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Council bypasses public vote on logo

Posted: May 12, 2009 9:58 p.m.
Updated: May 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The Santa Clarita City Council bypassed a public vote Tuesday night and decided on its own to include “In God We Trust” on the council chambers and government buildings where the city council sees fit.

“I strongly believe we are a representative government,” Mayor Frank Ferry said. “We are elected to represent the people.”

The vote came after the City Council listened to a parade of supporters stream to the podium in the City Council chambers Tuesday night to stump for “In God We Trust” on the city logo.

The idea was proposed by City Councilman Bob Kellar at an April 14 City Council meeting. Kellar wanted to add a ballot measure for the April 10, 2010, municipal election asking voters whether to include “In God We Trust” in the city logo.

The colorful Santa Clarita logo is different from the city seal. The latter is a stamp for official documents that simply bears the name of the city and county and the date of incorporation.

According to Kellar including “In God We Trust” in the city logo is a way for the city and the country to get back to their faith-based backgrounds.

“We are in a difficult time,” Kellar said. “We need to get back to some basics that make this country great.”

Kellar’s comments were echoed by several audience members during the City Council meeting.

“‘In God We Trust’ is our national motto. Thousands of cities and a few states have taken this as a motto,” Joe Messina said.

Herbert Spencer said the motto is way for the community to connect to its roots. He went as far as citing his own roots back to the birth of the United States.

“My family came here with the pilgrims and they came here because of their trust in God,” he said.

Paul Butler moved to Santa Clarita from England temporarily in 2001 and said the community’s faith-centered culture brought him back permanently in 2003. He told the City Council about the contrast between faith-focused communities in the U.S. and the lack of faith he witnessed in Europe.

“I’ve seen countries in Europe fall by the wayside because they moved away from God,” he said.

After the comment concluded, Councilwoman Laurene Weste cut short Kellar’s attempt to put the “In God We Trust” logo change before the voters. She made a motion to put “In God We Trust” on the City Council chambers and other city property where it might seem appropriate. The motion passed unanimously.

Ferry said taking the potentially controversial topic off the ballot and saddling the City Council with the decision was the most responsible move by council.

“What I don’t want through a city election is for this to become a religious issue; where it’s atheist verse Christian, Atheist verse Catholic or Christian verse Jew,” he said.

Kellar, who voted for the motion to put “In God We Trust” on the City Council Chamber walls, had mixed emotions after the vote.

“I really considered this an issue that’s best decided by the citizens,” he said. “Not to be misinterpreted. I am thrilled with the outcome. Something as meaningful as adding ‘In God We Trust’ should be decided by the voters.”



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