Newly elected Mayor Lightfoot is talking about raising taxes on Chicago's already overtaxed citizens. Officials in Emanuel's administration said the city's projected budget shortfall would be over $700 million. Lightfoot expects it to be higher.
No, I don't have a clue how to pay for all of it. But I do have an idea to help the city raise some much needed cash.
Sitting in front of the computer a couple of days ago, aimlessly surfing the internet, I spotted a photo of the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park on my Facebook newsfeed.
You know the fountain. It's the one on which images of 1,000 anonymous Chicago residents are projected onto two 50-foot towers, one face at a time. Water spurts out of their mouths.
Kids loooove to play in the shallow pool between the towers. There's probably no one who doesn't get a kick out of the fountain, especially yours truly.
Maybe it was the former advertising copywriter in me, but when I saw the picture of the fountain, the proverbial light bulb went off in my head.
Back in the day, Trish Billingsley, a newbie art director, and I, a newbie copywriter, would brainstorm for hours (some would call it call it goofing around, but that's another story) at Lee King & Partners, the ad agency where we worked.
We were a two-women Shark Tank team before there was a Shark Tank. We came up with a myriad of ideas, many of which seemed wacky at the time, some eventually making it to fruition.
Jam made without sugar. Baked potato chips. Spray butter. Plastic garbage bags with ties. And lots more that I can't remember. All of them our ideas although, unfortunately, we never got any bonus money or credit for them. Others invented these products much later.
But back to the fountain and my recent light bulb idea:
Charge people to have their faces projected onto Crown Fountain
Who wouldn't love to see themselves up there? I have no idea how the optics would work or if it's financially feasible or if the artist would allow it. But I think it's worth investigating.
An offshoot of this idea would be to put a kiosk near the fountain where tourists could buy computer-generated photos of themselves in which it would only look like their faces are on the fountain.
The kiosk could sell photos, postcards, greeting cards, you-name-it. How about an actual miniature fountain with your face on it!? Why not?
I suspect there will be a flood of naysayers who'll hate my proposal and say I'm suggesting destroying art. I don't think so if done right--thoughtfully, with no more than 10% of the faces on the fountain being ones which would be bought and paid for.
Besides, the fountain is meant to be fun, and what could be more fun than seeing your mug up there spitting water out it?
Politicians running for office: You could choose to have your kissers up there too, but you would have to pay more.The great thing is you would be paying the city for some of your ads instead of tossing all your marketing dinero to media giants. How cool would that be!?
So what do you think Mayor Lightfoot? Aldermen and alderwomen? All you taxpayers out there?
The bottom line is that Chicago is drowning in debt. Imagine, constant and much needed moolah flowing into the city. Let's take the plunge.
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