What do a presidential candidate, a painted pig and a pink bunny have in common?
They all made the news in Salem this week.
You can read details about Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s visit to Salem on the front page of this week’s Salem Times-Register, and also the painted pig and pink bunny “The Great Haredini.”
Another thing they have in common is they’re all entertaining.
There’s nothing like observing a well-oiled political rally, from paid people handing out signs and prompting vocal responses at the right time, to watching Secret Service agents watching us.
If the potential for harm weren’t so evident these days, it would have been downright funny to see Virginia State Police K-9 agent Roxie sniffing media cameras and microphones for explosives or whatever else the Belgian Malinois is trained to detect.
Some of what I noticed was what wasn’t there. I was puzzled by Congressman Morgan Griffith’s apparent lack of consideration for Salem City officials in setting up the event. Although the Romney rally at Carter Machinery was almost in the shadow of Salem Stadium and needed Salem Police to help with security and getting the governor in and out of the city, Salem Mayor Randy Foley and the other four council members were not officially invited, they said, and so none went.
I know, it was a Romney and Republican Party event, and on private property. But you’d think it would have been nice to invite someone from the City of Salem to welcome a man who might be president one day.
Please don’t paint the pig’s parking lot
And now for the latest on the painted pig. Pig painting is an acceptable sport in Salem, both in front of Bastian’s Barbecue on Apperson and especially the West Main Street pig in front of Crossroads Hobbies & Crafts.
But painting the parking lot is not. Neither is painting the sidewalk. And that’s why the pig is in peril.
After that section of West Main Street was recently blacktopped, city officials couldn’t help but notice pig painting had gotten out of hand and onto the sidewalk at the corner of Bruffy and West Main.
Once on the sidewalk, the painting is considered graffiti, and there is Salem law about defacing city property.
Elite Towing owners Jeff Wimmer and John McLain, who bought and donated the pig for high school students and others to paint, offered to power wash the city sidewalk to remove the graffiti and as much as possible on the parking lot. They also plan to pay to have the parking lot blacktopped for Crossroads’ owner Ronnie Black.
Soon they’re putting a box around the pig with signs saying, “Please do not paint sidewalk. Thank you, the Pig.”
Pig painters, take note: To add enforcement power to the polite “please,” Black is installing a surveillance camera. So remember, “Please paint the pig, not the parking lot.”