San Jacinto council approves new city seal


After some debate, the city of San Jacinto will soon be sporting a new city seal approved by the city council Tuesday, April 7.

The city council, with Mayor Andrew Kotyuk absent because of a family emergency, met by teleconference Tuesday in respect to the countywide “stay-at-home” order issued by the Riverside County health officer to help contain the global COVID-19 pandemic.

A 3-1 vote approved the creation of a new city seal that will be used on city letterhead, documents, employee and elected business cards, online webpages and the city’s social media platform, vehicles, clothing and other city paraphernalia. The seal is separate from the city logo.

Residents participated in a contest to design the city seal in 2019. Contest designers were prompted to think about what best represented the city’s past, present and future. The entries would become the sole property of the city.

In its Aug. 7, 2019, council meeting, declared the seal design which was submitted by Irasema (Edee) Gaviria was the winner of the contest. The other design submitted was by her husband Richard Graviria. Only the two designs were submitted.

The chosen seal design depicts the Estudillo Mansion, North Mountain with the “S” illuminated, an agriculture field and a representation of Native Americans to honor the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians.

City staff made sure the images were approved by the represented parties: the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, the Estudillo Mansion and the San Jacinto Unified School District. The new seal was slightly adjusted by staff graphic artists and presented for final approval to the council at Tuesday’s meeting.

Councilmember Alonso Ledesma said he liked the first approved seal design which featured a different image from what the tribe submitted and of North Mountain designed by city staff and gave the only “no” vote.

Mayor Pro Tem Crystal Ruiz praised the new design and the work that went into its final design.

“It will stand out when it is embossed,” Ruiz said.

Councilmember Russ Utz said he liked the new seal design and thought the Soboba Tribe’s portion of the seal, which was submitted by the tribe elders, was a good representation.

“We are tied to the hip with the Soboba Tribe,” he said.

Councilmember Joel Lopez paused for a little while before casting the final “yes” vote.

Kotyuk asked the council to continue the second discussion item on the night’s agenda until he is present. That item will review the city’s Irrevocable Trust Program to pay down CalPERS retirement obligations. The council, at his request, continued the discussion until the April 21 scheduled meeting.

The city clerk read the one emailed public comment to the council. The resident requested the council prohibit new small cell towers being installed in the city until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. The council does not have to respond to resident public comments that are not on the meeting agenda.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at