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  El Cerrito   Schools   Regional   History   Lifestyle   [Opinion]   Election  

OPINION: Art cows to the rescue

Because I Said So (Editor's column):

By Betty King Buginas

In a letter to the editor of the West County Times, Jean Siri says El Cerrito is on a slide, and pins blame for the decline on negativity by the City Council and an El Cerrito resident.

Although Siri has a long history in El Cerrito politics, I think artist Arlin Robins has done a better job of pinpointing El Cerrito’s most pressing need. More than the return to civility that Siri suggests, what El Cerrito most needs are art cows, or art some-animal-to-be-named-at-a-later-time.

In case this brings to mind horrid past animal-decorating practices such as painting the backs of baby turtles or dying bunnies pastel colors for Easter, fear not. These are not actual-reality, living cows, only artists’ renditions.

In passing up Robins’ suggestion, I think the City Council is missing an opportunity for some cheap thrills. I hope when it does its promised mid-year review of the city budget the art cow idea gets another look-see.

I know I personally find merely saying the phrase “art cows” gives me a lift. (Not to deviate too much from the point, but “spork” is another uplifting utterance. I know when a co-worker once mentioned the challenge of trying to eat steak with one of these plastic fork-spoons it raised my spirits substantially. What can I say? I’m easily amused.)

When Arlin mentioned the art cow concept at a June 13 council meeting, I feared it would be my sole opportunity to take a serious journalistic look at this important subject. Imagine my delight when two weeks later the phrase once again crossed my desktop in the form of a press release about a show in San Francisco. And with this column, I’ve connived a third opportunity to report on the field of art cows.

Clearly, I’m milking this for all it is worth.

Granted, the council has more pressing concerns like whether the roofs on public buildings will collapse or whether there would be any water in the hoses should there be a large-scale fire. Still, art cows are the sort of thing you just have to make time and money for.

At the very least, art cows should be woven into the public dialog. There are some issues that just seem to capture the imagination of the politically active in El Cerrito and keep resurfacing in discussions. Issues that fall in this realm include the great debate over Peet’s vs. Starbucks at the Plaza. The current talk of the town is whether El Cerrito needs a Krispy Kreme donut shop. (The conversation, for those of you who have missed it, goes something like this: “They’re bad for you.” “Yeah, but they taste good.”)

The lesson to be learned from all this: Never govern when you’re hungry. Who knows? If the El Cerrito council gets a hold of this art cow idea at the end of one of those long meetings when the members haven’t had a chance to eat in several hours, we’ll probably end up with art hamburgers.

Run dates: 2000-06-29 - 2000-07-16

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