Summarized by Kent Larsen
City answers ACLU's Main Street suit
Deseret News 8Dec99 N1
By Alan Edwards: Deseret News staff writer
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Attorneys for Salt Lake City filed an answer
to the ACLU's lawsuit challenging the terms of the sale of Main
Street to the LDS Church on Tuesday, the filing deadline. In their
answer, the city attorney Roger Cutler says that the terms of sale
give up the use of the property as a public forum in exchange for
the $8.1 million sale price.
"(The sale) included an acknowledgement that, notwithstanding the
right to public access, the property would not be considered to be a
public forum, limited or otherwise," wrote Cutler in his answer. He
also points out that the city has sold many streets to private
parties, and closed streets "at the request of the Baptist, Catholic
and Lutheran churches. This street closure followed all of the same
procedures used for all other street closures."
ACLU attorney Stephen Clark responded to the brief in the Salt Lake
Tribune on Wednesday, saying, "They still don't get it. Main Street
either is a public forum or it isn't. And a city can't sell the
public's constitutional rights on Main Street. No new constitutional
ground needs to be plowed here."
The ACLU, in filing the lawsuit, claimed that the property is a
"public forum" even though it might be privately owned, citing cases
that support its contention. But Cutler argued that the ACLU relied
on cases whose facts differ too much from the Main Street situation.
The LDS Church's answer to the ACLU's lawsuit was filed with its
motion to intervene. In the Church's answer, it says that if
anything, the easement, the legal right granted to the city during
the sale, should simply be eliminated, leaving the Church with the
ability to eliminate public access to the area.
Freedom Second to Money For Main Street, Says SLC
Salt Lake Tribune 8Dec99 N1
By Rebecca Walsh: Salt Lake Tribune