Paint it red

For the past few months, Sacramento’s only daily newspaper has proposed painting the water tower west of Interstate 5 near Pocket Road bright red, transforming the bulbous old eyesore into “The Big Tomato.” We find the proposal intriguing, but, like most of the ideas floated from Q and 21st streets, it just doesn’t go far enough. As they say in 12-step meetings, “half-measures availed us nothing.” With that in mind, we unveil a bold new vision guaranteed to transform the local landscape.

Let’s paint the whole damned town red.

Breathtaking, we admit, but there are any number of reasons why red works for Sacramento. It’s no secret, for instance, that as a city and county as well as the state’s capital, Sacramento is awash in red ink. We can thank two decades of Reaganomics for that. It’s well-known that Reagan was a Republican, and red is the color of the Republican Party. As the recent pro-war rallies at the Capitol have demonstrated, there may be a silent majority that supports such Republican policies. Many of the supporters are even rednecks.

We’re OK with all of this. In fact, painting the town red fits perfectly into both our scheme and the Republicans’ scheme. Rather than fight the coming fiscal crises with higher, more complex taxes and user fees, we propose a single flat tax on red paint and a corresponding alteration of state and local building codes to allow only this color. Private citizens and business owners will be required to paint their own homes and offices; a public-works program will be created to paint all government buildings red. Steve Forbes via Sherwin-Williams, so to speak.

Of course, there will be objections to this grand plan. Some will point out that painting the town red is hardly an original idea—Clint Eastwood did it years ago in High Plains Drifter. Still others will associate the hue with the dreaded evils of communism and socialism. These charges are specious at best. There’s nothing wrong with borrowing a good idea, and Clint, after all, is a staunch Republican. And when’s the last time you heard anyone aside from Pat Buchanan refer to the People’s Republic as Red China?

There’s a final reason why painting the town red makes good sense. For the foreseeable future, the federal government will be focusing on paying for the war and occupation of Iraq, the cost of which may be as high as $500 billion according to The New York Times. That means the economic situation at the state and local level is bound to remain neglected. And that means more taxes and fees. Sooner or later, folks are bound to start seeing red.

If we paint the town red now, they’ll already be used to it.