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WARNING: Political ranting ahead


So Frye is headed for a runoff in November - no surprise there. Hooray for a Democratic mayor! However, Proposition A passed, which just annoys me to no end. From SignOnSanDiego:

City voters decided Tuesday that the Mount Soledad cross should be the federal government's to bear.

Proposition A, aimed at preserving the cross on public land in La Jolla, easily exceeded the two-thirds threshold it needed to pass...

The proposition calls for the City Council to give the 29-foot cross, a concentric set of granite walls and the land around them to the U.S. Interior Department as a national veterans memorial...

In 1991, U.S. District Judge Gordon Thompson Jr. ruled that having the cross on city land violated the state constitution. An injunction barring the cross from La Jolla park land was put on hold while all sides tried to find a solution.

Federal courts struck down two sales of the cross to the Mount Soledad Memorial Association, which built and maintains the site as a veterans memorial. A third sale was rejected in November by 60 percent of San Diego voters...
Of course, it doesn't really matter - it's all going to be settled in court anyway, because the voters want things that are against the law, and until they change the laws, these propositions are essentially useless (except to our local right-wing radio hosts who enjoy lambasting the left).

I feel that yes, it's a war memorial, and for that reason deserves careful consideration and respect, but at the same time it's a huge frelling Christian cross on government property, and I find that to be over the line (not to mention an insult to those non-Christian servicemembers who the memorial is supposed to be honoring).

It's quotes like these, however, that scare the pants off of me:

Charles LiMandri, an attorney for the Thomas More Law Center, which fights for Christian ideals in court, said a legal battle will last for years.

"This is going to be going on past our lifetimes," said LiMandri, 49. "This culture war isn't going to end. ... We see this as a bigger battle. We're fighting for the minds, hearts and souls of America."
{shudder} Stay away from my soul, you fascist.

Comments

( 28 comments — Comment )
cczernia
Jul. 27th, 2005 05:24 pm (UTC)
I trip out on why this is such a big deal. I actually didn't vote on this (I did vote for mayor). I just don't care.

Scout said that it is a legal matter and we can't just vote to keep or get rid of the cross which means that the issue will probably never be settled and it will be a constant news blurb.

Joy :/
esprix
Jul. 27th, 2005 05:38 pm (UTC)
Indeed - it's a legal matter, and will be decided in the courts. That doesn't stop stupid people with lots of money and time from getting the required number of signatures to put it on the ballot anyway. Jeez, in November we even voted on changing a previous vote about a garbage dump. How can this state get anything done if the voters keep changing their minds? Isn't there a statute of limitations on what can be voted on how many times in how short a period of time? I think there should be a double jeopardy law. (Well, actually, no, but sometimes the thought crosses my mind.)
cczernia
Jul. 27th, 2005 05:49 pm (UTC)
I think things like crosses and garbage dumps are politics that most people can understand so they make a big deal of it.

It would be interesting to see how many people went to the polls to vote on the cross and decided to vote for mayor since they were there.
esprix
Jul. 27th, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC)
HA! Yes, that would be a curious statistic.

I sometimes tune into KOGO 600 AM and listen to Roger Hedgecock and Rick Roberts, and they foam at the mouth over this crap.

I note, however, that neither of them are saying much about their old friend Duke Cunningham. Funny, that, since they've both had him on their shows many, many times. Interesting, eh?
(Deleted comment)
esprix
Jul. 27th, 2005 05:33 pm (UTC)
As the article said, the original ruling was in 1991.
jbriggs
Jul. 27th, 2005 05:26 pm (UTC)
Hooray for a Democratic mayor!

You wouldn't say that if you remembered the last two Democratic mayors.


We are in accord re: The Cross.
esprix
Jul. 27th, 2005 05:32 pm (UTC)
I guess I've been spoiled by the best mayor in Philly EVAR, Ed Rendell, but I guess he's really a social liberal but a fiscal conservative (which is exactly what this city needs right now).

