Mt. Davidson Trial -- Day 1
by Jim Heldberg
A cold and windy June 1st couldn't keep San Francisco Atheists from
holding a successful rally outside the federal courthouse today, to support
the trial against the Mt. Davidson cross by Dave Kong and John Messina.
Atheists from all over the SF Bay Area spent their lunch hour carrying
signs outside the Federal Courthouse. We urged the City to support the US
and California constitutions, and remove the huge cross from San Francisco's
highest public park.
ABC's KGO-TV (Channel 7) and the San Francisco Examiner newspaper
covered the rally. Public reaction was mixed, as usual.
Building security officers and Federal Security Service police were
cooperative, too. It always helps when we are well-prepared, orderly and
Following the lunch hour demonstration, most of us went up to the 17th
floor to observe the actual trial. Dave Kong and John Messina were seated to
the judge's right, with their two lawyers. John Messina took the witness
stand. The City's attorney tried unsuccessfully to impeach John's prior
deposition, by attacking a minor inconsistency in the number of phone calls
he made many months ago. ("On page 246, it says you made 1 call to the
Mayor's office, but on page 247, it says you made 2 calls.") Judge Maxine
Chesney, a young curly-haired blond charmer, wasn't buying any of it. She
said this time-wasting foolishness had nothing to do with the cross, and she
hoped the City's counsel would have something more relevant to say tomorrow.
She adjourned court for the day.
The trial is expected to last all week.
We felt we accomplished our goal of raising public awareness of the
trial. Participants included Els Boesten, Pirate Black, Burt Bogardus, Ski
Grabowski, Dick Hewetson, Jim Hicks, Tyson Gustus, John Jennings, Sidney
Kass, John McCoy, Tom Maley, Ray Romano and Jim Heldberg.
© 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 by American Atheists.