On Sunday, Feb. 19, 2006, the Orlando Sentinel revealed that Winter Park mayoral candidate David Strong had once been arrested for smearing a neighbor's shirt and neck with "dog doo." It happened in 1999, the paper said, when Strong and the neighbor were locked in an ongoing argument over their dogs' excretory habits. Strong attempted to resolve the dispute by festooning his neighbor with the offending material, only to be arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge. He had to attend anger-management classes and perform community service to get the charge dropped, the paper said.

Dog Playing Poker hereby endorses David Strong for mayor of Winter Park.

I mean, really: What more does a guy have to do? Voters are always complaining that politics is boring — especially in Winter Park, where policy discussions tend to be on the dry side. ("Should the new signs reading ‘SUV traffic only' be printed in turquoise or aqua? Please pick one.") All of a sudden, an eager contender hands us a big, steaming gift of civic excitement. And then he seals the deal by wiping it on our shirt and neck. It makes you just want to skip the electoral process and crown him king.

Not seeing my point? Unconvinced that a dung-flinging mayor is the miracle cure for the democratic doldrums? Think about what you'd rather hear at a public meeting. Is it Exhibit A:

"This street-widening initiative will usher in a bold new era of blah, blah, blah, posture, posture, posture";


"Eeeeeeeewwwww! DOOKIE!"

The answer is too obvious for words. Anybody who would pelt one of his peers with a mud bunny is somebody you can trust to keep local governance vital and surprising. I can see the billboards now: "Winter Park — You'll like the way we do our business!" Then there's always: "AM or BM, we're a city that never sleeps!" And that's not even mentioning the stepped-up community awareness Strong could instill by circulating a monthly newsletter, "All the Poop From the Man Holding the Leash."

Now, before we go any further, I should acknowledge that the police report the Sentinel cited didn't come right out and identify Strong's projectile of choice as feces. It was simply described as "a green-brown substance" with the "odor of excrement." But only two things I've ever encountered match that description, and since it's almost impossible to stain somebody's clothing with a copy of The Grand Illusion by Styx, I'm siding with the daily that it's turds we're talking about. And that's got me happier than a pig in … well, I'm happy.

At last, there's a remedy for a once-proud city's bureaucratic constipation. Too long has Winter Park been blocked up with conflicting agendas. Dog Playing Poker feels certain that David Strong is the man to loosen up the city's infrastructure and get it moving regularly again. This column trusts the candidate to put the squeeze on the special interests, expelling them from the hallways and darkened tunnels of government with a force that would do Dinty's proud. And if that doesn't work, we'll just toss a sausage at whoever we don't like.

Doubtless, there are some of you who need more a specific platform to go on. And David Strong probably has some passionate, clearly thought-out stances on the pressing issues of the day. He may even have a website. Tell you what: You go there and tell me what you find. Me, I couldn't care less. It's symbolism I'm concerned with, and being savvy enough to use crapola as a debating tool sends a powerful message to the forces of obstructionism — especially if they're standing downwind. Plus, I looked far and wide for euphemisms for "historic landmark preservation" and I couldn't come up with anything remotely as funny as "nut log." Or "food baby."

Now, as much as I'd like to think that this official endorsement is enough to seal Strong's victory, you and I know in our hearts it ain't so. Even if everyone reading this column were to suddenly stand up, rebuckle his trousers and march off to aid the election effort, there's every chance our guy could still lose. It's going to be a squeaker, is what I'm saying. And I wouldn't put it past the other side to fudge the results. We're dealing with an incumbent — the genially cadaverous Kip Marchman — who is wholly capable of throwing shit in the game. Hey, buddy: Take a number. We will not be moved.

Whatever last-minute character assassination their side may be planning to undermine our squishy onslaught, we have to be ready. We have to let the opposition know that we won't be dragged down to the level of ordinary mudslinging. As history has shown, we're better than that. And much more creative.

Let our promise be known far and wide: On Election Day, David Strong will not settle for Number Two. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to do our duty in the voting booth. God bless America, and pass the Baggies.

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