The American writer Rick Steves famously said that “all travel is a political act.”
As non-partisan as you try to try to remain, it’s impossible not to take note of what’s happening on the ground – particularly if you are passing through a country like the US, which wears its politics on its sleeves.
However, in the Californian town of Idyllwild, the re-election of Maximus Mighty-Dog Mueller II to a fifth consecutive term as mayor lends some semblance of stability while the tides of partisanship elsewhere are looking well… “ruff!”
It will not have escaped the notice of the more astute reader that Mayor Maximus is, in fact, a golden retriever.
Better known to his constituents as “Max”, his duties include cruising around in a personalised pickup truck, making public appearances, ribbon cuttings and performing commands for treats.
As Sophie Law of MailOnline explains, Idyllwild is a non-incorporated town so it has no human mayor – so the Animal Rescue Friends (RAF) decided to sponsor an election.
The town held their first animal election in 2012, when 14 cats and 2 dogs ran for the place of mayor.
Mayor Max I, who has since passed away, won a landslide victory and was elected with two thirds of the constituents vote.
The new mayor Max II has also been joined by Deputy Mayor Mikey, and Deputy Mayor Mitzi, who are all related.
The three dogs are all related to their predecessor Mayor Max I and they all share a common ancestor- Mikey and Mitzi are siblings from the same litter while Max is a cousin.
The dynamic trio, who are the most popular canines in the town, are referred to as “the Mayors of Idyllwild.”
Recent important duties for Mayor Max included supporting the town’s local businesses after wildfires damaged property.
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My next birthday party is going to be on Saturday, May 18, 2019, from 1 to 4 PM at Mountain Paws in Idyllwild, California. Mark your calendars now. I don't want to hear from anyone that you couldn't make my party because you had something else scheduled ahead of it. I figure my making this announcement now gives you plenty of time to reserve the day for my birthday party. I love you so much and I really want to see you at my birthday party. Just bring yourself. OK, that's the plan! Love always, Mayor Max
My next birthday party is going to be on Saturday, May 18, 2019, from 1 to 4 PM at Mountain Paws in Idyllwild, California. Mark your calendars now. I don’t want to hear from anyone that you couldn’t make my party because you had something else scheduled ahead of it. I figure my making this announcement now gives you plenty of time to reserve the day for my birthday party. I love you so much and I really want to see you at my birthday party. Just bring yourself. OK, that’s the plan! Love always, Mayor Max
A post shared by Mayor Max (@mayormax1) on
Mr Mueller said: “His role is to make the world a better place by conveying unconditional love and doing as many good deeds for others.”
Another important part of the mayoral office is promoting Idyllwild’s amenities and attractions to tourists.
What to see and do in Idyllwild
Mount San Jacinto State Park
As you might expect from the name, it’s not just the politics of the Californian town that’s wild. The local Mount San Jacinto State Park holds stunning views over the town from two-miles above sea level. You can take the aerial tram up the second highest range in the United states.
Middle Ridge Winery
For visitors with a taste for wine, the Californian vineyards of Middle Ridge are set in jaw dropping scenery fit to raise a glass to.
The Hub Cycling
Drop in to The Hub in downtown Idyllwild to rent a pair of wheels. This part of California is sure to appeal to both mountain biking aficionados and scenic road cruisers.
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