to shut off the famed west balcony of the Capitol, close down several Hill streets, erect pop-up barriers on other streets, encircle the Capitol grounds with bollards and dig an underground escape tunnel ... .
... Meanwhile, Gainer has almost completely stifled demonstrators, driving them off the Capitol grounds by means of “construction” fences and instructing his officers to tell would-be demonstrators that such activity is illegal — though courts have ruled only that a permit is required.
Thursday, April 22
Couldn't terrorists on stilts step over fences?
Things are getting out of hand on Capitol Hill. The head of the Capitol Police now wants an iron fence around the entire Capitol to keep out any bike-riding terrorists. Seriously. The Hill reports:
Posted by alan at 4/22/2004 10:24:00 AM