Saturday, April 17, 2010

Painting the Town Red

We are now at slightly more than 100 days into the new mayoral administration of Eduardo Olmos in Torreón, and the change in government has not been kind to the city. The police have basically disappeared (though only temporarily), private security expenditures have risen by an estimated 80 percent, and the city has witnessed the most unquestionable example of narco-terrorism in Mexico since the 2008 attacks in Morelia (though inexplicably, there has been basically no attention paid to the episode). The quarterly homicide numbers are similarly damning: 92 people were killed in Torreón, which gives the city an annualized murder rate of close to 70 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Amid all that, Olmos' most visible accomplishment has been to paint portions of city property bright red. Aesthetically, it's a questionable move, because the city doesn't own enough property for the paint jobs to give Torreón a coherent feel; it's more like random patches of bright red jumping out at you every five or ten minutes as you drive around, sticking out like a garish tattoo on an otherwise unremarkable body. But, considering the above litany of security woes, it's even more bizarre for anyone who has seen High Plains Drifter. Are we next going to rename the town "Infierno"?

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