Story from a neighboring city

This articles is from the Daily Breeze. The emphasis (both in comments) and of the original text is mine.

Poppies are gold for Lawndale logo
COUNCIL: Bird-of-paradise flowers in one scene will give way in revised version.
By Sandy Mazza, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/03/2009 11:08:38 PM PST

A poppy will replace the bird of paradise flowers that have long been a fixture in a quarter of Lawndale's logo, city officials have decided.

Like the four chambers of the heart, Lawndale's city logo is divided into four pictorial scenes with a banner across the middle that reads, "Heart of the South Bay."

A sun in a blue sky, a night scene of a bushy Monterey pine tree, and a rolling ocean all illustrate the city's coastal geography and climate.

But the City Council isn't so pleased with the fourth picture - three golden bird-of-paradise flowers.

Led by Councilman Jim Osborne, a city historian who works as Gardena's parks superintendent, the City Council voted 3-2 Monday to change the flower in the logo to California poppies. (Good choice! Jim's a newer councilman in Lawndale.)

"I think most people who looked at this seal probably didn't even know it was a bird of paradise," Osborne said.
"A lot of people have no idea what it is. And I have nothing against the plant, per se. I've got one in my own yard."

Unlike the poppy, the South African bird of paradise is not native to the area, Osborne said. Poppies used to grow wild in Lawndale's fields and farmlands before it was crowded with houses, streets and businesses, he said. (In fact, Jim has some poppies in his yard which have self sowed since his grandmother's time. Interestingly, they are not the paler maritime variety, but the solid gold inland variety. )

Osborne said he hopes the new logo featuring the poppy will be rolled out in time for the city's 50th anniversary in December.

"It's just something for the future and to mark the date of the anniversary," he said.

Osborne acknowledged that the state already claims the poppy as its official flower, but he also noted that the bird of paradise is the official flower of the city of Los Angeles. Better to share a flower with the state than a nearby city, he said.

Councilman James Ramsey, no fan of the poppy, said he didn't want to tinker with the city logo adopted in 1969.

"The poppy is nothing more than a ground covering that basically doesn't bloom the entire year. The bird of paradise does," said Ramsey, who was first elected to the council in 1974.

"And I personally don't want to go with what the state of California does. (The poppy is) their flower, let them keep it. As far as Los Angeles, if they don't like what we're doing, than they can change theirs and we'll keep ours."

Mayor Harold Hofmann voted with Ramsey against changing the flower on the city's logo.

"I'm not an expert on flowers. I couldn't get a flower to grow if I had to," Hofmann said. "When you get old like me, you don't make changes." (Hoffman has been mayor for eons.)

Joe Madrid, a former (retired?) Lawndale public works employee, spoke Monday in favor of keeping the bird of paradise.

"I still say the bird of paradise is the prettiest plant around," Madrid said. "We put the flower all up and down Hawthorne Boulevard."

If something on the logo should go, he said, it's the Monterey pine. The trees were planted along the boulevard decades ago, but removed when the city covered the median with AstroTurf in the 1970s, he said. (So take that, poppy lovers! And by the way, if you act up again we'll put in more green-painted asphalt on the medians!)

City staff members ignited the debate when they asked the council to decide on one logo because several versions were in use. They wanted one picked to place on a gate at Charles B. Hopper Park, which is taking shape just west of Hawthorne Boulevard between 162nd and 163rd streets.

The change won't cost Lawndale any money because existing logos will not be replaced, officials said. When new city letterhead, vehicles and T-shirts are ordered, they'll contain the new design.

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