Mr. Malcolm DoughertyDirector of Caltrans
1120 N Street
Re: “A Tribute to the Protectors of Freedom” a California Department of Transportation Art Program project by the American Legion Post 534,
Dear Mr. Dougherty:
Our community’s Veterans’ recognition project was denied on March 7, 2011, because the California Department of Transportation determined that the American flag is political speech. And now the California Department of Transportation is ordering me to remove “
E Pluribus Unum is the same motto that is on the Seal of the President and Vice-President of the United States of America, the Seal of the United States Congress, the Seal of the United States Senate and the Seal of the United States Supreme Court and the Great Seal of the United States of America (carried by the American Bald Eagle). These Seals and emblems are works of art that are the property of the
E Pluribus Unum was the motto suggested by the committee appointed on July 4, 1776 by the United States Congress. This motto is a very important part of our
In July of 2011, I came to you looking for answers (see attached letter dated July 25, 2011). The impasse that I reached was that the California Department of Transportation had determined that the American flag was political speech (see attached letter from you dated August 31, 2011) and our civic group was denied a California Department of Transportation Gateway Monument encroachment permit.
In my letter I stated “Under the Caltrans Transportation Art Program the Caltrans approved “
You responded “we encourage you to submit an application with specifics in order to determine if the “granite pillar” monument you describe could be accepted as a Caltrans art project and therefore a mutually acceptable approach”.
On September 16, 2011, I resubmitted the project as transportation art. The only thing that I changed was I removed the American flag from the center of the project because I knew that the project would be denied.
On September 16, 2011, I received the following message from the Caltrans District 5,
“Thank you for your Transportation Art Project proposal for the Orcutt Area. I have looked over the preliminary draft submittals you sent and it appears that the proposal will fit the parameters of the Transportation Art Program. It is my understanding that at a certain point in time a flagpole was under consideration as part of the project but it appears from your submittal that it has been deleted from the concept. Is that correct? Please confirm this in an email response for my files. If so, I am very glad to begin working to help you achieve your artistic vision.”
And later that same day from the Caltrans District 5, “I need you to provide me with copies of the exact artwork to be used for each emblem and written approvals from the various branches of the Dept of Defense that gives permission to use the service emblems in the artwork.”
The permission was granted from each branch of the United States Military, and submitted to Caltrans on April 3, 2012. The letters of permission included a graphic of the respective emblem and each branch of the United States Military authorized use with strict instructions.
Example - “The Army Symbol or any part of its elements cannot be altered in any manner.” “Army trademarks are exclusive property of the
On January 3, 2013 I received the following message from the Caltrans District 5, “I fully and completely apologize if it seems that I haven't been keeping up with you on this project. I thought I was waiting to hear back from you with the grading plan so we could complete your application.”
On January 14, 2013 I received the following message from the Caltrans District 5,
“I understand that you are anxious to get going on this and that you want to use the Seals as a fund raising incentive but I think you are getting too far ahead of the process too quickly. The issue of “text” both on the seals and on any sponsorship plaques should be resolved first. I don’t recommend you spend any money until we know exactly what will be approved. The initial response to my inquiry with headquarters was that no text would be allowed on any part of the artwork which would include on the seals as this is the policy-you already asked the plaque company to remove the text – thank you” No, I did not. She is referring to the email below from me to the foundry that she was copied on concerning the use of “Department of” – I just want to be sure they understand it means all text). I am still looking into the sponsorship names idea (pavers or plaques) to see how much latitude there is on that since it seems like you are anticipating a lot of names. Until we know for sure on this I would hold off ordering the seals.
Instead I would suggest that you print a copy of the photograph of the various seals and mount them on foam core or a display board for use in your talk with potential donors. To help you with this I did a quick Photoshop rendering of the seals without text and also with a few different backgrounds for you so you could see the differences with black granite or plain concrete or maybe a warmer SB sandstone color (this seems to compliment the bronze of the seals and helps them stand out). (See attached file: Modeled Military Seals - No Text - various backgrounds.jpg)
On January 9, 2013, I sent the following email to the Foundry casting the bronze emblems that Caltrans was copied on.
Dave, Please give me an updated price quote for the United States Marines, United States Army, United States Coast Guard, United States Navy and the United States Air Force 18" Bronze Modeled Seals. Please include shipping charges to
I understand that the Modeled Seals for the
The California Department of Transportation required me to get permission from each branch of the
I understand that you will have to make new molds to cast the seals for the Air Force and the Navy to meet these requirements and that there is an additional cost for this.
I would like to keep Ms.
Please also let me know how long it will take to process this order and if the Army, Marines and Coast Guard seals can be shipped out sooner. We would like to use these seals in our upcoming fundraising events.
