Challenging Boone’s Established Pecking Order

What eggsactly is behind the city's opposition to backyard chickens? asks a write-in candidate for mayor

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Years ago I moved to Boone (I’ve lived between Ames and Boone all my life) and one of the best things about the town is its do-it-yourself, mind-your-own ideal. You don’t take your car to the shop first thing, you pop the hood and before you know it someone will be trying to fix it. Because everyone values doing things for themselves.

But now, the same people with Don’t Tread on Me stickers on their trucks have turned to Tread on Thee, culminating in a huge flap at the Boone City Council with hard-boiled libertarian conservatives inexplicably rallying against their own values because of the perceived values of those in favor. The result was that property owners cannot be trusted to own egg-laying birds, unlike in many other towns in the country. An over-easy feeling settled in all over Boone. Observing this fracas, I came to the conclusion that Boone has an established pecking order and if anyone gets too cocky, there is a knee-jerk reaction to resist their issues, whether there is merit in it or not, and they’d prefer to keep outside views cooped up. Just what eggsactly is going on in this town?

My friend who is involved in this issue presented a great case to the council and was ignored. Refusing to crack, she remained sunny-side-up and asked if I would be a write-in candidate for mayor. I was astounded that no one was running against the sitting mayor, but apparently that is the norm. I find it hard to understand why there aren’t 20 people flocking to run. I asked if I would get a sign, and she said yes, so I said, “Sure… I don’t know how to do that, however.” “Just wing it.” “OK!” And just like that, the Dean for Mayor campaign was hatched.

I didn’t think it would go further than that, but the next thing I knew, I was receiving impassioned supportive messages, egging me on. There was a Facebook page, and it instantly got 120 likes. Then the mayor’s supporters started crowing online, and not too nicely. I was a little hurt but didn’t cry fowl, although I felt a little hen-pecked and it took a little of the bounce out of my strut. But I didn’t let my feathers get ruffled. The mayor himself, a lovely gentleman, indirectly challenged me to a debate on the radio. I of course chickened out by indirectly challenging him to debate on my Facebook page instead. So far, I haven’t seen him there. He probably never actually saw the link but I am still available to talk turkey.

If you are in Boone, take time to vote. Maybe someday the powers that be will hear enough clucking to one day cross the road and trust their flock to be responsible with chicken ownership, and to give an ear not just to people who are in their circle — if not, hopefully one day it will come home to roost and a more diverse crowd will find their way into Boone leadership.

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Dean Erickson is a write-in candidate for mayor of Boone.