Skip to comments.Caltrans to pay Minutemen in settlement over cleanup on I-5 ($157K)
Posted on 08/06/2009 10:21:16 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
A settlement has been reached between Caltrans and the San Diego Minutemen that gives the anti-illegal-immigration activists what they were hoping for: the right to keep their Adopt-A-Highway sign on northbound Interstate 5, a cash payment, and litter cleanup on an additional stretch of the freeway.
The settlement was reached Monday, according to federal court records. In ending the lawsuit the group filed last year, the state conceded that the San Diego Minutemen sign near the Border Patrol's San Clemente checkpoint will remain for the duration of a five-year permit, and that the group may continue to clean the highway shoulder there, said attorney Howard Kaloogian, who represented the group.
The activists had sued on grounds of free-speech discrimination. They are pleased that justice has been done, that their free-speech rights are being respected and protected, Kaloogian said of his clients yesterday. A Caltrans spokesman said yesterday that the transportation agency had no comment at that time but would likely issue a statement later.
The San Diego Minutemen were initially approved for the highway cleanup program in November 2007. The group first applied to clean up a portion of state Route 78 that was not available, and were instead given the stretch near the checkpoint.
The following January, after complaints to Caltrans from local Latino groups and some state legislators concerned about the group's controversial nature, they were reassigned to a stretch of state Route 52 near Santee.
At the time, the agency cited safety concerns.
Last summer, a federal judge ordered Caltrans to reinstate the group's permit to conduct cleanups at the I-5 site, along with its Adopt-A-Highway sign, while the lawsuit was pending. The group has conducted regular cleanups since, San Diego Minutemen leader Jeff Schwilk said, with the latest one about three weeks ago.
Schwilk said yesterday the activists have encountered no hecklers or other problems when they have picked up litter.
It is absolutely as safe as any other site, Schwilk said. It couldn't be any safer with the CHP station there.
Schwilk said yesterday that the financial settlement totals $157,500. Kaloogian said settlement terms are also to include a formal apology from the transportation agency, and a permit for an additional site on southbound I-5 a few miles south of the existing one.
The group applied for the second stretch last year but was unable to obtain it.
Schwilk said that much of the settlement will go toward attorney's fees, and the rest to the activist group. In May, Schwilk was ordered to pay $135,000 after a Superior Court jury decided against him in an unrelated defamation lawsuit.
Meanwhile, the Adopt-A-Highway program remains on hold. Caltrans temporarily stopped taking applications last summer, citing a need to review its program guidelines.
Applications are once again being taken, but we are still not processing them, said Hayden Manning, a Caltrans spokesman in San Diego.
Califronia: Where even our highway department encourages illegal immigration.
“In May, Schwilk was ordered to pay $135,000 after a Superior Court jury decided against him in an unrelated defamation lawsuit.”
that will be overturned.
The commie Tribune just had to include that in the article for no other reason to slam the Minitemen.
It is nice when the good guys win in court.
The usual Kali Marsupial Magistrate must have been on vacation and asked a judge from Texas to sit in for them.