City modernizes codes

ALAMOSA — During its meeting next week the Alamosa city council will modernize the language in its codes regarding gender.

The city council has scheduled for a public hearing during its October 3rd meeting an ordinance amending city codes to replace outdated language, such as “he” to refer to the city manager and finance director, both of whom are currently female. The code also refers to council members as “he.”

Some of this language dates back to the original 1964 code of ordinances.

City Attorney Erich Schwiesow said every time he looked at the city’s code he was struck with how archaic the code language was, and he wanted to change it to use more inclusive pronouns. He said he asked administrative assistant Desiree Cortez to go through and find references that were outdated, and she has accomplished that.

Alamosa City Councilor Kristina Daniel thanked city staff for cleaning up the gender language. She said that had bothered her the first time she ran for office, so she appreciated that the city would be changing that to be more inclusive language.

While updating the gender language in the codes, staff also found other outdated areas, Schwiesow said. For example, the indecent exposure section needed to be revised so it would not prohibit breast feeding in public, which is allowed by Colorado statutes. The city code currently states it is unlawful for anyone to appear in public “in a state of nudity or to make any indecent exposure of his person.” The city will add a statement “It shall not be indecent exposure for a mother to breastfeed, and a mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.”

Other proposed changes that will come before the council for public hearing and action on October 3 include: reassigning municipal court record keeping duties, water tap permit issuance and record keeping and issuance of transient dealer’s licenses to the appropriate departments; authorizing the city clerk to appoint deputy city clerks rather than the city council; cleaning up language regarding the disposition of proceeds of abandoned vehicles, which is not something the city deals with very often; and cleaning up other language.

The council unanimously approved on first reading the ordinance amendments and scheduled them for a public hearing during its 7 p.m. meeting on October 3.