Neo-Nazis' adopt-a-highway-sign: Colorado Department of Transportation lawyers said there was no stopping it

Categories: Media, News

national socialist movement denver unit sign.JPG
A sign about cleaning up that some people see as thoroughly unclean (image from Channel 4's coverage).
Last night, Channel 4 featured a report about a stretch of Highway 85 adopted by Denver's branch of the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group -- not the kind of publicity calculated to thrill the Colorado Department of Transportation, which administers the adopt-a-highway program.

CDOT spokeswoman Stacey Stegman admits that when the organization submitted its application to pick up trash and otherwise clean up this stretch of road, "our initial inclination was to deny their permit based on the fact that there is a well-documented history of violence among these types of groups, and we didn't want to have incidents of violence or safety issues on our highways as a result of having this kind of group out there."

But then the lawyers got involved.

According to Stegman, CDOT consulted with the state attorney general's office, and staffers there brought up a precedent in Missouri. Several years ago, the state lost an expensive battle to prevent a Ku Klux Klan outfit from adopting a piece of highway. Since then, the state allowed a National Socialist group to adopt a highway, too -- and after further research, as well as conversations with Denver's Anti-Defamation League, CDOT officials decided they'd have to do likewise.

"It's basically an issue of free speech," Stegman says. "We have to allow it."

The adopt-a-highway rules are fairly simple and straightforward. Participants "have to be a nonprofit or community group -- it's very open and inclusive," Stegman notes. "It includes state highways and lesser traveled roads; we don't have an adopt-a-highway program on the interstate or urban areas. There are also certain safety requirements: You have to go through safety training, which I think is a video, and you have to wear safety gear. People have to pick up the bags from us -- and then they leave the bags and have to coordinate with us to pick them up."

As Stegman acknowledges, signage controversies are nothing new; she cites grumbling about a placard informing people how to get to Focus on the Family's headquarters in Colorado Springs. But the National Socialists' request was the first that Stegman recalls for the adopt-a-highway program.

In Missouri, some legislators attempted to counter the neo-Nazi signage by renaming the highway after Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a civil-rights figure. Nothing like that's in the works here yet, but Stegman says CDOT will be monitoring the National Socialists' behavior: "They have a legitimate permit, and they're going to be expected to meet the terms of that permit. And if they don't, or if there are any incidents of violence or anything like that, the permit is up for review annually, and it can be revoked."

Meanwhile, Stegman doubts that other dodgy organizations will suddenly flood CDOT with adopt-a-highway requests in the hopes of getting state-sanctioned publicity. In her words, "It's a pretty big commitment to go out there and pick up litter, and not a lot of groups want to do that."

Not yet, anyhow.

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17 comments
Anonymous
Anonymous

it is easy to see who is jew and who not in a comments :)

Richard Martinez
Richard Martinez

wow! the state is actually letting people who believe in hurting others because of there race put there name on a sign for adopting a highway? and you people who say the neo Nazis are only a group that believe in racial separation are complete dumb asses. obviously there not. lets look back at there history.. killing innocent Jewish people because only the Nazis dont like them...killing people because of the color of there skin...hmmm ya that sounds like a good idea to let the people who killed millions of innocent people put there name on a sign to say that they helped clean streets. not! they are pretty ignorant to think the people of Colorado are actually going to like this.

RANDY JAMES MARTINEZ
RANDY JAMES MARTINEZ

Mrs.McCormack,

The National Socialists title is a COVER-UP for NEO-NAZIS;thus the headline of this blog! I believe we are equal in the democratic society in which we live in;and you have a right not to like me based on my LAST NAME ;in which I am very proud of my race!

Futhermore; I have a right not to like you based on your last name, McCormack!But I am not going to judge your Scottish lineage because my best friend's name is McMillan and I am not PREJUDICE!

He's the most decent friend I have;and I will not go there because of your HATED of the Hispanic Race!

We are a "MELTING POT" here in America and if you don't like that you should go back to your home country of SCOTLAND or GERMANY!

The NEO-NAZIS philosophy is that they are the supreme race and all others are subordinate;It's factual and I don't have to prove IT to you or anyone that I am right because it is an AXIOM!

