Skip to comments.Bilbray, Hunter, Issa enter bill to save Soledad cross
Posted on 06/27/2006 6:53:41 PM PDT by radar101
SAN DIEGO Three local congressmen have introduced a bill that would transfer the Mount Soledad cross from city control to the federal government, a step they hope will preserve the La Jolla landmark.
Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, Brian Bilbray, R-Carlsbad and Darrell Issa, R-Vista, sponsored the bill, which Hunter introduced late Monday. The city has been ordered by the court to remove the 29-foot cross from city property by Aug. 1 or pay a fine of $5,000 a day. A judge has ruled it is an unconstitutional preference of religion for the cross to be displayed on public property.
The legislation calls for the federal government to acquire a small area of the city-owned property, specifically the area bounded by an existing sidewalk on top of Mount Soledad, on which the cross and a veterans memorial sit.
Once acquired, responsibility for the monument's maintenance would be provided by the Department of Defense. According to the bill, the department also would reach a contractual arrangement with the Mount Soledad Memorial Association, a private group that built the cross in 1954 to honor Korean War veterans and continues to maintain the site.
Mayor Jerry Sanders said he supported looking at any option to keep the cross in place, and called the latest proposal something I definitely support.
Councilman Brian Maienschein said the proposal would allow cash-strapped San Diego to remove itself from all legal and financial concerns related to the cross.
It would be helpful, he said.
The cross has been at issue for 17 years, ever since Philip Paulson, an atheist Vietnam veteran, sued to have it removed. The city has fought to keep the cross where it is and has continually lost in court, racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills.
Last July, the last time the issue was put on a ballot, 76 percent of voters backed keeping the cross atop the scenic La Jolla landmark.
The fight to save the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial is not about religion, Hunter said in a statement. It's about protecting a symbol of our freedom and honoring those who have chosen to defend it all costs.
Removing this long recognized and respected landmark is an insult to the men and women memorialized on its walls and the service and sacrifice of those who have worn a uniform in defense of our nation.
Hunter said it was important to exhaust every possible option for preserving this revered memorial and ensuring its continued presence atop Mount Soledad.
He said the legislation would supplement administrative efforts being pursued to protect the memorial.
Bilbray said: We must defend and protect the Memorial for those who defended and protected us.
Issa, in a statement, said the country's founding fathers did not envision a nation devoid of religious expression.
This legislation will protect the rights of the many veterans and families who support the Mount Soledad cross that has stood for 52 years, he said.
K.C. ALFRED / Union-Tribune The legislation introduced by three local congressmen calls for the federal government to acquire a small area of the city-owned property, specifically the area bounded by an existing sidewalk on top of Mount Soledad, on which the cross and a veterans memorial sit.
"Bilbray said: We must defend and protect the Memorial for those who defended and protected us.
Warms my heart to see Bilbray taking this stance. This is why voting is soooooo important.
We will stick together and preserve that Cross on Mt. Soledad.
Why stop at a notch or two? They need to be knocked clean out of the ballpark.
How will federalizing the land protect the cross? The ACLU will just sue the Federal government instead of the city.
Maybe the feds won't cave quite so easily.
What do you mean by "cave so easily?" Who has caved? This case has already been granted certiorari to be heard before the Supreme Court or is pending isn't it, right? If the Feds get involved, the city will lose standing and the case will be declard moot and the whole process will have to be repeated all of the way back to the Supreme Court. This could be an opportunity for the Supreme Court to take a stand.
Bilbray paying off already. Does anyone believe the rat would allow little miss rat to do this if she had won?
I agree...my wording should have been more to the point!
Poster jay777 links to a StoptheACLU site, I'll list his name above so that he'll put it up in this thread as well.
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