A Vote for Lefty Is a Vote for the Dogs
(Page 2 of 2)
The next day in study hall we decided on various campaign slogans: "Get Right With Lefty: An Independent Voice," or "Youth Gets Tough: Caldersmith for Mayor for Good." We settled on, "Caldersmith: Young, Honest, and Mature."Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Lefty dressed in a coat and tie, and even went to school that way, which got attention and a lot of ridicule. Miss Lacy, the journalism teacher, was delighted with us, but said a candidate for mayor had to be 21 or over.
"We're doing this for experience," said Lefty, "and the dogs."
We wrote a press release, copying the format from a Republican committee press release. We phoned the L.A. Times, Monrovia News-Post, and the Duarte Dispatch and announced a press conference for Saturday morning in front of the dog pound. They laughed.
Linda Ragstaff became the campaign secretary. Her father owned a print shop and said we could have posters printed for half-price.
ON Saturday morning Linda drove us to the dog pound. Benny Buo, the catcher on the team was there, along with Ron Borghetti, the first baseman. Larry Digman, a reporter from the school newspaper, the Wildcat, was there.
The dog catcher, a relative of the mayor, threatened to turn a hose on us. The barking dogs were so loud we had to move a hundred yards away.
Lefty was great. Clear and lucid, with all the facts in place, he joined a long line of honorable men who support Jeffersonian democracy at the local level.
"I condemn the abuse of animals," he shouted. "I condemn nepotism. I charge this dog pound," and he pointed back toward the howling cages,"with misuse of city funds."
After the story came out the next Monday in the school newspaper, Lefty was interviewed by the News-Post. And when he walked into the city council meeting that evening the mayor scowled at him.
Our efforts got action. The mayor was forced to squirm a little in public and commended us for "catching an oversight in the budget." He appointed a dog-pound advisory committee composed of a pet store owner, a retired mule skinner, and a tall, flaxen-haired woman with six parrots. He refused to appoint Lefty to the committee, saying he was "too young and what kind of a boy doesn't even own a dog."
After that everything seemed to fade away inconclusively, as often happens in politics and human affairs. The mayor was forced into a runoff by a candidate who wanted to revive downtown Monrovia with new street lights and potted plants. I don't remember who won.
Lefty began to carry around his press clippings and became a bit of a bore.
The baseball team won 3 games and lost 9. Two games were rained out.
I fell in love with Linda, but the compliment was not returned.
Eisenhower was reelected.
I don't know what happened to the dogs and cats in the dog pound.
On the plane to Philadelphia, I remembered enough of this to make me want to remember all of it. But like the unannounced candidate, maybe the point in politics and memories is to reveal just enough, but not too much, like the memory of mint, which is often better than the mint itself.