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Boy Scouts, ACLU Settle Land Lease Lawsuit
KFMB TV ^ | 1/8/04 | Not Given

Posted on 01/08/2004 2:53:45 PM PST by RonF

San Diego and the American Civil Liberties Union settled a lawsuit over two leases between the city and the Boy Scouts, both sides announced Thursday.

The ACLU suit, filed in 2000, challenged the city's subsidy of the Desert Pacific Boy Scout Council through leases for public land in Balboa Park and Fiesta Island Aquatic Park.

In July 2003, a federal judge ruled the Balboa Park lease violates First Amendment guarantees of separation of church and state. The judge also put over for trial the matter of the Fiesta Island lease.

Under its settlement with the ACLU, the city will take no position on the validity of the leases in future legal proceedings, and the city will pay the ACLU's attorneys $790,000 for legal fees incurred during the three years of litigation and $160,000 in court costs.

"The Boy Scouts cannot have it both ways," said ACLU volunteer attorney M.E. Stephens. "Having gone to great lengths to establish that discrimination against gays and (athiests) is essential to their mission, and, therefore, protected by the First Amendment, they cannot now turn around and ask the people of San Diego to foot the bill for that discrimination."

The settlement also relieves the city of any liability to pay future ACLU legal costs.

"While it may be legally acceptable for the Scouts to privately discriminate against so many boys and their families, it has never been acceptable for the city to bar those families from a public park," said ACLU co-counsel Mark Danis. "Government has a constitutional duty to treat everyone equally and fairly."

The Boy Scouts of America, which is not a party to the settlement, has the right to continue to present defenses to ACLU legal claims.

The national organization, based in Irving, Texas, also retains possession of the leased properties during the pending litigation, including all appeals, according to Deputy City Attorney John Mullen.

The BSA says the mission of the organization is to "prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

The Scout Oath reads: "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: aclu; boyscouts; bsa; culturewar; extortion; homsexuals
San Diego settles for a little under $1 million with the ACLU and bows out. The BSA is on it's own regarding the legality of their lease with San Diego for a section of a public park they have spent large sums of money improving and that they allow the public to use.
1 posted on 01/08/2004 2:53:47 PM PST by RonF
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2 posted on 01/08/2004 2:56:27 PM PST by Support Free Republic (I'd rather be sleeping. Let's get this over with so I can go back to sleep!)
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To: RonF
"While it may be legally acceptable for the Scouts to privately discriminate against so many boys and their families,

How many is so many? How many kids are there that are the sons of atheists, or are open about their sexuality during youth activities?

it has never been acceptable for the city to bar those families from a public park,"

Which it doesn't; non-Scouting groups have been and are welcome to use the facilities in question.

"Government has the responsibility to treat everyone equally and fairly."

Including the BSA.

3 posted on 01/08/2004 2:56:34 PM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
"While it may be legally acceptable for the Scouts to privately discriminate against so many boys and their families, it has never been acceptable for the city to bar those families from a public park," said ACLU co-counsel Mark Danis.

Did the city bar a gay scout troop from the park?

4 posted on 01/08/2004 2:59:07 PM PST by Jack Wilson
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To: RonF
an awful lot of these judges really need to be working the graveyard shift at wal-mart stocking shelves for $6.00 an hour...most aclu lawyers aren't qualified to earn that much!!
5 posted on 01/08/2004 2:59:20 PM PST by cajun-jack
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To: RonF
The thought processes of the ACLU defy explanation
6 posted on 01/08/2004 3:04:35 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: RonF
the city will pay the ACLU's attorneys $790,000 for legal fees incurred....

"The Boy Scouts cannot have it both ways," said ACLU volunteer attorney M.E. Stephens.

Am I missing something? How can legal fees be racked up by "volunteer" attorneys? Do they just volunteer to only make $150.00 per hour instead of the $1,500.00 per hour they could realize chasing ambulances?

