Talkeetna Has Profited Handsomely from Mayor Stubbs' Enlightened Leadership but the Lure of Higher Office Soon Could Be Beckoning Him to Change His Address
|Mayor Stubbs Enjoying a Glass of Water Laced with Catnip|
"I am very confident that Talkeetna will be A-OK as long as we have Stubbs around."
-- Skye Farrar
As is the case with just about all cats, Stubbs came from humble origins. He was in fact a throwaway kitten.
His owner, for whatever reason, did not want him around and as a consequence he found himself in a cardboard box along with his littermates being doled out to the public in a parking lot. That was more than fifteen years ago and, luckily for him, he was selected by Lauri Stec who manages Nagley's General Store in the tiny tourist town of Talkeetna at the base of Mount McKinley and one-hundred-twenty-three kilometers north of Anchorage.
If a vivisector had been in that parking lot Stubbs' tenure on this earth would have been indeed brief and anything but sweet. While he was studying medicine at Harvard former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, used to adopt cats from shelters in Boston under the pretext of providing them with a good home only to take them back to his laboratory and then torture them to death.
In his 1992 book, Transplant: A Heart Surgeon's Account of the Life-and-Death Dramas of the New Medicine, he freely confesses to the commission of those atrocities. That is yet still another poignant example of just how easy it is for cat abusers and killers not only to get away scot-free with their heinous crimes but to profit immensely from them to boot.
Stubbs' fate would have been equally cruel if he had fallen into the hands of either someone who traffics in feline fur and flesh or a serial cat abuser. It therefore would not be totally inappropriate to sum up Stec's timely entrance into his life back in 1997 as a classic case of Glück im Unglück.
Sometime shortly thereafter the part-Manx cat, whose lack of a tail accounts for his moniker, was chosen as the town's honorary mayor and that is a job that he has held ever since. Although the internecine nature of local politics has destroyed many a promising young career, Stubbs not only has flourished but grown in popularity during his incumbency.
"He's good," Stec told the New York Daily News on July 17th. (See "Cat Has Been Mayor of Alaska Town for Fifteen Years.") "Probably the best we've had."
|Mayor Stubbs Holding Court at Nagley's General Store|
There are, of course, some rather obvious reasons why a diehard capitalist from the land from Sarah Palin and Ted Stevens would feel that way. "He doesn't raise our taxes (and) we have no sales tax. He doesn't interfere with business," she elaborated to Time Magazine on July 17th. (See "Cat Marks Fifteen Years as Mayor of Alaska Town.") "He's honest."
Obviously Mayor Stubbs' presumed laissez faire approach to economics counts for considerably more with her than do his personal attributes. If his post were anything other than ceremonial, he might surprise her by turning out to be an altogether different type of politician.
As the years have slowly gone by Stubbs' fame has spread well beyond Talkeetna and its eight-hundred-seventy-six residents. For instance, he has attracted nearly four-thousand followers on his Facebook page and regularly receives cards and letters from all over the world.
He additionally is extremely popular with tourists who venture to Talkeetana for the flightseeing, rafting, mountain biking, camping, hunting, and fishing. "Oh my gosh, we probably have thirty to forty people a day come in (to Nagley's) who are tourists wanting to see him," Stec pointed out to KTUU-TV of Anchorage on July 13th. (See "Talkeetna Mayor Is a Cat Named Stubbs.") "He was just in Alaska Magazine (April's edition), and he's been featured in a few different things."
Not unlike many other cats who have gone on to achieve great fame, a certain amount of mythology has grown up around Stubbs. Most prominently is the story about how he was elected mayor in 1997 as a write-in candidate.
As a Census Designated Place within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Talkeetna does not have a mayor per se. Rather, it is administered by a community council which operates under the jurisdiction of the borough. Accordingly, the story of Stubbs' stunning electoral victory, while compelling, is doubtlessly a complete fabrication.
Since Talkeetna is such a small town and, apparently, without too many social anxieties, His Honor does not have all that many official duties. Consequently, he spends most of his time hanging out at Nagley's where he often can be found dining on Alaskan snow crabs.
|Nothing Escapes the Attention of the Mayor|
Despite his elevated position, Stubbs, like all cats, is forced to put up with the persistent and pervasive scourge of ailurophobia. "His biggest political rivals would be other local businesses that would hate that he comes over and takes a nap and leaves fur everywhere," Skye Farrar, who also works at Nagley's, revealed to the New York Daily News. "They aren't big fans of him. We usually say, 'You have to deal with it. He runs the town'."
Besides the machinations of cat-haters, his many admirers sometimes get on his delicate nerves, especially when they interfere with more important matters. "He meowed and meowed and meowed and demanded to be picked up and put on the counter," Farrar told the New York Daily News. "And he demanded to be taken away from the tourists. Then he had his long afternoon nap."
Talkeetna's large canine population is another vexation that Stubbs must contend with on a daily basis although he appears to be holding his own so far. "I've never seen a dog mess with him," an unidentified local business owner told Time in the article cited supra.
Despite these problems and annoyances, Talkeetna has been good to Stubbs and he in turn has put it on the map. Under his enlightened leadership the town has prospered and its future looks bright.
"I'm very confident that Talkeetna will be A-OK as long as we have Stubbs around," Farrar predicted to KTUU-TV in the article cited supra.
