Joanne Palmer: Choosing our next leader |

Joanne Palmer: Choosing our next leader

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

Election season is here, and in Canada a cat has decided to get in on the action. Tuxedo Stan, a striking 3-year-old black-and-white cat, is running for mayor of Halifax. Stan's campaign has a singular focus: to reduce the cat population living in the streets with a city-sponsored spay and neuter program.

Tuxedo Stan may have been inspired by Mayor Stubbs, a cat that has been the unofficial mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, for 15 years.

What would happen if a cat or a dog ran for office in Steamboat? What issues would he or she care about? Let's find out.

Moderator: Good evening. We are here at Olympian Hall for the first debate between a cat and a dog running for mayor of Steamboat Springs. Questions have been selected at random and have not been shown to either candidate ahead of time. The dog has won the flip of the bone contest and will answer the first question: What would you do about jobs in Steamboat Springs?

Dog: People may not realize it, but the economy has been hard on pets, too. Fewer treats. Fewer trips to the groomer. Fewer new toys and trips with owners. However, residents of Steamboat are crazy about their pets. I propose putting people back to work by improving the infrastructure of the great town of Steamboat Springs. The Yampa River Core Trail needs to have a dog lane so people walking their dogs will not have to dodge bicycles and people pushing baby joggers. And we need to create additional dog parks where dogs can run and play off leash.

Cat: Meow.

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Moderator: Is that all you have to say?

Cat: Meow. This is all so boring. Turn the Iron Horse Inn into a pet hotel. Call it the Cozy Catnip Hideaway. Animals need a better place to stay when their owners are out of town, and visitors to our fair city need a decent place to stay with their animals. Next question.

Moderator: If elected, what would you expect to accomplish in your first 30 days in office?

Dog: I am running a bi-paw-tisan campaign. I would reach across the dog dish and appoint a cat as assistant mayor. I also would work hard to promote "Take Your Pet to Work Day." Pets hate being home alone.

Cat: Not me. I love being home alone. And, I do not want to be an assistant. I want to be mayor. I have better ideas. TIC is leaving, and that space could be converted to a state-of-the-art animal research center so owners do not have to travel all the way to Fort Collins for advanced medical care. We also need an assisted living facility where elderly pets can get the help they need.

Moderator: What about green energy? Are you for it?

Dog: Let Dalmatians ride in fire trucks! Repeal leash laws.

Cat: Hahahaha. We don't have leashes. We are free.

Moderator: Um, that doesn't answer the question. But how would you go about creating new jobs in Steamboat Springs? We are a resort economy, and some people think we need to diversify.

Cat: Duh. I answered that already. The animal research center.

Dog: This is one issue where my opponent and I agree, but I'd like to take it one step further. Since everyone knows dogs are smarter than cats, a training center for companion animals also could be incorporated into the park. Dogs can be trained to assist people with special needs and medical conditions.

Cat: Hiss. Cats are smarter. And if elected, I plan to drink catnip-spiked water every day, like that mayor cat in Alaska.

Moderator: That's all the time we have. Thank you, and good day from Olympian Hall.

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