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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
San Diego County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Proposition K
Sale of a Portion of Mount Soledad Park
City of San Diego

2/3 Vote Required

177062 / 40.82% Yes votes ...... 256745 / 59.18% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Results as of Dec 15 1:35pm
Information shown below: Fiscal Impact | Impartial Analysis |

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?

Fiscal Impact from City Manager:
The fiscal impact of the passage of this measure is unknown at this time. If the measure passes, and the previous sale of land to the Mt. Soledad War Memorial Association is set aside, the City may have to reimburse the Association the previous purchase price of $106,000. In addition, the City may have to compensate the Association in some amount for the cost of improvements at the site. These expenses may be offset by an undetermined amount of revenue generated by a new sale of the site, which will depend on future negotiations, and the size and market value of the parcel sold. If the prior sale to the Association is not set aside the fiscal impact is unknown.

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
This proposition seeks renewed authorization for the City to sell a portion of Mount Soledad Natural Park to cure constitutional violations associated with the presence of a cross atop Mount Soledad.

The cross was constructed by the Mount Soledad Memorial Association [Association] and dedicated to military veterans in 1954. In 1991, the federal court ruled that the presence of the cross on public property violated the California Constitution. To cure the violation, the City sold a portion of parkland surrounding the cross to the Association. The City Charter requires that such a sale of parkland be authorized by a two-thirds vote of the electorate. The citizens of San Diego provided this authority in 1992 when 76% of the voters approved Proposition F, which authorized the City to sell a portion of Mount Soledad to maintain an historic war memorial.

The federal court subsequently found that the sale of the property to the Association violated provisions of the California Constitution prohibiting government support of religion. The City then conducted a second sale of parkland around the cross, this time by a competitive bid process. The Association was the highest bidder, and, after taking possession of the property, built a memorial composed of granite plaques honoring veterans. In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the conduct of the second sale to the Association violated the California Constitution. The decision also indicated that the sale itself may be void and that constitutional issues associated with the previous passage of Proposition F in 1992 may invalidate the proposition. This proposition is intended to cure these problems.

If two-thirds of the electorate vote "YES" for this proposition, the City will be authorized, but not required, to resell by open, competitive bid process a portion of parkland around the cross atop Mount Soledad. If the City acts on this authority and conducts a third sale of Mount Soledad parkland, the City first would lease the property around the veterans' memorial to the Association and then sell a portion of parkland around the cross and the memorial to the highest bidder. The Association's lease would not include any rights to the cross. The highest bidder would own the property subject to the Association's lease and would be free to choose whether to maintain the cross, remove the cross, or replace the cross with another appropriate monument. "Appropriate monument" means a replacement monument that would conform to regulatory restrictions such as zoning code requirements and would be suitable for placement immediately adjacent to the Association's veterans' memorial.

If two-thirds of the electorate do not approve this proposition, the City may be required to remove or relocate the cross to private property at another location to comply with the 1991 federal injunction prohibiting the presence of the cross on city-owned land.

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Created: December 15, 2004 13:35 PST
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