Commentary: The Big Tomato


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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, December 2, 2005

Red, as in tomato red. Sacramento is The Big Tomato. It is the perfect nickname. It is a little campy. It reflects that we're a growing community. And it embraces both our agricultural heritage and our current love of gardening and cuisine.

There is one problem with The Big Tomato. The leadership elite does not perceive this or any other nickname, where it is River City or City of Trees, to captivate and encapsulate our emerging essence. So a group called Valley Vision has enlisted a whole bunch of accomplices, from UC Davis to the chamber of commerce to SMUD, to help brainstorm and - find a new nickname. A big meeting of marketing whizzes was held just the other day. The idea is that by February, about the time when the winter fog finally clears, a new nickname will be found. Look for all these organizations to start using it.

Any ideas? Valley Vision is soliciting comments on its web site, www.valleyvision.org. Now I'm trying to keep an open mind here, but I hope they think red. Where else do freeways get splattered with red tomatoes during the harvest. Come on - Big Tomato! Big Tomato! Big Tomato! Go ahead, chuckle. But just remember: The communities that get laughed at are the ones that can't laugh at themselves.

Tom Philp writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.