I suggest that YOU;Mrs.McCormack to do your research before you try and debate with me; because I will DEVOUR YOU and make you look as if you are an IDIOT!!! Adolf Hitler was a manic who influenced the gullible German race;don't be one of the fools who believes his Hysterical Philosophy! "American the new Babylon!" (research that Mrs.McCormack) "RJM" the Mystery

Kandee McCormack
Kandee McCormack

RJM....Hmmmmm Where do I start with you?

If you want "free speech" limited to only those with whom you agree, you DO NOT belong in the USA.

National Socialists do not think that the "White Race" is superior. They just believe in separation of the races. Try doing some research before spouting off on a public forum. You make yourself look like a complete ass.

Chance
Chance

Umm... whoever said this was good publicity? Just because their organization is being shown to clean up a highway, How many people do you honestly think would go "Oh, well, they've done this, so they must not be bad after all" when they're talking about Neo-Nazi's? You're either for, or against them really. I don't think anything can really change that

RANDY JAMES MARTINEZ
RANDY JAMES MARTINEZ

Gonzobot or should I say"GONZOBUTT"

At least I have the COURAGE to post my real name; unlike all you cowards who hide behind fatuous fronts who bolster their idealism to the fools who believe you!

The truth of the matter is that this National Socalist Moment is a ill-attempt to hide who they really are and that is a FASCIST NEO-NAZI group who's ideology is that the anglo-saxons are supreme which is not the case at all;they are the epitome of hate and that is what's dividing our country!

Hilter has long since died at his own maniacal hands and his ideology is dead too!!!The German people were misled at a time in history when forms of COMMUNISM were trying to over-take the world;but thanks to DEMOCRACY they all failed!!!

You my friend is the one who needs to go back to school because your ideology hasn't got a snowball's chance in to prevail in our democratic society!!!

"Hit the books young ADOLF!" RANDY JAMES MARTINEZ THE MAGNIFICANT

Gonzobot
Gonzobot

RJM, your hatred of other people's free speech rights is in itself an act of hate.

Typical dumbass fuckwit american scumbag.

GO BACK TO SCHOOL, IT IS NOT THAT HARD TO BE EDUCATED.

RANDY JAMES MARTINEZ
RANDY JAMES MARTINEZ

zenhound and Anchorage Actist,

Thanks for your imput!You are correct and I went off have cocked.

It just bothers me so much that FREE SPEECH applies to all;even when their message is HATE!!!

I'd like to see SAFER or CTI(Cannabis Therapy Institute)try to adopt a road and see the reaction they would get from the state of Colorado! Thanks for not grilling me! Sincerely "RJM"

Anchorage Activist
Anchorage Activist

Randy - the reason the precedent set in Missouri may affect you in Colorado is because the decision was rendered by the United States Supreme Court. National jurisdiction.

radioPete
radioPete

how on earth are those guys gonna clean-up or beautify anything, when part of the clean up would require placing their own paranoid hyper-sensitive asses in trash bags for hauling away?

jjm
jjm

Total First Amendment issue. If CDOT denied the application simply based on their opinion of the group's message, i.e. speech, the state would get hit with a lawsuit faster than you could say "David Lane wuz here."

zenhound
zenhound

Err.. Randy, hate to tell you this, but the ACLU would probably be on the Nazi's side here. They're pretty big on representing anyone whose civil rights are being violated, no matter how heinous that person may be. Check out NSPA v. Skokie where the ACLU represented Nazis who were denied the right to march. I'm sure they'd take the same tack here, since it could be interpreted as a freedom of speech issue.

RANDY JAMES MARTINEZ
RANDY JAMES MARTINEZ

Anonymous,

I will have to agree to that!Is CDOT serious? How can a Precedent set in Missouri affect our state's responsibility to it's citizens and that is TOLERANCE?

Now,let's say that for example;The Cannabis Therapy Institutewanted to clean-up a stretch of road between Denver and Boulder;would AG John Suthers be willing to let that happen?

I don't think so! That would be UNCONSCIONABLE wouldn't it Attorney General!

This sign is going to have a lot of scrutiny from Groups like the ACLU and others for what it represents and that is PREJUDICE!!!"RJM"

Vill Robinson
Vill Robinson

What's the early betting line on how quickly Peter Boyles will be promoting the cleanup and hosting a guest who praises it without acknowledging his own ties to white nativists who themselves draw support from National Socialists?

Anonymous
Anonymous

I'll be saving all my trash for a certain stretch of highway.

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