I am, of course, ignoring Mayor Street, as he's an idiot, as anyone from Philadelphia can attest.
jbriggs
Jul. 27th, 2005 05:39 pm (UTC)
Then again Toni Adkins is a Democrat, and she wasn't horrible as our City Council representative when we still lived in San Diego. Did a lot to bring City Heights up. And Donna Frye is a friend and neighbor of my Aunt Lois, who AFAIK is a republican. I don't know anything about Sanders except that he was chief of police.
(Deleted comment)
jbriggs
Jul. 27th, 2005 05:54 pm (UTC)
Which I didn't know.
esprix
Jul. 27th, 2005 06:09 pm (UTC)
I didn't even know Atkins was a lesbian!
jbriggs
Jul. 27th, 2005 07:42 pm (UTC)
She was chief of staff for Christine Kehoe, councilmember for district 3 before Adkins. Kehoe is now in the California Senate, and is also lesbian. District 3 contains North Park, Hillcrest, Kensington and Azalea Park, all gay-friendly communities.
[no subject] - esprix - Jul. 27th, 2005 08:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
esprix
Jul. 27th, 2005 06:09 pm (UTC)
I was very interested to see how much support Atkins got as mayor pro tem from the rest of the City Council - nothing but good things to say about her. Maybe SHE should run for mayor. :)
crankyasanoldma
Jul. 27th, 2005 05:53 pm (UTC)
I apologize, TMLC is right here in Ann Arbor! Ann Arbor is the source of much joyous liberalism....but alas, we have also given birth to other things.
esprix
Jul. 27th, 2005 06:10 pm (UTC)
Same with San Diego - they say it's a Republican town, but there's a lot of liberalism going on around these parts...
darrelx
Jul. 27th, 2005 06:29 pm (UTC)
You know me... I'm an atheist... but I totally disagree with requiring the removal of the cross.

Let me put it this way: An atheist going down the road saying "You can't put a cross there" is the same thing as a homophobe saying "You can't put a rainbow flag there".

It's wrong to dictate what can or can't be displayed. The cross should stay.

The 1991 ruling was wrong, but since it was at the State level, it will not apply to federally owned. 75% of voting San Diegans agreed yesterday that the property should be sold to the federal government so that the cross can stay.
esprix
Jul. 27th, 2005 07:03 pm (UTC)
I've read all kinds of legal opinions on the matter, including the fact that giving it to the federal government would constitute a "religious gift" (which is illegal). Plus, there's no guarantee the federal government would be able to leave it as is, despite the Supreme's conflicting rulings recently.

The bottom line is it's going to keep costing the taxpayers money, and it seems the best and most reasonable course of action would be to move it to the church which offered to take it, which is private property.

And last I checked, being gay is neither a religion, nor is anyone trying to turn our country into a "gay state" - the imposition of religion on government is to be avoided.

Conversely, I don't have a problem with having many religions represented, such as in the one Supreme Court case where Christianity was in amongst many other represented religions. At least then we're talking about the diversity of religious beliefs in this country, and in that matter no single one could be construed as the state attempting to force one religious choice onto any citizen.
darrelx
Jul. 27th, 2005 11:19 pm (UTC)
What about religious symbols in city and state-owned cemetaries? Would you be in favor of removing a cross from a tombstone if it was on a city-owned cemetary?

This is a war memorial. It's always been a war memorial. Just becuase the most prominent feature from a distance is the cross shouldn't change the fact that the people who created the memorial practiced their first amendment right to include a religious symbol as part of the memorial.

If the *only* problem is that it's on city land, then why not let the land be sold to private parties? That was tried, but shot down by voters, only getting 60% of the needed 66% to pass the measure.

So now people want to transfer it to the Federal government as a War Memorial (made possible by recent legislation allowing the transfer of war memorials to the federal government), and after the City council voted no, the proposition went to the voters. This time, they said "yes" at a rate of 76% of the voting San Diegans.

I guess the whole matter boils down to two possible scenarios: Either you are bothered that a relgious symbol is on city property, or you are bothered by it being such a large symbol of religion.

If your problem is that the cross is on city property, then why prevent the land from being sold or transferred?

If your problem is simply that the cross is offensive to you, then I suggest you get over it. Nobody likes a bigot. I find a lot of people's personal beliefs offensive to me, but I don't go around demanding that they hide them.

...and for the record (in case whoever's reading this missed it in my earlier reply) I am an atheist. I do not believe in any deity or supreme being. I am personally offended at people pushing their religious beliefs on me, but I am 100% in favor of their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to try.
esprix
Jul. 28th, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC)
Cemetaries and Mt. Soledad are apples and oranges, although I understand the point you're trying to make. First of all, individual plots are owned by the occupants (as it were) so they can put up whatever religious symbol they like. Second, no one is required to have a Christian cross - each individual is free to express whatever religion they practiced in life. Third, yes, I will agree that the Mt. Soledad cross is huge and imposing and, therefore, can reasonably be seen, in my opinion, as the government (since it's on their land) promoting one religion over others.

I think that's the crux of it - if the people who built the memorial hadn't built it on public, government-owned land, their choice of a cross would have been solely theirs, and more power to them. But the fact is it's not on private property, so a war memorial should be more properly displayed as having no religious context, or, perhaps more appropriately, since our war veterans have so many different beliefs, it should represent a wide variety of religious beliefs (or framed in such a way as to respect the fact that each person is different).