7 posted on 01/08/2004 3:09:18 PM PST by lafroste
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To: RonF
The people of San Diego do, however, have to pay for the ACLU's bigotry against the Boy Scouts.
8 posted on 01/08/2004 3:24:14 PM PST by The Old Hoosier (Right makes might.)
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To: RonF
The American Crippled Liberties Union must some how, some way, be officially labeled as a subversive organization. Yes, we know they are, but we've got to figure out a way to sanction it. What they espouse isn't a matter of free speech - it's the planned destruction of a culture, a society, and a country. They must be prevented from using the Consitiution as a means of it's own destruction.
9 posted on 01/08/2004 3:26:52 PM PST by Viking2002
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To: LiteKeeper
"The thought processes of the ACLU defy explanation"


How about, Anything that advances our agenda is OK, even if it seems illogical and demented.

Sort of like the Marxist "ends justify the means" concept.

If they can hurt the Scouts by claiming that they are a religion (thus the Church and State claim to use the 1st Amend.) then they do it.
10 posted on 01/08/2004 3:31:08 PM PST by DBrow
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To: RonF
ACLU's attorneys are among Satan's most valuable minions.
11 posted on 01/08/2004 3:44:37 PM PST by Buffalo Bob
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To: RonF
Will this have any effect on the similar case involving the Berkeley Marina and the Sea Scouts?
12 posted on 01/08/2004 3:54:40 PM PST by Stone Mountain
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To: RonF
Funny. Here in Iowa they didn't see anything wrong with Mujslims leasing federal land to build a camp for Muslim young men. Taxpayers will also be providing roads, rangers, etc.
13 posted on 01/08/2004 4:02:01 PM PST by Conservativegreatgrandma
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To: RonF
"First Amendment guarantees of separation of church and state..."

First of all, I agree with the concept of seperation of church and state. BUT...the First Admendment does NOT mention anything about "SEPERATION" of church and state. That was borne out of one of Thomas Jefferson's letters.

Check it out.

14 posted on 01/08/2004 4:19:59 PM PST by theyibby
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To: RonF
Ann Coulter said it best:

"Questioning whether gay Scoutmasters should be taking 14-year-old boys on overnight sleepovers in the woods is "out of the mainstream."

15 posted on 01/08/2004 4:35:44 PM PST by Michael.SF. (Would the ACLU allow Roman Polanski to be a Girl Scout leader?)
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To: DBrow
I had a friend in the Boy Scouts who announced to the Scoutmaster that he was an atheist. Then there was the following exchange...

Scoutmaster: "Do you believe that there is a right and wrong?"
Scout: "Yes."
Scoutmaster: "Then as far as I'm concerned, you're not an atheist."
Scout: "Oh, OK."

Such was my experience of "religious intolerance" in the Boy Scouts.
16 posted on 01/08/2004 4:52:30 PM PST by rightwingcrazy
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To: RonF
When the case goes before the 9th Circus the BSA will lose, when it goes before the USSC, BSA is batting 1.0 and the ACLU and BSA haters will lose.
17 posted on 01/08/2004 5:13:06 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat
When the case goes before the 9th Circus the BSA will lose, when it goes before the USSC, BSA is batting 1.0 and the ACLU and BSA haters will lose.

The USSC did decide on the BSA's behalf that they are a private organization and therefore have the right to discriminate.

In this case (should it continue) the BSA is in the position of defending San Diego's lease of the land at a nominal rent. The city has bowed out and will not defend its own actions. I imagine the issue comes down to whether the city can lend its resources to a private (though benevolent) organization which discriminates.

