The mayor of Toronto, Canada’s largest city, made headlines recently by admitting to smoking crack cocaine. Taron Margarian, the mayor of Armenia’s capital Yerevan, is generating controversy in a different way – by proffering a vision of glowing flamingoes for his city.
Like any aging city, Yerevan, wants to look its best. But many denizens contend the mayor’s office is wasting public funds by emphasizing gaudy style over substance. Margarian is going about fulfilling a pledge to build a “better Yerevan” by procuring flags, benches and decorative flamingoes, rather than refurbishing the city’s essential infrastructure, including the crumbling sewage system.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.