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Utah Town Tones Down U.N. Ordinance

July 26, 2001

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LA VERKIN, Utah (AP) _ While still blaming the United Nations for environmentalism and other perceived dangers, city council members toned down their anti-U.N. ordinance to avoid being sued.

The changes were made after state Attorney General Mark Shurtleff advised council members that their original law, adopted in a special session on July 4, violated residents’ constitutional rights of speech, assembly and equal protection.

``The city can ill afford to get dragged into court,″ Mayor Dan Howard said after the City Council’s 3-2 vote Wednesday to approve the changes.

The ordinance no longer requires residents and businesses working for the United Nations or its supporters to post signs on their property and file reports with the city. A clause barring the city from contracting or investing with companies with U.N. ties also was deleted.

Instead of banning U.N. flags and symbols from city property, the city now only forbids flying the U.N. flag from the flagpole at City Hall.

The council left intact provisions declaring La Verkin a U.N.-free zone and banning that organization from taxing the city or stationing troops there unless authorized by the state or federal government. The southwestern Utah town of 3,300 residents is located about 20 miles from Zion National Park.

Most of the residents who spoke at the meeting were against the United Nations.

``The U.N. is anti-God, anti-family and anti-country. They are against everything La Verkin stands for,″ said resident Andy Hare. ``So the U.N. is anti-La Verkin. La Verkin has the right to be anti-U.N.″

Resident Eliot Hill said: ``All this does is make us look like a bunch of kooks.″

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