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Councilmember calls for redesign of longstanding City of San Diego seal

city of san diego seal city hall.jpg
Posted at 4:03 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 10:02:29-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A San Diego City Councilmember is calling for a redesign of the longstanding, official seal for the City of San Diego.

You may never have stopped to study it, but you've definitely walked past it on your way into City Hall: the official seal of San Diego, adopted more than a century ago.

The imagery is largely Spanish-inspired: a ship, a belfry and the Pillars of Hercules, seen in the Spanish coat of arms.

Newly elected councilmember Joe LaCava is calling for a redesign of the seal, which he says glorifies the Spanish conquistadors.

“The City of San Diego should be an example,” said LaCava. “The current City seal erases the history of the Indigenous Peoples who occupied this land long before us, and glorifies those who stole it. Words matter, symbols matter, actions matter. It’s time we take action to right this wrong.”

His proposal comes amid a national debate on cultural icons and controversial figures, including Father Junipero Serra, canonized as a saint. He founded Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769. Critics say he was part of the conquest that enslaved natives.

Across the state, statues of him have been toppled. Locally, a school bearing his name has been renamed. Former San Diego County Republican Chair Tony Krvaric calls the proposal to change the seal another example of cancel culture.

"This is another example of political correctness gone wild," said Krvaric.

Krvaric contends the call for a new seal in an attempt to wipe out history.

"We have a proud history in California. We learn from our history. We don’t erase history. I would urge Mr. LaCava to focus on the real concerns of his constituents," said Krvaric.

"This isn’t about erasing our history. It's about recognizing that it's about who we are today and where we want to go in the future," said LaCava.

LaCava says he hopes to build community support before approaching the mayor's office and the council in the next few months. He says ultimately, the council would have to approve a change by a majority vote.