The motion to put a cross on the Los Angeles County seal and project permits for Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch were approved by the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The motion by Supervisors Michael Antonovich and Don Knabe to put a cross back on the seal was met with mixed reactions but was ultimately passed with a 3-2 vote. Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky voted against the motion.
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County Seal Revision to Include Cross
Before 2004, the county seal depicted the Roman goddess Pomona, the Spanish galleon San Salvador, a tuna, a cow, the Hollywood Bowl, two stars representing the County’s motion picture and television industries and a cross.
The post-2004 seal replaced Pomona with a Native American woman and added a depiction of the San Gabriel Mission, but without a cross on the roof.
The redesign of the seal would include a cross on the roof of the mission. The cross was removed from the actual mission for renovation in 1989 and restored in 2009.
Antonovich and Knabe’s motion states that the goal of the change is to make the seal historically accurate and acknowledge the importance of the San Gabriel mission in the formation of Los Angeles County.
“In order to commemorate the significant role of the San Gabriel Mission in the historical and cultural development of Los Angeles County, its image is on the County seal…” the motion reads. “The current rendering of the Mission on the seal is artistically and architecturally inaccurate.”
Of the several commenters who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, some were in favor.
Steve Lanb of Altadena didn’t see the motion as a promotion of religion
“If we were going to remove all reference to religion from the county government, we’d have to change the name of the county,” he said.
He also noted that the depiction of the cross on the pre-2004 seal represented the sunrise service at the Hollywood Bowl and was also not a promotion of religion.
Antonovich, in his comments, emphasized that his motion was mainly concerned with accuracy.
Adding the cross “supports a historical fact,” he said.
“What we have is correcting a situation where the mission has the cross, because it is historical,” he said. “We are not adding. We are just correcting…”
Antonovich also noted that the history of California mission is something taught in fourth-grade classroom across the state.
Yaroslavsky, who voted against the motion, took issue with the fact that putting a cross back on the seal could expose the county to litigation.
He also said that using a religious symbol on a government seal is unconstitutional.
“The cross that was on that seal (pre-2004) was clearly stated by the county to represent religion,” he said. “…Issue of accuracy is an interesting one, but it is not a constitutional one… There are a hundred ways we could depict that history, but the one’s that been chosen is a cross.”
Another commenter who did not give his name, spoke in support of the American Civil Liberties Union and said that he believed the cross to be a “secretarian religious symbol.”
“Religious pluralism has flourished, because the government doesn’t support one religion,” he said.
A new draft of the county seal has not yet been released.
Disney Golden Oak Ranch Permit Approval
The board voted to approve project, oak tree removal and parking permits for the expansion, in addition to amending the 1990 Santa Clarita Valley Area Plan. The zoning of 44 acres on Golden Oak Ranch Property was changed from Hillside Management and Floodplain to Commercial.
The board certified the environmental impact report last August for The Walt Disney Co.’s planned development of either eight or 12 new sound stages east of the 14 Freeway at Placerita Canyon Road.
Disney is still deciding between two construction plans, one that includes eight sound stages, 510,000 square feet of indoor studio facilities and an office building, or one that includes 12 sound stages and 555,950 square feet of indoor studio facilities.
The construction will occur on 44 acres (plus another 14 for parking) of the 890-acre Golden Oak Ranch, which Disney has been operating since the late 1950s.
For more information, or to read the full board agenda and supporting documents, click here.
Leon Worden of SCV News contributed to this report.
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Source: Santa Clarita News