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If someone owns something that he cannot get rid of whose value is exceeded by the burden of having it, it is often referred to as a white elephant.

Until recently, however, we had never heard of a "blue rhinoceros."

A blue rhinoceros is in the news, though, because a Chattanooga City Council majority has agreed to spend $32,500 of taxpayers' money to buy a big blue rhino statue that has been on display in Coolidge Park for a couple of years.

It is understandable that some City Council members questioned whether it is a good idea to spend public money that way, and council members Deborah Scott, Jack Benson and Pam Ladd voted against buying the statue.

But a majority of City Council members -- Manny Rico, Andrae McGary, Peter Murphy, Russell Gilbert and Carol Berz -- voted for the purchase.

Scott pertinently observed: "Some people in my district don't make that much a year. Actually, a lot of people -- $32,000 is significant."

But the majority ruled. So Chattanooga apparently will get the blue rhinoceros -- though we suspect quite a few taxpayers will consider it a white elephant.

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