The San Diego city seal
San Diego City Seal. Photo by Chris Stone

City Councilman Joe LaCava on Wednesday proposed changing San Diego’s official seal to remove traces of Spanish history and incorporate modern cultural elements.

LaCava called for removing the image of the carvel San Salvador that Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay in 1542 and the bell the tower representing California’s Spanish missions.

He criticized the seal for “paying homage to Spanish conquistadors” instead of native Americans.

“The city of San Diego should be an example,” said LaCava, who represents La Jolla and surrounding areas in District 1. “The current city seal erases the history of the indigenous peoples who occupied this land long before us, and glorifies those who stole it.”

He also criticized the seal for including representations of “manufacturing and agriculture, the industries of our past” instead of “a forward-looking economy, our diversity, as well as our
unique connection to the border.”

The seal was adopted in 1914 based on a submission by architect Carleton Monroe Winslow, who went on to design multiple buildings for the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park and the Bishop’s School in La Jolla.

A modern replica of Cabrillo’s San Salvador built by volunteers is maintained by the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.