As impressive as his meteoric ascent in the world of politics has been, Stubbs is far from being an anomaly. For example, tiny Sharon, Wisconsin, also has an honorary feline mayor.
He is an orange and white former stray named Freddie who showed up at Village Hall approximately five years ago from parts unknown and never has left. "We don't have a mayor. We're in a presidential system," deputy clerk and town treasurer Jaymie Kunkel explained early last year. "Our mayor is Freddie. Freddie the cat."
|Freddie Ventures Across the Street in Sharon|
Like Stubbs in Talkeetna, Freddie is the star attraction in Sharon. "He's pretty much a novelty in town. If he is crossing the street and there are cars coming they tend to slow down for him," postmaster Scott Vinke related. "They know he's got the right-of-way. So this is pretty much his town."
His outgoing and friendly demeanor has only served to enhance his popularity with the locals. "He's just loving. He wants attention," Kunkel added. (See Cat Defender post of February 1, 2011 entitled "Lovable Freddie Puts Tiny Wisconsin Village on the Map but His Affection and Good Works Are Unappreciated.")
In Halifax, Nova Scotia, three-year-old Tuxedo Stan is making a symbolic run for mayor. His owners, Hugh and Kathy Chisholm, even have formed the Tuxedo Party in order to promote not only his candidacy in the October 20th election but feline sterilization as well.
"We have an explosion of cats," Hugh, a retired veterinarian, told CTV of Toronto on September 13th. (See "Cat Named 'Tuxedo Stan' Heats Up Halifax Mayoral Race.") "We have literally hundreds, thousands of cats living in the street."
Having adopted "Because neglect isn't working" as its campaign slogan, the Tuxedo Party intends to use the proceeds from its sale of buttons, T-shirts, and lawn signs in order to finance a mass sterilization effort. The campaign appears to be gaining some traction in that Tuxedo Stan's Facebook page has attracted more than four-thousand friends to date.
Finally, although the residents of Talkeetna would dearly hate to part with him, destiny could very well have bigger fish in store for Stubbs to fry. Specifically, his presence is urgently needed in the Oval Office right now.
Although it goes almost without saying that he would be a decided improvement over those two obnoxious, no-account cretins currently vying for that all-important job, Stubbs would not need to run a negative campaign because he is hands-down a far better candidate in his own right. Most notably, his fifteen years at the helm in Talkeetna amounts for considerably more executive experience than his two rivals have combined.
There are other important considerations in his favor as well. For example, since he cares absolutely nothing about money it would be impossible for anyone to bribe him. Plus, he does not have any party affiliation and is not owned lock, stock, and barrel by either a super political action committee or any back-room city bosses.
|Tuxedo Stan and His Campaign Slogan|
On the economic front, since he is not beholding to either exploiters or freeloaders, neither group would be in any position to expect any handouts from his administration. The same holds true for those bloated bums and outright thieves who comprise the military-industrial complex and who thus would be forced to finance their own imperialist wars and foreign misadventures under Stubbs' watch.
Being a politician of few words, Stubbs would not subject the public to either any long-winded press conferences or interminable State of the Union addresses. Also, since he is pretty much of a homebody, the taxpayers would not be one the hook for any lavish Hawaiian vacations.
Furthermore, he would not expect any less from the members of his own Cabinet. In particular, he never would appoint a Secretary of State who travels, wines, and dines nonstop on the public's dime without so much as orchestrating a single diplomatic breakthrough.
If per chance he should harbor any obnoxious opinions concerning either sex or religion in his bosom he is sure to keep them to himself. Sinners and the unrepentant likewise have nothing to fear from him because he is neither a prude nor a saint.
He enjoys an occasional tipple like most people but his consists of water laced with catnip which he demurely slurps in a dignified fashion from a wine glass. That should not be misconstrued in any way so as to imply that he spends his working hours as pissed as a coot like so many politicians.
In order to keep up appearances as well as to relieve stress, he admittedly does indulge in periodic belly rubs and positively loves a good stroking. There is absolutely nothing inappropriate about these perks of office in that they are administered by employees of Nagley's and other well-wishers.
"All throughout the day I have to take care of the mayor," Farrar confided to the New York Daily News in the article cited supra. "He's very demanding."
If, on the other hand, he were to maintain a harem of young, attractive felines in order to fulfill these ministrations the scandalmongers, not to mention the media, would have a field day. Being ever sensitive to the whims of public opinion, Stubbs is careful so as not to be seen as emulating Bucky Katt of Get Fuzzy who on October 24, 2010 went so far as to salaciously define happiness as "lying in a laundry basket massaged by a polydactyl."
Once the personalities and philosophies of all the candidates have been examined it should be clear to one and all that Mayor Stubbs has everything going for himself whereas his opponents have absolutely nothing to commend themselves to the voting public. Besides, it takes a cat in order to get rid of an infestation of vermin.
Although it is already too late in order to get Stubbs' name on the November 6th ballot, supporters can still vote for him by writing it in on a paper one. A nation in search of a hero and someone to wholeheartedly believe in need not look any further than the mayor's office in Talkeetna.
Photos: Facebook (Stubbs and Tuxedo Stan) and Seer Press News (Freddie).