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Hungry, Hungry Hippos Will Decide Blacktip Island Mayoral Race

Hungy_Hippos!

Blacktip Island’s four mayoral candidates will compete in a Hungry, Hungry Hippos tournament Saturday to determine which two move on to next month’s general election. (photo courtesy of Dave Fischer)

In an effort to combat low voter turnout, Blacktip Island’s four mayoral candidates will face off in a game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos Sunday at the Caribbean island’s Heritage house, with the two candidates receiving the most crowd support moving on to next month’s general election.

“Last time around we only had three people vote,” election chief Wade Soote said. “That’s how we ended up with a hermit crab as mayor. So we decided to make this election a public spectacle – on Blacktip, that’s guaranteed to draw a crowd. We were gonna have a Whack-A-Mole tourney, but this seemed more dignified. And no one had a Whack-A-Mole game.

“The mayor’s got no power and really doesn’t do anything other than make the occasional speech,” Soote said. “People basically ignore him. But we’re determined to keep democracy alive and well on Blacktip. And to keep crustaceans out of public office.”

This year’s candidates include former mayor Jack Cobia, resort owner Elena Havens, activist Val Schrader and ne’er-do-well Dermott Bottoms.

Island residents supported the idea.

“Blacktippers are always up for a party, so this really isn’t as whacky as it sounds,” Alison Diesel said. “The mayor’s a stuffed shirt, and doesn’t get paid. Why not have some fun with it and bring the community together?”

Election officials have built a small arena for the expected crowd

“We’ve erected a four-sided grandstand so everyone can see the game table in the center,” election supervisor Rocky Shore said. “Fans’ll sit behind their favorite candidate, and we’ll have multiple decibel meters deployed to determine which section’s cheering loudest.

“The official game board’ll be the classic setup of Lizzie the purple hippo, Henry the orange hippo, Homer the green hippo and Harry the yellow one, though candidates can prep with any version,” Shore said. “Hippos will be assigned to candidates at random to avoid any allegations of game tampering.”

Candidates are taking different approaches to prepare for the election.

“I’ve been doing wrist exercises to increase my stamina,” Cobia said. “This hippo game ends in ties a bunch, so I’m prepping for multiple games. Like most things, it’s all in how fast you can whack that lever.”

Others employed different techniques.

“I meditate while resort guests play the game beside me, focusing on the flow of the play,” Havens said. “A mindful, steady rhythm works far better than Jack’s rabbit-on-Adderall approach.”

Officials have waived no-alcohol election day rules to allow multiple beer stalls at the game site.

“We want as many people as possible participating in this election,” Soote said. “If beer gets people to buy into the process, so be it. And alcohol’s considered a performance-enhancing drug in competitive Hungry, Hungry Hippos circles, so we’re hopeful it’ll help the candidates, too.”

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Blacktip Island Ballot Box Stolen; Mayoral Election On Hold

election hacked

The theft of Blacktip Island’s ballot box Thursday has put the election on hold and left the small Caribbean island leaderless. (photo courtesy of Rama)

The 2018 Blacktip Island mayor’s election was stymied Thursday when a supporter of one candidate stole the island’s sole ballot box in an attempt to forestall that candidate’s defeat.

“As always, Jack Cobia was set to win by double digits, this time over political newcomer Val Schrader,” Elections Supervisor Belinda Graysby said. “Then Dermott Bottoms decided to weigh in. He got a snoot full of rum, grabbed the ballot box and ran.

“It was more personal than political,” Graysby said. “Dermott’s always had a thing for Val. Nearest we can guess, he stole the election so she’d notice him. He’s holed up in the church now, howling her name and claiming sanctuary or some such nonsense.”

Both candidates condemned Bottoms’ actions.

“This was a planned political op from the get go,” incumbent Jack Cobia said. “Val knew the only way she’d win was by cheating. And that Dermott’d do anything for her. He’s probably tearing up ballots as we speak. Or eating them. Dermott’s not bright, but he has a certain low cunning.

