Local elections matter!

By Austin Cannon
November 02, 2020
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As you may know, the big election is set for Tuesday. No, not that one. This one: the hotly contested race to become the mayor of 55th Street in a California neighborhood. 

There are four candidates—two dogs, two cats—running in Oakland’s Golden Gate neighborhood, according to Reuters. Let’s meet them, shall we? 

  • Mayor Wally, cat (incumbent): At first, Wally was set to cruise to re-election without facing any other candidates. Per the San Francisco Chronicle, orange-and-white Wally is running on a “pro-speed bump” platform. (Slower traffic = great for outdoor pets.) His campaign signs also accuse one of his challengers, Betty, as being “bad for business and soft on crime.”  
  • Betty, cat: The gray, feminist tabby was the first to challenge Wally, running on a pro-catnip stance. Her slogan? “Change meow.” She has at least one vote from her human sister, Mave, who told Reuters: “She’s really good and she wants to crush the patriarchy, and so that’s why I’m going to vote for her. And she’s awesome.” 
  • Mimi, dog: This Shiba Inu’s slogan is “She’ll bark when it matters,” likely courting the votes of her nearest neighbors. She’ll be quiet and chase the squirrels away, her owner tells Reuters. 
  • Macy, dog: The pit bull mix’s slogan is “Keep Oakland ruff” and she already has the support of at least one constituent, Zoe Thorne: “I’m definitely going to vote for [Macy], because I think she would be very good as mayor.”

It’s, of course, all in good fun. The neighborhood’s kids are the electors, and they even have a ballot box in which to deposit their selections. 

“Mostly we’re teaching the kids about democracy and about fairness, equity, justice,” Mary Owen, who’s Mimi’s mom, told Reuters. “And we’re going to have all the kids make a choice, put it in the ballot box, have a little talk about democracy and our country.”

Plus, it’s a great way to encourage neighborliness and civic engagement. 

“People are really responding to just how fun this is,” says Rachel Kadner, Macy’s mom. “(It’s) just a way to enjoy our neighborhood.”

Speaking of civic engagement: Vote on Tuesday.