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Anti-U.N. bandwagon stalls

La Verkin ruling is not catching on in other S. Utah cities

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ST. GEORGE — Supporters of La Verkin's controversial anti-U.N. ordinance are finding few friends in high places.

St. George Mayor Dan McArthur and council member Sharon Isom shudder at the thought of the ordinance being proposed in their city.

"I don't even want to hear it," Isom said Monday.

McArthur, who said he is friends with many of those pushing the U.N.-Free Zone ordinance, would like nothing better than to have the document stay as far from city hall as possible.

"We've got pot holes to fill and dogs that are barkin'. We're not delving into that stuff," McArthur said Monday night. "We're not interested in having our citizens pack guns or in repealing the 17th Amendment or the U.N. ordinance."

The word from other St. George council members, McArthur said, is "don't even bother putting it on our agenda."

That's bad news for the Dixie Republican Forum, a group of Washington County residents who champion conservative issues.

David Hailstone, chairman of the group, said members Saturday discussed sponsoring an anti-U.N. resolution and taking it before city councils countywide.

"It's different from the La Verkin ordinance because it's a non-binding resolution," Hailstone said, adding group representatives will contact city councils in the near future to see if the votes are there before proposing the resolution.

Larry Meyers, an attorney who resigned his post as chairman of the group after being elected vice-chairman of the Washington County Republican Party, said he has already drafted an "American Sovereignty Resolution" which the group may use.

But mayors in Santa Clara and Ivins say the issue isn't welcome for discussion in their city councils.

"I don't question their sincerity, and a lot of it I agree with, but that's not our cup of tea," said Santa Clara Mayor Fred Rowley, whose four-year term expires in January 2002. "I doubt our city council would give them the time of day with that. We're trying to get water and electricity to our town and get business done."

Ivins Mayor Chris Blake echoed McArthur's statement and said while he respects the opinions of others, he "just doesn't need that" in his city.

La Verkin council members, who passed the U.N.-Free Zone ordinance July 4 by a 3-2 margin, will discuss the ordinance again Wednesday. Whether the ordinance will stand as is, be revised or dropped in favor of a resolution remains to be seen.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has tentative plans to attend a work session before the the council meeting to discuss his concerns with the ordinance. Violators of the ordinance can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor.

Even Washington City, which recently passed a resolution calling for the repeal of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which requires that U.S. senators be elected by popular vote, won't be interested in the U.N. ordinance either, said one council member.

"I'm not fond of the U.N., but passing an ordinance making it a U.N.-free zone is an exercise in futility," said Washington council member Michael Heaton.

Hurricane council member David Sanders said the city council already indefinitely tabled the 17th Amendment resolution and isn't interested in the anti-U.N. ordinance.

Virgin Mayor Jay Lee, whose town last year adopted an ordinance requiring heads of households to own guns and ammunition, said his town will seriously consider approving the anti-U.N. ordinance. Lee plans to put the issue on Thursday's council agenda for discussion only.

E-mail: nperkins@redrock.net