Rantz: Was it necessary for the City of Tacoma to massacre adorable creatures to fill pot holes?

Jun 4, 2024, 5:55 PM | Updated: 6:16 pm

Photo: The City of Tacoma is filling potholes this week. But the projects have a dark side: they're...

The City of Tacoma is filling potholes this week. But the projects have a dark side: they're killing adorable creatures. (Photo courtesy of SDOT)

(Photo courtesy of SDOT)

The City of Tacoma is murdering innocent creatures while filling potholes this week and they want you to thank them for it. Where’s PETA when you need them!?

Like many cities in the Pacific Northwest, Tacoma has a pothole problem. City workers patched 12,099 potholes, while permanently fixing 2,889 potholes in 2023, according to the City of Tacoma per the Tacoma News Tribune. Water seeps through concrete, freezes and breaks up our streets. Unfortunately, whether it’s Tacoma, Seattle or anywhere else in Washington, cities rarely tackle the potholes with the gusto necessary to save drivers from damaging suspensions or losing hubcaps. They rarely seem to have the budget or staff.

But the City of Tacoma has a plan with a city works event. Tragically, it comes at the expense of an adorable creature named Phil the Pothole (he/him/it) and all his friends and family.

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What is Pothole Palooza and why is it necessary to murder a family of innocent creatures to do it?

As part of the oddly titled Pothole Palooza, which makes it sound like they’re celebrating the potholes that destroy your cars, the city will tackle larger projects each day this week.

Potholes at specific intersections (in areas that likely offer political support for the people in charge) will be filled, weather pending. If the rain continues like it did Tuesday and projects must be postponed, the city says it will tackle the pothole by the end of 2024. That’s called government efficiency.

Featured in the campaign promoting the Pothole Palooza is an adorable, purple, three-eyed creature.

Phil the Pothole suffers from Resting Discomfort Face (RDF) because of its rounded teeth being too big for his mouth, making him seem like a monster when he’s just merely misunderstood. But he just wants to live amongst the rest of us. He’s probably looking for an optometrist who can handle a patient with three eyes.

And what are the ghouls doing in Tacoma? Burying Phil and his friends and family alive!

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Phil the Pothole has had a rough life

Image: Phil the Pothole.

Phil the Pothole. (Image courtesy of City of Tacoma)

Phil the Pothole hasn’t had an easy life. The creature and his friends and family have been looking to settle down after bad experiences in the Pacific Northwest.

The creatures weren’t weird enough for Portland, so the Phil the Pothole crew made their way into Washington state. After briefly living in Kelso, they left to find a larger city more accepting of their kind. They quickly learned Sequim and Aberdeen weren’t a good fit. You wouldn’t believe the stares they got.

Priced out of Seattle, ultimately they settled in Tacoma, first in the Hilltop neighborhood but got displaced thanks to gentrification. The journey was rough. Phil the Pothole lost a sibling, Patch the Pothole to COVID (he had a pre-existing condition) and his mother <Insert Car Themed Word to Make Name Sound Clever> the Pothole to cholera.

Now, the Pothole crew is spread out throughout the city using potholes to come street side and enjoy what Tacoma has to offer. But it’s now experiencing the Tacoma Ugly.

You’d think a city that supposedly embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion would celebrate the differentness of Phil the Pothole and his family. But the city seeks to trap him and his friends underground, where they will ultimately starve to death. Phil and crew were merely looking for a place to belong.

Is murdering Phil the Pothole worth it, Tacoma?

There’s actually an idea where everybody wins!

The city could just … fix the potholes? Not one week a year, but every week of the year, tackling pothole by pothole without making a campaign out of it. Taxpayers have relatively simple needs: we just want things to work. Our streets are broken and they need to be fixed.

The point of turning it into some event like this is to earn some points from the community: “Look at us! We’re filling potholes (and murdering rare three-eyes creatures)! Give us an award!”

But you don’t get extra points for filling potholes. It’s a basic function of your job!

But what about Phil the Pothole?

The thing is, I didn’t particularly care about Phil the Pothole or his family — Patch, Paive and the patriarch of the family, Park — because I didn’t know any of them existed. I’d have preferred the city keep me ignorant.

But the adorable monster can’t be unseen and now I feel bad. It’s like seeing a cow before it’s slaughter. I still want the steak, but I’ll feel a bit worse while eating it (at least for the first couple of minutes). I still want the potholes fixed, I just don’t want to see how the sausage is made to accomplish it.

So next time, maybe the City of Tacoma could just do its job, not ask for credit, and avoid introducing cuddly characters into the mix. But perhaps this is all some sick PSYOP. When the city doesn’t make a dent in the pothole problem, we’ll give them a pass because it means we’ll be saving the lives of some cute creatures?

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Rantz: Was it necessary for the City of Tacoma to massacre adorable creatures to fill pot holes?