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For week ended December 12, 1999 Posted 18 Dec 1999

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Freedom Second to Money For Main Street, Says SLC

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Freedom Second to Money For Main Street, Says SLC
Salt Lake Tribune 8Dec99 N1
By Rebecca Walsh: Salt Lake Tribune

Municipal lawyers for Salt Lake City are defending a deal that saw the city sell a block of Main Street with provisions that the land would no longer be available for public demonstrations. The attorneys say that the 8.1 million dollars the city received from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made the deal worthwhile for the city.

The statement was filed this week in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.  Salt Lake City attorneys Lynn Pace, Boyd Ferguson, and Roger Cutler say, ³Although public access was preserved, the entire appearance and function of the property was to change completely from its prior use... the property would not be considered to be a public forum, limited or otherwise.²

Stephen Clark, who represents the ACLU, says the city lawyers are missing the point. ³Main Street either is a public forum or it isn't. And a city can't sell the public's constitutional rights on Main Street.²

The land in dispute was sold to the LDS Church in April. A plaza is expected to open in October.  Rules agreed on by the Church and the city would allow 24 hour a day access to the plaza.  However, demonstrations and picketers could be asked to leave.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information