A city’s official seal...some are intricate, some simple...many go unnoticed.
If you’ve driven on Old Redwood Highway through Downtown Cotati there’s a good chance you’ve seen the city’s seal adorning the billboard out front of the Rancho Adobe Fire station.
The current seal - depicting a Native American man dubbed “Chief Kotat’i” - is due to be replaced.
Cotati’s city council recently weighed up a number of alternatives. Some themes are favored by the public, others City Manager Damien O’Bid said, favored by staff.
"The public largely supported a nature-based theme of some type," O'Bid said. "Or a music theme and a landmarks theme just generally."
"The prevailing sentiment was that the oak trees are an important element, but that the tree, it's already highly used by several of the communities in this area," O'Bid said. "From a staff perspective, the one with the native imagery that's already in the public space [is] the prevailing staff favorite."
The Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria have expressed their desire to see the “Chief Kotat’i” iconography retired.
A representation which Bay Area academic and scholar of Cotati history Marie McNaughton said is dubious at best.
"[I] really applaud anything that steers away from Chief Kotat’i, who was not a historical person, but probably a cartoon kind of image created in the mid 20th century by non-indigenous people," McNaughton said. "I also like that the seal will be a hexagon reflecting the city's very unusual city center."
Local native basket weave patterns and nature scenery are both favored for inclusion in the final seal design. Vice Mayor Laura Sparks said she hopes to see a little surprise imagery - an Easter egg of sorts - in the final seal.
"I would like to see a rooster weather vein Easter egg added to the top of the bandstand," Sparks said.
With the latest council input, Cotati’s new city seal is set to return for a final approval sometime in the near future.