On Thursday morning, candidate Einstein climbed the steps of City Hall in Oakland, cleared his throat, sniffed the air for some of that nice Pho aroma coming in from the south, and announced his candidacy for mayor.
Or rather, his handlers did. Einstein is a dog, the latest dog to run for public office in this great country of ours, which allows all sorts of wonderful things to run for public office.
But unlike other dogs who run for mayor, who might be doing so to raise funds for the local shelter or to get their owners on the local news, Einstein is in this to make real changes. His platform is enormous. His handlers are veteran Occupy Oakland activists, and they've put together a number of sweeping changes Einstein will make once he gets into office, among them:
- A publicly owned and operated Bank of Oakland
- Stronger weapon-control laws
- Penalties for crimes apportioned according to wealth
- A single-payer health care system
- Areas for short- and long-term urban camping.
- Confining the routes of diesel transport vehicles to Interstate freeways (580, 880, 980) and Route 24, to curtail air pollution.
- And so on
"There is a legitimate reason to wonder whether a dog can serve as mayor of Oakland, but he provides a great voice for low-income and otherwise marginalized people who live in Oakland," Michael Wilson, the candidate's political adviser, told HuffPost. "They have no candidate to represent them."
But, to their credit, his handlers haven't forgotten who'll be mayor -- their dog -- so they've thrown in a bunch of canine issues as well, including:
- Human companions of dogs with heavy coats will be encouraged and assisted in keeping their dogs close-trimmed from May 1 through Oct. 1
- The City shall assist humans who adopt animals in need of homes
- Animal sanctuary/adoption facilities, maintained and/or supervised by publicly appointed city officials, shall be the sole source for animal companions
- At least one day per year shall be set aside as a municipal holiday for animals
Only one thing is stopping Einstein from becoming mayor, however: Dogs can't hold public office in Oakland. And yet, Einstein and his people are optimistic:
"Without a fallible human in the mayor's office, we must all play our parts in determining the route Oakland will take into the future," they wrote in a press release. "No longer will we ask what the city government can do for us. Instead, we will see the way clear to changing the city ourselves, to expanding the power of residents of modest income, to shrinking the power of the rich by establishing a larger and more representative City Council."
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