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    San Diego voters give Mt. Soledad cross strong endorsement with 76% in favor

    It’s official. Voters in the city of San Diego have spoken and have made it known that they want to transfer the land the Mt. Soledad War Memorial sits on to the federal government. On July 26, city residents ventured to the polls to cast their votes not only for mayor, but for an issue that has been held over the heads of San Diegans for many years now.

    San Diegans for the Mt. Soledad War Memorial went into full-fledged campaign mode in support of the cross after the San Diego City Council’s May 17 decision to put the issue on the next ballot.

    The war memorial’s 29-foot concrete cross, located just west of I-5 in La Jolla and visible to millions of motorists a year, has been at the center of several legal issues and controversy for 16 years — raising the question of whether or not it violates the separation of church and state.

    Their campaign efforts have proved successful after Proposition A, the item on the ballot that discussed the fate of the cross, won with 76 percent of the vote.

    Supporters of the cross were campaigning for the proposition in hopes of receiving the majority that was originally required for it to pass. However, less than one week before the election, Judge Patricia Cowett ruled that 67 percent of the votes would be needed to transfer the property to the federal government.

    The new percentage needed did not create too much of an obstacle for supporters, as the proposition passed with way more votes than were required.

    Anne Subia, a committee member of San Diegans for the Mt. Soledad War Memorial, is amused by what has been accomplished. “This is fun,” she said. “They ask for a two-thirds vote, we give them three-fourths.”

    The voters’ decision to transfer the land to the federal government is not the end to this long, hard battle. The supporting organization has succeeded in what they have been working toward for the past several months, but the controversy never ceases.

    Subia said it’s very exciting to see what has happened, but it’s tempered with the fact that they will be going back to court soon. ACLU attorney James McElroy is pursuing all kinds of legal maneuvers, saying that the vote is irrelevant, because the future of the cross is up to the courts, not the people.

    He’s a man who feels strongly that the cross is offensive, she said, and sees removing the cross as his first step to the removal of many other things.

    The organization supporting the cross is ready to continue with this battle and others once this one is won. Court dates are scheduled over the next few weeks and the committee will be getting together to discuss strategies for overcoming these hurdles.

    Even with the continuing controversy, Subia has been comforted and is thrilled in what she has seen happen with so many churches in San Diego. She said it’s clearly a “God thing” when Christians and churches work together for a common goal and she feels blessed to have been a part of this.

    Subia admires the work that has been done by Christians and the opportunity they have had to work toward a common goal with other faiths as well. Phil Thalheimer, who is of the Jewish faith, is chairman of the committee and fought toward keeping the cross atop Mt. Soledad. He took over as the committee’s chair after co-chairman Myke Shelby, also Jewish, left to focus on his race for mayor.

    The committee’s goal to raise $1 million for various campaign materials was not reached, but God blessed their efforts and they have seen what God has allowed them to accomplish.

    “This issue is much bigger than San Diego and a steel and concrete 29-foot cross,” said Subia. “I’ve received phone calls and e-mails from all over the country by people who see the national ramifications.”

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