Monday, August 14, 2006

President Signs Bill Transferring Mt. Soledad Cross To Feds

President Bush today signed H.R. 5683 that provides for Federal acquisition of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego, California. (White House Release.) The signing follows a federal district judge's decision on Friday to refuse a request that the President be enjoined from signing the bill. The Memorial, which is comprised mainly of a 43 foot cross, has been the subject of 17 years of litigation. That litigation promises to continue as District Judge Barry Moskowitz set the case for further argument next month once the federal government has taken title to the cross. Saturday's Voice of San Diego reports on these developments and the background leading up to them. (Also see prior posting.) The new law vests title to the property in the federal government immediately, but gives the parties a year to decide on the amount that should be paid to the city for the taking. Under the new law, the Mount Soledad Memorial Association that built and maintains the memorial will continue to maintain it. But its members are concerned about added complexity when they wish to add new plaques or hold ceremonies, once the memorial is federally owned.