“Bottom line is, until there’s official, verified results, I’m still the mayor,” Cobia said. “There’s got to be continuity of leadership, for the island’s sake, and I’m the one to provide it.”

Schrader refuted Cobia’s claims.

“I never I encouraged Dermott. About anything,” Schrader said. “He’s just bat-shit crazy. Always has been. I’m trying to lead the island, not deal with some cow-eyed drunk.

“Jack pulled every dirty trick in the book to rig this election, and I wouldn’t put it past him to have put Dermott up to this,” Schrader said. “But that doesn’t make stealing ballots right Win or lose, this isn’t how democracy works.”

The stolen votes have thrown island politics into a tailspin.

“Jack’s term expired midnight. Period,” resident Frank Maples said. “With the votes uncounted, technically Blacktip has no mayor. Jack can bluster all he wants, but he has no legal authority. And Blacktip’s mayor-less.

“Rafe Marquette’s trying to talk Dermott into giving up the box, but Dermott’s having none of it,” Maples said. “Jerrod and Gage snuck in and tried to steal it, but they got whacked up pretty bad. Dermott’s an unholy terror when he’s riled. And drinking. All indications are he’s got into the Communion wine.”

Other leaders focused on more pragmatic goals.

“Our aim’s to get Dermott out of the church so he’ll stop ringing those damn bells non stop and screaming, ‘Val!’ from the rooftop,” B.C. Flote said. “Rafe Marquette popped him with a couple of tranquilizer darts, but Dermott seemed to enjoy them. I guess he’s built up a resistance to pretty much everything. Except misplaced emotions.”

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Blacktip Island Mayoral Race Raises Immigration Ugliness

Blacktip Islanders gathered for an island hall meeting Thursday evening to discuss issues in the Caribbean island’s upcoming mayoral election.

Blacktip Islanders gathered for an island hall meeting Thursday evening to discuss issues in the Caribbean island’s upcoming mayoral election.

Blacktip Island’s mayoral race thrust immigration reform to the forefront of island politics Thursday after former mayor Jack Cobia demanded the immediate deportation of half the foreign workers on the Caribbean island.

Cobia is hoping to unseat first-term mayor Neville Crab.

“We got lots of good people on this island just begging for work,” Cobia said. “There’s way too many scuba hippies doing jobs locals could be doing. Chuck out the foreigners, problem solved. The current administration’s silence on this speaks volumes.”

Island politicos call Cobia’s plan an electoral Hail Mary.

“Jack’s trailing badly in the polls, so he’s built a straw man to compensate,” government watchdog Wade Soote said. “Sure, jobs are scarce on Blacktip, but so are people. Anyone able to keep a job has one.

“And the current mayor’s silent because he’s a bloody hermit crab,” Soote added. That’s why we elected him. He says nothing and does nothing. Best mayor we’ve ever had.”

Cobia’s rhetoric, though, has struck a chord with some locals.

“Every job that goes to some off islander means one of us’s going without,” laborer Dermott Bottoms said. “Ship five of them out, five of us got jobs.”

“It’s getting too crowded here,” local James Conlee said. “I pass people on the road all the time now. That never used to happen, you know. Most of them’re expats.”

But not all voters agreed.

“Dermott and his pals complain, but none of them’ve ever been able to hold a job for more than a week,” Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “Their issue’s not lack of work, it’s lack of beer money.”

With immigration reform talk driving his poll numbers higher, Cobia has upped his effort in recent days.

“All the foreign workers are concentrated around the resorts on the west coast,” Cobia said. “We’re gonna put up a barbed-wire fence to keep them off the rest of the island.”

Cobia declined to disclose how he plans to finance the proposed fence or where he would acquire barbed wire on Blacktip Island.

“There’s plenty of backers, I guarantee,” Cobia said. “And willing workers. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.”

Despite Cobia’s recent rise in the polls, experts doubt it will be enough to carry the election in the fall.

“There’s only five registered voters on Blacktip Island,” Soote said. “And three of them are in jail on drunk-and-disorderly charges.”

Cobia, meanwhile, remains upbeat.

“Even if I don’t get elected, at least I got people talking about important issues,” he said.

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