At the September 26th meeting of the La Mesa city council a motion was on the agenda to grant La Mesa “ferret friendly” status. It could only by symbolic – but hugely so.
We knew we had two members on our side; councilwoman Kristine Alessio and councilman Bill Baber. How would the other members and mayor feel?
We designed our campaign around the concept that Life is Good in Ferret Friendly La Mesa.
We had artwork designed and a t-shirt produced. We spent $360 on Facebook ads to promote awareness of the effort.
Our goals was to have 12 to 24 people attend the meeting wearing the t-shirts to show support for the effort.
We set up a table outside the meeting room thinking our members would come and we’d give them a t-shirt.
But everyone wanted a t-shirt. A surprising number of people not affiliated with our group were familiar with ferrets and wanted a t-shirt. The camera man wanted a t-shirt. City staff wanted a t-shirt. There was a leadership campaign for young people, they wanted a t-shirt. We gave out about 50 t-shirts.
And we waited three hours outside for our item to be called.
And finally, about 9pm – we are up.
I wasn’t sure how it would go, but they called me up because I filled out a comment card.
I explained to the city council that a ferret friendly city status would be hugely helpful in our quest to get a legislator to sponsor a ferret legalization bill. I went on how we’ve worked for 30 years trying to legalize ferrets in California, and that these days it seems everyone seems to know someone who has a ferret.
I explained how the Fish and Game Commission calls them wild animals even though they know ferrets aren’t wild. That the Fish and Game Commission required us to spend $16,000 on an environmental report, and once that was submitted another $2500 on a CEQA document – and that it took them 7 years to read it.
I mentioned that the effort to legalize ferrets in California was a lesson in bad government but that the city of La Mesa could turn it around.
And the conversation got started.
Mayor Arapostathis and councilmember McWhiter were uncomfortable labeling the city “ferret friendly” but wanted to help. As a city government, they had contacts and would work them to find a legislative sponsor.
Councilmember Bill Baber will work on an official proclamation in favor of ferret legalization.
We were elated. Finally, an elected body listened to us and wanted to help.
La Mesa is a great city.