Report from the Badlands

I Can't Believe He Was Mayor

It’s a new year, and you know what that means, folks: new resolutions, new hopes, new tax deductions and…ta da! — new politicians.

The City of Hollister just changed mayors. Hollister is on a rotation system, which means instead of getting elected by the citizenry, the five people on the city council take turns being mayor. They elect themselves, and it’s done on kind of a seniority/protocol system.

Here in the ghost town of New Idria, the citizens elect our mayors, sort of. Some of you may recall (ha ha, no pun intended) what happened in 2000. My brother Kemp and myself were both running for mayor. For the past 80 or so years, New Idria had given up on trying to pick a mayor, especially after mercury became the poster child of “bad and lethal crap” in our environment, not that anyone cares about us up here.

So up until then, New Idria hadn’t seen a mayor in a long, long time. There were only five people in town two years ago. Actually six, if you count Orange the Cat. The two residents in the town proper, from the Futures Foundation drug rehab, couldn’t vote. Use your imagination as to why not.

So that left Kemp, me and my sister Mel, the Tambourine Virtuoso of New Idria. Kemp and I did everything we could to bribe my sister for her single swing vote. Kemp pretended he cared about better affordable housing (he didn’t say it would be discarded cardboard refrigerator boxes) and blathered on and on about it in campaign speeches, I promised two cars under every carport (I didn’t tell them they would be junk heaps like the Badillac up on blocks). The whole time the both of us kept slipping Mel bribes, like extra packs of Smokin’ Joes cigarettes, rolls of duct tape (can’t get enough of that here) and PVC piping valves (we call that “white gold” in New Idria).

But when it came to Election Day, the unthinkable happened. The Pinnacle newspaper opened the New Idria election to everyone in the county and held a poll on its Internet site ( I got three votes. Kemp got four. And Orange the Cat, the Terror of New Idria, got countless write-in votes. I’m not making this up. Dog only knows who Mel ended up voting for, and all our bribes to her were for naught. It was horrible.

Now, as some of you also may know, a few things have changed since that hideous day in 2000. Our long-lost but politically ambitious Cousin Phony BooHoo (not to be confused with Hollister Councilman Tony LoBue) came home to roost, so to speak. Not long afterward, Phony’s equally politically ambitious Siamese twin Cousin Crony Minutia (not Hollister Councilman Tony Bruscia, as some of your mistakenly have read) darkened our door. (At birth they were attached to each other at the top of their heads but were separated by Hazel Hawkins surgeons with a machete).

Phony and Crony both weaseled their way into the Orange Acres City Council, but Mayor Orange still had the gavel. That really chapped Phony’s ass. He hates Mayor Orange. No one knows why. He even calls him a drunk, which is an insult to drunks everywhere.

He whined about not being mayor so much that last month we decided to let him “pretend” he was Mayor of New Idria for two weeks. Orange didn’t show up at the meetings but we still went through the motions. To get the gavel back from Phony, we figured on having a mock rotation-style re-election among the council members — anything to get Phony out of there.

But Phony held on to that gavel like a baby rattle. When he opened the meeting last week, he promptly nominated himself as Mayor and Crony as Vice Mayor. Only silenced followed.

“The motion dies for lack of a second,” I said. Then I nominated the cat as Mayor with me as Vice Mayor. Orange kacked up a hairball to second the motion.

A resounding “Ay, ay!” followed from everyone — except Phony.

“Nnnnn–o!” he said, then stuck his thumb back in his mouth.

Phony’s lack of political finesse stunned everyone. But at least we got the gavel back. Orange sat on it like he does with the dogs’ bones when he wants to drive the welfare bums wild. His pupils were like saucers and his tail was cracking like a whip.

We all felt better for it.

San Carlos Creek Update: Phony gave a speech in the city wreck room on his so-called achievements as mayor(nothing, nothing and nothing).

Hmmm. Still waters run deep, and the orange polluted San

Carlos is shallower than a soap dish, despite the recent rains.

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