Sue Fox, Los Angeles Times, September 15, 2004
After four months of often strident debate, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors stripped a tiny cross from the county seal Tuesday to avoid a lawsuit.
By a 3-2 vote, the supervisors adopted a new seal that, from a distance, looks a lot like the old one. It still features a hodgepodge of images, such as a Spanish galleon and a prize-winning dairy cow, meant to reflect local history. But the cross is gone. A drawing of the San Gabriel Mission was added to the seal.
And the supervisors made other changes.
The seal’s central figure, the goddess Pomona, was toppled in favor of a Native American woman holding a bowl of acorns. The oil derricks of Signal Hill were erased to make room for the mission, which some criticized for its lack of a cross.
In June, more than 700 people packed a board meeting to decry the removal of the cross, and thousands more wrote or called supervisors to complain.
But the board refused to budge, and over time the ranks of pro-cross demonstrators began to thin. Some have turned their attention to gathering voter signatures to propel the issue to the ballot.