Monday, September 25, 2017

California Lions Club Sues To Control Cross In Park

According to the East Bay Times, on Sept. 11 the Albany, California Lion's Club filed suit in federal court against the city and several city officials in a dispute involving a 20-foot cross in the city's Albany Hill Park. The cross was constructed in 1971 on privately-owned land.  It was transferred to the city in 1973 as part of a controversial land deal in which the city created Albany Hill Park. Before the transfer to the city, the Lion's Club was granted an easement to allow it to maintain the cross. In December 2015, the city cut power to the cross, contending that a utility line running to it was unsafe. It cut power again in 2016 until the local utility PG&E took responsibility for the power line to assure that the cross would be lit for the Christmas and Easter seasons. According to the Times report, the suit:
asks for permanent injunctions preventing the city from depriving the Lions Club of using its easement, preventing interference in utility service, hampering the Lions Club’s free speech rights and exercise of religion, and demands an order to force the city to sell or divest ownership of the land with the cross on it. The suit also asks for damages and legal fees.