A candidate of a different stripe

Tigers roaming the streets of Asheville? It's not an animal-rights demonstration, and the circus isn't in town: It's the top item in the political platform of local blogger/mayoral wannabe Shad Marsh.

Tongue, meet cheek: Local blogger and mountainx.com forums regular Shad Marsh has announced a bid for mayor of Asheville with a highly unusual platform. Photo by Jonathan Welch

The Oakley resident, who writes poetry at his blog site, Nice Marmot, says he's “what they call unemployed.” And from the look of things, Marsh's mayoral campaign will be political theater of the absurd.

In the spirit of new media, the announcement came via Twitter and a Web site listing the candidate's key positions on the issues. That's where the tigers come in. According to the Marsh for Mayor Web site (http://marshformayor.blogspot.com), “Tigers shall have free roam within the city limits.” A primary reason for this, apart from their allegedly positive effect on tourism, is that they are “wicked cool.” The platform also calls for cutting off the hands of litterers, mandatory military service for panhandling “trustafarians,” and something simply called “casual Mondays.”

Safe to say, this is not your run-of-the-mill campaign, and Marsh hasn't gotten all the kinks worked out yet.

“Obviously, the feasibility and technical aspects of having tigers roaming free is going to be difficult,” he concedes. Meanwhile, Marsh says he's facing a more immediate problem: hosting a fundraiser to procure the $75 filing fee.

The potential candidate launched what could be called his feasibility study back in April with a post in the


forums in which he asked flat out whether he should run for mayor. In typical online-forum fashion, the next 170 responses moved quickly from the virtues of squat thrusts to spicy mustard to kitten bowling. In this environment, it's not hard to see how Marsh developed his platform. There was also an exchange with Asheville artist Jen Bowen, who'd previously said she would run for mayor if no serious candidate came forward to challenge incumbent Terry Bellamy (Bowen has since shifted course, announcing a bid for City Council.) All told, says Marsh, the response to his campaign was about 80 percent positive, though he adds that he hasn't checked the forum thread lately.

“I do follow politics, but I don't take it that seriously,” he reports.

Still, Marsh is apparently sufficiently politically involved to have volunteered for fellow blogger Gordon Smith's City Council campaign.

“Shad's an Asheville treasure,” says Smith. “Nothing better could happen in this election season than a good dose of absurdity.”

Marsh doesn't recall how he got started down the political path, though he thinks it may have been a dare by a friend. In any case, he's moving forward in all earnestness, if not in all seriousness.

“I take it seriously,” he says. “But obviously anyone who reads my proposed ideas wouldn't take it seriously.” Then, heeding the politician's need to deliver a good quote, he stops and asks to start over, declaring, “I'm serious in my bid not to be taken seriously.”


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7 thoughts on “A candidate of a different stripe

  1. Cutting off the hands of litterers sounds good in theory. They should be dealt with harshly. The problem is that would just lead to a lot more littering when the handless are no longer even physically capable of grasping their Big Gulps, soda cans, beer bottles and sacks of drive-thru food.

    I don’t think you have given this idea any serious thought and don’t think I can vote for you for mayor.

    Don’t even get me started on the hair brained idea of introducing non-native tigers that could potentially become an invasive pest.

  2. shadmarsh

    Also, the Tigers would be restricted to the city limits thereby reducing their impact on local fauna, and mitigating any real chances of impacted the local ecosystem.

  3. James L

    It’s truly pathetic that the mayoral and council elections in Asheville continually become a theater of the asinine egotists and the wannabe activists. It’s not like any of these characters have any shot at being elected, but it does serve to debase the elections and make other equally unqualified candidates look credible by comparison. It also discourages engagement by serious, thoughtful professionals who might otherwise give of their time and their experience to provide some important community service.

    I’m not sure competent and qualified people would want an association with the circus Asheville City Council has become to appear on their resume for fear of what it says about them professionally and in business circles.

    How about someone with any real competence and qualifications step forward to do serve the community in a conscientious and credible manner rather than allowing our local elections to continue to lower down to the point where we have officials like most of the current crop on council?

  4. shadmarsh

    People run for office for all sorts of reasons, very few of them being altruistic…of course it is a lot easier to complain about something than to actually engage and try to make a difference.

  5. Paul -V-

    As a small businessman who makes rainbarrels – and as someone who plans to donate money to Shad’s campaign – I would like to say he is the perfect pro-corporate candidate.

    Unlike other candidates who accept money from industry groups and pretends it won’t influence them. Shad has promised to follow a pro-rain barrel platform at every opportunity precisely because of my support.

    In other words. If you don’t support Shad you don’t support capitalism, and, by extension, you hate America.

    Why do you hate America and baby Jesus?

    Disclaimer: I’ll be voting for Bellamy because she’s the most qualitified candidate. I’m supporting Shad for my own crass business interests … and “for teh lulz”.

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