You may have seen the news that Stanford University will allow freshmen to move into their dorms this fall with that offer emotional succor.
The news made me think: If Stanford freshmen can have support animals — one student has a “support chinchilla” — why shouldn’t politicians have them too? And what kind?
The cliche in politics is that if you want a friend, get a dog. But we can do better. As a public service, here are a few tongue-in-cheek suggestions for our politicians:
Ex-San Jose Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio: As Oliverio’s long council tenure wound down last year, he ran for two other jobs — first, for Congress, and then the Open Space Authority. He got beaten both times. Now out of office, the likeable Oliverio is running hard for the supervisor’s job of Ken Yeager, who is termed out in 2018. What kind of animal does he need? A penguin is ideal for one reason: It molts. At key times, it sprouts pin feathers to replace old plumage. What could be of more comfort to a politician running for three jobs in a year?
San Jose Councilman Don Rocha: More than a few people were confused by Rocha’s vote last week to oppose the new Google development near the main San Jose train station. On the losing end of a 10-1 tally, the councilman explained that he wanted to assure that the development satisfied labor and did not hurt the poor. He also had procedural objections. It was still a mystifying vote. His support animal? A sphinx. Mythic, yes. But it doesn’t have to be fed.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein: Yes, she turned 84 last week. And she will be 85 when the fall 2018 elections roll around. But there’s no reason to despair. If Feinstein can install an aquarium, her support animal should be a fish — the orange roughy, also known as the deep sea perch. It doesn’t dart and weave. And it has an extraordinary lifespan — as much as 149 years. That should quiet those critics of her age — like that smart-aleck Herhold — once and for all.
Sheriff Laurie Smith: The embattled sheriff is not popular among her own troops. And she is facing a challenge from former undersheriff John Hirokawa in next year’s election. What she needs most is an animal that can instill fear. I suggest a badger. True, it is not warm and cuddly. But it does have persistence and big foreclaws. For an officeholder known for her sheriff’s advisory board — made up of folks politically close to her — it’s a choice with an enviable double meaning.
U.S. Rep Eric Swalwell: The third-term congressman from the East Bay, who upset Pete Stark back in 2012, has made national headlines recently with his attacks on President Trump’s administration and its ties with Russia. What’s the ideal Swalwell support animal? A bullfrog. Not only are they green — good for the environment — but they’re loud. And they sing out in choruses, a nice metaphor for Congress.
Vice-Mayor Magdalena Carrasco: When Sylvia Arenas was elected to the San Jose council last fall with the help of Carrasco and her ex-partner, State Senate President Kevin DeLeon, a lot of people assumed it was a twofer: As Carrasco voted, so would Arenas. In fact, Arenas has displayed a mind of her own. What kind of animal does the vice-mayor need? A kangaroo with a pouch. Yes, it eats a fair amount. But it will remind her ally Arenas where her loyalties ought to lie — with Carrasco.
Supervisor Dave Cortese: The president of the board of supervisors has always been in it for the long run. The son of a politician himself, he has been a member of the East Side Union High School District board, a San Jose councilman, and a supervisor. He has run twice for mayor and is expected to seek Jim Beall’s state senate seat when Beall is termed out in 2020. What does Cortese need? A camel. Not only can it go miles without water, it can chew thistles and endure sandstorms. And fitting for a politician who has been known to display a chip on his shoulder over his East Side origins, a good camel has a visible hump.
President Donald Trump: I know: Many people think Trump should forget about party loyalties and simply bring an ass into the Oval Office. It could be tied up under the portrait of Andrew Jackson. But the truth is that our nation’s leader doesn’t need any new support animal. He already has a red panda hibernating on his head.