Seal of Los Angeles County, California
The current seal portrays an image of a Native American woman, representing the early inhabitants of the Los Angeles Basin, surrounded by six smaller iconic images, with three on each side. The words “County of Los Angeles, California” surround the seal.
On her right, there are the engineering instruments of a triangle and a caliper (representing the industrial construction complex of the county and its vital contribution to the exploration of space), a Spanish galleon (specifically Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo's ship the San Salvador, which sailed into San Pedro Harbor on October 8, 1542), and a tuna (representing the fishing industry).
On her left, the images of The Hollywood Bowl (representing the County's cultural activities) with two stars above it (to represent the motion picture and television industries), the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel (representing the historic role of the missions in the settlement of the Los Angeles region), and the championship cow Pearlette (representing the dairy industry).
The original 1887 county seal displayed grapes, surrounded by the words "Board of Supervisors — Los Angeles Co. Cal."
Former L.A. County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn designed a new seal, which was drawn by Millard Sheets, and adopted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on January 2, 1957, effective March 1, 1957. It included an image of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit trees, and the symbols of a cross and oil towers.
In 2004, the seal was altered. A short time later, on May 25, 2004, the ACLU claimed that the seal's cross was a violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. The Board's new seal had also voluntarily eliminated Pomona and the oil towers, without references by the ACLU.
In the current seal, the stars and an image of the Hollywood Bowl (originally in the middle right column, also where the cross was originally placed) replaced the oil towers. The cross was removed, and replaced with an image of the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel.
Some official L.A. county buildings still endorse the old seal either in protest or lack of effort in removing the seals.
On Tuesday, January 7, 2014, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to put a cross back on top of the mission, depicted on the County seal claiming it more correctly reflected the history of the San Gabriel Mission. The cross on the mission was removed during renovation. The ACLU of Southern California expressed opposition, claiming the action would violate both the California and United States Constitution. A federal lawsuit was filed against Los Angeles County on February 6, 2014.
- About Los Angeles County
- L.A. County supervisors vote to return cross to county seal, Pasadena Star-News, January 8, 2014
- Abby Sewell, L.A. County faces suit over adding religious cross to seal, Los Angeles Times, February 6, 2014
- Los Angeles County Seal — Old and New
- SaveTheSeal.net "The Official Website of the Petition Drive to Save the Los Angeles County Seal"