There haven't been any riotous protests yet, but security measures for an upcoming NATO summit at The Broadmoor hotel have already led to several arrests.
At the request of the Pentagon, the five-star resort conducted a criminal background check of its employees that led Colorado Springs police to pick up seven workers on Sept. 11.
Background checks revealed that the seven had outstanding warrants for municipal offenses. Six were sought for failure to appear in traffic court, and one was wanted for failure to appear on an assault charge.
Police spokesman Lt. Skip Arms said the hotel's security department asked police to come and arrest the seven. The employees were taken to the county jail and booked.
"Everybody has been going through background checks as part of the security procedures," said Allison Scott, a spokeswoman for The Broadmoor. However, she said she did not know any specifics about the arrests and did not respond to subsequent requests for additional information.
Defense ministers from each of NATO's member countries, plus seven other countries that have been invited to join the military alliance, are meeting at The Broadmoor Oct. 8-9. The hotel will be closed to all other visitors during the summit, and police will be blocking off large portions of the neighborhood surrounding the hotel, ostensibly for security reasons. People who live in the area will be forced to pass through checkpoints in order to leave or enter.
Local peace activists have indicated they plan to stage anti-war rallies during the summit, particularly targeting U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who will host the meeting.
-- Terje Langeland
America the whatever
Katharine Lee Bates may have penned "America the Beautiful," but she didn't give a dime to the election campaigns of Colorado Springs' City Council members.
The Chamber of Commerce, however, did. So did the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, and the Housing and Building Association.
A virtual parade of people representing these and other powerful real-estate interests appeared Tuesday before the City Council, urging the defeat of a proposed ordinance that would have protected scenic views from the downtown Pioneers Museum toward Pikes Peak -- the mountain that inspired Bates to write her famous anthem.
They got their wish as the Council voted, 7-2, to kill the measure.
The ordinance was introduced in response to plans by the El Paso County Board of Commissioners to build a county courthouse expansion that threatened to block out the view of the peak. Numerous citizen groups, the city's planning staff, the city's Planning Commission, and several other city advisory boards backed the measure.
However, the council rejected the opinions of its own appointed boards, and instead sided with the measure's opponents.
Those included county officials, who said the ordinance would prevent a cost-effective and functional courthouse expansion. The county this week announced plans to design the expansion in such a way that the view of the peak, while greatly reduced, wouldn't be completely obliterated.
But perhaps more significantly, the measure ran into strong opposition from real-estate representatives, some of whom feared it could restrict development in a planned urban-renewal area downtown. Among the companies whose representatives spoke against the ordinance Tuesday were Classic Homes and Nor'Wood Development, both of which are involved in the renewal project.
Other real-estate representatives argued the ordinance could set an anti-development precedent for the entire city.
"Any view-corridor ordinance is a taking of private property rights," argued Stephen Engel, president of Griffis-Blessing.
In the end, only two council members -- Vice Mayor Richard Skorman and Councilwoman Margaret Radford -- backed the measure. Council members who opposed it said it was an "overreaction" and unnecessarily restrictive.
"It's an anti-building ordinance," charged Councilman Jerry Heimlicher.
During his election campaign in the spring, Heimlicher received at least $6,500 in contributions from the interests that urged the ordinance's defeat Tuesday. Among the other council members who deep-sixed the measure, Mayor Lionel Rivera received at least $900 from those interests; Darryl Glenn collected more than $3,500; Scott Hente accepted more than $4,700; Randy Purvis took in more than $4,900; and Larry Small pocketed more than $6,700.
Cadman hopes to reform domestic violence laws
A Colorado Springs lawmaker is moving ahead with plans to try to reform the state's domestic violence laws, though he has yet to figure out what the reforms might look like.
Rep. Bill Cadman, a Republican, has been meeting with prosecutors, defense attorneys and advocates for both victims and defendants in an effort to come up with possible changes in state laws regarding domestic-violence arrests and prosecution.
Cadman says he's become concerned that get-tough measures enacted by the Legislature in the 1990s are having unintended consequences. People who are actually the victims of domestic violence are sometimes charged as offenders, he says.
"My goal is trying to find the things in the system that are victimizing the victims, and stop it," Cadman said.
Cadman has also been looking into complaints from defendants and their lawyers that El Paso County's domestic violence prosecution system, known as "fast track," is pressuring many defendants into pleading guilty before they have a chance to consult a defense attorney [see "Railroaded," Aug. 15, 2002, available online at www.csindy.com].
Local prosecutors and judges have rejected criticisms of the current domestic-violence prosecution system and have refused to implement changes proposed by defense attorneys.
Cadman, however, says he wants to get all sides to the table to figure out if there are changes they all can agree to.
"It's a tightrope," he said.
-- Terje Langeland
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