Where is Ladybird Johnson? | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Where is Ladybird Johnson?

One blessing of anemic commercial development in Mexico is large tracts of unspoiled countryside. Road trips yield breathtaking views.


In the U. S. during the '50s and later, billboards sprung up, despoiling the environment. People began to rise up in protest, and led by First Lady Ladybird Johnson, a campaign was waged to reduce the number of billboards. While she led the popular movement, the government responded with legislation and regulations to keep our highways beautiful. Call me a Liberal, but I think this was an entirely appropriate use of government. Even if it won't regulate rampant ugliness, the government should at least set an example.

Businesses in Mexico are erecting more and more billboards, but even today, there seem to be fewer than in the U. S., which supposedly has been limiting them all this time. Most Mexicans never get out on the highways, so billboard advertising isn't very efficient. Therefore, fewer billboards.

But there's one notable exception.


Meet Paco Garrido, Governor of the State of Querétaro. Apparently Paco wants to make sure that his constituency knows all about the good things he's doing, like building hospitals and health centers. So he erects, at state expense, huge billboards to keep everyone informed. Lots of them. All over the place. Even in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere, a purported environmentally protected zone. In fact, all along Mex 120, most of the billboards you see are Paco's.

But hey, you don't want the people wandering around in ignorance, do you? Look at the billboard again. What leaps out at you? The hospitals? The health centers? I had to scrutinize it carefully to find mention of them.

No problem seeing Paco's smiling face, though. Looks to me like an election poster. Maybe Paco wants to make sure he has good face recognition—at least in the State of Querétaro. In case he runs for President in '12. How nice that it doesn't cost him anything.