San Diego has entry in its municipal code which might apply:

City Facilities. It shall be an unlawful service practice for any person to deny any individual the full and equal enjoyment of, or to place different terms and conditions on the availability of the use of any City facility on the basis (in whole or in part) of such individual?s sexual orientation or gender identity.
I haven't seen the suit so I'm not sure what its basis is. There may be other city, state, or federal laws that could apply. I'm not sure that this is a case that'd make it all the way to the USSC. It does have relevance to dozens, maybe hundreds, of BSA leases and accomodations.
18 posted on 01/08/2004 6:34:12 PM PST by Looking for Diogenes
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To: SandRat
That's what I'm thinking.
19 posted on 01/08/2004 7:51:52 PM PST by RonF
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To: Looking for Diogenes
Both in this example and in many areas nationally, the BSA has put large amounts of money, materials, and labor in improving leaseholdings. Are they now to be deprived of their use, while people who made no contribution to them get all the benefit? I think that's neither law nor justice.
20 posted on 01/08/2004 7:57:46 PM PST by RonF
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To: Looking for Diogenes
there's one little wrinkle here though the land was a gift to the boy scouts and for several decades theirs alone. then to permit all to enjoy it the scouts first gave use to the city then allowed the city to claim ownership on the condition that the scouts would be allowed to stay in perpetuity. all these actions were sanctioned by the heirs of the original owner and met the requirements of the original gift.

this trail could mean serious trouble for the city of SD and any legal beagles that have played this whole thing against the scouts.
21 posted on 01/08/2004 8:33:45 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: RonF
too many of the attackers of scouting in their jihad for diversity are behaving like Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
22 posted on 01/08/2004 8:35:42 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: RonF
Both in this example and in many areas nationally, the BSA has put large amounts of money, materials, and labor in improving leaseholdings. Are they now to be deprived of their use, while people who made no contribution to them get all the benefit?

That is not a very compelling argument. If this was Disney leasing the land instead of the BSA would you argue that because they have made improvements to the land by building a theme park on it they should receive a lease for free? If that were the case any organization that promises to build a few cabins should get prime public land without paying.

On the contrary, the BSA's best defense in this case may be that they make the camp available to any group that wants to use it, including gay groups, when the scouts are not there.

23 posted on 01/08/2004 8:36:24 PM PST by Looking for Diogenes
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To: SandRat
there's one little wrinkle here though the land was a gift to the boy scouts and for several decades theirs alone.

If that is true then it changes the case. In Los Angeles the huge Griffith Park was given with restrictions which the heirs have gone to court to enforce (for example, no charge allowed for patrons).

The bulk of Balboa Park was created by the city before the BSA was even founded, but perhaps this camp is on a contiguous parcel.

1868 A 1,400-acre tract of land was set aside by City leaders for a public park.

24 posted on 01/08/2004 8:46:52 PM PST by Looking for Diogenes
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To: Looking for Diogenes
you got it
25 posted on 01/08/2004 8:47:56 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat
FYI
Scouts' Balboa Park lease ruled unconstitutional
By Ray Huard and Marisa Taylor
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITERS
August 1, 2003

The Boy Scouts' lease of public land in Balboa Park violates constitutional separation of church and state, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

...

The Scouts have used the park since 1920 and have been on their current site, at the northwest corner of the park near the San Diego Zoo, since 1940. They have had a lease since 1957.

...

Other legal experts were surprised by [Judge] Jones' conclusion that the Scouts are a religious organization because they require members to profess a belief in God.

"It's not to say that it's wrong. There must have been a factual record that supported the ruling," said Vik Amar, a constitutional law professor with Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. "But it does sound like something that a lot of people would disagree with."

...

The Boy Scouts' 50-year, $1-a-year lease expires in 2007. The City Council in December renewed the lease at the Scouts' request for 25 years, with the city having the option to extend the lease an additional 15 years.

Under terms of the lease, the Scouts must spend $1.7 million over the next seven years to upgrade Camp Balboa. The Scouts also are required to pay the city an annual administrative fee initially set at $2,500.

...

A practical issue that remains unresolved is what will happen to the facilities the Scouts have built in Balboa Park.

Osborne said the Scouts have made extensive improvements at the park, planting trees, installing water and power lines, and building nine campsites. Also added were a swimming pool, a parking lot, restrooms and showers, a residence and office for a camp ranger, and meeting rooms.

Budd said the fate of those facilities could be decided in a final court order, which typically would include requirements the city must meet to comply.