So, yes, I agree that the land should either be sold, or the memorial should be transferred. But my original point remains - this isn't going to be decided by the voters, it's going to be decided by the courts. It's iffy at best if the Supreme Court will allow San Diego to transfer property to the federal government if the purpose is to retain a religious symbol. The courts have only rejected sales of the land because the sale was unfair (one group favored over another), which is against city law. Proposition K, yet another measure to sell the land, was rejected by voters in November (personally I voted for it).

I think you and I may disagree on if it's simply a war memorial or a religious symbol, but I think we both agree that it would be best for the city if they either sold the land or moved the memorial. Yes?
esprix
Jul. 27th, 2005 07:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I'm glad you replied. I was hoping you would, 'cause I like hearing your opinions on this stuff. :)
platypus
Jul. 27th, 2005 07:18 pm (UTC)
As long as the gigantic cross is on public land, I don't see how it can be argued that the government isn't enshrining (so to speak) one religion by its presence. Just because the majority of people in this city/state/country might be Christians doesn't make it right. If they displayed sizeable symbols of every religion represented by the Korean veterans, that wouldn't bother me. But they don't. What they have is a great big freakin' cross on a hill that you can see from across the city, and it belongs to the government. There are occasionally some weak arguments that it somehow isn't really a symbol that promotes religion -- but for those fighting to keep it, their statements clearly show that it is very much a religious symbol to them. "Fighting for the souls of America" is only one of many statements that make it clear that this is a very religious item indeed. I could almost be persuaded by its long-standing presence as a San Diego landmark, but when I hear what its supporters have to say, I am only convinced that it does have to go. If the city had arranged a proper, legal sale, not favoring one group over another, this might have been resolved long ago, but that option went out the window in last fall's election. The agreement was that if that proposition failed, the cross would be moved, but then there was this absurd end-run about giving it to the government, and all the whiny save-the-cross appeals, and... ugh. This will never be resolved.
jbriggs
Jul. 27th, 2005 07:31 pm (UTC)
Hear hear!
bovil
Jul. 27th, 2005 08:09 pm (UTC)
We're fighting for the minds, hearts and souls of America.

That's it.

They want to take our souls.

They need our souls.

They sold their own souls, and they need replacements.
esprix
Jul. 27th, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC)
IT'S A TRAP!
shaunskywalker
Jul. 27th, 2005 10:32 pm (UTC)
"We're fighting for the minds, hearts and souls of America."

Just you wait until next year, when we have to deal with the "voteyesmarriage" amendment (which you just know is going to be on the ballot!) It'll take away every domestic partner benefit out there (many of which, like health insurance, I depend on; Chad works for UCLA, technically a state institution, so I'd lose that!) Ugh.
esprix
Jul. 28th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC)
Craziness. But would that ballot initiative affect the state constitution? Isn't one of the whole points that if it violates the constitution it's illegal no matter how the voters vote?
esprix
Jul. 28th, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC)
Little sidebar I found on SignOnSanDiego:

Ballot history

San Diego voters have cast ballots on two measures to keep the Mount Soledad cross on a La Jolla hilltop. Both required two-thirds approval to pass. One succeeded; one failed. Tuesday, voters will go the polls to decide the cross's fate, and a judge ruled yesterday that the measure will require two-thirds support to pass.

* JUNE 2, 1992: PROPOSITION F "Shall the removal from dedicated park status of that portion of Mt. Soledad Natural Park necessary to maintain the property as an historic war memorial, and the transfer of the same parcel by the City of San Diego to a private non-profit corporation for not less than fair market value be ratified?" Yes, 76.77%; No, 23.23%

* NOV. 2, 2004: PROPOSITION K "Shall the City be authorized to remove from dedicated park status and sell to the highest bidder a portion of Mount Soledad Natural Park, subject to a lease to the Mount Soledad Memorial Association to preserve and maintain the existing granite walls and plaques, and to transfer ownership of the cross to the new buyer who will determine whether to maintain, relocate, or remove the cross or to replace it with another appropriate monument?" Yes, 40.82%; No, 59.18%

* TUESDAY (July 26, 2005): PROPOSITION A "Shall the City of San Diego donate to the federal government all of the City's rights, title, and interest in the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial property for the federal government's use of the property as a national memorial honoring veterans of the United States Armed Forces?" Yes, 75.9%; No, 24.1%
(Deleted comment)
esprix
Jul. 29th, 2005 05:14 pm (UTC)
Hee hee! You're so cute when you get all riled up. :)

And I've always found it odd that tolerance and acceptance of the differences between people is seen as a "culture war." If bigotry and ignorance are these people's definitions of "culture," then let it come crumbling down around them.
( 28 comments — Comment )

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