Politics & Government

Meet the City of Dallas’ Newest Mascot. He’s an Alpaca.

The pandemic is clearly taking its toll on City Hall.

The city of Dallas’ Planning & Urban Design Department runs an active Twitter account with about 900 followers. Mostly the department retweets other city-focused accounts, stuff from the Office of Resilience, Parks and Rec, the mayor’s office, Environmental Quality & Sustainability, Code Compliance. But yesterday, Planning & Urban Design dropped some huge news on Twitter: the department has a new mascot.

Along with the image you see at the top of this post, the tweet said, “Meet Paul the Planning Alpaca, the new Mascot of the City of Dallas Dept. of Planning+Urban Design! Learn about what goes into making a plan for a neighborhood or city, the important work of neighborhood orgs, + how they work together to build a city that works for all!”

This is, um. Well, it’s something. That’s for sure.

An alpaca, for those who need to know, is like a llama. Only it’s smaller. They do their thing in the mountains of South America and are raised for their fleece. Or hair or fiber or wool. My five minutes of research only confused me as to which of those terms is appropriate. Let’s just say hair. Alpacas have good hair. And, like llamas, they spit.

What do they have to do with planning and urban design? I googled “Jane Jacobs” and “alpaca” and received 168,000 hits that were uniformly unhelpful. There’s a murder mystery titled Needled to Death that involves knitting and alpacas. A woman named Jane Jacobs narrated the audiobook. But that’s not our Jane Jacobs. So I don’t know what’s happening here.

Why did they pick an alpaca? Why did they name it Paul? Did they even consider adopting the mascot Darryl the Design Dingo? Ulysses the Urban Urchin?

The only thing I can figure here is that the folks in the Planning & Urban Design Department are onboard with not arresting people for low-level marijuana offenses. In any case, I look forward to meeting Paul soon. I assume he has a mask and a t-shirt cannon.

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