Thanks - Steve LeBard
On January 16, 2013 I received the following message from the Caltrans District 5,
“Good news, I have clarification from the HQ Art Coordinator and HQ Permits office on the text issue. They will allow the military seals with just the minimum name of each branch to be included (Navy, Air Force, Marines, Army, Coast Guard).” “They will not allow multiple names on sponsor plaques, but they will allow donor names on pavers on the ground! so long as absolutely no commercial business names, no commercial logos, etc. are included - only the names of people (and a date would be ok - for instance "In memory of John Brown 1964").”
On January 17, 2013, I sent the following message to the Caltrans District 5,
“O.K. just to be clear...In the first go around with Caltrans HQ (I'm assuming HQ = Caltrans Headquarters in Sacramento) all text was removed from the emblems of all five branches of the U.S. Military (including their mottos). But now Caltrans HQ will allow me to insert ARMY, NAVY, MARINES, AIR FORCE and COAST GUARD back into their respective emblems. Is this correct and is this the final word from HQ's? I noticed that this time you did not photoshop out (per your attached JPG's) the mottos from the various branches of the Military. Are they now allowed to stay?”
On January 28, 2013, I received the following message from the Caltrans District 5
I'm doing a bit of catch-up with your emails...Yes, in my initial discussion with HQ they required all text be removed. I went back to them with the photoshop sketch and pointed out that without any 'labels' you can't tell which seal is which, so we reached a compromise - that technically the columns will be the art piece and that I could allow the seals to be considered a part of your sponsoring 'plaque' so long as the 'labels' were minimal (the branch name only), and that text could not be seen directly from the street (seals facing into the circle). You can still have a small rock with a plaque that has the title of the art piece too.” “No mottos, just branch names”.
On January 28, 2013, I copied Caltrans District 5 on a message that I sent to the County of Santa Barbara. I included a photograph, of a full scale model of one of the columns, that I wanted to bring to the February 19, 2013 Board of Supervisors meeting.
On January 28, 2013 I received the following message from the Caltrans District 5 “This full scale model is a great idea. Be sure to black out the "United States" and motto part of the seal before displaying it at the hearing.”
The American Legion, the Vietnam Veterans of America, the United States Marine Corps League and the Veterans of Foreign Wars have all submitted letters of support for this project, representing over 1,000 local Veterans (see attached letters). And they all agree, NO “UNITED STATES”, NO “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, NO DEAL.
Issue number two is with us wanting to use plaques for donor recognition and the Caltrans insisting on us using pavers on the ground because they would be less visible.
On January 8, 2013 I received the following message from the Caltrans District 5,
“I will call her back again tomorrow and ask about names on the columns instead, but I would guess that is even less likely as an option then the pavers (i.e. names on pavers would not be readily visible). I assured her that no commercial names, ads, logos, etc of any kind would be considered only soldiers names and maybe dates. I will let you know what she says.”
Caltrans policy allows for the names of sponsors to be on plaques attached to the columns i.e.; art work. Why will the Caltrans not allow the Veterans names to be on the plaques if they are the ones sponsoring the art work? Why do their names have to be on the ground and “not be readily visible”? These pavers will end up with bird feces, dirt and grime on them.
Part of this process requires the County of Santa Barbara, Board of Supervisors to adopt a resolution. This Veterans recognition project is on the agenda for the County of Santa Barbara, Board of Supervisor’s meeting on February 19, 2013. I have submitted a letter (see attached) asking for the Supervisors support as well as the letters from the five Veterans groups. My letter makes a case for the California Department of Transportation to accept our Veterans recognition project as designed without violating any department policies.
Again, the California Department of Transportation Art Program policy allows that the name, identifying logo, or symbol of the artist, local agency, and/or financial sponsor may be placed on or adjacent to the transportation art and is not considered to be “text.”
I hope that we can come to agreement that the United States Military emblems are the property of the United States of America, that the emblems or any part of their elements cannot be altered in any manner, and that in using the emblems and plaques in this project “United States” “E Pluribus Unum” and Veterans names on plaques is not considered “text”.
California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., California State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, United States Congresswoman Lois Capps, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, California State Senator Michael J. Rubio, California State Senator Mimi Walters, County of Santa Barbara 4th District Supervisor Peter Adam, County of Santa Barbara 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, County of Santa Barbara Public Works Director Scott McGolpin, National Marine Corps League Commandant Vic Voltaggio, American Legion National Commander Jimmie L. Foster, VFW National Commander Richard Eubank, America Legion Commander Post 534 Jim Keleman, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 982 President Reed Brewer, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 218 President Peter Bie, Santa Maria VFW Post 2521 Commander Thomas DeBiase, Marine Corps League Chapter 1340 Commandant Dan Cadena