Posted on September 9, 2004

New Seal, Sans Cross, Offers Other Changes

Sue Fox, L. A. Times, September 9, 2004

The miniature gold cross that once adorned the Los Angeles County seal has been erased.

So have the oil derricks and the bountiful goddess Pomona, all scrubbed off by county leaders who voted to redesign the emblem after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue over the use of a cross in a government seal.

The new design, unveiled Wednesday and scheduled to be considered by the Board of Supervisors next week, remains a potpourri of symbols of the county’s history, landscape and industries. A Spanish galleon, a couple of engineering tools, a tuna and a dairy cow named Pearlette all made the cut, but — look closely, now — the new seal’s right side depicts a cross-free San Gabriel Mission.

And in the seal’s center, Pomona, goddess of fruit trees, has been deposed in favor of a barefoot Native American woman carrying a bowl, meant to represent the area’s early inhabitants.

. . .

At the ACLU, attorney Ben Wizner praised the new images as more inclusive and even “pretty.”

“As far as we were concerned, they could have satisfied their legal obligation by simply removing the cross,” he said. “But they went a step further and tried to devise a symbol that would really reflect the diversity of the county.”