The old Tammany politico George Washington Plunkitt, one of the great cynics of public affairs, liked to say that "reformers are only mornin' glories" - they never last. Plunkitt wasn't all right - some reformers have gone on to do good for an extended stretch. But he wasn't all wrong either: It's a tough job to keep that reforming ethic intact; so many things, sometimes little things, whittle away at it.
Consider the cat - an easy-going, eight-year-old calico named Agie, as of now the most famous cat in Oregon - that has the city of Willamina in the biggest uproar of its recent history.
Agie was a stray kitten when she fell into the hands of Melissa Hansen, the librarian at the Oregon timber town; she named the feline for Agatha Christie. Feeling that cats and things literary go together (cat blogging, anyone?), she moved the cat into the library, with official city permission. It has been there since, developing fans around town and especially among the children at the library. The chldren also have become enamored of two other library residents, hamsters named Hamlet and Othello.
The cat (as we observed this evening) is friendly but not overbearing, and clearly in good health. She has been declawed, and has no history of biting or other violence. The hamsters were asleep, but they were shielded consistently from children and others by placement of their terrarium inside a book case - visible but not touchable.
That was the situation the Willamina City Council voted, at its meeting of December 8, to upend by banning animals from city buildings. (more…)