The yet-to-be constructed Lake Elsinore Veterans Memorial will display religious symbols, it was decided Tuesday night.
During a regularly scheduled meeting, city council members voted 5-0 to approve the memorial for veterans that depicts both a cross and a Star of David. (See attached artist’s rendering of the memorial.)
The $46,000 granite memorial to be constructed by Sun City Granite will be permanently installed at the entrance of The Diamond Stadium.
In front of a standing-room-only crowd Tuesday that included dozens of veterans, council members heard comments both for and against the monument.
Lake Elsinore resident Barbara Anderson said the religious symbols leave out veterans who may not practice Christianity or Judaism. Bill Limebrook said the memorial lacked artistic merit, and a handful of others criticized the monument’s installation at The Diamond saying the memorial should be more accessible to all.
However, when the unanimous vote was cast, many in the audience rose to their feet and applauded the council’s decision to approve the memorial.
None of the council members publicly asked City Attorney Barbara Leibold for her opinion on the legal risk associated with installing a taxpayer-funded monument containing religious symbols in a public space. The issue has been tried in the courts – including in June when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a lower court ruling that found the cross on San Diego’s Mount Soledad is unconstitutional.
After Tuesday’s meeting adjourned, Patch asked Leibold for her comment on the issue. She would only say there is “passion on both sides of the issue,” but admitted the city does face potential litigation over the matter. “It’s always the case,” she said.