"The fact that they've invested a substantial amount of money in the park is not a justification for them to occupy park land for free," Budd said. " . . . If they want a public subsidy and free access for years upon years to public park land, they have to do what virtually every other youth organization has done. The Girl Scouts, the Campfire Girls, the YMCA, the YWCA ? every other youth organization has abandoned exclusive membership policies."


26 posted on 01/08/2004 8:57:01 PM PST by Looking for Diogenes
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To: RonF
The headline:

"Boy Scouts, ACLU settle Land Lease Suit"

The article:

"The Boy Scouts of America, which is not a party to the settlement, has the right to continue to present defenses to ACLU legal claims."

Does anyone else notice the disconnect between the headline and the actual facts????

The City of San Diego and the ACLU were the litigants... the Boy Scouts were not involved except as the subject of the dispute. THEY have settled nothing!

This is either more disinformation... or totaly idiocy in the reporting and editing by 'professionals'.

27 posted on 01/08/2004 9:01:35 PM PST by Swordmaker
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To: Swordmaker
David Copley, 49, has served since 1997 as president and chief executive officer of the SD Union and he is queer as a three dollar bill.

So don't be suprised if you see a little slant in this article.
28 posted on 01/08/2004 9:20:36 PM PST by Jimbaugh (They will not get away with this. Developing . . . . .)
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To: Jimbaugh
David Copley, 49, has served since 1997 as president and chief executive officer of the SD Union and he is queer as a three dollar bill.

The article is not from the Union - it is from a local TV channel KFMB-8, which is owned by something called "Midwest Television."

Unfortunately, poor journalism is par for the course on local TV news.

29 posted on 01/08/2004 9:42:30 PM PST by Looking for Diogenes
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To: Swordmaker
It's bad editing, which is not uncommon in headline writing. Headlines are not written by the writer of the article. In the article, it's made clear that both the BSA and the city were parties to the lawsuit. Note that the lawsuit was brought by a lesbian couple. The ACLU is a party in the suit to support that couple. The city has thrown in the towel, but the BSA motors on.
30 posted on 01/09/2004 6:21:20 AM PST by RonF
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To: Looking for Diogenes
There's a difference between a group that offers to lease land with the promise to improve it, vs. a group that already has leased land, has already improved it, and now wants to renew the lease. When you talk about getting the use of public land without paying, shouldn't the cost of improvements that will be used by the public (as the facilities in Balboa Park are) be counted as payment?
31 posted on 01/09/2004 6:25:11 AM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
Yes, the improvements are a form of payment. The local BS council has promised to make $1.7 million in improvements to their camp, in addition to the $1 in rent and $2500 in administrative fees that they pay the city annually. However this lease was not opened for competitive bidding. It is possible that another group might have offered to make even greater improvements. Also, the public can question whether those are the improvements they would want. The park bureaucrats have apparently been trying to get rid of all the private groups on the park for a while. Only 14% of the park is freely open to the public because of all the leaseholds.

The Boy Scout facilities are not exactly available for public use. As a park-goer you may not stroll through the grounds. It is available to other groups only on those occasions when it is not being used by the Boy Scouts. Those groups have to pay a fee.

To use the Disney analogy again - they have made substantial improvements to the land under their theme parks, and they make it open to the public for a fee. Should the cost of their improvements count as a lease payment?

I don't know how the original lease was written, but the ownership of improvements is undoubtedly covered. On National Forest lands, for example, the leaseholder generally retains ownership. The downside of that is that when the lease expires the owner must remove all trace of the improvements. In other cases the improvements become the property of the landowner. I wish the District Court's filing was available online - I'm sure these issues would have come up.

32 posted on 01/09/2004 8:32:12 AM PST by Looking for Diogenes
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To: Viking2002
What they espouse isn't a matter of free speech - it's the planned destruction of a culture, a society, and a country.

Domestic enemies.

33 posted on 01/09/2004 8:35:52 AM PST by Sloth ("I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" -- Jacobim Mugatu, 'Zoolander')
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