Digging in for the final sprint to Montclair’s Pet Mayor 2010


MONTCLARION: June 11, 2010

     It’s down to the wire as candidates jockey for position in Montclair’s mayoral race. Too bad the horse didn’t make the cut.

     A miniature horse named Figaro was part of the initial field of 20 animals vying for mayor of Montclair. So was a rat named Twitchy and a goat called Willow. But with the primary over and just 10 days to run, the field has been narrowed to nine.

     “There were so many species represented this year,” says veterinarian Gary Richter, who runs the event with his wife Lee. Indeed, the finalists include a hen and a gecko, along with a smattering of canines and cats. Each pet is sponsored by a Montclair merchant, with the idea of promoting business in the village and raising money for the Montclair Pet and Wildlife Fund.

     “The first year we raised $1750,” says Lee. “Then the next year we doubled it.” Now in its seventh year, more than $50,000 has been raised to help injured animals, like the dog that was brought in by Oakland Animal Control after being hit by a car.  “It was a two to three thousand dollar surgery to save his jaw,” she says, adding it took six weeks to nurse him back to health. He’s since been adopted by an East Bay family.

     Aside from the obvious benefits, the pet mayor race has brought fame to the Village. Candidates stump every Sunday at the Montclair Farmers Market and their owners vie for votes at work, on blogs, Facebook and even at celebrity bartending events at the Montclair Bistro. Each vote costs one dollar and the candidate with the most votes on June 20th wins. 

     So what will it be? Will Montclair’s top dog be…a dog once again? Or will the winds of change see the five canine finalists barking up the wrong tree this year? “The kids seem to really like Sparky,” says Lee, referring to the only speckled candidate, the gecko.  Or maybe this is “the year of the cat” as Al Stewart once sang.

     Whatever the outcome – the pet with the most animal magnetism is sure to win the race.

     For a list of this year’s finalists, and to vote online, log onto www.petandwildlifefund.org.

Let the pet with the most animal magnetism maybe it’s the year of the catwho After all, This year on line voting and company match voting. Here’s what ive learned at the booth. It’s a way of being around other people who are celebrating your pet. People come and celebrate pets. Everyone gets an i-voted sticker and kids get to vote for their cats. My daughter used two dollars I gave her for ice crfeam to vote Stella… that’s our house cat. Abbey is 5 and 3 quarters. Will be 6 in July. You never know what’s going to inspire a little kid to be involved.

Peoiope have guest bartender events at the Montclair Bistro, they have facebook pages…   we’ve had a bunny, we’ve had sparky the gecko. The kids really like sparky. We’ve had a duck. We had a lame duck two years ago (had a broken foot). The Rat didn’t make it to the finals. Re4orm sponsored it. Twitchy.  Never seen a snake…,but do we want a snake as mayor? I’m not sure. In the end, the dogs are the most popular.

Most unusual…a snake that was found in lake temescal nearly frozen, (we put it under hot lamps) little tiny hummingbirds. A baby abandoned skunk came in last week. Gary got so excited over that skunk and they don’t smell because they don’t have those glands yet.  Now an employee is doing case studies and write-ups for me.  . Throughout history there have been animal candidates for everything from Parliament to President. A dog was the mayor of Sunol for 10 years in the 1980s. People usually put animals on the ballot as a protest vote, but in Montclair

 “We’ve And what better place for a non-human mayor then a dog-friendly place like Montclair? On any given

     Montclair couldn’t be a better place A person who worked at the flower shop, We were at the promotions team that year, Ramona. 107 the bone came to do a home town radio show. Ramona came up with the idea. Percy was always called the pet mayor. Why don’t we have a real contest to see who really should be the pet mayor. Brainstorming promotions for the MVA. The first year was so popular people asked for it to come back. 8 candidates the first and second year. The third year we put a primary in so that would weed out the top 8. 20 this year and every business in Montclair gets a letter and a nomination form that says they are entitled to have a nominee. The pet has to be partnered with a business in Montclair.  Next year we’ll open an office on Piedmont Avenue so we’re thinking of doing a year in Piedmont and then a year in Montcliar. Each winner has a two year term. Fentons is one of our biggest participants. We have so much support on Piedmont ave already. The businesses get attention and it really gets them a following. More thanm $50,000   first year 1750. 2nd year doubled it.

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