Fresno to balance budget on a Conan O'Brien bobblehead?
The mayor of Fresno is calling for Conan O'Brien's bobblehead.
Financial experts have pointed to this fiscally troubled Central Valley city of 500,000 as a candidate for the next California city to seek bankruptcy protection from creditors. City leaders vigorously deny Fresno is close to becoming the state's fourth bankrupt city.
But during his Tuesday night talk show, O'Brien offered to shore up the city's finances by bringing to town a huge plastic replica of his head perched upon a skinny suit.
"Fresno needs a lot of cash fast. So I'm going to solve their money problems by giving them a tourist magnet. This thing just attracts tourists by the bucket-loads; they'll spend a lot of dough," he said.
He also offered to bring Simon Cowell's tight-fitting T-shirt as an added tourist attraction.
Mayor Ashley Swearengin immediately sent warm encouragement for the visit.
"We in Fresno are facing our financial challenges with fight and determination and are confident in the progress we are making. However we welcome any and all help and believe the Conan O' Brien Bobblehead may be just what is needed to aid our community in these trying times," she wrote in a letter Wednesday.
The "any and all help," however, may be inaccurate. The mayor did not extend the invitation to Cowell's T-shirt.
"I don't believe it would be appropriate to subject the women and children of Fresno to such a troubling image," the mayor wrote.
-- Diana Marcum in Fresno
Photo: Conan O'Brien. Credit: Michael Dwyer / Associated Press.