News Release


DATE: December 24, 1999

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108



LA MESA - Under the biggest and brightest moon of the century, Wednesday night County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and more than one hundred East County residents and churches celebrated the final victory of the Mt. Helix Cross.

"I have said repeatedly that I will do everything in my power to ensure that the Mt. Helix Cross is never removed and that it remains an East County landmark," said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. "The lawsuit was aimed at tearing down the Cross. It is with great pleasure that together, we now celebrate the fact that this Cross will stay!" Jacob added.

The County of San Diego has been in a court battle since 1991 when a federal judge found that the presence of the Cross on public property violated the California Constitution. On September 23, 1999, the Honorable Judge Thompson approved the County's request to appoint a new private trustee in place of the County. The Grossmont Mt. Helix Improvement Association (GMIA) created the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mt. Helix Nature Theater, which will now maintain and operate the park.

"Over the years, people from all over the region and state have attended sunrise services, weddings, musicals, graduations and plays atop Mt. Helix. Now, generations to come will be able to enjoy its beauty and tranquility," said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. "But it would not have been possible without a true community effort. My special thanks goes to Sean Carroll, the former Valhalla High School student responsible for getting the historic site designation for the Cross; Robert Ball, President, The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mt. Helix Nature Theater; Penny Halgren, President, GMIA; John Mead, former President, GMIA; Ian Fan and Laurie Orange from County Counsel."

Others involved in the Candlelight Vigil included The Casa De Oro Baptist Church; El Cajon Foursquare Church; First Baptist of Lemon Grove; Foothills Christian Fellowship; La Mesa Presbyterian Church; Lake Murray Assembly of God; Sonrise Community Baptist Church; and Skyline Wesleyan Church.