Best Local News Issue

Painting of A Mountain

Send in the clowns! This political circus got its start, like so many memorable political debates, when some fun-lovin' FM radio morning show pranksters, cranked on patriotism by the launch of the Iraq attack, began planning their own assault on A Mountain with red, white and blue paint. Tucson City Council members Fred Ronstadt and Kathleen Dunbar hopped aboard the freedom train, leading the charge up the mountain. Next came Steve Leal and José Ibarra, who joined their colleagues to splash the colors of the U.S. of A. atop the mountain. The next day, another group of citizens started to repaint the A white, but were stopped by police, who had sat by and watched the council members and their posse do their thing the previous day.

With the A sporting a schizophrenic paint job, Mayor Bob Walkup, who had previously announced his conviction that the A remain white, called an emergency meeting of the City Council to courageously reverse himself. By the time the Sunday meeting came around, Ibarra and Leal had changed their minds and now opposed their own paint job. Partisan politics left the council split evenly, 3-3, with Democrats wanting the A to remain a strange blend of red, white and blue with an odd patch of white on one leg (to properly reflect the country's confusion about the war), while Republicans wanted it red, white and blue. Shirley Scott, who held the tie-breaking vote, skipped the meeting but suggested that the city erect a giant flag on the site.

So there was the A, a strange collage of colors, awaiting a return to white by city staff, until Dunbar pushed for another vote. This time, the council members united to agree to a red, white and blue paint job until the conclusion of the hostilities in Iraq, much to the relief of our fighting men and women.

One more thing: The flag's colors are supposed to be painted blue at the top, white in the middle and red at the bottom. Our patriotic crew painted it upside down--which actually represents the French flag. Which pretty much sums up the whole debacle.

Runners up:

2. TIE Mountain Avenue public art

2. TIE War with Iraq/protests

Sign of the impending Apocalypse: Diana Ross' DUI (four votes)