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Voters Reject Anti-U.N. Resolution and Its Councilman Booster

Voters Reject Anti-U.N. Resolution and Its Councilman Booster

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LA VERKIN, Utah (AP) -- Voters have rejected a referendum that once again would have declared this southwestern Utah community of 3,500 a United Nations-Free Zone.

They also rejected council member Al Snow, one of the strongest proponents of the measure, which had gone through two previous incarnations as a city ordinance.

The referendum was defeated Tuesday by a vote of 497 to 321.

In the municipal primary election last month, Snow came in eighth and failed to make the cut of the top six who were on the November ballot for three council seats. Citing a low turnout for the primary, Snow ran as a write-in in Tuesday's election, receiving 112 votes in a turnout of 44 percent. The winners were Doug Beecher with 554 votes, Scott Stratton with 507 and Ann Slack with 302.

Snow said he is not through fighting the United Nations.

"I am writing a new book that will be out next year, and it's another book on the United Nations," Snow said. "I'm continuing the fight. I have been fighting the United Nations since I was 16 years old and I'm not giving up now."

Former council member Kelly Wilson, an opponent of the referendum, said, "Hopefully, it will be laid to rest now. The ordinance brought a bad name to the community and that was the reason I was so opposed to it. I'm not a U.N. supporter in any way."

Wilson said people had looked at the residents as a "bunch of kooks." Instead of dealing with the United Nations, Wilson said, the council needs to focus on making the community a better place to live.

The money spent on the issue has totaled about $20,000, and it could have been used to fix roads, upgrade the water system or be of benefit to the community, he said.

Snow had said after his defeat in the primary election that the November election would provide voters "a choice of protecting themselves or fixing potholes. Potholes will never take away your inalienable rights from you like the United Nations."

The first ordinance making La Verkin a U.N.-free zone was passed in 2001. It required residents and businesses working for or supporting the United Nations to post signs on their property and file reports with the city, and it prohibited flying the U.N. flag anywhere in the city.

The city attorney and state attorney general said the ordinance was unconstitutional. An amended ordinance, banning flying the U.N. flag at City Hall and prohibiting it from taxing the city or stationing troops there unless authorized by the state or federal governments, was then passed. However, it was repealed on a 4-1 vote in January 2002 after newly elected council members took office.

The United Nations has no presence in La Verkin.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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