Costa Mesa Councilwoman Wendy Leece finally got what she wanted Friday morning when workers installed the “In God We Trust” slogan in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
The sign’s installation was stalled two weeks in a row — once because the sign-maker drilled an extra hole into it, and another time because the letters forming the slogan weren’t up to standard. The sign is now affixed to a chamber wall beneath the city’s seal.
“We could’ve done it earlier, but we wanted to make it just right, so they went back and reposted the lettering to ensure that it would look perfect, and now it’s perfect,” said Tom Hatch, the assistant city manager.
Leece pushed a council resolution to have the sign installed in the chamber, stirring a lot of public emotions both for and against it. On Nov. 17, the council voted unanimously to adopt it.
“Our national motto looks great in our Council Chambers,” Leece said Friday.
The resolution’s opponents had said that posting the display, which references God, could blur the American governing principle that the church and state should be separate and distinct institutions. Leece had argued that posting the slogan was not really about religion but about being patriotic. “In God We Trust,” the national motto, appears on coins and dollar bills.
The movement in favor of installing the motto in council chambers began nine years ago when Bakersfield City Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan encouraged other cities to adopt the motto through her nonprofit organization, In God We Trust-America Inc. Since then, 61 other cities, including Costa Mesa, have followed suit.
Costa Mesa is now the 15th city in Orange County to have installed the motto in its Council Chambers.
The other 14 cities are: Brea, Buena Park, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Seal Beach, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster and Yorba Linda.
It cost about $1,000 in donated money to install the motto at City Hall.